I am missing proper discussions and debates on the economy, unemployment, insecurity, migration, social injustice, inequality, education, health, population growth, science, technology and a holistic approach to reducing intellectual and material poverty in Nigeria.
Disgraceful And Shallow Campaigns (Part 1)
By Adeola Aderounmu
The two major political parties in Nigeria ought to be ashamed of their presidential election campaigns so far.
I have seen and listened to many political campaigns in Nigeria and this year’s campaign is the worst ever.
The bigger culprit here is the lazy ruling party popularly called PDP. A ruling party is supposed to be flaunting its achievements while making concrete plans for the future. But here we have a party that is like a sinking ship ridiculously campaigning like it is looking for power for the first time.
The PDP started a mudslinging campaign and took it too far as the election date approaches. No doubt the indolent and largely purposeless government led by Mr. Goodluck Jonathan is probably the most corrupt government in the world today. The cluelessness of Jonathan has shown no limit on his campaign trail.
Sadly too the APC could not hold back and some of its agents have produced a lot of campaign videos that still does not prove how the APC intend to be the change that Nigeria and Nigerians deserve. With several dropouts and losers from the other political parties flocking to APC, it is hard to see any change in sight.
It appears the change people are clamoring for is just to get a clueless government out of the way. But the opposition can do better.
It is about 2 weeks to the presidential election and Nigerians are yet to be told how the economy will be boosted in the face of the global decline in the price of crude oil. Jonathan made more than 200 promises during the 2010/2011 campaign year. Almost all of them were thrashed as soon as he began to drink at the presidential villa.
The economy has suffered and massive funds have been looted from the treasuries under the supervision of Goodluck Jonathan, his central bank governors and his minister of finance. This stealing and looting predate Jonathan definitely.
Indeed, I stand on the side of those who reject the World Bank report or the CNN evaluation of Nigerian economy. More Nigerians have slipped into the poverty zone and more Nigerians are unemployed and several thousands of them were even duped by Mr. Jonathan and Mr. Abba Moro. A few were killed during the duping process otherwise known as the Immigration employment scam.
A way to measure a growing economy will be making good use of the employment indices, the quality of life of majority of the citizens and the overall decline in the percentage of people living from hand to mouth among other factors.
Until these begin to happen one cannot appreciate economic growth on paper or assume that the prosperity of those who buy jets from looted crude oil proceeds represents the growth of a country. It is wickedness to summarize the well-being of 1% of Nigerians who own 80% of the country’s wealth as the mark of an economy that is growing.
The PDP we now know thrives on deceit and lies. The APC ought to seize the opportunity and present a formidable option on the economic front. It is not enough to call the PDP corrupt because the APC is also loaded with corrupt politicians as well as political prostitutes.
Political campaign in Nigeria is mostly gibberish, if not outright rubbish.
In actual fact what ought to be sold during this season of campaign is what the political parties stand for and not just what Jonathan or Buhari are as individuals. On personality levels, Nigerians deserve better than a drunkard or a dictator.
Indeed the personality of the persons leading a political group is important but the fundamental issues that govern the operations, prospects and plans of the political parties for the country should be paramount.
For life can come with unexpected situations. If Jonathan or Buhari for one reason or the other become unfit or unwell to stand for elections on February 14, it is the party’s politics that should bear on the electorates and not just the personality of the number one person in line to the presidency. It’s a huge risky to put persons before institutions.
Therefore rather than selling people during elections, it would have been nice to tell how the two political parties intend to further diversify the Nigerian economy. How do they intend to stop the Chinese from looting and carting away Nigeria’s precious mineral resources?
How do they intend to stop bringing criminals as ministers who will sell the treasuries of the land for a token that they even loot? How does APC or PDP intend to break this jinx that has turned the blessings of Nigerians into curses?
Where are the blueprints on how to help the North to recover its groundnut pyramids? How will Western Nigeria become the hub for cocoa and oil palm production again so that exportation can improve and promote the economy?
What about cassava in the East? Where can l go to read about the plans that the political parties have made in this respect? Why should almost everything be based on crude oil?
Which recordings from any of the campaign trail can I watch to see and hear Buhari’s plan according to the APC manifesto? All the posters about free food, free education and sudden miracles manufactured by internet warriors on behalf of the APC don’t do it.
Where can I access the blueprint that lazy and corrupt Jonathan has been trying hard to implement for the past 6 years?
Have I missed the discussion on cutting executive recklessness and financial wastages?
Common and ordinary citizens are to survive on a meagre monthly minimum wage of N18 000 per month. That disgraceful amount is a clear contradiction to what a growing economy would pay her citizens.
Ideally such an amount of money is what a family of four can budget to spend in a day if the costs of feeding, transportation, clothing and leisure activities are taken into consideration.
More than 90% of Nigerians live below the poverty level. The people may be resilient but that does not take away the permanent life of poverty that they are confined to.
In the same country some heartless people called politicians earn the biggest political salaries in the world. A lot of unnecessary funds and bonuses are allocated to Nigerian politicians at the local, state and federal levels that amount to direct stealing and official looting of the treasury.
To make the matter worse Nigerian politicians are mostly crooks still finding other means to award contracts, steal contract funds, set up committees upon committees and all sorts of malicious mechanisms aimed solely for self-enrichment.
Both the PDP and the APC have not mentioned how to cut on the financial wastages and leakages across all tiers of governance.
How do they want to make the take home pay of the politicians comparable to the salaries of ordinary Nigerians? Or how do they want to ensure that Nigerians who are employed or unemployed do not become criminals because they want to make ends meet? In short, how do the political parties intend to bridge this extreme social and economic injustice?
One area of public service in the hands of the mafia in Nigeria is the energy sector. The federal government has failed woefully to provide constant power supply in Nigeria.
Nigeria is reputed to have the worst power supply system in the world. Goodluck Jonathan stated clearly that nobody should take him seriously for re-election in 2015 if he cannot provide electricity after 4 years.
The energy sector is just one out of the several unfulfilled promises. Yet Mr. Jonathan finds the courage to live with this shame and still go around making more promises. What has happened to men who keep their words?
Mr. Jonathan lied to the world through the CNN that electricity has improved in Lagos and other cities across Nigeria. What a guy!
The PDP as a political party in charge of governance since 1999 when pseudo-democracy was returned to Nigeria has failed in this aspect. Under Obasanjo, Yar Adua and Jonathan several billions of naira have been looted with no results to show. Nigeria remains the darkest country in the world.
No arrests have been made for the monies that disappeared under Obasanjo and Jonathan which leaves both rulers as partners in crimes against the people of Nigeria.
The Ministry of Finance cannot account for the funds pumped into this adventure that yield no light. Instead more darkness came to Nigeria and the sales of generators by the energy mafia group of companies continue to skyrocket.
The PDP does not need to present any new plan on energy and power generation because for 16 years all its plans have produced more darkness than light.
The APC has refused to provide a clear blueprint on how it intends to rectify this nonsense. No one knows how APC intend to transform the darkness in Nigeria to light. If it is on paper, l think people will like to hear it at a campaign by the person in charge of energy development in the APC camp.
What about security? The PDP government is not discussing much about security on its campaign trail because Goodluck Jonathan the lazy president has failed woefully. His army is in a tattered form. One wonders who is in control of the army. Is it Boko Haram or Olukayode or Jonathan?
But security is a big deal. Insecurity usually ends with civil war. By now 15% of Nigerian territory is in the hands of terrorists. This is shameful and scandalous!
Terrorists have bloomed under Goodluck Jonathan. In the beginning he was mouthy and promised to root them out because he said they are part of his government. Four years on Goodluck Jonathan continued to dine and wine with Boko Haram members in his government.
The PDP government has stated that the opposition, the APC, is behind the terror group based in Northern Nigeria. This statement is careless and senseless because what good governments do around the world is to arrest terrorists and their sponsors. After all these allegations against the opposition Goodluck Jonathan has not made or ordered any arrest within the opposition camp.
Ali Modu Sheriff is known all over the world to have massively sponsored Boko Haram especially during the 2003 elections. He openly made use of Boko Haram to suppress and oppress his opponents while vying for the governorship office. Ali Modu Sheriff is one of Jonathan’s best friends.
Without dwelling much on the terrorists in the Niger Delta creeks, isn’t it astonishing that they are also mostly friends of Mr. Goodluck Jonathan?
Anyway, the APC is boasting that it will stop Boko Haram. How? What will the APC do differently? By the way that brings a curious issue to the front. When the opposition says that it has the solutions to Boko Haram’s war, why have the solutions not be presented at the national assembly by APC legislators, even if the presentation is not made public for security reasons?
What I meant is that the opposition in a normal society is also part of governance and where the ruling party fails; the oppositions can apply their options through debate and national assembly decisions. The ruling government and the opposition parties are always supposed to work together. But Nigeria is no ordinary country where the winner takes it all.
Today, Nigeria is not a secured country and anybody can be killed or blown to pieces by suicide bombers or shot by Boko Haram group that continue to attack military installations, different residential communities, churches, mosques and schools.
The electorates should have asked the APC how it would tackle the menace of Boko Haram. They should ask whether these strategies have been presented to the ruling party before the situation deteriorated to what it looks like today.
Security of life and property is part of the issues for campaigns or plane level debates. Like power supply, the issue of security is also important when looking at the factors that affect the economic growth of a country.
Nigeria faces more challenges in the days ahead….(To be continued)