THERE CAN BE REVOLUTION IN NIGERIA
A policy analyst and politician, Hon. Nnamdi Kelvin Cos-Ukwuoma, has x-rayed the content and character of the polity and warned that the wind of revolution, blowing in the Arab world and parts of Europe may catch up with Nigeria soon if the leaders do not stop toying with the well-being of the masses. He bemoaned the poverty and frustration sweeping across the country, from the fringe of the Sahara to the Atlantic coastline, maintaining that the patience of Nigerians has reached its elastic limits and can, therefore, snap at any time.
The former lawmaker and author regretted that Nigeria had been on motion without movement for so long despite its abundant natural resources and manpower. Waxing philosophical, he said it was difficult to reconcile the fact that Nigeria is flowing with milk and honey while the citizens are some of the poorest people on the face of the earth.
In this chat, Cos-Ukwuoma frowned at the wickedness in high places, violence, squandermania, injustice and inequity that characterise the system. He spoke on other issues.
What's your take on the proposed removal of oil subsidy?
My personal opinion about the so-called oil subsidy is that its existence is doubtful. It is shrouded in secrecy. Rather than making needless case for removal of subsidy, what our leaders should concern themselves with is how to organize the system and make it to work. Instead of talking about a doubtful subsidy, what they ought to do is to ensure that our refineries produce at optimum capacity. Our refineries can produce enough for our local consumption and even for export. Why they prefer to take our crude overseas to refine and bring same back as finished products for our local consumption beats my imagination.
Why can't Nigerians enjoy the cost advantage of a product extracted from their own soil over others that do not have it? Must we sell at the same price with the United States, which do not have oil?
However, if the authorities say that subsidy exists, the citizens need to understand clearly how it came to be or how it works. Nigerians need to be told in clear terms the indices by which these are calculated. They need to know the impact previous exercise have had on the nation – how much was saved from it and how it was spent and what the investments yielded as well as its direct or indirect impact on society.
And we need to know the expected gains in real terms, which further removal will bring. If these are not resolved, any further increase in the prices of petroleum products will only bring more hardship on the masses while a few privileged citizens bask in unearned affluence. It is regrettable that our political leaders have the penchant for policies that superficially look wonderful when they know that their implementation has already been designed to fail.
Do you think revolution is possible in Nigeria? If yes, what should government do to avert it?
There is a common saying that those who make peaceful change impossible make violent revolution inevitable. People are bound to react negatively when they feel pushed to the wall; when they realize the system do not have any plans for them.
Patience of Nigerians as it relates to their leadership seems to be reaching its elastic limits. More young Nigerians are becoming disenchanted with the way our national affairs are being managed. We daily see increasing symptoms of a failed state, yet our leaders carry on as if all is well. Insecurity here and there, high unemployment rate, hunger, poverty and frustration, hostage taking and other violent crimes have become synonymous with Nigeria.
To avert revolution, conscious efforts should be made by those in position of political authority to ensure justice and equity. There will never be peace without justice and equity. Right now, to say that injustice walks on four legs in Nigeria is not an over-statement. Our political class should employ decorum in the running of the affairs of the state and make policies that are implemented and capable of impacting positively on the majority of the people, to be able to change the face of the nation.
In the 21st century, Nigerian politicians are still talking about roads, water, electricity, etc as campaign promises while even the smallest, poorest and weakest nations no longer talk about these because they are basic infrastructure on which further developments depend. It is pathetic. Our leaders should be instructed in what is currently happening in some Arab nations, and even in Europe. Sincerely, Nigeria 's political leadership and followership need serious re-orientation and a change of heart. Those in government need moments of deep sober reflection to be able to understand that the entire system and process are not cheering at all.
With bloodbath in some parts of the country, Nigeria seems to be drifting into anarchy. What are the causes and solution?
In as much as one detests violence and letting of blood in whatever guise, one will make haste to say that our leaders should find answers to general disenchantments in the nation. These disenchantments seem to manifest in pockets of violence and mindless killings. Moreover, our criminal justice system should be fortified so that people involved in heinous crimes cannot go scot-free. More importantly, the government should muster enough courage to punish evil. Certain situations call for drastic measures for the general interest of society. The security agencies should be better equipped to fight crime. Security officers should be covered with worthy insurance policies, regularly updated in training and encourage with enhanced salary and allowances in order to bring out their best.
How do you react to the verdict by the Imo Governorship Election Tribunal?
The verdict is not short of the expectation of an average Imo indigene. What the tribunal merely did was to re-affirm the overwhelming victory Imo voters generously gave to the person they preferred to govern them. During the governorship election, Imo people spoke with one voice and it is foolhardy for anybody to think the expressed will of the people could be easily thwarted, no matter the level of manipulation and intrigues introduced into the system by those the people see as desperadoes.
Assess the performance of Governor Okorocha so far.
It is too early to assess the performance of a government that is barely five months in office. Be that as it may, every reasonable and responsible Imolite would concede that His Excellency, within a very short time has blazed the trail. Nearly all the areas that need to be addressed are being given attention. Our people now wonder if the fund the current governor is using to undertake these projects had not been there. The general opinion is that with the governor's records in just five months, he can set a standard that will he difficult to beat in future, and which is capable of dwarfing his predecessors.
For me, I do not assess any government until after its first year anniversary. But I know our governor has the grace of God speaking upon his life. Honestly, I am very highly impressed so far with Governor Okorocha. After the election, I had opined he had no option than work for the benefit of the people, as his election was another time Imo people chose their leader by themselves in many years. His burden is, indeed, great because he is expected to satisfy a very good number of their expectations.