By the year 2015, Nigeria will be experiencing sixteen years of uninterrupted democratic rule. This in itself is good news to the majority of Nigerians who prefer democratic rule to any other form of government. Frankly speaking, can we say this is good news in terms of the gains of democracy? Can we proudly say that we have faired better since the inception of democracy? Can we sincerely say that all the problems we experienced prior to democratic rule has been taken care of or are being tackled to an appreciable level?
The problems associated with military rule made many Nigerians fight and died for democracy. Some of those problems included; corruption, poor electricity supply, unemployment, economic hardship, wide scale military brutality, decaying infrastructures. Now that we are in democracy how are our leaders tackling these and many other problems? Are the problems less, static or worst?
CORRUPTION – It is true that military leaders were corrupt. There was looting of public treasury and what have you. But what we experience now is worst. Military leaders stole  millions of Naira, democratic leaders are now stealing  billions and trillions of Naira. The President has come out to say that looting of public treasury is not corruption but mere stealing. We have seen ministers spending unapproved millions and billions of Naira in the purchase of bullet proof cars and hiring of private jets. We have seen unremitted sums of money not being accounted for. We have seen intimidation, victimization and maltreatment of those who dare to speak against corruption and corrupt public officers and agencies. We have seen a senate who find the president guilty of spending unapproved billions of Naira and all they could do was to beg him to send an appropriation bill for the money already spent illegally. We have seen a president who is in the habit of granting presidential pardon to suspected, indicted or convicted corrupt Nigerians thereby encouraging corruption. Afterall one can commit any corrupt act and seek presidential pardon. Corruption is now the order of the day. They have politicized the fight against corruption. EFCC is nothing but a stick in the hand of the president with which he chases and beats political opponents/perceived unloyal party men. Once the president identifies a hard opponent he will send EFCC after him with all forms of  accusation, when the person defect to his party or declare support for the president’s personal ambition, all the charges will be dropped. Part of the bargain deal between the president and some governors now is for the president to prevent EFCC from going after them when they leave office. What a shame. Any influential person facing EFCC is now the target of the ruling party. Once the person joins their party all the charges will be dropped. They are fighting corruption with their mouth.
POOR POWER SUPPLY – In 1999, political leaders promised us stable electricity supply within six months in office. Six months will turn to sixteen years by 2015. Supply has dropped, they have increased the cost of electricity outrageously. They have introduced a fixed charge of N750, N1000 or N5000 as the case may be, this we must pay monthly whether there is light or not. Shamelessly they go about singing self praise for privatizing the power sector not minding if it has resulted in improved electricity supply. The fixed charge they are arm-twisting us to get what are they doing with it? How much have they extorted from us? Who is accounting for it? As at today not all staff of the defunct power company are paid their full entitlement. After allegedly selling the bundled companies to their friends and political associates they are still pumping our money into the sector. Nigerians are paying for darkness instead of light. Stable electricity is the tap root of any economy. It plays a vital role in determining the cost and rate of production. While production primarily determines the rate of growth of any economy.
CRUDE OIL – Today the Nigerian economy is about 80% dependent on crude oil. What is happening in the sector is breath-taking. Political leaders have turn the petroleum sector into their private farm. They keep increasing the cost of fuel and other petroleum products. They have grinded the refineries they inherited from military leaders. Our sitting president promised to build more refineries when he was campaigning in 2011. He has failed to maintain the ones he met talkless of building new ones. Fuel importation has continued because it is their major source of stealing our money. Despite the obvious corruption in the sector nobody has gone down. The president and his party claim to be spending billions of Naira in subsidizing kerosene which of course is approved by the parliament. Yet we are buying kerosene at a suffocating sum that ranges from N120 — N200 per litre. The high cost of fuel, kerosene, diesel and aviation fuel is affecting the cost of production and transportation which gives rise to the cost of goods and services, thereby creating more hardship for Nigerians.
EMPLOYMENT – It is true that government alone cannot employ every employable person in Nigeria, but government is to create enabling environment for private investment which will in turn give employment. Has government created that enabling environment? When the electricity supply is poor and expensive, when the cost of fuel, diesel and gas is high, when there are bad roads, poor water supply, high cost of rent or land acquisition, government can’t say it has created that enabling environment. Government keeps bringing out fantastic figures of the number of people they have employed. Most of these numbers exists on paper. They boast of employment under SURE-P. I ask; how many of these employment are permanent ones? How much are they paid? Some are owned up to six months areas. A responsible government should fight against casualization of workers and not indulge in it, because it is modern day slavery. There is no need contesting the figures they bring out because when you add two zero to fifty it will give you five thousand. Unemployment is on the increase and government is playing politics with it. They will never fight unemployment sincerely because poverty makes people vulnerable to their manipulation. Stomach infrastructure is now the surest strategy to win election.
ECONOMY – They claim that our economy is growing speedingly. They claim that our economy is now the largest in Africa. What do we expect when a student sets questions, invigilate, answer and mark, do we expect him to fail! In the first place he will base the questions on what he wants to be asked and not what he should be asked. That is the case with our government and our economy. Production is on the decline, unemployment is on the increase, cost of goods and services is on the rise, value of our Naira is depreciating, criminals are scaring away farmers and manufacturers, yet they say our economy is growing. Our economy is on the decline, it is near collapse.
INSECURITY – Insecurity of lives and properties has taken over military brutality. Armed Robbers, kidnappers, ritual killers, political assassinators, militants and insurgents has taken over with very little resistance from the armed forces. We are in a country where only the ruling political class can boast of about 40% security for the rest of us it is zero. It is now self help or total surrender. Government have failed woefully. They are playing politics with it. In three years the president has received almost N3 Trillion as security vote yet our force men lack training and equipment. Who can ask our almighty President to give account of the money? Nigerians are fleeing to neighbouring countries yet we have a government and a president who is the commander in chief of the armed forces. State of emergency has been declared in some states for over a year now. What that means is that force men are everywhere in those states. The governors no longer receive security votes. The president is totally in control of the security in those states, yet insurgents are sacking communities, abducting people, killing people and taking over military settlements. The political leaders are more interested in receiving political decampees or declaring their intention to contest 2015 general elections. Afterall even if it is only five thousand ordinary Nigerians that are left they will still rule over them. The President and his party is playing denial/blame game. It is clear that the president has no clue to the insecurity problem in the country. The emergency he declared in three states has failed to yield the desired result, yet he is asking for an extension. All the security votes he has received has not been used to train and equip our military yet he has been given approval by the Senate to borrow $lbn to train and equip our forces without asking him to give account of the security vote he has received in the past.
Political leaders has failed us since 1999. Things are getting worst. Nigeria has become a hell of a place to live in. Politicians (most) are self centered, selfish and wicked. They don’t care about the people. They have become self praise singers. Despite all the success they claim to make in the agric sector especially in rice production, I am yet to see Nigeria rice in the market. Politicians are getting richer while the common Nigerians are getting poorer. Most Nigerians are hungry, confused, frustrated, angry and desperate.
Since 1999 one political party has been in power at the federal level. Their campaign promises in 1999 were; stable electricity, poverty eradication, employment generation, safety of lives and properties, building of more refineries, provision of infrastructures, qualitative and affordable education, comprehensive and affordable health care, food security, provision of shelter, sound economy among others. In 2003, 2007 and 2011 it was the same campaign promises with no remarkable progress. From their campaign so far toward 2015 it is the same old song which is now a noise in our ears. What they cannot do in sixteen years, they can’t do in another four years.
We must not be like Ken Nnamani who cited the inability of the current president to deliver as an excuse to compel his people to vote for him come 2015. According to him President Jonathan who could not deliver in six years is the only person that can deliver in the east. They should therefore put their hope in a man that could not meet their need in six years to perform magic in another four years when he has nothing to loose again.
For how long are we going to keep hoping? We have been hoping since 1999, we are tired of hoping. We must vote wisely. Let us try those we have not given the opportunity. Those who can’t perform in sixteen years should be shown the red card. Let us try another party and make comparism as we are doing now at state level. There may be no Saints in Nigeria but there are certainly good men and women who can keep to their promise. We must change our destiny with our votes.