I have always been an optimist. In everything I do, I always see the bright side. I equally belief that there is no problem without a solution. In fact, a problem exists because a solution is somewhere, you only need to set your thinking cap right and find that solution. But in recent time, I am flummoxed. I have to confess that the situation in the country is getting me perplexed on a daily basis. When this present administration was ushered in, it was with a lot of expectations. An administration of progressives which would right all the wrongs in the country. The antecedents are there in the progressive states. Most of the progressives states were considered to be well administered. They had giant developmental strides to show for it. Their ideas have always been considered progressives resulting in the good lives for their citizens. That has been the precept through out the history of Nigeria , right from the first republic to the present day. The progressives have always been positioned as having the solution to the nation’s woes, unfortunately, the opportunity had never been there to take their idea to the national level.
They actually got close in the 1992/ 93 elections when the country had two major parties, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the National Republican Convention (NRC). All the progressives or democrats, as they were also referred, were in SDP while the conservatives were in the NRC. By the time the final tallies of the elections were done, the SDP had coasted to victory before the military president, General Ibrahim Babangida annulled the election. The Progressives in Nigeria have always been in the opposition.
This was to change in the 2015 election when the southern progressives formed a coalition with a few progressives and conservative elements in the north to birth the All Progressives Congress (APC). The coalition eventually won the presidency. The victory was a hard won one and one of the premises that lead to the victory was change. To sweep the old order away and usher in the new. To do it better than the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) which had been in control since 1999. The expectation from the populace was high considering the pedigree of APC’s presidential candidate and the eventual winner, General Mohammadu Buhari.
But nearly a year after, many people have started having a rethink. They have started asking whether they had not been taken for a long ride over the years by the progressive elements who have always claimed to have the solution to the nation’s woes. Whether the progressives truly have the magic wand to correct the wrongs of the country and whether they could do what they have always claimed at the national level or whether they were not better off in opposition.
The suppositions have a reason. Nearly a year after the progressives came into power, Nigerians have not really felt the impact. It was as if they were unprepared for governance. Most Nigerians who welcomed the present government are gradually getting disillusioned. The goodwill that the present administration enjoyed before, during and after the election is gradually waning. Rather than the good life following the progressives’ victory, it had been the other way. Electricity which had been poor during the tenure of the last administration has become poorer. Shortly after President Buhari was sworn in, the nation experienced a period of bliss. Then, there was constant electricity.
This was attributed to the no-nonsense visage of the president. We never knew it was a flash in the pan. This writer was equally taken in by that seeming Eldorado and had written then while reviewing the first 100 days of the administration;
‘…electricity supply. Most people that I discussed this with said there have been a marked improvement. I have equally experienced this marked improvement in my area. ‘The next question then is, what investment did the present administration make in the sector in the past 100 days? None. It is obvious that all the investments in the power sector which has led to this vast improvement were made by the Goodluck Jonathan administration. How come we never saw the change we are experiencing today? The answer is simply because that period was marked by impunity. There was no fear of repercussion if you were found not to be doing your job unlike what is happening today. The president has not done anything, but his body language is that of someone that would not spare anybody who is not doing what is expected of him or her’.
So what has happened? It is either nothing was done to build on what was found on ground that led to that period of bliss or there is sabotage somewhere. Nobody would doubt the competence of the minister in charge, Babatunde Raji Fashola, the immediate past governor of Lagos. His achievements in Lagos are still there for all to see and his successor, Akinwumi Ambode, is proving to be a worthy successor, building on Fashola’s achievements.
So,why can’t Fashola build on what he met on ground? Why have we gone back to those days of darkness. The excuses, being bandied about, are not acceptable. If the previous administration found a solution to the problem, why would the present government not do the same?
Another contentious issue is fuel which has become an essential commodity in our filling stations. It is over two weeks now that the nation has continued to experience unending queues at filling stations and there seem to be no end in sight. The promise that there would be an end to the endless queues has not been fulfilled. The administration has not been able to find a solution to the problem. Petroleum subsidy which had always been a contentious issue which the present administration said was an avenue to filch the country by officials of the previous administration and which it said it would do away with, has creeped back. The economy has not improved, rather it is getting worse by the day. The exchange rate especially of the naira to the dollars has made business impossible while cost of essential commodities have gone up. Many states are owing upwards of seven months salary to the workers. How would these people survive without salary? The Fulani herdsmen are wrecking havocs in communities and nobody seems to have the power to call them to order or stop them. The picture is bleak and looking rather gloomy.
Reasons have been given for this state of affairs, that it would take a lot of time before Nigerians started enjoying the good life as it would take time to correct all the ills inherited from the PDP government. It is nearly a year now, must Nigerians die before the good life comes? What and where is the blue print that contains the many solutions to the myriads of problems on ground. What palliative measures are in place to cushion the effect of this hardship on the people while the government focuses on the larger picture?For how many more months or years will Nigerians continue to suffer the hardship? Something needs to be urgently done before Nigerians start becoming nostalgic about the PDP administration.
The consolation is that there is capacity. The country has the capacity to get out of this problem. The administration has enough competent hands to make Nigeria a better country. The president is equally imbued with the right attitude to make a difference. But this must be done at the earliest possible time.