By Joe Iniodu
The change mantra that the All Progressive Party used so profusely to blackmail Nigerians into its deceitful contraption seems to be manacled in chains. Ten months on, there is no evidence of governance except reports of arrest coarsely alluding them to corruption that are neither substantiated nor culprits convicted. Real governance is in flight and hardship is upon the land. The question on the lips of many is, where is the change that was used to lure the people? The change has remained a ruse.
Ten months of the government of APC, the Boko Haram insurgency that was to be considered an anathema upon its ascension into power is still festering and perhaps more emboldened; the jejune pledge by PMB to stabilize oil price in favour of the country which was a strong pointer to his lack of grasp of the current dynamics in the oil industry remains unfulfilled; equally a woeful failure is the non realization of his campaign promise to force dollar and naira into convenient parity but which today finds the two currencies at yawning gaps; its failure to arrest the prices of goods and services which are currently at astronomical levels; its tardy treatment of students abroad and Nigerians on medical tourism who are today said to be in a lurch. These and a myriad of other acts of ineptitude have combined to make life brutish in this once great Nation that was wealthy in hope. I make bold to say that until the end of former President Jonathan’s administration, the Nation did not slide to such precipice of despair.
Yes, admitted, impunity reigned supreme. Corruption sadly was rife with leadership unfortunately looking the other way. But the wheel of governance continued to grind even when some aspects were mired in corruption. Leadership, despite its moral deficiency continued to give hope, it continued to demonstrate capacity and vision. It was the combination of these attributes that made the people to reckon that if the monster of corruption could be termed, the Nation can rise again to its old glory. And in the last days before its exit, PDP showed itself as a visionary party that could pull itself from the brink. It identified grey areas where corruptions were starkly perpetrated and set about introducing mechanisms of checks. Perhaps the approach was muffled and not very radical. With little or no publicity of its renewed efforts in tackling the monster, some Nigerians considered the party and its leadership at the centre as complicit in the denudation of the Nation. The APC latched on this misconception using its brazen tool of propaganda and blackmail. The rest is history.
But APC took over the reins of government with neither blueprint nor plans. Many argue that it was a pursuit of power for power sake and designed to serve a narrow interest even though the party was an amalgam of variegated interests. The signs of this position began to show early in the life of the administration. It started with the fight for the control of the two arms of the National Assembly to other inconsequential preoccupations that could keep its members busy. While all these are continuing, plans for the country have remained in abeyance or best in the back burner. Even a modest thing as the Nation’s budget has been in a dingdong fiasco in a National Assembly that the party is touted to be in majority. All such things are summative of the party’s ill preparedness for governance.
What the party has resorted to is blame game and disingenuous propaganda. But these propagandas have not addressed the rising cost of food items, the scarcity of petroleum products or its spiraling cost, the high cost of transportation, the perennial insecurity that has dogged the Nation, the citizens’ lack of confidence in the leadership and the frustrations that tend to define their lives under the current administration. What Nigerians expect from APC government is governance that would alleviate the burdens of the people and not the blame games.
Just today, I read on the social media an unverified report that Senator Akpabio, Minority Leader and former performing governor of Akwa Ibom State has accepted that PDP, Jonathan and himself be blamed for the Nation’s prostrate economy. The circumstance and venue of this comment were not mentioned which is indicative that the story may just be the creation of the writer who added palpable glee to the piece to suggest it as a ploy. Of course this betrays the intention of the writer and confirms him as an apologist of APC or a member of the Hate Akpabio Colony.
Ten months is sufficient time for any visionary government to show signs of hope. It is enough time to point at achievements. The Buhari administration cannot point at any achievement today except the arrest and persecution of political foes or the settlement of old scores. But in Akwa Ibom State where Senator Akpabio is still being blamed for supporting the emergence of Governor Udom Emmanuel, the case is different. In ten months, the State and its people have not only witnessed visible signs of governance, they have also been impacted upon by the administration. There are road projects to point to, there are capacity building programmes to also point to, there is a long line of investors coming to the State to give vent to the policy of wealth creation, there is the continuum of the free and compulsory education and free health care to segments of the people, there are the resuscitations of public utilities like water and electricity. There are other numerous life changing programmes of government that serve as evidence that governance is actually on course in the State. The APC may wish to take a cue from the State and leverage its change mantra from its current chains.
Joe Iniodu is a public affairs analyst