Those who are familiar with the history of the Israelites will understand
why their story in the wilderness will not be complete without a mention of
how, at a stage, they had preferred being “slaves in Egypt” to being
subjected to mass ignoble deaths “in the desert.” With the pathetic state
of our country, it is unfortunate that such hopelessness and uncertain
reality now define the lots of many Nigerians.

Sentiments apart, our president, Muhammadu Buhari is a good man and
Nigerians have to appreciate God for a man of his ilk as Nigeria’s
president. He has done ‘this’, ‘that’, ‘and the other’, all in the interest
of Nigeria and Nigerians. Forget the fact that the government, which he
heads, is now sitting, comfortably, on a huge debt profile of not less than
N24.4 trillion; and not a few Nigerians are concerned and palpably worried.

Despite her rich socio-cultural legacy, Nigeria is today an unfortunate
product of strange, deep and challenging problems which raise lots of
questions about how complicated we are as a people. The so-called
government think tank seems to be missing the gem as the fulcrum of its
policy pronouncements is not jelling with the expectations of the masses.
Otherwise, there would have been a massive socioeconomic turnaround in many
sectors of the domestic economy to the benefit of everybody who is a
Nigerian, irrespective of his or her status in the society. To make matters
worse, the ruling party continues to grapple with the challenge of identity
definition  while the opposition, either for lack of a credible alternative
or non-possession of a financial war-chest to match the rampaging ferocity
of its masters in the game, has willingly become prisoner to existing

Starting with the Federal Government’s position on Agriculture and Rural
Development, what has changed and what has been the effect? Year in, year
out, it is a whole story of woes and catalogue of avoidable failures. This
year, if it is not a fight over the procurement of fertilizer, it will be
harvest of tirades in trying to expose the corruption in fertilizer
distribution. Next year, it the farmers’ verification exercise and how to
account for farmers who are deprived. The following year, the routine
begins again: the procurement and the distribution of fertilizer. Whereas,
all that has not addressed the alleged corruption in the system! The point
is: if the government is claiming to have spent trillions of naira on
“agriculture and infrastructure” in the last few years, why hasn’t the
humongous sum reflected on the socio-economic reality of Nigerians? Isn’t
it a shame that people are running from Osun State, which claims to be an
agrarian population, to neighbouring Oyo State to buy yam tubers, despite
the sophistry of the former’s agricultural policies? This is embarrassing,
to say the least!

Talking seriously, what has become of government’s position on
international trade and commerce? What’s happening, presently, to our
domestic economy and home-market? These, again, lead us to some other
questions! What type of a country is one that fails to realize that making
money without working is a recipe for trouble for the national economy?
What manner of work is it that makes a truck driver in the United Kingdom
live a better life than a supposed big man in Nigeria? Who's calculating
the gains and the losses of the Buhari-led administration? The political
oligarchs and power-drunk state officials, who, in spite of our being
pathetically poor, still derive pleasure in mismanaging our poverty? Or the
mere sand-players who only specialize in lying to Nigerians with unrivaled
illogicality?  For God’s sake, if government reforms are truly hitting
their targets, why are Nigerians leaving home, hale and hearty, only to end
up in the lagoon as victims of suicide?

In fairness to posterity, that Nigeria’s economy is threatened, with the
country described variously as a “dumping ground for stronger economies in
the world” is no longer news. When Charles Soludo came in, he introduced
some policies to stem the leak in foreign exchange. But by the time Soludo
would realize that ‘Banking” was “no Ludo’, the powerful-but-evil cabal,
who benefits directly and thrive on foreign currency exchange in the
country, had opposed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor. And,
because government of the day didn’t have enough political spine, it
capitulated by allowing the Bureau de Change to have its way;  and gave it
legal backing as Black Market.

Well, the effects of this public maladministration on associational life of
the average Nigerians, political pragmatism and the issue of succession are better imagined than experienced. This is because people see politics only as a certificate to some luxuries and privileges and are desperate to be in government, not necessarily because they have a clue as to what to do or how to run a government, but because that is the only area where
‘survival-without-stress’, making big money and indiscriminate use of state power are assured. That is why people are no longer committed to party ideologies and manifestos.

If Joseph could suggest and successfully implement a policy that
effectively addressed the “seven years of famine” in Egypt (Genesis 41 &
42), then, it is pure illusion to measure successes of policies in a bottomless pit. For a serious government, it does not speak to good
judgment to encourage endless policies when the people do not feel the
track of such plans and actions. It is merely a way of saying that
government appears to be busy, doing nothing! As Ghana has now shown that you don't solve a problem by creating another problem, the founding fathers of Nigeria’s political landscape will no doubt be rolling in theirgraves, seeing what Nigerians have made of politics.

All said, it’s time government woke up to its responsibilities by annexing the innate capacities that are bounded in the people’s differing sympathies. Otherwise, the just concluded Kogi and Bayelsa governorship
elections might have signposted how fast 2023 can take us back to the past.
There and then, welcome ‘Gunshot Democracy’!  Interestingly, in a violent
electoral process, it is the gun and the mastery of its use, not humans or
the lobby for votes, that serves as the winning streak. But, in a very real
sense, lives and times of Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha have shown that, too, has an expiry date!

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in

KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, State of Osun, Nigeria

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