By Pieray Awele Odor
Every Nigerian who has been in Nigeria since the first democratic government, 1960 to 1966, would have quest for better governance. Every Nigerian who has been in Nigeria since the second democratic government, 1979 to 1983, would have quest for better governance. Every Nigerian who has been in Nigeria since the third democratic government, 1999 to this day, will have quest for better governance. Every Nigerian who has been in Nigeria since the beginning of the second term of the present government in 2019 would have quest for a better governance.
I note some of the situations that we have borne so incredibly stoically and have been credited by foreign people for our “resilience” and given the title of “the happiest people”. Fela Anikulapo-Kuti called these “suffering and smiling”. All the situations have been progressively worse from one democratic government to another and every year of a new democratic government. As my defence of these assertions, I note the following: Poverty, suffering and agony have got worse progressively since the first democratic government.
The availability of electricity, fuel, foods, and homes has been progressively worse. The costs of foods, education, electricity, fuel, house rent, medical care, transportation, and other necessary goods and services have been progressively higher. The consumption and well-being of Nigerians have been progressively reduced. Security has been progressively worse. The looting of public money has got worse. Take note that the first democratic government was terminated because of the corruption that characterised it.
The progressively worse situations have been due to the firm containment economic, financial and currency policies and actions dictated by the IMF and the World Bank carried out by the ministers for economy and finance and the Central Bank governors in violation of sovereignty, nationalism and patriotism.
A personal comparative analyses and evaluations of governance by the military and the non-military convinced me that military governance is better than non-military governance, based on the parameters and criteria by which I did my analyses and evaluations. Most Nigerians do not want a military government. You need to know my parameters and criteria and see my analyses and evaluations before you can argue against my conclusion rightly. You will read that when the book titled Toward a New and Better Nigeria is published. This piece is about election 2023 and how to use the opportunity that it provides us achieve better governance towards a new and better Nigeria.
Let me ask four fundamental questions that were part of my analytical bases for your consideration: What values did the first democratic government articulate, establish, institutionalise and covenant their governance and future governance in Nigeria to? None. Which democratic government since after the first democratic government articulated, institutionalised and covenanted its governance and future governance in Nigeria to such values? None. What are the unwritten, unconstitutional but very clear political and leadership values of Nigerian politicians? They are bribery, selfishness, finance looting, insensitivity and callousness regarding the privations, suffering, agonies and cries of “ordinary” Nigerians. Right or wrong? Finally, have “ordinary” Nigerians effective rights and freedom to make the people in the government to satisfy their interests? No.
Therefore, the first condition for election 2023 to provide better governance towards a new and better Nigeria is that the answers to the questions asked in the preceding paragraph must be affirmative. My analyses of the conducts of politicians is that it is characterised by bribery, evil or criminality, including murder, finance looting and insatiability, coveting of public economic assets by one man through privatisation and coveting of pension funds, autocracy, selfishness, and desperation, evidenced by party-crossing and party-shopping. These are vices because they limit political and leadership values to their personal values and political and leadership aims to the satisfaction of their interests.
It is observed openly that the statements that have been made by some contestants for the position of president are worrisome because they potent desperation and any person whose action is motivated by desperation does not care about the consequences that the action may have if he does not achieve his aim. An example is Donald Trump. The statements which are worrisome are verbal statements such as, “Do or die”, “My life ambition”, “Emi lo kan” and “My last chance”; and non-verbal statements such as the violation of party rule or agreement and the defiance of the members affected by the action; also the conceited, autocratic and resolute insistence on Muslim-Muslim presidency.
The symbolic, non-verbal, statements that they have made are worse than the verbal statements that they have made. The worst statements are, however, the hidden statements in their hearts and minds. Carrying out the non-verbal or the hidden statements in the heart will have worse consequences than carrying out the verbal statements if they are tolerated, condoned, ignored, or the statements are trivialised. These people certainly have more in their hearts and minds than what they have said and done. When they carry out the actions motivated by the contents of their hearts and minds, for now hidden to all Nigerians, unrestrained by the federal government or the courts, their effects on the economy, currency value and security will be catastrophic.
What this means is that Nigerians have to choose who among the three significant contestants is least evil, least desperate, least corrupt, least autocratic, least selfish, and bribes the least. One of the three most significant contestants won his primary with corruptly acquired money, the other with both corruptly acquired money and autocracy, and the third without giving a naira. While there is serious division in one of the two parties, autocracy gags the people in the second party. The presidency should not be bought! Election 2023 should usher in a new dawn of governance that will carry out the interests of Nigerians. Because Nigerians put the people in political positions where they are, they must achieve their interests.
• Odor writes from Akoka, Lagos