By Henry Uche
Experts across disciplines have asserted that Nigerians are battling with two kinds of Pandemics- the global pandemic (Covid-19) and leadership pandemic perpetuated by this administration, which unfortunately has been ignored.
According to them, the leadership pandemic which are: Mismanagement of resources and maladministration has eaten deep into the fabrics of Nigeria’s economy, leaving over 70 percent of Nigeria’s population in abject Poverty, unfortunately Nigerians are quick to getting used to such ugly situations.
At the launch of a Report On: The Ignored Pandemic: How Corruption In The Health, Education and Water Sectors Had Plunged Nigerians Further Into Poverty, by Socio-Economic & Accountability Project (SERAP) the experts maintained that as Nigerians grapple with the covid-19, they should be more worried by the ignored pandemic which are the rot in the Health, Education and Water Sectors and act accordingly.
As SERAP presented its report, it was discovered that most schools in Nigeria are poorly equipped, lacking basic facilities like rest rooms; government owned health facilities (at primary and tertiary levels) have nothing to write home about while a vast majority of Nigerians have no access to portable water. On that note therefore, pro- Nigerians at the launch urged the federal government of Nigeria to implement the recommendations made by SERAP, saying that its findings and suggestions are apt and way forward.
Worried about the root cause of the myriads of problems bedeviling Nigeria, they unanimously agreed that the 1999 constitution was a fraudulent document and need to be dumped, getting an all inclusive new one is a must else Nigeria would be doomed perpetually.
Speaking on zoom, erstwhile minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, who posited that Nigeria was a painful metaphor noted that a country will never grow economically and otherwise when a sinner automatically becomes a saint by mere crossing over to a ruling party.
Ezekwesili described Nigeria as a monopolistic system where corruption has been democratized and everyone seems hapless because a few in government exercise absolute power.
“Very soon, there will be no middle class, it’s either you are extremely poor or very rich. We must rise now in one voice because very soon, nowhere would be conducive for anybody. The problem in some section of the country is not for the people in that area- it’s for everyone,”
She added that all hope was not lost, howbeit, citizens must practically tell their political leaders that, ‘It is Enough’, noting that it either, “We either do the right thing at the right time for the people we represent or we run away from our communities,” she asseverated.
On his part, the Founder, Follow The Money Initiative, Hamzat Lawal, lamented over the abuse of taxpayers money by Political leaders saying that some Nigerians thrive in an atmosphere of economic crisis.
According to him, there are no more value for human life again in the country since government across levels are not moved by protest, petitions or other forms of revolts by citizens, “The subject and object of governance is the people, we must get that right.
“Unfortunately governance in Nigeria has been abused. There is no service delivery anymore because the 1999 constitution is not working. We relegate politics to people who are not fit and proper to lead. We must all get involved, if we say politics is a dirty game and those who have the inherent detergents to wash it clean stand aloof, who then we make it pure for us? Of course not these crop of politicians,”
He averred that citizens in some parts of the country are kept in the dark deliberately by their leaders saying that, “Citizens should be in the know, because uninformed citizens are mentally deformed and cannot perform, we need everyone to get involved, we should go after them, ask them questions, demand for our Rights because the resources belongs to all of us,” he charged.
Expressing displeasure, Sina Fagbenro, from Department for International Development (DFID) bemoaned the level of incoherence in policies and a conspiracy of silence by the government over pressing issues at the detriment of the poor in the society.
Fagbenro put forward that there was a deliberate decision by the government to keep the masses uninformed following series of actions taken to intimidate the media industry by this administration. He expressed sadness over the way and manner Nigerians quickly adapt to poor economic conditions, saying, Poverty is not an acceptable way of life, therefore people must resist those who have vowed to keep citizens in penury.
“Nigerians inadvertently get used to bad conditions, and it’s a deliberate strategy by the government to keep people uneducated and poor especially in a particular region. They (government) even make them believe suffering is normal and way of life, unfortunately these poor Nigerians becomes comfortable with their ugly situations so long as their kinsmen are at the helm of affairs,”
He charged the media industry to desist from celebrating political leaders with no record of good governance. “We must stop giving these Politicians who have not done anything meaningful to citizens awards and other recognitions, if we want to know a performing leader, we should look at the economic wellbeing and welfare of the people they represent. It’s the people who can say their leaders are delivering deserved dividends of democracy or not, not what the politicians say. We must be mindful of the bogus pictures politicians create, paint and dish out to the publics,” he thundered.