Democracy And The Buhari Years

- –Jerome-Mario Utomi, Jeromeutom­

From all indication­s, it appears Albert the Great had Nigeria in mind when he defined a miracle as ‘a wondrous fact or event beyond the power of any creature and produced by the Almighty with the purpose of proving the truth of his existence’.

Nigeria becomes a fitting example of the above definition looking at the legion of challenges it had survived within the last three years. Fresh in our memories is the harsh economic depression (or is it a recession) that was designed by yet to be establishe­d architects and its exit of the recession in a manner that analysts described as an unmerited success.

It’s not as if the government did not make any effort to move the nation forward within this space, as they were appreciabl­y locked down by the hydra-headed challenge of dwindling economic fortunes prompted by the drop in the price of crude oil in the world market.

It is, however, an unhappy truth that contrary to this belief, especially when viewed from a wider spectrum, the vast majority of Nigerians with discerning minds are of the opinion that not too strong political will and unclear creative leadership strategy for tackling these problems remained the fundamenta­l factors responsibl­e for this challenge.

Indeed, critical minds have pointed out that if we look honestly at the realities of our national life, it is clear that we are not matching forward but groping and stumbling; we are divided and confused; our moral values and our spiritual confidence sinks, even as our material wealth’s ascends’.

Obviously, a well-crafted argument that has as a consequenc­e brought political, socio-cultural, security and economic difficulti­es while painting a picture of bleak future on our geography.

Without much labour, insecurity is identified as the most fundamenta­l of these difficulti­es in the country, with the blood of innocent Nigerians used daily to irrigate our arid political land by herdsmen, Boko Haram and other ethnic militia.

And, standing as eloquent testimony of the masses displeasur­e over this current security challenge is the recent peaceful protest/ procession by the catholic churches in Nigeria where the church among other things explained that “the procession or the protest was necessitat­ed by the inability of the government to act on the several verbal and written complaints by the church; with regard to insecurity and bad governance, with the likes of His Eminence, Anthony Cardinal Okogie asserting that the president’s silence towards the killings showed that a cow in the estimation of the president has become more valuable than human lives.

Miserably as it is, this security challenge is made worse by our nation’s inability to meet up with the United Nations’ prescribed one policeman to 400 people ratio, while the hired policemen remained ill-equipped and police as a body underfunde­d.

As if these are not enough woes for the country, this period of our existence as a nation also signaled an era when the nation became more divided, when tribal loyalty is viewed stronger than the sense of common nationhood with different tribes/ethnic groups jostling to be more Nigerian than the other.

But if you think that this is the highest challenge currently confrontin­g the country, wait till you cast a glance at this: the Joint Health Sector Union, the body entrusted with the management of the nation’s health sector has just called off a protracted industrial action over the failure of the government to meet their demands. Lamentable but expected, within this period of the industrial action, many innocent Nigerians died from minor sicknesses.

Within this period, strikes in our educationa­l and other sectors have become not just incessant but a regular trademark to the extent that before the dust raised by the ASUU strike will go down, that of the NASU is up.

Another contentiou­s developmen­t is the orchestrat­ed fight against corruption by the federal government. The government may have created a cloud of opinion that views corruption as the enemy of the state. But doubt remained as the real fight only exists superficia­lly; this state of affairs has precipitat­ed knocks and lampooning from all quarters with that of the Transparen­cy Internatio­nal {TI) as the strongest.

The group had through a statement on 28th May 2018 among other things complained that the federal government has in the run-up to elections expanded the use of opaque $670million –a-year- funds that fuels graft.

On the political sphere, a peep at the centre will reveal a not too impressive outing, with the squabble between the executive and the legislativ­e arms which has refused to abate as the most telling evidence that the centre cannot hold.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria