As I lay down in a small, softly lit room, in Aran orin,the feelings in and around me moody, with my appetite swung like a pendulum, a little bloated, but none the worse for wear,but bogged down by this race against time;the national assembly;the revelations coming from the Pandora box, that have reduced the happenings in the land, to sports metaphors, “lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons”.
The much touted “Change”, have seen the nation enter into a new era of transformation;the times have also seen and recorded the president as winning the battle against corruption, Boko Haram,the ensuing grazing bill that sought to shield the Fulani herdsmen and lately,managing the NDAvengers with panache and maturity, all works in progress.
It is a time of recurring soap, in the biggest theatre of shattered dreams and unfulfilled destinies in peacetime anywhere in the world, a theatre, who’s graveyards are filled with the greatest ideas and innovations.This drama has exposed a prospective nation, that is suffering solely because there are no rules of architecture for castles in the clouds.
However, the PMB’s administration’s performances and attitudes in righting the wrongs in the augean stable it inherited, has been thrown into stark relief,if you place in proper perspective, that is, the enormous potential and wealth at one time, at its beck and call and see conversely, what the global economic meltdown and the new world order has presented the nation.
The people saw and felt a capricious and unjust system, and sought and desire a change. It is debatable though, if they saw the extent of decay, rot and rut in the system.
But here are the people watching amidst bated breath as its lawmakers are warring against the much desired change.
Members of the NASS, waiting patiently, using mild tongues, that breaks the SP’s bones and unnerved him. A mixture of patience, respect and candour can be of great help. By patience, a Senate and its president are induced, you’ll say . But has any of the salad and valium members of the Assembly ever rattled their pressy with facts and correct details about the state of the nation and the large scale and pervasive suffering in the land, to freeze his composure.
And what is it about a Senate leadership that appears to acquiesce to unruly and rude languages and demeanours on the floor of the house, by the likes of Dino Melai ,even though many a Nigerian have been dismayed by his prolonged disintegration from his days at the HoR. And with the recent demeanours, one wonder if the Senate leadership have been somehow codependent,indulging by its gawking and quietness, of a man who is not merely a very gifted eccentric but also a tormented man, far more in need of its help than of its adoration and encouragement.
The Senate leadership’s warped his sense of who he is. The Senate president’s obsession will harm him and his psyche. To the senator misses,she has to keep it all in fun-she’ll confront some stressful and disturbing situations in the House, the sports have really not commenced, otirinkankan, but you have to stay in good spirits, and of course, watch your tongue and groove and temper.
But who is going to catch this wicked and cunny people in their hump, men and women whose deepest emotions, the contrast between opulence and neglect could not touch,and who have unconsciously got their self images skewed in clueless essence,of a one legged man attempting to walk unaided, and instead of a better life based on the solid foundation of good law and legislation,our esteem lawmakers are given us unexpected and unending conflict.
I think the nation should place the NASS members on minimum wage and reduce the perks, that is when the nation can get the best of its men and women wishing to render it selfless service.
As the PMB administration’s hits the one year mark however,he must make the best of a poor situation in the race against time.The number one priority for the president in the coming days is to find ways and means of tackling the renewed rain of uprising in the polity, especially the NASS as well as in the Creeks, and in both instances, should not induce the siege mentality, but rather a triple-edge plan that has a triple purpose of:
a. to sanitise and promote accountability
b. to bring calm and assurance,and
c. improved and fair distribution of wealth
While awaiting the passage of the PIB by the NASS, the first action is to cleanse the ministry of petroleum,and prosecute the officials, whose singular distinction is the ability to make unpleasant and unexpected discoveries of the amount of crude oil traded and revenue stolen, long after the perpetrators have eloped;and replace them with tested,upstanding, honest, respectable people of good reputation wherever they may be found . With the express mandate to prioritise the TAM of the existing refineries and encourage the building of new ones.
Secondly, to look without been blindfolded, for a political solution that will guarantee a lasting and permanent peace in the Niger Delta.
While no basis for negotiations has been agreed upon, the underpinnings in the excessive threats,and daredevilry postures, from the Creeks has again called the fragile framework of the nation’s notion of federalism to question;with neglect, resource control,marginalisation, hunt for the filthy lucre, greed and avarice as conflicting contradictions, a basis for rational debate even in the NASS. A debate that should consider the dire inequalities and widespread corruption in the investment and reinvestment, and distribution and redistribution of wealth.
The young men are impatient,and they need leaders that would tell them that they are brewing and sailing into a storm and may end up therein,impatient, crisis-ridden people often does.Their actions are having a most unfortunate sequel,as famine is often the sequel to war.
The truth be told bombing national installations and oil pipelines,is but crashing boundaries and it is not going to be too easy for the nation to watch unabashedly, and concede any inch of space to political and economic terrorists and mercenaries in any part of its territories, including its continental shelf. It is fair therefore, if it applies measures congruent with the seriousness of the situation.
The nation however must take due cognisance of the fact that hunger,anger loneliness and been left unattended in the backyard of the backwaters is forcing our young men to take advice from the wrong motivation, people and instincts, this much the government should do something about even as they establish empowerment programmes all over the federation from the reportedly recovered loots.
The 365days has witnessed this administration received an unprecedented support of the people in the wake of the increase in pump price of petrol, in spite of the anticipated domino effect on living standards and the audacious dismantling and crushing the social stratification once and for all, it is the good man image at work.
But we all must note that there’s been a fundamental flaw, and the flaw is the albatross to the nation’s progress, just like the warped notion of system of federalism we seem to be operating.
The support and backing extended to PMB, came not out of coercion, but a climate of trust,confidence and respect established by his zero-tolerance for graft and corruption;and his ability of not going coldly by the book, instead by thinking first and then act more calmly and appropriately. His consistency, firmness and reasonableness-along with good example are the qualities he will require in the days ahead.
Yet, Nigerians have lamented for long and now the sudden increase in running costs. The domino effect on school fees, tomatoes and pepper, transport costs, spare parts, an unstable financial market and instability of the forex ,however, we are patiently waiting to see the effect the nation’s technical devaluation will have on our macroeconomies.
The nationals are waiting to see the effects of the tinkering efforts, with social welfare packages, which in spite of the nation’s stupendous oil wealth are ridiculously ineffective, and inefficient, and in a nation, where the people subsidised their own health, education etc. In a nation that is virtually unique in its inability to ensure that its people enjoy a better life and times. We need the president’s ear.
The PMB administration in the last 12months have shown that it has some abstract notion of wanting to change the nation, but in this they have to consider the nation’s prevailing circumstances and problems in the abstract. Mister president must consider his capacity and a capabilities side by side that of the nation, not ego.
The most important thing he’ll learned about the nation is how much he doesn’t know-and accepting that there’s always something to be learned.
As it were, he has been rifling through chaos, the economy, the graft, pump price hike,PHCN, Boko Haram, the Fulani herdsmen, bombings of NNPC oil pipelines, volatility of the crude oil market, and an instability in the foreign exchange rate,to mention a few and to perform, his engine must be well primed to be able to handle the load.
The quality of advice he gets on this myriads of issues, are important. As you can see that one set of problems lead to another, and the teeming mass of the poor of the poor, who don’t have a place to live or food to eat, are waking up to the most serious global crisis, and the curious way and manner the change agenda is been prosecuted from the president’s mind.
The people too in their hearts of heart are seeing a desperately wicked and inhuman government, one that has seen the unfriendly increase in tariffs for an ailing and failing PHCN turn down by the courts and now the pump price hike. The president had better ignore the encomiums and high fives rooted in self interest of the elites and helplessness of the masses, who are moaning and groaning hard. They see tons of loads of unfulfilled promises and outright renege on some other.
PMB’s spin doctors try to smoothen things over with the grand deception of attempting to build a new Nigeria out of the rubbles of the old one and soliciting a là Amaechi and Fashola for the people’s patience and understanding. We need to be hurt in order to grow. I remember an Helen Simonson old line:
“And after all, everyone needs a few flaws to make
The people are allowed to scream, allowed to cry and not give up. Asking us to practice courage,cultivate it,work on it consciously and repeatedly.
As days go on feelings get stronger, whatever happened to the Nigeria we used to know. The people are getting tired of listening to the lie and naivety by this pretenders in PMB’s government, in things getting worse before they get better, with the trillions the nation have to flaunt, the sad thing going by the rumblings and grumbling all over is Nigerians, who are hurting are giving up on the administration in droves, and the president needs the ball to contain the onslaught as well as the will to strive to unite the people including their hearts and minds, that is simply what is required of a Nigerian leader the world expect to provide leadership for the black race.
Wither the hope of the hopeless and the unselfish willingness to stand up for Nigerians with blanket of pessimism about our future seems to cover everywhere. Not sure where the next meals come from;not sure when we’ll be able to get food for the next meal. No matter where you live, the Nigerian government is a source of constant distress .
The presidency must thus see everything that is wrong in the renewed agitation(MASSOB, MEND, BH, Fulani herdsmen etc) ,all the bottled up angst and bitter anger.
PMB must continue to cement bonds of affection in the country. This is an arduous and uphill task, because barriers-political, economic, ethnic and religious need to be overcome in the mind.
It is hard work to eradicate prejudice and mistrust,why should the president be scared. The Nigerians I know have always been impatient, and are less patient today than in the past, and they see a whole lot wrong with your administration if you can’t match our quest for quick,efficient service delivery. We have fast cars, fast food, instant massaging, fast technology and ATM, that it will be quite impossible to bog them down to any dithering and not expect a reaction, expectations are rife, and the people look up at you to perform magic or miracle, just deliver on your promises, pure and simple.
A wrong start to life do not justify confusion or another step. The nation has bottled up but placated by the anti-coruption stance of the administration and are now pregnant with expectations, that hopefully those staggering amount of ill-gotten money reportedly recovered by the anti-graft agency would be deployed to jump start the ailing economy and the power sector, and thanks for providence that the country will not go a borrowing to overcome some of its challenges in this days of revenue shortfalls in the crude oil market.
Nigerians expect things to move quickly, efficiently and in the way we want. We expect the government to match our needs with formidable choices, and realistic and pragmatic programmes. When that doesn’t happen as is presently the case, we tend to become increasingly frustrated and irritable, you can see where the ND frustration is coming from. The government must be prepared to win the battle and the war.
Jimi Bickersteth is a super blogger,writer and a public affairs analyst.
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