Should change not begin with Mrs. Patience Goodluck Jonathan and her Ilk?
Change to what? Change to be like Mrs. Patience Jonathan? Trouble advises President Buhari to stop hoeing the unproductive heaps of the past. Nothing was planted in those heaps and nothing grew in them and nothing was harvested from them. What do we do with Mrs. Patience Jonathan?
President Buhari has said it loudly, just as others in this country have said it even louder. President Buhari should go and read his first speech to Nigerians as the leader of the coup d’etat of 1983. No government in this country has ever left anything positive, worth building on, for the in-coming government. President Buhari says that he inherited nothing from Jonathan, from Yar’Adua, from Obasanjo.
He inherited nothing but corruption, dysfunction and thousands of abandoned infrastructural projects. What did Obasanjo inherit from the last military government? What did Abacha inherit from Babangida? Transition to civilian rule without end? What every Nigerian government has inherited from the previous government is how to handle the delicate Mrs. Patience Jonathan!
Specifically, the greatest stealing of national money has been at the federal level. Today in states across the country, governments are building what in-coming governments can build upon. In Lagos State Tinubu built enough for Fashola to build upon and he left what Ambode is building upon today. In Ondo State Mimiko has built enough for in-coming governments to build upon. Sometimes some APC politicians have denied the existence of mother and child hospitals, emergency road facilities, dual carriage roads with pretty pretty trees planted on the road divides. All over the country states are making do with the little allowed them by the all mighty federal power. As my friend asserted in his column recently, there is too much money in the care of the federal government, too much money in the hands of too few people and too little supervision.
With each forced change of government the burden of negative inheritance doubles. Each time a coup took place the in-coming government inherits increased emptiness, decreased possibilities for the country in the provision of ordinary goods and services for the ordinary people. Each new government comes in promising change, pledging business as different from those who went before them only to end up like those who went before – “AN OLD STAR departs, leaves us here on the shore/Gazing heavenward for a new star approaching;/The new star appears, foreshadows it’s going/Before a going and a coming that goes on forever . . . “ (Christopher Okigbo, poet and town crier). There must be a stop to the activities of Mrs. Patience Jonathan. And change beginning with me does not do it. General Buhari tried it before and for that he was couped out of power. Something else must be done.
What is to be done? All the responsibilities, all the investments that the federal government has taken and made on behalf of the country has failed. Once upon a time there was a Nigerian Airways with the symbol of the flying elephant. It no longer exists. There was once a Nigerian Marine Shipping Line. It too has disappeared. There was a Nigerian electrical company, a Nigerian Railway Corporation. These no longer exist. In terms of the Nigerian Railway Corporation Dr. Ikejiani as chairman of the corporation set up long distance trucking companies to compete with the corporation he was chairman of. When this was pointed to him he said he was not doing anything wrong.
These are the people change should begin with, not ordinary Nigerians who have never waivered from the narrow and the good. Under governments over the last forty years about 20,000 infrastructure projects were abandoned. These were roads, rail roads, hospitals, healthy facilities, federal university laboratories, town halls in rural areas, agricultural implements, so many many needed facilities.
So, when we compare possibilities of doing things, getting so done between the federal government and the regional or state governments it is obvious that the regional or state governments are better instruments of possibilities than the federal government. The states can do much better than the federal government. Let the federal government stay with foreign affairs, currency, armed forces and national defence. Even in these matters the federal government would have to be supervised closely and prevented from diverting funds for arms into bribes for vote buying. Policing, agriculture, roads, railways, ports, international trade must either be with states or shared between the federal government and state governments.
There is nothing more sickening than political leaders like Saraki and Dogara preaching morals to ordinary Nigerians. Remember the armed robber who stopped a bus load of ordinary Nigerian traders travelling to Lagos to purchase merchandise. “Everybody bring out what money you have on you, everything you have. Don’t play any hacky-panky, I want everything.” When all the passengers had given what they had and his men had brought the money in a bowl, the Crimeboss said okay. “ Is this every thing?” The passengers answered “Yes Boss.” “ Every every thing?” asked the Boss again.
Again the people said yes. He then call one woman and began to body search her. At first the woman thought is he going to rape me in open bus here? Then the Crimeboss pulled out a bundle of currency from the brassiere of the woman and then roared: “Why can I not trust you? Why do you lie to me? Why can you not tell the truth? I trusted you! The truth should start with you! Shoot them, everyone of them”, ordered the Crimeboss.
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