I was lying down on a beach mat, in the lush green grass in the garden, shortly, I drifted into a nap. Imagine that you are trapped in a dense, dark jungle, virtually all sunlight is blocked by the lush canopy overhead, surrounded by thick vegetation, you can barely move. To escape,you must cut your way through with a machete and a lantern, such is the state of the nation.
The shout of ‘change’ politics, inspired by a white hope in a nation that seems barren and hostile and cold was unexpected, and the change,when it came was too sudden.
It is a bit of a problem that anybody human has got it tough these days, from Lagos Okada riders to the Abia woman on her bicycle, to bankers, to self-employed, all are living from hand to mouth, no matter how much you try to eke a living. Hope for all,of equal opportunities daily vaporising before our very eyes,as Nigerians,all have poverty as frater cousin,in a country that has so much to offer.
It is really difficult to pinpoint what went wrong and at what point, but one thing was certain,and that is the general state of pervasive poverty and lack all around . But we can do a cumulative overview of the nation the PMB administration inherited in future.
Today, ours is a nation, where wrong desires coincide with opportunity and greed,where seeing through the veil of optimism and hope have become especially challenging.
The mass of the people have an unending struggle for rights and survival. The nation’s constitution does not grant us rights,rights are natural. But some evil took our rights away, to the extent that even Economics forces was no longer been made to control,regulate and or direct the attainment of the prosperity and social wellbeing of the citizens.
With Nigeria’s economic dependence intensified, its consequences for the Nigerian people were also intensified, and the resultant effect is the visible decline of agricultural production and the increasing dependence on food imports that have plagued the nation,since God knows when. The proceed from Crude oil -substantial foreign exchange earner is no longer sufficient to meet the country’s needs. It has become necessary to abandon all dreams about economic independence by past administrations, as a result, the real income of the vast majority of the Nigerian population has decreased, particularly burdened are the poor of the people who depend on subsidised basic services.
A credit squeeze pervades the financial system. Manufacturing capital has been crippled, especially in enterprises that rely on the constricted domestic market. Unemployment increases rapidly and the country willy nilly further nestled and integrated into the global capitalist system as a marginalised peripheral and subservient member. Thus the struggle for economic independence further postponed,even the popular base for it is being increasingly further weakened. In the eyes of the world Nigeria has remained ” big for nothing “, a nation that is inexorably squandering its potential for greatness.
This scenario have escorted the nation to increase in senseless, violent acts and mindless fleecing,personal safety and neighbourhood morals compromised. This means something is seriously wrong with society, and a leadership, chronically tensed like a motor that stays revved up.A push toward disaster is waiting to happen, with the nation’s ruling elite increasing personal wealth,which makes them to see themselves as above the people and the law, except the PMB administration bare its fangs to beard the czars of corruption past and present. It is also to tame the government officials of#1.126 tr yearly.
I had only just woken up from my nap and wasn’t fully compos mentis, when the rerun of the PMB’s 2016 budget speech came on air. At a canter, ( and one feels it in a nebulous way, because our democracy is still wet behind the air), expecting from the speech, intimidation like a mosquito in a dark bedroom. But in a pensive mood, he was perspicacious enough to sound like things were soon going to change.
He has shown that he is dealing with real people with real problems, first by offering apologies. Here I would have thought to agree with my brother and boss, Alhaji Lai Muhammed on the fuel issue,but then,both of us would have been dead wrong, since PMB took the vicarious responsibility,which represents a complete volte-face in government reasoning and thinking over the years.
With the cadence in his speech, he hammered on what the nation need to do to recover from the pig in a python, upending values of the past, of feelings shattered like fine glass,and the broad parameters required to tow the path of honour and dignity,as encapsulated in the ‘change ‘agenda, on which his deepest affection and deeper ambitions are centred around;
in pursuit of justice and fairness,especially on the economy, for a people expecting a restoration of prosperity and a new epoch in their political life.
The nation’s political foundation have endured the vicissitudes of life in the hands of corrupt corporate fleecing, the tides of prosperity and depression and a weak public service, who refuse to go with the believe that expanding the scope of government would ensure the progress of the nation and the welfare of its citizens.
The administration should however, note that what the economy needs is a new impetus for the ‘change’ agenda goals for greater democracy and social justice, honest government and effective regulation of business and a revived commitment to public service to have the much desired character and effects.
Nigerians, who hitherto have been cooperative would be implacably opposed to any plans to the contrary.
It is stalking time for Nigerians but not a propitious time for PMB, and he hasn’t all the gifts, no!I don’t think he will succeed in the corruption crusade that has put the nation up a tree (I do have my reasons), still,he can but try. Nigerians should however, be ready to answer for his discretion.
Back to the 2016 budget, the ball is now in the court of the National Assembly and court of public opinion. The NASS need to know how to be alone and not be defined by any person,body and or group in the collective pursuit of our aspirations for social justice and equal opportunities for all. Nigerians are now straining every nerve, watching and waiting for who will fluff their new found hope and optimism,and this is enough to spell the ground rules of doing things and also the NASS should note that the job of law making and appropriation is not about preventing people from enjoying life or oppressing them, but the establishment of limits on behaviour; of one request several pragmatic answers.
Our eyes are flickering with excitement,chest swelled to the uttermost, we need the administration to find a capacity for improvisation and ingenuity to raise a nation in distress. The NASS-a microcosm of the Nigerian people and community at large, and duly and constitutionally mandated by “We the people,should be circumspect when dealing with the budget, look at it painstakingly and holistically, with the mixed miscellany of its micro and macro economic implications and relevance to the mass of our people in mind.
The dreams and expectations of change from the ferocious and fervent attacks on our bread, milk, honey, and our sleeping in the tropical sun on a bed of golden basmatic rice rather than on roses, must be achieved. But,you can’t keep doing the old things and hope to get new results,neither can we go forth with sharpened sticks to hunt woolly mammoths to get the often elusive winning formula in the will-o-the-wisp called success.
Achieving lasting peace,buoyant economy is a destination that is achievable, but you can reach it only if you know where it is.
Now that PMB seems to have kickstart the rebirth, we must be willing and ready to confront and meet all challenges that will arise on the nose. While working their socks off,our new leaders must resist any attempt or foil to hold them hostage.
Jimi Bickersteth is a blogger and a writer.
He can be reached on twitter