Thursday, July 16, 2015 1:19 pm
By Denja Yaqub
The outcome of the last elections at all levels in Nigeria is a clear indication that Nigerians were done with the old order and eager to have a change that will move the country to greater heights.
To be able to flush out the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which has been in power for sixteen years with a promise to retain power for sixty years despite its monumental profligacy of unimaginable quantum, it took the significant alignment of politicians from across four political parties and an extraction of the PDP to dislodge the umbrella of corruption, impunity and bad governance from power at federal level and in twenty two of the thirty six states of the feeble federation.
The coalition named All Progressives Congress (APC) wouldn’t have succeeded in the elections but for the choice of Muhammadu Buhari as its candidate. Buhari is possibly the only clean former Nigerian leader garbed in a popular toga of an intolerant disposition to corruption and corrupt practices; and disciplined enough to lead our country out of the pervasive moral decadence public service and the citizens have been splashed with.
For decades, not just under PDP, Nigeria has speedily slid in abysmal collapse with poverty, unemployment and malfunctioning infrastructure being the hallmark, while the only subsystem that perfectly works is corruption, a “government” of its own, that has been ruling the country to near total ruins. The popular quest for the end of the throne of corruption and all round impunity was what manifested in the results of the 2015 elections.
However, as early as less than a month into the “new beginning”, it became obvious that we are still held hostage by the old order as the old opposition do not seem to know the source of the votes dropped for them to be in power or of what use their victory should be deployed as they consistently display infantile political antics that have so far undermined our collective interests and thirst for good governance.
The events at the National Assembly since their inauguration has compromised the decency of a team of lawmakers Nigerians thought would facilitate changes that deliver good governance.
If our contemporary politicians are truly aware of the depth of the severe crisis our country has been plunged in and the desire to pull us out of the doldrum, what should have kick started a government that had “change” as its campaign slogan would not be the consistent brawls that have taken the place of progressive deliberations at the National Assembly and the lamentations of the presidency.
The obvious internal contestations within the APC, not just its leadership, points to the coalition as one that had no common goals beyond contesting elections. This is more factual of the renegades of the PDP, who christened themselves New PDP before migrating out of the dilapidated umbrella to team up with ACN, ANPP, CPC and an extraction of APGA to form the APC. They possibly left the PDP because they couldn’t contend with the overwhelming weight of influence some of its leaders have on who becomes what. Of course other parties, including the ones that collapsed into what is now APC, didn’t have as much of powerful power brokers and the PDP extracts knew how to reduce them to liliputs.
However, the leadership of the APC, some of them with good background in pro-democracy struggles but clearly lacking in democratic credentials as they are swollen with the anti-democratic illusions that they could dictate who occupies what office, even when the constitution spells out democratic options. It is, for instance, undemocratic for any party, especially a party that rode on the pedestal of the promise of change, to insist on dictating who leads the National Assembly. That was part of the impunity of the past, a past the APC promised to change. And perhaps, the party leaders have their candidates, as they announced they do; if an election held and choices other than theirs were made by vote, a true democrat should simply accept defeat and return to further permutations. We don’t need the headache the crisis at the National Assembly has unleashed on us all as that has become an excuse for our country to be subjected to sole administratorship, with the unnecessary delay in constituting the government that promised to change our collective misfortunes and restore our country to a respectable position in the global community; a community that still considers our country trapped in impunity and lack of patriotic leadership.
It is disturbing that more than a month after assuming office, President Buhari is yet to form a government. A country of nearly 170 million people, with problems almost equal to the population; a country that has almost collapsed cannot afford a sole administrator to manage her affairs even for just one day. We need a government and a man who won the presidency on the third attempt at elections should have an idea of what he wanted power for, especially when the majority of the electorate were united on why they voted for him. We needed change and we believe that change can be delivered with President Buhari on the driver’s seat.
Lamentations are not attributes of any good leader. We as citizens have lamented enough and the March 28, 2015 election gave us an opportunity to stop lamenting as the majority voted for someone we believed has the will, the capabilities and wisdom to turn our collective lamentations to harvests of collective joy, palliative liberation of some sorts.
The new administration has done well in putting terrorists, who thought Nigeria is a comfort zone for them, on the run, though they still pound some parts of the North East, but limited to their known areas of combat, and the military has obviously woken up from a sluggish past.
President Buhari’s emergence has psychologically renewed hope in every Nigerian that a better future beckons and this can only be sustained if the new administration acts faster than it has done at all levels. It is doubtful if the administration can fix Nigeria without probing the past.
Our past is too messy and the mess will be difficult to clear without interrogating the how, why, who and what drifted us to abyss. No one will doubt the emptiness of our collective treasury, but we won’t be patient with lamentations. Those who emptied the treasury should be seen off to jail after appropriate trials in court and their loots returned to the federation account for infrastructural development and job creation.
As hopeful as most Nigerians are, the new administration’s success depends largely on the National Assembly. Their body language portends danger for the success of any patriotic government with genuine intention to reclaim our collective dignity, resources and future from the ineptitude of past administrations that have led us so close to a dead end.
The boxing and wrestling episodes at the National Assembly as well as the desire of the distinguished Senators and Honourable members to ignore our economic crisis, opting instead, to make wardrobe and other allowances their prime concern is not just unpatriotic but absolutely irresponsible and against the purpose of any serious government or political party that made change a campaign slogan.
—Yaqub is an Assistant Secretary at the headquarters of Nigeria Labour Congress, Abuja.