On the ‘Getting Nigeria Working’, how will Nigeria work again when Atiku fails to ‘Artikulate’ the percentage he plans to put into Education and Health?
Like sprinters awaiting the sound of the gun to start the race, the two leading contenders for the coveted Aso throne, President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar, have rolled out their policy documents. They are unlike Dr Oby Ezekwesili who had shared her agenda ahead of time. They will now deploy the ‘policy’ documents to confuse or convince Nigerians. In the name of agenda setting and sloganeering, the leading contenders from the Broom and Umbrella parties are at it again. Enabled by money, power and structure, the deceitful struggle for the minds and votes is underway. Nevertheless, we know that, historically, sloganeering of governance through agenda documents has been a tool used by politicians to hoodwink the electorate and citizens. In 2015, the APC candidate, Muhammadu Buhari harped on “change” while Goodluck Jonathan employed “transformation”. After three years of mouthing ‘change’ for Nigeria and Nigerians, APC has now ‘changed’ to ‘next level’. To the PDP candidate, Atiku, who believes that Nigeria is not working at the moment, it is time to get Nigeria working.
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With the race now set in motion, let me welcome you formally to the season of dishing and serving of lies from the tongues of politicians. In the next ninety days, Nigerians will be entertained with another round of lies—across the states. Candidates, hitherto apathetic will suddenly become sympathetic and begin emergency face-saving activities such as patching up bad roads and lighting up the streets. They will give widows food and embark on giving tradermoni. Many will become associated with the masses by street acting and ‘tasting’ everyday encounters which the masses experience. These serial lying characters only want to profit on the vulnerability of the people to be ruled for another four years.
The best way to characterise this season of lies is to seek the intervention of Nigerian musician Salem Shorunke also known as ‘The Talking Drum’. In his single, Awon Oselu, Salem unpacked the Nigerian politicians as self-seeking and selfish cohorts whose interest is to fulfil the Biblical characterisation of the thief: to steal, kill and destroy. Salem worried why Nigerians in the land of plenty and freedom, would still live like slaves. To him, despite suffering, Nigerians are still struggling to survive. Just like the promises either denied or undelivered or under-delivered by Buhari, Salem observed that Kí won ó tó joyè won a máa sèlérí o, àmó jékán goríoyè, won a ma wúsuláìkobè, ó mà se ò, o ma se… (before they come to power, they make promises but on getting to office, they begin to reap where they did not sow. It is a pity).
Fellow Nigerian, we are in a familiar terrain. When Buhari promised change in 2015, people did not ask the direction the change will take. While many people would agree that the released agenda, like the one before, is beautifully written on paper, translating them to action is in doubt. We can say this much given how Nigerians and the Nigerian economy has fared under the ‘change’ regime. For some, the change has been positive while to majority of the masses– the unemployed, the kidnapped, the raped, and the working ‘slave servants’ – the change has been negative. To the beneficiaries of free public monies, protection from prosecution and other benefits, the chorus is AMEN to ‘Next Level’.
But for the several millions of Nigerians, to set an agenda of ‘Next Level’ will mean that you intend to aggravate their suffering. In short, the ‘Next Level’ pushers perhaps plan to usher us to another level of killings, health tourism by the Prince of Daura (and some medical-doctor ministers who go abroad for treatment), shielding of friends from prosecution and indictment, and poor allocation to health and education. Will it mean that the bluff of the judiciary would be called some more and the rule of law and judgements of the court would be disobeyed with increased panache? Note, that there is no statement that previous government shall be blamed when we win in the APC’s ‘Next Level policy. Of course, the ‘2014 Change Agenda’ did not have such statement but for every failure to deliver on their promises, blaming PDP has now become a scratch disk under the Buhari-led government.
On the ‘Getting Nigeria Working,’ mission, how will Nigeria work again when Atiku fails to ‘Artikulate’ the percentage he plans to put into Education and Health? What is the plan for engendering ‘unity’ in a country that has enthroned injustice? Or is it just about tossing the restructuring kite before a gullible electorate like change was used by APC in 2015? We have a rise in the number of uncommitted, unpatriotic, narrow-minded Nigerians and the elevation of
“I Pass My neighbour ideology” where people look for opportunity to eat out of the local, state and national cakes and if possible, deny others. The cumulative effect of this ideology is the rise of different forms of insurgent citizenship.
Salem was right when he noted that Nigerians are suffering because they have enthroned gluttons who utilise the commonwealth to train their families abroad and personalise what belongs to the majority. Like Buhari and Atiku are bombarding us with promises, Salem expresses scepticism of their ability to live up to their promises. Soon, they will wear the attire of other ethnic groups to campaign venues. But we all know how quickly PMB consigned those clothes to the dustbin once the campaign was over. This is not a surprise, since, in the view of Salem, once they grab power, they do as they like: ‘bímbá ti dádé oyè, ìyà ò je yín mó….hmmm àmó jékán goríoyè, won a ma wúsuláìkobè, ó mà se ò
The difference between the two men running is almost between half a dozen and six. Noting that confusion will set in for Nigerians in deciding who the crown fits, Salem ‘the Talking Drum ’ christened contenders as ranging from those who wants to return to former office (Adébòsípò), those who believe they are the most suitable for the position (Adéyemí), those set to upstage incumbent (Adérópò) and those who believe ruling is their birthright (Adédìran). The persons we should elect should be those we believe can drive positive progress. If we elect òbàlújé (destroyer of country) or the òbàyéjé (destroyer of destiny) in 2019, we shall bear the brunt of our (in)discretion and suffer for it for another four or eight years.
The season of lies is upon us! Be vigilant Nigerians! Do not be deceived! Like the street language, Jí Másùn (wake up) Nigerians. In this season of lies, sleeping is dangerous. To the discerning Nigerian, vigilance is needed in this season. As Salem notes, sleeping during war time is unethical. If we lose the 2019 battle while sleeping, we are consigned to another term(s) of enslavement. Must Nigerians choose between ‘Next Level’ and “Getting Nigeria Working Again”?
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Dr. Tade, a sociologist, writes via [email protected]