- Post 14 June 2006
- Last Updated on 23 April 2008
- By Prince Charles Dickson
Some days back it was yet another public holiday for a nation that loves public holidays and the occasion was the celebration of the return of democracy, called democracy day, although some States still celebrated their own Democracy day on June 12, what a nation...far from this statement, this I believe it is another sad celebration for the nation. Seven years old and no signs of the real thing, the baby called democracy is still battling with teething problems and dwarfish growth. When this boy or girl called democracy was born on the May 29th 1999, we had a lot of hope that the baby will bring us the desired result but sadly, we have been left with anguish, pain and sorrow.
Not even the brutal murder of the late Bola Ige who assured us of steady power supply was enough to appease the ghost of the thieves that have bastardized the energy sector. The various politically motivated killings and assassinations have not been enough sacrifice either and we are celebrating democracy.
Obasanjo as a leader has tried, ehn, I hear someone scream, let us not forget that we have 120 million difficult Nigerians bearing the new figures yet to be conjured up by the National Population Commission, the President has tried to assembly what may be regarded as some of the best brains, the Ngozi wahala Okonji, Charles Soludo, El-Rufai, Ribadu, Dora and many more, but then can we easily forget that apart from recently when these men became part of the government, the first three years of baby democracy was one of confusion with the same old roguish politicians.
Even the new think thank has not been able to translate their exciting figures of progress to reality on ground for the masses to benefit, Nigerians are living on barely a dollar per day and Police officers are killing citizens for bribe of barely 5 cents. Two week ago alone over ten policemen from the ranks of Superintendent down to Corporal were nabbed as part of robbery gangs that specializes in robbing banks.
The present 'regime' embarked on a massive privatization exercise but the only beneficiary has been the select few of rulership...rulership because in the past seven years we have had the misfortune to be ruled like in a feudal system rather than a leadership that has the citizenry at heart. All the privatization effort has been littered with all manners of scandals. Everything in the last seven years on paper has been for the benefit of the masses but in practice it has only benefited like a friend said "those who live in Abuja, or near the various government houses or Ministers' offices, while those of us that live in mud houses are left in the ignominy of life without power, security, water, good roads, shelter and health facilities. Sad Birthday!
This government led by the tyrants of PDP has done wonders, who will argue with me on this, they have made us the World highest importers of power generating sets, they are going to leave as one of the poorest nations based on per capita income, it is no news that we have the highest rate of polio infection, we also have in these seven years floated between the first and third position on the corruption index and if they have not tried how comes, we are the happiest and most religious.
If we cannot beat them we leave them, or if we can beat them why join them, simply put, in seven years the continuous manipulation of Nigerians by their leaders or is it rulers has been because they find in us a vulnerable opponent, we can do nothing, we do not know what we want so they help us think and tell us what is good for us, and when we do not see the results they tell us we are impatient and that they are only asking for sacrifice. Still crawling at seven years, still breastfeeding, still nibbling and we do not see any problem with that. Happy Birthday!
Cannot really recall who coined the phrase 'dividend of democracy" but it has been a popular phrase with which the masses have continually been fooled by PDP and its disciples, they gave us an umbrella when it was sunny and collected back the umbrella in the rains and that is after they had facilitated the tearing of the umbrella, so imagine a seven year old child in a stormy rain with a torn umbrella.
The dividends of democracy...several deaths caused by the potholes, death traps on our major highways, deaths caused by unpaid pension arrears to senior citizens that have served the nation in their youth. Deaths as result of unpaid salaries because Industries have shutdown as operation cost have become unbearable. The barbers shop cannot run because no electricity, Iya Iyabo cannot meet her customers’ deadline because no electricity to power her sawing machines. The potatoes farmer in Bokkos has left the village for the city where he sees a better prospect because he can no longer farm with ancient farming tools, no access roads to help dispose his harvest, and that is when the government is not playing politics with fertilizer, Oh what a birthday...
It is not all bad news and a sad birthday, the economists say things are getting better, but then the statistics of school dropouts because parents cannot afford tuition fees is on the increase, the amount that comes into the nation through Western Union Money Transfer tells the story of how many families and communities that depend on Nigerians in Diaspora for livelihood, and so everyone wants to go abroad, Obodo Oyinbo, and be a Tokunboh in his/her family...Nigerians going to Kuwait to drive Petroleum Tankers across the Iraqi border, that is when they are not going to Singapore to play "professional" beach futobal.
This is not what we bargained for, the educational sector is a mess, if it was not cultism, it would be accommodation palaver that is when the lecturers do not decide to go home and rest because government as usual reneged on her promise. Some people at the National Universities Commission are issuing licenses for more Universities even as standard is falling and quality of our graduates becoming watered down. So we have two kinds of statistics, that of Obj's progress and the arithmetic of survival of the masses.
A sad birthday celebration, this government has made a broken record out of its self-congratulatory stance of "we brought GSM". So what, we after all elected this government to work, and they have actually 'worked' in their own way. Debt relief, very good but then someone the other day asked what plans are on ground to pay local contractors who indeed worked, and what about local debt, already the government, now credit worthy are collecting new ones in the name that they are interest free. Thank Allah that despite the President's god of unabandoned project he has abandoned the third term fiasco. The Ribadus have tried to instill the fear of Allah in the thieves in government but quite a few of us know better that the easiest way to steal is to be in the President's good black book and wallahi no problem, or better still give Baba a better idea on how the third term can be resurrected after three days and the government treasury will be open to you.
By the time democracy would be eight, nine, ten, what would have changed when we are told that to steer the ship we are looking back to the same Governors that we all labeled as thieves and Senators whose only one good work is the death sentence handed down to the third term and then have we forgotten the 'same old face syndrome'. We do not need to be recycling the same old faces, who had their opportunities to be Ghandis, Mandelas, Nyereres, Nkrumahs but threw away their chances, now they are coming back to ask for another chance, we need to remind them that Nigeria is not one big lab for experiments. My fear...? It may be possible that at this rate by the age of 15 this boy, sure not a girl called democracy would still be in Primary school unable to spell his name.
Sad Birthday, not many people would agree with my analysis but few can disagree, and would want to say that Obasanjo has tried, to an extent I accept, but then what is governance when the basics like power, health, education, transport, roads, shelter are lacking. Truth that the problem of this nation is enormous but who else would have been better suited if not Baba Sege aka Oko Gbogbo won (Husband to all of them). If this General can fail, do we have hope in the other Generals, can we not for once have a surgery that can remove the military tumor in our system so that this baby called democracy not die prematurely.
Whether some of us like Obj or not despite the brief malaria called tenure elongation which he so craved for, and to the truth of it, who would want to leave enjoyment not after coming from the Prison, he still has his place in history as one of the wor... (I no talk so) I leave that to posterity to judge. By the eight year celebration Baba would have left democracy to another person to nurture, would the baby fare better, would this person be an expert in child psychology, know what democracy needs to thrive, grow and make an impact on the people's lives. We will be happy to miss Baba. Our recent past has been sad, we have put on our path avoidable challenges and unnecessary problems, and the will of the people constantly and consistently abused, so much that the psyche of the Nigerian has been flawed, while leadership has been geared towards negativity.
Sad birthday as I listened to the prepared speech which Mr. President read and said what a nation, wonderful speech, however the man was the very epitome of all that he faulted in his message to celebrate the birthday. Bottom line is that seven years after, we are still yet to have a system that can enable us develop an effective integration mechanism, responsive and effective institutions, and a style of government based around a philosophy that is people oriented that will facilitate the creation of a civil polity that can tackle our sociopolitical and economic problems in a manner harmonious with the views of Nigerians way of life and temperament of the population.
Next year another year older, but is it another year wiser, the electoral body has asked the Press to assist it in soliciting for funds from the Presidency and also that the National Assembly speedily passes the electoral bill. Wahala dey, for fear of sounding like a haggard used whore, I rest this matter, it has been a sad democratic experience, the people of this nation deserve better than this, we are cannot be slaves to the Queen, to Paris and Mexico clubs and then be enslaved by our own people, if we have be liberated from the Paris bondage, why go to China for 1 Billion Dollars for the same railroad that has defied all solutions since 1999. What is the percentage of the few Lord Lugards doing this to us, can we not use the ballot to reassert ourselves? Via Almighty’s Allah grace there is hope, but we must know that if we continue in this manner, endless hope could become hopeless end.