This piece was first published last Saturday in my collunm in one of the national newspapers as Nigerians went to the polls to elect their president and their representatives at the national assembly. Nigerians have spoken and loudly too with their PVC. However, I must say that all that is history today as the electoral body has officially made public Nigerian’s verdict. The piece is as relevant today as it was last Saturday as Nigerians prepare to go to the polls again next Saturday, April 11 to decide on those who manage machinery of government in the states. That is, the governors and members of the state houses of assembly. Happy reading.
The die is cast, the D-day is here and Nigerians of voting age are ready to make a very loud statement today with their almighty Permanent Voters Card, PVC and I pray the statement resonates on the positive note whereby the world will applaud the elections as free, fair and credible. That will be our pride as Nigerians, the largest concentration of blacks on planet earth . Collectively as a people, we should put cynics to shame and prove that indeed, we are capable of conducting credible elections.
Without mincing words, I make bold to say that my family and I will vote nothing but CHANGE! No apologlies because it was a family decision. As a true African, family bond is very srtong and i cannot be seen to be the black leg. At a well attended family meeting, we collectively took a dispassionate look at the state of our country, Nigeria in all aspects of life and came to the conclusion that if we must survive as a family, we need to go for CHANGE. The head of the family gave everybody the opportunity to speak freely. We discussed the darkness given to us in return for the privatization of the power sector, the fuel scarcity despite the fact that we are a major exporter of crude oil in the world, the continous importation of refined petroleum products inspite of the huge investments in three world class refineries across the country and our young ones who are roaming the streets in search of elusive jobs after paying through the nose to send them to school from primary up to the university level. The list of woes are endless but I am glad that we took a collective decission as a family to leave Egypt where we have been “forced” to stay in the last 16 years. We were about to adjourn the meeting and call for the closing prayers when the matriarch of the family reminded us of the Chibokgirls who have been in the captivity of the Boko Haram for about 12 months. She asked that we pray for God to give us a government that will have what it takes to secure their freedom, when the citizens can also sleep with their eyes closed trusting in the government that their lives and property are safe.
The grinding machine I bought for my mother in the village is grounded for lack of regular electricity to power it. That amounts to a loss of revenue we hoped she could make from it grinding pepper, tomatoes and other cooking ingredients in the village. My uncle is lamenting that the loan he sourced from a community bank at a very high interest rate has constituted a huge debt on him. He had invested the money in a small- scale block moulding business and the business has gone under due to lack of regular electricity to power the machine. The generator he bought to support the epileptic power supply is of no use to him due to lack of petrol to run it. Yet, the bank is on him, they would not show any understanding because they also complained of inconsistency and policy summersault on the part of government.The man is frustrated because his business is completely wrecked due to the hash economic situation in the country. His only son who runs cab business is home most times, complaining of scarcity of fuel to run the car. In the midst of all these frustrations, authorities of the Power Holding Companies callously dispatch bills to them to pay for what they did not buy. Or do I say to pay them for their own inefficiency? These are reasonable adults who are struggling to make a living in their own little way but frustrated by bad governance. The government that is expected to provide the enabling environment has failed them over the years! As their son who has attained a reasonble level of western education, they all look up to me for direction and more importantly, for information about government and developments in the city. They asked me all sorts of questions about our refineries and our crude oil. They also want to know if the old National Electric Power Authority, NEPA, had actually been unbondled.Well, as someone they look up to for direction, i would not want to tell them tales , rather, I layed it bare. I tried as much as possible to tell them the truth as much as I know it. Yes, I told them that Nigeria is actually rich in crude oil reserves. In fact, i said we are the 6th largest producers in the world. We built refineries in three strategic locations across the country to process crude oil for local consumption. That is Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Warri. Unfortunately, as a result of bad governance and corruption in high places, all the refineries have broken down! Nobody has the courage to fix them bacause it pays them to import but detrimental to the nation’s economic health. I also added that the powerful cable that has kept the refineries in perpetual state of disrepaires are feeding fat as the nation groans. They are fighting and struggling to remain in power so that they continue to feed fat at the expence of millions of hapless Nigetians. But today, they are determined to free themselves from this modern slavery. The opportunity is here and another one beckons on Saturday, April 11.Again, i told these my family members that it is true that we nolonger have what they used to know as NEPA. The former sleeping power giant has been unbondled and sold to different companies to enhance their efficiency. Unfortunately, those who claimed to have sold NEPA are the real buyers, they only used proxies now bearing different names. In reality, nothing has changed except the name, hence the inefficieny in the power sector continues unabated. I also told them that billions of tax payers money went into the privatisation deceit but nothing to show for it.
So, how does anyone convince these ones and many other Nigerians facing similar or worst challenges out there to vote in today’s election to continue in these pathetic and dehumanizing conditions in this 21st Century? No amout of sweet talks, no amount of propaganda, no amount of threats, no amount of inducements, these ones are determined to vote for CHANGE today for a change in their living conditions and lay a solid foundation for their children and the future generation.

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