BY Roland Danjuma
AS President Mohammadu Buhari in proxy by Acting President Osibanjo commemorates the second year anniversary of coming to power at the same time with the eighteenth year of unbroken stream of democratic procession in Nigeria, the APC must have come head on to the abject realities of politics and politicking.
What must be ringing true in the psyche of the PMB’s train is that Politics is a game, as Bob Marley would say: The battle is sweeter than the victory. After the victory at the polls, beating up emotional and extravagant expectations, sitting down to the business of governance proper has rather unfolded as real herculean task.
The Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed had taunted the Goodluck Jonathan administration on a daily basis, criticising and offering unsolicited recommendations and comments. Then unwary Nigerians bought the criticisms and saw it as the role of opposition. Good for them.
Now that the table has changed, the opposition is in the spot; all that grandstanding polemics and sophism have become deflated ballon. What Alh. Lai is now doing is drumming excuses and struggling under weak defences for the APC’s two years of woes and drivelling in the wilderness with no hope of finding a straight course out of the woods.
Being in opposition and having unfettered reins to criticism is not the same as being in the spot driving. Surprisingly the APC government is not having half the hell situation it gave the PDP when it was in the opposition. This is thanks to the political impasse that has engulfed the PDP, as it is struggling to swim through the waters it has sunk into.
What the APC is contending with is a conscience bout that it has been unable to fulfil an iota of its promises to the majority of the people of Nigeria. It is also contending with the demands of Nigerians for the basic essentials for their survival.
During the Goodluck Jonathan administration, Nigerians were deceived to think change for change’s sake will better the dividends for them. Now they know better two years after. In fact, Nigerians like the Israelites are asking, practically begging to return to Egypt half-way through the four year-tenure of PMB’s run of statecraft.
There is penury and abject poverty widely spread across the land. The heavy burden of privation and the cloud of uncertainty now pervade the land. In irony the common parlance in the streets of Nigeria is; ‘This is the change’ no doubt, since APC’s coming to power there have been marked changes. Only it is not clear what sort of changes have occurred and what it portends. One fact is certain; there are changes that now trifle with the fortune and well-being of Nigerians.
Businesses are finding it extremely difficult to operate; cost of commodities and living have so soared into the sky that many helpless Nigerians are committing suicide in an unprecedented number. In the face of these sad realities, the APC is yapping in self-effacing that it has done well in the past two years.
Well, indeed, the APC has done it. At least on a daily basis, Nigerians are entertained and showed scenes of volumes of monies the EFCC is recovering; volume of monies from faceless people. One may want to think that APC is the one planting these monies to entertain Nigerians and paint the Goodluck Jonathan administration as corrupt. If it is so, then this is nothing but cheap blackmail and the APC should rise above this childish ruse and hide and seek game and face the reality of governance.
The Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh has sweet flowing and flowering lyrics about how Nigeria can farm its food and will be self-sufficient in rice production within two years.
Today rice can no longer be affordable for many Nigerians. Even the cheapest common folks’ staples like corn, cassava and millet have all become premium commodities not easily affordable. Nigerians who could not afford proteins from livestock and eggs but rely on the common beans and peanuts are now stuck because they cannot afford these basic commodities.
While the Goodluck Jonathan regime was marked by corruption, Nigerians felt better and could afford most essential commodities.
The Naira stood at N165 to a dollar. You can now understand why most Nigerians are asking to go back to the former times of Goodluck Jonathan than to live through the remaining two years of this APC administration.
The APC, though, has a point. It can celebrate the wresting of power from an incumbent. An unheard of feat. But this is due to the political intrigues that took place. It can also beat it chest for stemming the wings of Boko Haram. Okay it has driven its anti-thieving campaign against a selected few who cannot be persecuted. It believes it has boosted the morale of the armed forces and made friends with neighbouring countries to fight insurgency across their borders. It is chanting its own song which is not in harmony with the sad melody being heard.
On the other hand, in the six years of Goodluck Jonathan administration, though things were not rosy, people fed themselves.
It is the only regime that had the will power to remove the subsidy being enjoyed by the oil cabals. The Naira stood against the dollar and other international denominations. Traders could plan ahead because they were sure of the exchange rate. There was for the first time a steady supply of petroleum products which was carried over into the APC regime. Salaries were paid except for states where governors trifled with their resources.
The Goodluck Jonathan days were the best times but it was not as bad as it is today and critics and pundits alike acclaim to this one fact. The situation in the country today has gone beyond prayers and fasting because Nigerians are already in the role of perpetual fasting and of course no nation is as prayerful as Nigeria is.
What the APC was prepared for was for war. Now that instead of war there is the challenge of governance, it has suddenly found itself in the spot, afraid of failure and too ashamed to quit. This is the quandary. The APC is caught in its web of between the devil and the deep blue sea.
Is there a way out? Of course; the APC is not utilizing to the extent possible the Office of the National Planning Commission or has not taken the commission to task. The APC should declare a state of emergency on economic recovery and divert its attention from the external policy to internal policy. All the loans to farmers, feeding and whatever the APC has promised are more of rhetoric than realities.