FOLLOWING the granting of $6 billion Chinese loan or investment as presidential handlers later told us during President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent visit to China, the administration’s image launders have deafened our ears with their conceited litany of successes of Buhari’s shuttle diplomacy.
Since he became President on May 29, 2015, Buhari has not concealed his romance with foreign trips. He relished them with great passion. Because, he did not have the luxury to make such trips when he took over power as a military junta in the 80s before he was overthrown, his penchant for foreign trips may be somehow forgiven. But the caveat does not mean that such trips cannot be curtailed or that the president cannot delegate others for such shuttle diplomatic functions.
It is worth pointing out that Buhari is not alone in our leaders’ love for foreign travels. Former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan turned such needless jamborees into compulsory observable rituals. I do not know much Nigeria gained from such diplomatic shuttles. Some commentators, especially those taking notes from the corridors of power, will never see anything wrong with such frequent foreign trips of the president. They and their supporters club will always make case for such obsession.
In spite of their erroneous posturing, I do not agree with their jaundiced conclusions that such trips will bring to us enormous gains. Given that the president’s job involves some diplomacy, he has more problems begging for his attention at home than shuttling from one part of the globe to another. The president has done enough foreign travels. The gains are yet to manifest. It is high time the president settled down to face mounting domestic problems.
I am highly convinced that no amount of shuttle diplomacy will resolve the brigandage and lawlessness of Fulani herdsmen that unleash their cattle on other people’s farms and also kill their victims. No amount of shuttle diplomacy will increase the quantity of electric power generated in the country. No amount of shuttle diplomacy will stop alleged secret recruitments in some Federal Government agencies and parastatals in recent times including the Immigration, Customs and others.
No amount of foreign trips will stop the preponderance of ghost workers in the payroll of some of these agencies. Such travels will not put food on our tables, supply Nigerians fuel for their vehicles or defeat the Boko Haram insurgency or rescue the abducted Chibok school girls.
Such jamborees cannot increase our foreign exchange earnings, which had dipped in recent times. The shuttle diplomacy will not fix our dilapidated road infrastructure, health or education sector. It will not prevent the pipeline vandals from doing what they know best or the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other self-determination agitators from piling their occasional pressure on all of us.
While some foreign trips by the president may be permissible, it is high time he delegated others to do some of them on his behalf so that he can have enough time to solve those problems he promised Nigerians that he will do if voted into power. It is in fulfilling his campaign promises that I would like the president to always address his mind.
Power is one of the sectors that had defied every solution by any government in Nigeria since 1999. If in doubt, ask Obasanjo and Jonathan. All their combined efforts and hefty money pumped into the sector could not do the magic. One minister of power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, once told us of the presence of witches and wizards that thwart every effort to fix the sector.
He tried his best to ward off such demons with fervent prayers and incantations yet they could not be exorcised. Later, they told us of the sabotage of pipeline vandals that disrupt the gas flow to the power stations. Now that former Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola is in charge of three ministries merged together, the problem has been compounded. Fashola may be doing his best but lumping three huge ministries for just one man is an over kill.
Fashola can just do well as works minister. Buhari should just unbundle the Power, Works and Housing ministry for more efficiency in those vital sectors. The earlier he does it, the better for his administration and all of us. The Power sector should stand on its own and should be manned by a power sector expert.
We have such experts in place in the past but politics of the sector saw such eminently qualified Nigerians out of office. I am talking of Prof. Barth Nnaji. The power sector witnessed much improvement when he was there. Since he left, it has been one ugly story after another and the vicious cycle continues unabated.
Until we take a drastic action on the power sector, the demons that operate there will still be having a field day. Maybe we need more prayer warriors and miracle workers to drive away such demons. In fact, this change government need plenty miracle workers to be able to deliver on its numerous promises to Nigerians.
Let me just name some of their key promises. They promised Nigerians millions of jobs. They promised N5000 stipend to jobless Nigerians. They promised equal exchange rate between the US dollar and our almighty Naira. They promised to rescue the Chibok school girls. They also promised to defeat the insurgency. They promised better economy and infrastructure.
Almost one year down the line, we are yet to see the fulfillment of any of these promises. Instead of fulfilling their campaign promises, the All Progressives Congress (APC) change government is asking Nigerians for patience and more time. Did they give former President Goodluck Jonathan time and patience? Those Nigerians that voted for change are full of regrets for their action. They are weeping and gnashing their teeth for their blind support for change that they do not know its form and content.
To those leading Nigeria, no amount of foreign help can develop Nigeria, whether loan or investment. I suspect every foreign gift and loan including the dangerous ones from the ubiquitous International Monetary Fund (IMF). Our development lies in the hands of Nigerians. To believe that Europeans or Asians will come here and develop this country for us is chasing the shadows.
It is like building castles in the air. At best, it is a wild goose chase. Nothing good will come out of it. Let us develop our science and technology based on our cultural imperatives and needs. No country can transfer technical know-how to us. We can adapt or copy. Our technological development will start when we start to believe in ourselves.
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