The paradox of Nigeria is that it is a materially rich country whose millions of citizens live below the breadline. The vast wealth of the country circulates in the hands of corrupt political bourgeoisie, retired military officers, and business tycoons, who have link with people in the corridors of power. So we operate a capitalist system that is without a human face. The gap between the haves and the have-not is wide. And it is still bourgeoning.
Sadly, our country is trapped in the mud of economic backwardness and technological hiatus in spite of its humongous human population, vast land mass, many waters, and equable weather conditions. Nigeria is called the giant of Africa, but it’s a giant with feet of clay. That’s why Kwame Nkrumah, a socialist philosopher and former President of Ghana, called Nigeria a big for nothing country. It is a common knowledge that Nigeria has failed to realize its potentialities owing to our past inept and corrupt political leaderships and dictatorial military juntas.
In the last presidential election, Nigerians who were disillusioned and disaffected with the bumbling political leadership of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan cast their lot with Rtd. General Muhammadu Buhari. Our electing him the president of Nigeria was informed by our knowledge and awareness that he has great aversion to corruption.
While on the stump, he promised to fix Nigeria’s multifarious and hydra-headed problems like corruption, economic problem, infrastructural rot, Boko Haram insurgency, and others.
But he seems to be overwhelmed by the complexity and enormity of our national problems. A politician jostling for a high political office ought to have a programme of actions ready, which he would implement if he comes into power. In Britain and America, their newly elected leaders named members of their cabinets soon after being elected into offices. But that’s not the case with Buhari. A discombobulated man, his search for people that would fill his cabinet could be likened to looking for a needle in a haystack. It took him eon period to form his cabinet. And members of his cabinet are just like square pegs in round holes.
But President Buhari appears to be an ethnic chauvinist and religious bigot, who sets store by party loyalty, ethnicity, and religion. That is why his war against graft is biased in favour of members of the ruling APC party. Some politicians who held high political posts in the past PDP-led political administration are standing trials for corruption while some APC big guns , who are accused of perpetrating corrupt deeds, have not being arraigned. The fight against graft is gaining traction, however. And stupendous sums of money had been recovered from corrupt politicians. But is the recovered money injected into our wobbling and comatose economy to revive it?
It’s an indisputable fact that Buhari’s economic policies, actions, and inactions are some of the reasons why Nigeria’s economy has relapsed into recession. As Nigerian’s economy sinks deeper and deeper into recession, he has continued to heap blames on the immediate past civilian administration for our economic woes. Bashing Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has become his pastime. Trying times like we are in today’s Nigeria ought to bring out the leadership qualities inherent in President Muhammadu Buhari.
More so, Nigerians are known and reputed for their long-suffering, forbearance, and love of life while encountering excruciating economic hardship and other tribulations. But today the story has changed. They are embracing the hara-kiri option. Our daily national newspapers are always filled with grisly tales and gory pictures of people who committed suicide because they couldn’t cope with the vicissitudes of life.
Are Nigerians not seized with feelings of hopelessness and disillusionment now? Can anybody glimpse a light at the end of the tunnel? President Buhari should cease whining about the financial recklessness and imprudence of Dr. Jonathan’s administration and execute policies that can pull Nigeria out of this economic recession and quagmire. He should redeem his image by engaging in deeds that should rekindle hope in our hearts.
Okoye writes from Uruowulu-Obosi, Anambra State.