OPINION: Things are gradually falling apart in Nigeria – by Emmanuel Nwachukwu

Published:10 Oct, 2012

OPINION: Things are gradually falling apart in Nigeria – by Emmanuel Nwachukwu

Yet another sad news with the reported massacre of over 20 innocent students at the Federal Polytechnic Mubi in Adamawa State. These are indeed troubling times for Nigeria. We have not trod this path before. There is a palpable sense of anxiety, if not fear over where the country is heading. Terrorism, kidnappings, armed robbery, ritual killings and assassinations are now common place, with no signs of abating. Businesses in the north have almost ground to a halt because of the incessant bombings. Agitations by tribal groups to go it alone, that were once quiet mutterings are now getting louder and bolder. Cases of tribal and religious intolerance are on the increase as Nigerians are beginning for the first time to question openly the basis of our federalism. States are at loggerheads on the fairness of the current revenue sharing formula as the debate rages on how the nation’s wealth is shared. Cracks are appearing in the bond that once held us together as a nation. Things seem to be falling apart and the centre is struggling to hold. The president of the Senate, David Mark, captured the mood of the nation, in his summation of the dire state of the nation in his welcome address to his colleagues, from their summer recess. The message was honest, it was blunt, it was timely and needed to be said from the high echelons of power.

Paradoxically, the emergence of Boko Haram seems to have awakened northern leaders from their slumber. For decades, this elite group of individuals paid little attention to the developmental aspirations of their people. They were content for their people to forage for crumbs falling from their table, whilst they lived sumptuously from state revenue allocations and oil patronages. They learnt nothing from the selfless leadership of their forebears, such as Ahmadu Bello and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. Apart from a few progressive governors in the South, the story is the same; the story of greed, graft and incompetence. Driving through Asaba, Delta State’s capital, it is hard to believe that this state gets more than four times the revenue allocation of Edo State where so much is happening in infrastructure development.

At the root of all our current challenges are corruption and incompetence of leadership. Although the President tells us he is doing his best to fight corruption, the evidence does not support this assertion. Although Nigeria is ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, and the issue of corruption dominates our daily discourse, it is ironic that no politician or civil servant of any note is serving time for this crime. This is the question the President should be asking his Attorney-General and Minister for Justice. All across the length and breadth of the country, the cry is going out that we are tired of corruption, but the response from the nation’s Attorney-General, who should be at the forefront of this fight, is a deafening hush. Obviously, any serious fight against corruption must begin with his replacement. He is clearly not part of the solution. Sadly, most Nigerians believe that the President either lacks the metal or the will to make the far-reaching changes required to tackle corruption. Most agree that the fight against corruption in Nigeria effectively ended when Nuhu Ribadu left the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Not many individuals in the world would have turned down a $15m bribe from an ex-State Governor as he allegedly did, for love of country. These are the kinds of individuals the President needs in his cabinet to lead the shakeup of the entire justice system and the fight against corruption.

The frustration Nigerians have with government is borne more out of the lack of progress in the security, social and economic well-being of citizens. There is a deficit of trust between the government and the governed. The people do not trust the government because they have not delivered in the past, nor punished those who have stolen from the public purse. In the same vein the government is nervous of all criticism, be it constructive, and sees critics as enemies of the President. We are constantly being told by ministers that Nigeria has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, recording GDP growth of around seven per cent per annum. This may be so on paper, but ask the man on the street what he thinks; ask him if he is better off this year than five years ago or indeed last year and the answer is most likely to be an emphatic No! The truth is that most Nigerians are not seeing that change in their economic well-being that is commensurate with a GDP growth of zero per cent let alone seven per cent; unless of course you are one of the oil marketers that shared half the country’s entire annual budget in subsidy claims, or one of the Directors-General and permanent secretaries in the public sector, or one of the retired generals and their cohorts who own the country. Sadly, for the majority of Nigerians, the talk of a GDP growth of seven per cent is simply hogwash.

Nigerians do not expect the President to be at the trenches doing the work himself but we expect him to appoint the right people to positions and hold them accountable when they fail. We expect him to start making an example of corrupt and failing ministers by publicly sacking them. The President did not need any other evidence to tell him, for instance, that his minister for sport was failing when he visited the National Stadium in Abuja, but instead of holding the minister to account for incompetence, he appointed yet another commission, led by Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to investigate the matter. This poor woman must feel the weight of government on her shoulders. She is called in everywhere and is fast becoming Jonathan’s abracadabra. Ironically, the President needs many more of her and the likes of the Agriculture Minister, Akinwumi Adesina, in the cabinet. One is convinced that a critical mass of the likes of these individuals in the cabinet will transform Nigeria in just one term of government.

It appears at last that we have a tough Inspector-General of Police who knows where he wants to take the Nigeria Police. We urge the President to implement without further delay the Parry Osayande report on the reorganisation of the Nigeria Police, including the abolition of the Police Commission. The President must not place the interest of powerful individuals, who obviously have a vested interest in the status quo, before the interest of the nation.

These are indeed challenging times for Nigeria. At periods like this a nation needs a strong leader that is plugged into the mood of the nation. A leader that will deliver on the root causes of our current discord – a leader that will deliver on the nation’s current challenges of corruption and lack of opportunity. The President to his credit has started delivering on power for the first time in our history. He has allowed democracy to flourish by allowing free elections. He has listened to protestations from Nigerians, not least the recent debate on the introduction of the N5,000 note. For these achievements he deserves our commendation. However, corruption continues to undermine every effort to move the country forward. Surely, if this is not addressed with the vigour and urgency it deserves, it will eventually consume all of us, and who knows, even the oppressors themselves may not be lucky to get out fast enough.

•Emmanuel Nwachukwu, an International Business Consultant based in London, UK, wrote in via Emmanuel@pssolutions-ltd.com

 

via Punch

  • http://blogs.rediff.com/abckosmotoligia9 natalia

    There are some attention-grabbing points in time on this article however I don’t know if I see all of them heart to heart. There is some validity however I will take maintain opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as well

  • http://Website Stellar Phoenix Review

    This post is incredible! You most certainly know how to keep a reader interested. Between your wit and your pictures, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost..haha) Wonderful job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool! Stellar Phoenix Review

Related Posts

Recent Posts

Abdulmumin Jibrin Warns Against Politicisation of Buhari’s Anti-Corruption War

Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin has urged members of the National Assembly to support President Buhari’s anti-corruption war.   The Lawmaker’s reaction in a series of tweets Thursday through his verified twitter handle @AbdulAbmJ? comes shortly after opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the national assembly withdrew their support for the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

EFCC Traces Three Mansions To Fayose’s Associate

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission( EFCC) has traced three posh houses to an associate of Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose. The houses, one in Abuja and two in Lagos, are believed to have been bought with part of the N1.219billion pumped into the 2014 governorship election.  The cash believed to be from the office of the National security Adviser (NSA). Fayose has denied having any dealing with the office while Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) was...

Reps Ask EFCC, ICPC To Probe Bala, Others Over Land Swap

The House of Representatives yesterday asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) to investigate the former FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed, to examine the likely abuse of financial regulations in the land swap policy he introduced while in office. Also to be probed alongside Bala are the Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Engr Adamu Ismaila and the coordinator, Abuja Infrastructure Investment...

Aisha Buhari Gives Fayose 5 Days To Apologize Or Go To Court

Wife of the President, Aisha Buhari has described the statement by Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose which fingered her as an accomplice in the famous Halliburton bribery scandal that landed former U.S. lawmaker, Williams Jefferson in jail as “very wild and unfounded.” She threatened to drag Fayose to court if the statement was not retracted within five working days. The letter emanated from the chamber of Mary Ekpere and Co. The letter signed by Ismaila Alasa and Mary Ekpere...

EFCC Arraigns Senior Air Force Officer For Allegedly Receiving N40 Million, Landrover Bribe

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday arraigned, AVM Rufus Ojuawo, in an FCT High Court, Apo, for collecting N40 million gift and a Range Rover sports car from Hima Abubakar. Mr. Ojuawo, a former Director of Operations, Nigerian Air Force, was arraigned before Justice Mahawiya Idris on a two-count charge. The charge says Mr. Ojuawo while in office in March, 2015, accepted a gift in the aggregate sum of N40 million from...

Fresh Militants’ Attack In Ikorodu Communities

Gunmen suspected to be militants were said to have invaded Igbolomu and Ishawo areas in Ikorodu Local Government Area of Lagos State. According to eyewitnesses who escaped from one of the invaded areas, said the gunmen from the Niger Delta came through water channel since yesterday and started shooting sporadically. Credit: Vanguard

Police Confirm Attack On Shell Facility In Imo

The police have confirmed an attack on a facility belonging to Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) at Awarra, Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo. Andrew Enwerem, the police public relations officer in the state, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Owerri that the police received report of the attack in the early hours of Thursday. Mr. Enwerem could not disclose the extent of damage done to the facility or the group that carried...

I’m Being Prosecuted For Old Grievances- Dasuki

Former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd), has told a federal high court in Abuja that he is being punished by some persons at the highest level of power in the country for perceived grievances they had held against him while in active military service many years ago. Dasuki, who did not name any particular person, said the punishment being meted out to him was unfortunate having being borne out of mere vendetta.

Government May Borrow N165b To Pay Civil Servants

With fast declining revenue, the Federal Government said yesterday it is now faced with the prospect of borrowing to meet the monthly civil service wage bill of N165 billion. Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, who had met with protesting workers of her ministry on Wednesday, said in a statement in Abuja yesterday that she does not have any power to pay N1.2 billion, which was not in the budget of the Ministry. The minister said...

Nigerians In UK, Europe Express Disappointment With Referendum Result

A cross section of Nigerians in Europe on Friday expressed disappointment over the decision of the UK in a referendum to leave the European Union. Results released early on Friday by UK authorities indicated that 17, 410,742 Britons voted to leave EU, while 16,141,241 others voted to remain. The Leave campaigners won by 52 per cent to 48 per cent with England and Wales voting...

Militants Threaten To Resume Bombing As New Group Emerges

Niger Delta militants have threatened to re­sume hostilities and have alleged that the two weeks ceasefire agree­ment elapsed without any commitment on the part of the Federal Gov­ernment. The fighters said gov­ernment officials are more interested in grand­standing rather than initiating dialogue with them. In a statement entitled: ‘If you make the peace­ful change that we seek impossible, we will make violent change possible’, a group called Ultimate Warriors of the Niger Delta said if...

New Zealand PM Rules Out Ransom For Citizen Abducted In Nigeria

New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, on Thursday ruled out paying a ransom as a long-held government standing for a New Zealander abducted a day earlier by gunmen in southern Nigeria. He said at a press conference in Wellington that there was no chance of the government paying a ransom for the release of New Zealander being held hostage in Nigeria. Key said the compromise would only put a bounty on the head of any...

PDP Senate Caucus Withdraws Support For Buhari

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senate caucus yesterday announced its withdrawal of cooperation with the All Progressives Congress (APC)- led Federal Government. The caucus said the resolution would subsist until the government “ceases the belligerent attitude towards PDP members.” A communiqué read by Senate Deputy Minority Leader Emmanuel Bwacha, endorsed by Senate Minority Leader Godswill Akpabio, Minority Whip, Philip Aduda and Deputy Minority Whip, Mrs Biodun Olujimi, said the resolution was adopted at a meeting...

Shootout In Maiduguri Government House Over Rice Distribution

There was shootout between policemen and soldiers in Maiduguri Government  House Thursday afternoon when soldiers in a truck attempted to forcefully get a share of the rice being distributed to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) not living in camps. Reporters gathered that the distribution of rice for the IDPs had started from about a week ago under the watch of policemen in the Government House who are to ensure that the rice is given only to...

FG Suspends Sack Of Resident Doctors, Negotiations Continue

The federal government wednesday suspended the sack of members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) pending the conclusion of the ongoing negotiations on the matter. This was part of the resolutions reached at the mediatory meeting initiated by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, between the federal government delegation and leaders of NARD. The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, was quoted to have suspended the sack as part...

Gunmen Kidnap Foreign Contractors In Calabar

At least three Australian citizens and one Australian resident, who were contractors for Lafarge cement company have been kidnapped and their driver killed in Calabar, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Thursday. There was an initial confusion over the number of victims and nationalities of those involved, as police in gave conflicting accounts, Reuters said in a report. But media reports indicate that three Australians, a New Zealander, a South African and two Nigerians...

AMCON Shuts Senator Bruce’s Companies Over Debt

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria on Thursday morning sealed the Abuja premises of Silverbird Galleria belonging to Senator Ben Murray Bruce. The galleria currently houses the Abuja studio of the Radio and Television stations of the senator as well as his other business interests. Apart from Bruce’s companies, the seven storey building also houses other business interest of private individuals such as Shoprite, among others. The building was...

House Of Reps To Conduct Public Hearing On U.S. Sexual Allegations Against Members

The House of Representatives says it will convene a public hearing as part of its investigations into an alleged sex scandal involving three of its members. The hearing will allow Nigerians weigh in on the matter and be transparently engaged in the investigations as promised by the House leadership, Nicholas Ossai, the chairman of the House Ethics Committee, said. The scandal allegedly occurred in the U.S. state of Ohio early June. The allegations were...

Army Debunks Militants Allegation On Plot To Topple Buhari’s Govt

Authorities of the Nigerian Army have said allegation by a militant group claiming that a coup plot to remove the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari were the handiwork of mischief makers since there was nothing like that in the offing. A statement titled ‘Warning to Mischief Makers; Nobody is Planning Any Coup’ and signed by Col Sani Usman said, “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to another campaign of calumny and distraction by...

Boko Haram Fracturing Over Islamic State Ties- U.S. General

A senior U.S. military general on Wednesday said the terrorist group in Nigerian, Boko Haram, had been fractured internally. Lieut.-Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the nominee to lead U.S. military’s Africa Command, disclosed this in Washington during his nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. He said that the problem in the group resulted from some members splitting from shadowy leader, Abubakar Shekau, over his failure to adhere to guidance from the Iraq and Syria-based Islamic...

Nigeria Cuts Off Gas Supply To Ghana

Nigeria has suspended the flow of natural gas to Ghana over unpaid bills, local media reported on Wednesday, saying an amount of some USD 180 million was outstanding. News outlets reported that Ghana’s state-owned Volta River Authority owes N-Gas, which in turn is in arrears to the West African Pipeline Company, the operator of the conduit that transports gas from Nigeria to Benin, Togo and onwards to Ghana. The latter’s arrears have been building since October...