9th February, 2015
By Raymond Oise-Oghaede
I have been following the electioneering campaigns of all the major political parties with keen interest and expectedly, they have been feeding us with promises to win our votes. In as much as no single party/candidate will come out to tell us what we do not want to hear at this critical period, there is need for Nigerians to peruse all these sugar coated talks and decipher the realistic ones from mere rhetoric. From whichever angle we look or interpret these numerous promises vis-a – vis the situation on ground in the country, one thing is very certain and, that is the ‘NEED FOR CHANGE’.
Though I would try as much as possible not to be seen as supporting a particular party or candidate(s), I will want to draw the attention of Nigerians to the basic changes that we are expecting from the administration that will CONTINUE IN OFFICE or COME ON BOARD from 29th of May, 2015.
Foremost, we want a government that can guarantee the security of lives and properties of the people. Currently, the country is in a mess because of the activities of insurgents and other miscreants who take delight in cutting short the lives of innocent people in order to survive or show their grievances and fight for relevance. If millions of our brothers and sisters are displaced from their communities, one should not expect such people to come out boldly and proudly say that they are free citizens of this country. In this case, we need a government that can initiate policies and actions that will put a stop to these needless loss of lives and properties on daily basis. We need a government that will make the environment conducive for citizens and residents to be able to move freely at all times without fear of intimidations or attacks. We want a government that will make the country attractive to foreign investors and tourists. We want a government that will protect the lives of our children in boarding schools as well as those on the streets.
Secondly, we want a government that will revive the collapsed manufacturing industries in the country. A government that will introduce measures which will encourage small scale industries and enterprises to flourish. We want a government that will encourage the growth of the agricultural and other sectors of the economy to be self sustaining. As it were some years back when the value of the naira was higher than the pounds, we want a government that can make the naira to be very strong and competitive again.
Thirdly, we want a government that will be prudent in using our resources to better the lot of Nigerians. We want a government that will make our roads to good again and not the death traps we have now. We want a government that will make our refineries work so that the country will not continue to depend on importation of finished petroleum products. We want a government that will make our electricity supply stable. Ghana had in the past celebrated one year of uninterrupted power supply, Nigeria should be able to do better. Most of the small scale industries and businesses have been grounded because of lack of stable power. Even those that can afford generating sets are groaning because of the high costs of diesel.
Fourthly, we want a government that will make education and health care services relatively affordable for all Nigerians (if not free). We want a government that will bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. A government that will make our teachers/lecturers get their reward on earth and also cater for the welfare of our pensioners.
Fifthly, we want a government that will tackle the unemployment menace and give youths hope for the future. That government which will encourage our sportsmen and women to be patriotic and committed to give their best whenever the opportunity arises. A government that will make life meaningful to the less privileged and uneducated youths. We want a government that will make Nigerians proud everywhere they find themselves; that is a government that will make the Westerners/foreigners treat our people with respect and dignity.
Sixthly, we want a government that can fight corruption and eradicate the menace from our system. A government where all the public office holders would be made to be accountable for their spending. A government where the common wealth and resources of the country would be used for the common good of the people.
Seventhly, we want a government that will put measures in place to guarantee freedom of association, where every Nigerian will be free to practice their religious beliefs without fear or favour. A country where national interest will override selfish and tribal/ethnic sentiments, that is a Nigeria where it will always be the country first before our local place of origin. We want a country where everybody will co-exist without fear or favour.
We want a country where traditional rulers will be given their due respect and privileges. They played key roles in the pre-independence era and they remain the custodians of our tradition/culture at the grassroots. If encouraged, they will give their subjects good tutelage and guidance to make them responsible citizens.
We want a government that will put measures in place to ensure free and fair elections at all times. That is, a situation where one man one vote will count and that is when the westerners and other countries will respect our democracy.
We want a government that will give decent and affordable accommodation to the people. A government that will make acquisition of land and procurements of government approved papers stress-free. A government that will make building materials to be cheap and affordable for the people.
We want a government that will put measures in place to discourage other countries from turning Nigeria to a dumping ground of all worthless and inferior commodities.
We want a government that will bring back discipline to the ways we do things in the country.
From the few expectations highlighted here, you will agree with me that there is obviously a need for change in our country. As the saying goes, ‘No condition is permanent’. The only permanent thing in life is CHANGE. Putting it differently, it means that there is need for change to occur in every facet of our polity. It is now left to the electorate to decide whether to give the ruling government more time to effect those changes or vote in new leaders to take us to the promised land.
The most important thing is that we want a country where we can all be proud of. So, which ever way you look at the situation, you have to come to the conclusion that IT’S TIME FOR CHANGE.
•Oise-Oghaede wrote from Lagos