THE PRESIDENT SAID IT: 'REVOLUTION'! (3)
You obviously remember that on Monday, November 28, the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, alerted his colleagues-in-governance to one of leadership's greatest responsibilities to their compatriots, young and old alike, 'to bring smiles to the faces of Nigerians or ride what he called possible youth revolution in the country,' as was widely reported in the global print, electronic and social media.
The President, who had been speaking at the Kogi State Capital, Lokoja, during a flag-waving rally of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) before the governorship election held there on Saturday, December 3, counseled holders of public offices to help 'make our economy multiply' mainly by creating 'jobs for the teeming youths,' failing which they 'could embark on revolution against governments at all levels.'
Nobody has faulted or can successfully fault Dr. President for making such a cogent comment on the subject of youth unemployment and revolution prospects in Nigeria and in fact, not a few people must have concurred across the land that the appropriate public officers (including the Presidency) ought to have started implementing a master-plan for tackling that problem from day one, on May 30, 2011.
It is regrettably one of the gravest shortcoming of the present Nigerian polity, that people in places of power or authority, prefer to pretend to be 'on top of the issue' rather than proving with facts and figures that they are not among the 'lamentators' - those millions of 'suffering and smiling' citizens, who are Fela's consumers of executive impotence and legislative opulence in our public domain.
In retrospect, this reality had dawned on some Nigerians and their friends from overseas between 1999 and 2002 at workshop and seminars on 'Democracy and Good Governance' as well as 'Facilitative Conflict Resolution' programmes organized for Nigerian citizens (including my humble self) by the United States (USAID) and the office for Transitional initiatives (OTI) in concert with some of our Non-Governmental and other Civil Society organizations in the country on a one-off basis or as Training-of-Trainers (TOT) initiatives.
It is a matter of regret that the hiccups in the democratic process we have noticed since 1999 at the executive and legislative levels occurred and confirm that the fault has not bee in the decision to go democratic ('the stars'), but in the characters ('in us') who presented themselves to contest for the available public offices.
It turned out, rather sadly, that using the influence at their command even in fixing salaries and amenities for themselves (an error of judgment made even as far back as 1979) they were able to allocate a hugely disproportionate fraction of the Nigerian national incomes to themselves.
Those in the civil society organization including the political writers of the mass media who did not have their interests on matters like that because their watch-dop civic rates were not defined to incorporate how people in and around the corridors of power put selves above all (as the public accountability organization like Common Cause do in Washington, U.S.A. and elsewhere) were sooner than later caught unawares.
When our heads were almost in the bags (like Goliath's after David's triumph was), we are now crying 'foul' - what with recurrent expenditure, for all times, exceeding capital expenditure in the country; when our 'expressways' only exist on paper' 'big' people are, as they say, 'rushed abroad' for abdominal pains, headaches and physical dislocations while exercising themselves among other ailments.
And this is at a time when 'centres of medical excellence', launched in the days of Prof. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti as Health Minister soon after became what we may rightly refer to as depositories of expired medical equipment, meant for facilitating diagnoses of ailment the bane of medical miscarriages in this and other parts of the world.
One must therefore state categorically and without any fear of responsible contradiction, that the diagnosis of revolution in this society offered on November 28 was akin to that of a medical doctor treating a patient for ringworm instead of a sore which may very well later lead to an amputation or cancerous degeneration, leading to the death of that patient.
As doctors still care for human lives, one hopes they will always work toward the appropriate diagnosis (a word some people call 'diagonization') of the sick, so that the essence of the Hippocratic oath may continue to be manifested in this part of the world.
Put differently, in patriotically seeking ways of averting a revolution in the country (some have already asserted that there's nothing wrong in that, except we should not be looking in the wrong directions), we must start asking the right questions: If there were not enough jobs created for the youths, what happened to the funds voted over the years for that purpose? Is there any likelihood of transparency and accountability (truthfulness in short) on that issue? For example, how were the funds running into billions of Naira for poverty alleviation utilized?
Is it true or false that some people still riding high, claimed to have used a large part of it in 'fighting elections'? What about the hundreds of billions of Naira meant for rehabilitating our |expressways'? The same questions as above, apply. Is it true or false that some medical equipment, which could have kept some trained professionals employed between the year 2000 and 2011, were imported in much the same way some people import expired drugs, caring only for their pockets and not the lives to be saved?
What about fisheries, which I understand is the President's field of expertise - when shall we start our own canning industry here, moreso as the costs of sardines have witnessed 100 percent inflation in the past year? The question arising is this: Are executive inertia and pretending to be busy when we are not being moved forward, really not part of the reasons for the observed unemployment situation here?
We have not finished with the questions yet: The country may be spending almost N1 trillion on security now (please see the new budget proposals).
Are the sponsors of the violence and unrest not relaxing in their luxurious apartments while their minions or foot-soldiers are behind bars (or prevented from being tried, for 'settlement', when other people had been killed)? Could half of that sum not been used to provide jobs for the youths and those who are still employable?
Yes, there are other pending issues: The Oil and Gas Industry comes next. To quote from Item 33 of the August 1999 Trithel Seminar Communique held in Lagos, on the theme of 'Creating a Quality Environment in the Next Millenium': 'The Capital Outlay required for the refurbishment of the Nigerian refineries is too enormous, in the short term, to be raised from national revernies; and RAPID PRIVATISATION of the down-stream sector of the Oil and Gas Industry in their existing state will promote efficiency and open avenues for capital investment in-flows from internal and external sources, thereby releasing public funds for other domestic needs.'
We were talking here the other time about the stagnated decision on passing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law because some influential people love to serve other interests than patriotic ones.
Therefore, dear readers, if there are manifestations of unemployment and underemployment the solution is not to point at a revolution but at the roots or causes of executive inertia or inaction. However, we know that corruption, lack of executive creativity as well as commitment to the fundamental objectives of State Policy in chapter two of the Constitution are more provocative reasons for a revolution than unemployment of youths alone.
I know that we have no guillotines here, as they did in France during the French Revolution, but my guess is that if we allow one to be unleashed here the victims will be those who have through their greed and myopic actions brought so much poverty, starvation and degradation to this God-blessed but elite-battered land. it will be selective and hopefully and not wildly violent. Statistically, out of 150million Nigerians they are less than 250,000 in number and recognizable. The time for them repent is now!!!