The hypocrisy era

The Punch - - NEWS EXTRA -

had come to ex­pect only the worst from Nige­ria…”

“Co­op­er­ate.” a pow­er­ful word. Es­pe­cially when your con­tri­bu­tion was to col­lect.

Buhari ad­mit­ted that never had Nige­ria en­joyed such good­will in­ter­na­tion­ally. “The mes­sages I re­ceived from East and West, from pow­er­ful and small coun­tries are in­dica­tive of in­ter­na­tional ex­pec­ta­tions on us. at home the newly elected gov­ern­ment is bask­ing in a reser­voir of good­will and high ex­pec­ta­tions. Nige­ria there­fore has a win­dow of op­por­tu­nity to ful­fill our long – stand­ing po­ten­tial of pulling our­selves to­gether and re­al­iz­ing our mis­sion as a great na­tion…

“We have an op­por­tu­nity,” Buhari con­cluded. Let us take it.”

The mo­ment was so pow­er­ful you could al­most see him leap­ing off the podium to get started.

In that light, and nearly five years later, what word or im­age best sum­ma­rizes the Buhari era in terms of ex­am­ple-set­ting and do­ing the right thing and seiz­ing the op­por­tu­nity to ful­fill Nige­ria’s po­ten­tial?

sadly, none. at best, Nige­ria has drifted into the realm of hid­den agen­das and hes­i­tant leaps off the podium. We are the land of limited vi­sion and to­kenism, but even more limited good­will and sel­f­re­spect.

Think about it: over the next two weeks, Christmas, Box­ing day and Jan­uary 1 are to be ob­served as hol­i­days in Nige­ria.

This was con­tained in an an­nounce­ment made last Thurs­day by the Min­is­ter of In­te­rior, og­beni Rauf Aregbesola, in a state­ment signed by Ge­orgina Ehuriah.

She is the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary of that Min­istry. Which means that the state­ment was la­bo­ri­ously crafted by one or two or three ju­nior of­fi­cers, and then metic­u­lously edited for sub­stance and lan­guage and nu­ance and po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness by an In­for­ma­tion Of­fi­cer or two or three be­fore it was gin­gerly placed on the desk of a deputy di­rec­tor. It would then have been sent to a di­rec­tor, who would have laboured over it be­fore it reached Ms. Ehuriah.

And the ob­jec­tive? Sim­ply to re­mind the pub­lic of three work-free days com­ing their way. But in a coun­try sup­pos­edly seiz­ing an “op­por­tu­nity” to “do what is right,” it takes a Min­is­ter to an­nounce a hol­i­day—in­deed the full Min­istry in some­thing that is con­ducted like a Baba sala stage pro­duc­tion—to pub­lish the “re­minder.”

The prob­lem is this: those three days were al­ready known as far back as eleven and a half months ago—on Jan­uary 1—to be hol­i­days on the Nige­rian cal­en­dar. Never since in­de­pen­dence in oc­to­ber 1960 has any of them NOT been a hol­i­day, but it still takes the teeth of the po­lit­i­cal and pro­fes­sional man­power of a Min­istry to “de­clare” them to be hol­i­days.

Why? Be­cause de­spite our procla­ma­tions of CHANGE, noth­ing has changed, and that Min­istry demon­strates its job­less­ness. sadly, pro­duc­tiv­ity and per­for­mance have no def­i­ni­tion in Nige­ria’s pub­lic ser­vice: pre­ten­tious­ness is the op­er­a­tive cur­rency.

Think about it: the pre­vi­ous day, aregbesola’s coun­ter­part at Labour and Em­ploy­ment had an­other po­tent an­nounce­ment: nearly 110 mil­lion youths have no jobs!

Chris Ngige, a for­mer doc­tor, made the dec­la­ra­tion at the Na­tional Mi­gra­tion di­a­logue in abuja.

The for­mer gov­er­nor laid out the pic­ture this way: youths com­prise 60 per­cent of Nige­ria’s pop­u­la­tion of 200 mil­lion, but only 10 per cent of them have de­cent jobs.

What he was re­ally say­ing was star­tling: that of Nige­ria’s youths bulge of 120 mil­lion peo­ple, only 12 mil­lion are em­ployed.

Ngige, who is in his fifth year at the helm of the Min­istry, said of his APC gov­ern­ment, “We are work­ing that they get job (sic) so that they can have a roof over their heads, feed and en­joy life.”

Ngige spoke as though this is a prob­lem that has just been dis­cov­ered, for­get­ting that when APC au­di­tioned for power, em­ploy­ment was the first bribe it flaunted be­fore the youths.

In its “Road map to a New Nige­ria” in 2014, the party de­scribed its pri­or­ity: “The lack of jobs is the most crit­i­cal chal­lenge fac­ing Nige­ria to­day, hurt­ing ev­ery com­mu­nity and pre­vent­ing us from be­ing the truly vi­brant and pros­per­ous na­tion we de­serve.”

To that end, it said it would, among oth­ers, “cre­ate 20,000 jobs per state im­me­di­ately…”

Sadly, APC has demon­strated nei­ther in­cli­na­tion nor ca­pac­ity on this or any other sub­ject, and un­em­ploy­ment has wors­ened, rhetoric of­ten re­plac­ing com­mit­ment. As APC’S ar­ro­gance has grown, so has the ev­i­dence that avail­able jobs of­ten go to rel­a­tives and friends of top gov­ern­ment and party of­fi­cials.

and con­sider that in april 2019, Ngige demon­strated this ar­ro­gance when he pub­licly said Nige­rian doc­tors should feel free to leave the coun­try. “We have more than enough (of them)” he said. you can quote me. There is noth­ing wrong in them trav­el­ling out. When they go abroad, they earn money and send them back home here.”

We could go on for­ever, but the point is that while Nige­ria was bad un­der Mr. Jonathan, it now pos­i­tively stinks. The ep­i­thet “clue­less” has been re­placed by “hypocrisy.”

This is the hypocrisy era. and be­cause hypocrisy is a smell, only per­for­mance—not a mi­cro­phone and not words—can clear the air.

at 5:15pm on March 31, 2015, Jonathan earned his claim to states­man­ship with one re­mark­able per­for­mance: a pa­tri­otic phone call.

Merry Christmas, Nige­ria.

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