2023: Who Is Instilling Fear In Nigerians By Promising To Start From Where The Existing Government Stops?

By Isaac Asabor

It is not an exaggeration to say that not a few Nigerians have since Nigeria embraced a democratic system of government in 1999 been wondering why is it that political leaders, regardless of the promises made during electioneering easily forget about such promises once they are voted to power through popular votes by the people, even as they usually, to the astonishment of many, become dictatorial, anti-people and inaccessible.

It is against the foregoing backdrop of Politicians’ metamorphosis that most people find it difficult to trust any politician; no matter how serious and sincere he or she seems to appear before the electorates during electioneering. Without a doubt, it appears Nigerian politicians have been finding it difficult to keep promises made during electioneering. The reason for the foregoing cannot be farfetched in this context as we all know that there have been many issues and problems that have arisen before “promise and fail” politicians threw their hats into the rings to contest for varied political leadership positions within the various spheres of their constituency of influence. But the seeming reluctance to take the necessary steps to resolve or, at least, forthrightly address them is baffling, to say the least.

In fact, it is not mischievous to say that Nigerians, since democracy became the adopted system of government, have not had the privilege of witnessing a president that satisfactorily performed to their expectations or lived up to promises made during electioneering.

For the sake of clarity, it is expedient to make reference to former President Jimmy Carter’s address in 1979, widely referred to as “The malaise speech.” In it, he bemoaned the deepened dispiritedness and disenchantment that he claimed gripped the body politic, particularly as high-interest rates, high energy prices, high unemployment, high inflation, a moribund economy, and a prevailing mood of doom and gloom were unprecedentedly witnessed. Conceivably, he spoke at the time from the perspective of the fact that America was weak and ineffective as a world power so much so that Iranian students seized 52 Americans and hold them, hostage, for some 444 days. The semblance of the foregoing crass effrontery is what is couched in Nigerian slang as “See Finish”. America’s government at the time, under Jimmy Carter’s watch was analyzed by not a few political commentators to be a stagnant, bloated bureaucracy that failed to serve the people. It was seen by some other analysts, who were unarguably blunt in their comments to be corrupt, inefficient, and evasive. As political historians will unanimously agree today, the crisis led to domestic turmoil and the loss of a unity of purpose for the nation.

Now if the foregoing analysis of American economy under Carter’s watch sounds familiar with the state of Nigeria’s contemporary economy, it can be made bold to say in this context that we it pragmatically seems so, and that is because it is. In fact, there is a crisis of confidence here in Nigeria. The citizenry is in a foul mood because we are saddled with the kind of government that existed during the Jimmy Carter years – “corrupt, inefficient and evasive.” Just read the text of letters and messages from those in high places. Just read the letter with its sordid claims in today’s paper. This writer cannot vouch for its veracity, but it speaks to the squabbling and the finger-pointing and the infighting and the accusations amongst the ruling cabal.

In case we had doubts before, our worst fears have been confirmed. It is expedient to submit in this piece that Charles Dickens would recognize much of the conditions that exist today, promises made, precious little kept; many investors promised, very few actually arrive with their briefcases and three-piece suits, (for whatever that’s worth), pensioners and public servants bawling for their pensions and remunerations, the woeful lack of transparency, the cronyism, the double-speak by those in high places, the AWOL-ism by the constituency representatives of the ruling party. And on and on it goes. It is quite sad!

Since the economy became what it is today, not a few Nigerians have been keeping their ears to the ground waiting for what happens next, and it is manifest that they are not amused. Who could not be melancholic given the prevailing situation, which has remained the worst political dispensation that Nigerians had not seen in a long time; even under the much-blamed Gen. Sanni Abacha? Who could be amused by campaign promises made from far away Chattam House that the economy would be better again? At the moment they are encouraging or cajoling the poor to return their saved old Naira notes thinking they indeed tightened their belts to get by. The poor have neither savings nor belts. What little they had put away has already been depleted by the high cost of governance orchestrated and exacerbated by clueless and corrupt leadership. Ask the Journalist that hardly gets paid at the end of the month so much that some are owed salaries consecutively for close to 2 years but paradoxically do reportages about workers in other sectors of the economy that are owed mere 2 or 3 months. Ask a truly practicing Journalist like this writer, he will tell you that the belts have already been tightened to their limits on his waist. But the trousers are yet falling to the floors.

At this juncture, it is germane to let those at the helm of affairs of this nation know that not a few Nigerians have lost faith in their government. This administration cannot be trusted to do right by ordinary citizens, and neither will anyone campaigning to start from where it stops erroneously thinking he is giving most Nigerians hope. No, he is instilling fear in them.

So, who is instilling fear in Nigerians by promising to start from where the existing government stops?

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