To Buhari, and the ‘Change Agents’—The many things in front
By Prince Charles Dickson
The person with the crossbow thinks that the monkey is not clever; the monkey is clever, but it is following its own strategy. (It matters nothing if one is derided, as long as one knows what one is doing and why.)
Over the years certain key issues have confronted the Nigerian state, its government, the governed and the structures itself, from a seeming lack of system to a lack of will and direction from those saddled with the responsibility to steer the ship of governance.
Such is the fundamental nature of the problems that they have become part of us. However on many occasions we have been provided with the opportunity to get it right but many a times we let go of such moments.
The just concluded Presidential polls, presents such moment again, while I have refused to discuss the elections, not as an act of cowardice, but truly, who am I, to discuss, an election many think was a function of change, and many others see as having further divided the nation, or one that has realigned the nation.
Who am I, especially when I am not on a praise-singing mission like many are want to do--Buhari, the perfectionist, or Jonathan, the next Nobel Peace prizewinner?
However with each passing day, I know that I am compelled to make my opinion known, and it's not just my opinion but it's that of many Nigerians. And I make these comments so that someday in the future when I am asked what did I say or do, these words would hold me liable. I will not sit on the fence and watch, I will talk, I will write and let my words stand for posterity.
Very quickly, let me say, with these elections we may have made comparative tangible responsive and responsible movement in the democratic field, even though at great expense.
To Buhari and the change agents—The questions are not far fetched: like will Buhari, be far from being a 'yes man' and be far from the business as usual set of leaders that have plagued this nation.
The Buhari praise singers have simply caught the messiah bug. I am surprised some persons have not called him a 'god'. The expectations are high, and for a nation that has for decades lived below its potentials we have a right to expect much but sadly we are again (saddled with our permission) a government that 'pray' seriously will not be largely a deceptive one.
Buhari has to, not just by his will but by his powers thread a new path--or else we may still tow the known path. It is the only road we know for now...road contracts that will be abandoned, commissioning of hospitals without facilities. Schools that would be neglected, strikes within various sectors of the economy amongst many shortfalls and long falls will characterize the administration with a couple of its own fair share of 'elephant and hippo' projects.
There may be little Buhari can do about the National Assembly and their outrageous million naira salaries for doing nothing, but hopefully he can do more than negotiate more than 18,000 for another set that does at least a 'small thing'.
Does anyone think that Buhari's led APC is the answer, than we really need a re-think? We do not need a soothsayer to tell us that the best that we have now is a conglomeration of deceit...re-congregated elite but it is still some "CHANGE".
A cursory look at the first few statements, interviews and campaign promises of the Buhari-led APC, may raise both hope and fear.
Already there is a call for time and patience, how much of it, we have only time will tell, and while I have argued that a change in government, if free, fair and credible does not mean that government should restart its engine. On the contrary, it calls for a re-fuelling and moving ahead. Our experience is that government has to start all over again and the same old music is remixed and few months after we notice same old thread in action.
And fearfully, the same issues that the last administration sought to solve or made comic of, is the same ones we will face again.
However Buhari may be blessed as Nigerians are so divided on the real issues by religion, ethnicity, nepotism, chopism and other selfish modules.
Buhari and his team must not just have the plan, the will; it simple must pay more than lip service to change...not just like a labourer changes his shirt day by day without choice to the same work wear he is used in 50 long years.
Buhari and his APC cohorts will not urgently and comprehensively address the job issue, nor improve on the business of government.
There are no plans that will translate to the provision of housing, water, and education for all Nigerian children to the Senior Secondary School grade at least.
With more billions spent, electricity will still not be available, reliable and affordable.
I beg to re-echo again that except there is a honest search for understanding, education, organization, action that raises the cost of state and casual violence for its perpetrators or that lays the basis for institutional change. There would be no answers; rather we would continually be plagued by the same questions and problems I highlighted in paragraphs above.
Buhari's team must effectively manage or halt social disruptions that threaten the mutual co-existence of a people or it will watch almost helplessly as human inequality increases, social justice decays and poverty increases.
Buhari is not going to solve our problems, like Jonathan before him, he will not disappoint failure. However if the in-coming administration can join the speed train age and stop the government of celebrating borehole water in communities that deserve more…then I will eat my words.
I started by stating that the person with the crossbow thinks that the monkey is not clever; the monkey is clever, but it is following its own strategy. (It matters nothing if one is derided, as long as one knows what one is doing and why.) Mr. President-elect and his team, beyond strategy, there must be whys and hows.
Finally Mr. President-in-waiting, you are not under obligation to read, or listen to me. Besides you are not the root cause of why after 16 years of democracy, we are still a nation of potentials and little in achievement. You cannot do anything about it...but certainly you can do something...You cannot surprise many of us that do not believe in you. But you can shut us up by performing. It's your choice sir, and--only time will tell.