WEDNESDAY COLUMN BY USSIJU MEDANER
I was once told a folktale of the parasitic relationship between an assuming friendly hawk and the hen; the hen and the hawk had been friends for ages, lived together and qualified for a homely and friendly neighbours. One day, the hawk mistakenly killed and ate one of the hen’s chicks and discovered how sumptuous the meat was; and from that day onward, killing and eating his neighbour and friend’s chicks became a pastime for the hawk. Each time the hen leaves the chicks with the hawk to watch over while she goes out, she returns back to the story of a missing chick and a crying and sympathising hawk. It took the hen a decade long period of time to realise it was the hawk, his friend, that was behind her constant sorrow, but then it has become too late, the hawk can no longer be tamed to stop the act, and would now, even in the broad daylight, snatch the chicks in the full glare of the mother hen.
Is that not the mirror image of the relationship between Nigerians and the politicians who for the last decades since independence have consistently presented themselves as fellow citizens, friends and believers in the Nigeria cause and periodically sit with us at street corners and joints, eating beans and bread with us; joining us and expressing the most glaringly deception of togetherness, all to get our support and trust at the ballots, yet are the cankerworm eaten the country deep and mounting sorrow upon the citizens? They are the reason we are called a rich country of poor people, because like the hawk, the fake friend, they have tasted the sweetness of illicit wealth and are now openly brandishing the stolen commonwealth of Nigeria without shame or fear of consequences.
It is from one grand deception to another; orchestrated group deception anchored by political parties drive to manipulate the electorate to an undue acceptance; individual politicians resorting to monetary pull to induce us to make unhealthy decisions for our posterity. And eventually, an uncomely breeding of divisive tendencies to distort our languages and common agreement, to the point that we have become enemies of ourselves across all possible lines, to the advantages of politicians who now openly and glaringly usurps our commonwealth without fear of consequences.
It is so absurd, how these men can hit us so hard, make life difficult for us as citizens of our own country, enrich themselves openly with our common prosperity, and flaunt the wealth to our faces in our poverty-stricken dumps; and yet represent themselves again and again for reelection. We cried on all social media, and on the streets for their non-performance, but again kept voting them in for second and third terms with our voters card and gave them our mandate again, only to return back to the streets and on social media to resume our outburst. Are we by any means a sane and rational people?
In Benue State, between 2015 and 2019, the cry of non-performance of the governor was loudest; dividends of democracy was totally lacking, civil servants were perennially owed and the state was outrightly denied of both infrastructural and social development; but then Ortom and his party, PDP understand the people they are dealing with, they orchestrated a more destructive response of localised insecurity that ravaged the state and became a campaign slogan for the governor against the Federal government in a state that has the governor as the chief security officer and a huge, regular security votes allocation; until the people of the state gave him their mandate to continue ruling them. This is the story of most Nigeria states till now.
It is so disheartening and logically unbelievable, that PDP as a political party would yet still possess the boldness to face Nigerians in bids to occupy elective positions most especially the seat of the President of Nigeria.
A new dispensation of deceit and abuse of trust began for Nigeria in 1999 when PDP won the first election that returned the country to democracy after the military long shot at power; ordinarily, expectation of many were that coming from among us and aware of the gross deprivation of the country and the difficulties its people are passing through, these men and women, would salvage the country, right the wrongs of the past and set the country on a fresh pedestal of growth and development. Unfortunately, as time tells, the opposite was the dealings the country and its citizens got from these people; that as at the time PDP was leaving the stage at the centre in 2015, the story and the reality was that of a country, wounded, and in all ramification, totally taken out of the path to autopilot development.
Things went so bad that the unthinkable had to happen; the party lost with all its incumbent power and control. The people were tired of PDP and massively ousted them across states, the federal legislature and the central government. The facts and the reasons for the defeat was not hidden to any, including the party and its whoremonger leaderships across the country. Attempts to salvage what was left began, apologies were repeatedly offered to Nigerians on behalf of the party; an attempt to dismember the party and rename it was mulled in 2017 and again 2018. Mergers that would hide the atrocities of the party under a new identity could not work out in the build up to the 2019 elections as the same greediness that characterises the party outlook to issues once again took center stage in the discussion with parties they wanted to merge with.
The then ruling party had the opportunity to redesign and reroute the country to a new level of development on the back of a boisterous oil industry characterised with improved production, stable market and unprecedented income from oil and gas businesses, yet there is no single sector of the national economy that was not left to decay. Taking off with basic infrastructure, electricity generation and distribution became so dilapidated that neither household nor commercial entities could survive the perpetual darkness the country became accustomed to; and businesses had no other options but to either close shops or relocate out of the country. Yet, we robustly keep allocating resources yearly to the sector, and at various times in the eight years of the Obasanjo government, a whopping $16 billion had been spent on the sector and yet got absolutely not a thing different from the perpetual darkness it used to be.
The nation gradually and literally lost all previously built capacity in railway development and transport industry; once bolstering industries went totally off, and the mounting pressure on existing but never improved upon roads turned the national road network into death traps that killed on a daily basis. The nation’s air transport sector became a sorry sight globally, that even the international aviation bodies again and again shunned our airports, tagging them unsafe by international standards. Yet, in sixteen years, there was no attempt to revamp any of the sectors beyond political and administrative gyrations that usually amounts to nothing, while we continued to allocate huge resources for development that were never meant to be implemented in the sectors.
It became difficult for the country to discuss the much needed development because priority of administrators of the country, literarily, during the sixteen years was not to use Nigeria’s money to develop Nigeria but rather to open up the national treasury into their various private vaults; and that much we have seen, with the one percent population, which include the population set of the politicians, controlling over 90 percent wealth of the nation. State governors, rolling in billions of dollars are potentially richer than the entire state they had governed or governing. The Iboris, the Dasukis, the Allison Madueke Diezani, etc. are the legacies they left behind for us until they come again, now asking for our votes.
Interestingly, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, one of the most vocal mouthpieces of the wobbling opposition PDP admitted that ‘even the most skeptical of the sincerity of the ruling elite will be puzzled by the stampede into the contest for leadership’ and further added that ‘We are either watching a scramble for the carcass of the nation or an unraveling of an elite that has lost control of itself.’ This indeed portends more woes for Nigeria and Nigerians.
GOD BLESS THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA!
To be continued.