Nigeria: Path To A New Beginning


At the end of every fiscal or financial year, businesses , organizations including  complex organizations take stock of their performance and review the extent to which  they achieve organization goals during the fiscal year. This become necessary  because it affords the organization the opportunity to see its true picture in terms  of viability, relevance to the public and potentials for growth.

This appraisal is usually performed by experts  in the areas of the business or  organization’s interest. Such expert must be blunt, resourceful and analytic. The  outcome of the review must  be independent of the influence of the contracting  organization/ business  or the evaluator’s bias.  It must address the patterns of  current operation  and offer suggestions and logistics for future growth.

The Management or the leadership of the business/organization, if genuinely  interested in its future success, will take the suggestions of the reviewer (Expert)  and apply the recommendations to the operation of the organization in the year  after.

Nations are  not exactly run like business enterprise or interest specific  organizations. Yet, strategy that are employ by business/organization to ensure  success and growth could be applied to  government at all level to ensure overall  improvement and  efficiency.   Nigeria is blessed with qualified human resources  that is capable of running good government. Technocrats  and Bureaucrats alike. This  caliber of distinguished professionals and experts exists  in every area of human  endeavor  and are able to stand shoulder to shoulder with their counterparts in any  part of the world.

Regrettably, the leadership of Nigerian government has been consistently  misappropriating this available human resources to the detriment of the nation’s  development. This carelessness can at least be described as putting a square peg in  a round hole. Government record of various office holders, past and present justify  this conclusion. For example, a semi-illiterate business man and a political  profiteer was  appointed as a commissioner for health in one of the south-western  states in the Second Republic, A “goro- merchant malam” was  once appointed to head  the Ministry of  Establishment , A Professor of Sociology  once headed the Ministry  of Finance, Professor of Virology once headed the Ministry of Petroleum, A Professor  of Pharmacology is the present head of the Ministry of Information and Communication  etc.

Some of the appointed commissioners and ministers  struggled to make impact, in  spite of the misplaced priority and the political pressures  from  party affiliation  and god-father’s expectations. Arguably, if the right caliber of professionals and  experts are appointed on merits and positioned in appropriate/relevant ministries,  definitely their input would be better compared to what the wrongly placed  appointees delivered. It is in the interest of the nation therefore that individual  political appointees should be placed in a position that is relevant to their areas  of expertise.

Nigerian political leaders, especially the leaders of government business should  henceforth consider and prioritize national patriotism when appointing public office  holders. It is evident that most political office seekers are not seeking political  office to serve, rather they are looking for opportunity to access and steal from  the treasury. They do not have concern for the masses which they represent.  Their  selfishness often go unchecked because of the high level of illiteracy, poverty,  fear of repression and political apathy. But Nigerians can not continue to live in  fear. The citizens must not compromise their liberty for safety. It is the duty of  the government to protect his citizens without taking away their freedom. If any  government think or act in the contrary, such regime must be voted out and replaced  with a more human and responsive government. In so doing, the masses would send a  message to the elected public office holders that electoral power belong to the  people.

Nigeria’s continuous existence as  as a successful nation state is contingent upon  the resolute commitment of all Nigerians to live up to their civic responsibilities.   The furore and funfair surrounding the 50 years of political independence is  enough. There is need for a concerted effort to review our success and failure as a  nation state.  The past is a story told. Nigerian government  need to review and  reflect on its past achievements and failures. Lessons therefrom should be applied  to future planning if the mistakes of the past are to be avoided. There is little or  nothing to write home about the last 50 years of political independence. However, as  an optimist nation, the journey of the next 50 years needed to be well planned  beginning immediately. There must be an overhaul of the existing democratic  structures. Necessary corrections must be put in place. The nation must invest in  institutions and not individual as we experienced in the last  half a century. A  vigorous and drastic reorientation of the  political and government office holders  must be made. The mentality of “national cake” and perception of  political office  as an avenue of wealth acquisition must be challenged. Equity and  fairness must be  the standard of compensation and renumeration of elected/appointed officials and the  career civil servants. Party affiliation  and  politicking  should not create  economic disparity between two people with identical qualifications that performs  the same job. The situation whereby the members of the National Assembly gulp about  25 percent of the Nation’s recurrent budget is unreasonable and should be  repudiated..

Election is a powerful tool of the electorate to express their mind in a political  process. Therefore, all hands must be on deck to ensure that the 2011 election is  successfully organized and conducted. Every vote must count and be counted.  The  fraudulent history of Nigeria elections from Chief Michael Ani in 1979 to Professor  Maurice Iwu in 2010 could no longer be tolerated.  Nigerians will no longer permit  cancellation of any free and fair  election. No single individual should have the  absolute power to nullify election in the country. Electoral Officers  hence forth  should be put on oath of office. The oath to organize, supervise and declare a  fraud-free election result. If any electoral officer violate this term, such officer  should be prosecuted in the court of law. Maximum sentence is recommended not  excluding death penalty. This would serve as a check and warning to Electoral  officers who falsify electoral results and make fool of the masses decision.

The Nigeria Labour Congress,  Nigerian Professional Organizations, NANS and other  Trade Unions should be alert and constitute a watch-dog to monitor all election   process and procedures. The Press and the Judiciary are especially encouraged to  stand to their constitutional and ethical duties. While the former is advised to  report honest and unbiased information, the later is advised to dispense justice  without fear or favor. The era of “brown envelope ” that  corrupt accurate and  honest report should be discarded and the age of selling justice to the highest  bidder should be abolished. The success of Nigerian nation is a collective  responsibility of all Nigerians; and we should not fold our hands and watch our  destiny crushed by greedy politicians and their unpatriotic allied.

Alhaji Abubakir Atiku’s emergence  as the Northern Consensus candidate through  Ciroma led committee of Northern Elders has once again polarize the PDP; and exposed  the indifference of the major players. Neither Atiku nor Jonathan can  win the  presidency the way thing appears. Rather than building party coercion, both are  tearing the existing fragile party structures. Faction and counter factions  continues to spring up, each projecting the agenda of its primary financier.  The  two candidates have forgotten that a house that is divided against itself can never  hold. If the issue of power of incumbency is put aside, and NEC stand out as a  neutral umpire, if every fraudulent attempt to rig the election is curtailed;  neither Jonathan nor Atiku would win the presidency.

Since the self acclaimed evil genius has been rejected and forced to stepped aside  for the second time by his own people; there is no evidence that he could muster  enough political strength to compel the remnants of his disintegrating campaign  organization to support Atiku.  By virtue of  Ciroma committee’s decision, IBB is  second to Atiku in Northern Nigeria political order of relevance. A reality that the  tooth gapped general will find difficult to accept. Governor Sola Saraki’s political  clout has never moved beyond Ilorin or may be Kwara State, therefore if he has any  muscle to flex, it is limited to that small region. He is considered as a flexible  player. He would definitely trade his support for Jonathan’s candidacy for a Federal  appointment.  Gussau is never a political heavy weight. He is a new comer;  his  romance with power over a period of time coupled with the PDP zoning agreement and  his realization of  IBB’s  loss of political influence informed his candidacy. He  does not constitute any challenge for Jonathan.

Be as it may, whichever candidate that the PDP present as the party flag bearer must  be watched closely. Record indicates that non of the two candidates could be  trusted. If Jonathan can not be trusted by all  members of his party for flouting  the PDP zoning agreement of which he was a party, and Atiku could not be trusted by  his former boss OBJ ditto PDP,  yet both people with the record of untrustworthiness  are being paraded by PDP as their best.  The party need to be informed that  Nigerians desires a president that is not deficient in honesty and would not settle  for  leader ship with  despicable integrity.

The existing situation in Nigeria political center makes the presidency free for  grab. (all things been equal). If any political party is able to provide a tested  and popular candidate with record of proven integrity; if such candidate articulate   programs that really addresses the needs and concerns of the masses; history will  then be made, because the people would speak through their votes and a  fresh prince  will be enthrone. This action will put to finality the culture of  crowning people  from the same circle with barren ideas and  frozen ideology.

The journey to the next 50 years of Nigeria political relevance has just began; and  the starting point is anchored on the organization of  a fraud free and fair  election where credible candidates with proven integrity are the  paraded for people  to make their choice. The independent judiciary and an uncompromising fourth estate  are of necessity.

•Tunde Ali, a Social Worker, writes from Chicago.

  Copyright protected by Digiprove © 2010 P.M.News

Load more