You must be wondering who “they” are! Well, ‘they’ would be the political gladiators and the men and women who hold sway in Nigeria as the custodians of our destiny.
I know you would also want to ask me where they want to have us. Well, they want us to feel dejected, believe there is nothing we can do. If you go through most of the write ups by op ed writers and blogs, you find a common theme of calling on God (predominantly amongst those who believe in a supreme being) to come and liberate us from the celestial human lords who hold sway in Abuja and all the nook and crannies of Nigeria.
But do you blame Nigerians? Even the most liberal of critics, in private, discuss the state of hopelessness. One public thinker recently opined that only a bloody Jerry Rawlings model revolution can save us from the blood sucking vampires we call political leaders in Nigeria
Those who have tried every democratic option from civil disobediences, open letters, lobbying, campaign, blogging are now so tired that some simply say they will not mind a Thomas Sankara model military coup to save us from a leadership long on facebook promises and short on delivering even the most basic of needs and electoral promises.
What is most appalling are those who surround the current president of Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan. The same men and women who fret at the mention of the name of certain cabals of few months past, have now turned themselves into a new cabal. They who kept quiet when the constitution of our Country was being trampled upon, are now the ones who feign surprise when we question the profligacy of the new man in the saddle.
Like Musa Yar’Adua, the current President appears to be a prisoner of some sort - imprisoned by a greedy cabal. Let us be clear, we seem to have replaced a mild gluttonous cabal with thirsty vampires. They flock together and do whatever they like. The voice of the people is of no consequence. The legacy of the current government would probably be a post mortem of Waste! Waste! Waste! And more Waste!
Let us take a look at the borrowing from the World Bank. A proposal to get a loan of One Hundred and Thirty Eight Billion Naira from the World Bank was justified by the minister of finance Segun Aganga with some Goldman Sach coated explanation before you could say Goodluck Nigeria. Anyone calling for a review was seen to be lacking in the understanding of how modern economics work.
In Britain, from where the minister was borrowed, the government is cutting down on waste and saving for the future. Well the opposite is the case in Nigeria, a government going cap in hand to international financial institutions decided to budget a huge sum of money on a 50th anniversary celebration. By the time President Goodluck Jonathan “consulted” with his over 150,000 fans on face book and coordinated some gyrations with the PDP controlled law makers, the ‘owambe’ bill had risen to 17 billion Naira.
They were not finished yet, the President’s Power committee set up to look into the power palaver in Nigeria had budgeted almost 900 million naira on food, cars and hotel bills for 73 members of staff for an assignment that will last 12 calendar months. Not completely satisfied, Mr President and the men and women who swore to protect us, fancied some modern executive jets.
If the men and women of God in churches can play with executive jets, why not spend 23.2 billion naira ($154.3 million) on a a Gulf stream G550 and two new Falcon 7X Aircraft. What is wrong with the jets bought by Olusegun Obasanjo? They say it’s Tokunbo, how about the jets bought by Babangida? Not good enough? Well did Abacha not buy some too? They can’t find them.
We are in trouble, but we should not be overwhelmed, the battle to save Goodluck Jonathan from his own blood sucking cabal is now. After all, Goodluck did not fight to protect our constitution; neither did his array of special advisers. It was ordinary Nigerians who marched on the streets of Lagos, Abuja, New York, London and many more who rightly called on Turai to release power to a man who was only used to being in the shadow of his ogas.
His inexperience of taking the reigns of power have been brought to the fore in his allowance of some sycophants that have introduced the ethnic card, saying Goodluck Jonathan is spending “our oil money.” Niger Delta money? Is he spending it on the people of the Niger Delta? No. This man and those who surround him are milking your common wealth. If Jonathan loves the Niger Delta so much, we should have witnessed oil clean up exercises going on in all nook and crannies of that blessed region. Like President Barack Obama did in America, our President would be taking a dive in at least one of the local rivers in the Niger Delta. But No! Mr President wants Jets, He wants to Party and He wants more money from the IMF.
Our president is either in bondage, confused or at best unconcerned as it is “our time” to have a bite of the National Cake - oh sorry, the Niger Delta cake.
But it is not too late.
The president can change. He will be excused if he spends a greater percentage of the money to clean up the mess in the Niger Delta, a place neglected by his government and governments before him. Surely, the President knows that loads of Ghana must go bags filled with millions of Naira given to some self styled militants won’t solve the problem in the Niger Delta.
He must stop all the waste, the unnecessary spending. He should pick on one issue - be it holding credible elections, or even nationwide security, we will be forever grateful to him. He should not fail Nigeria the way those before him have failed our nation. GEJ can put his foot down and write his name in gold. No one is denying him his God given right to contest in 2011, but he should not sacrifice Nigeria’s development for his own ambition by abandoning governance to the politics of “catch me if you can, will GEJ run or not run?”
For those of us who get frustrated by the minute, it is not the time to moan, it is the time to let go of our differences, support this government when it is doing what is right but stand in its way when it is going down the wrong path. Unfortunately at the moment, it appears to specialise in doing more wrong than right.
We must not be overwhelmed; we can not give up on Nigeria. We don’t have a Rawlings waiting in a Nigerian barrack ready to liberate us from our fellow Nigerians. We are our own Rawlings when we start holding them to account. For every one “liking” Jonathan’s Facebook page and telling him he is the best thing after the discovery of mobile telecommunications, you should not complain when he starts taking you for granted.
We can not afford to fail our children; the campaign for change must not stop. We can go a step further, identify programmes for change. In Nigeria, the Puritan is scarce but we can get something close to a revolution as a prelude to the full blown revolution. Maybe GEJ can still change to change Nigeria. That is a long shot maybe but the least change we need is enough change to stop this slow death. Siddon look is what they want us to do; being onlookers as they milk us dry will be a disservice to generations yet unborn.