Has the House Fallen?
Samuel Peter Aruwan
What is it that one will write, that has not been written by better enlighten and knowledgeable Nigerians than my humble self? What is it to talk about that has not been said or still being said? As things are presently in the society it is only an insane and selfish person would admit that things are getting better are in this Nigeria. The government is not conscious of the problems facing the nation. Good governance is all about governing the sate according to the wishes of the people. Responsible and truly elected peoples’ government must have the interest of the citizenry at heart and struggle to make life a bit better and meaningful for the populace. Government as an institution that derives its mantle of leadership from the people, must provide a sound, quality and affordable education for the growth, development and stability of the country. And a sufficient and quality health delivery system should also be their priority including providing affordable home for the people, good network of roads, provision employment opportunities, security, and prompt payment of salaries and pension benefits. In addition, a responsible government must invest in human development to improve the people’s standard of living. It is only when government places premium on the lives of the citizens that the people could e mbrace the policies of the government.
But his has not been possible in Nigeria since the present Chief Obasanjo administration. Time without number Chief Obasanjo is into so many cartels, which he calls reforms. That has not yielded any benefit to the masses in the society. But we cannot envisage anything good than the retrogressive hardship that is that sending Nigerians to their early graves. His charade of international relations has not been able to improve the image of Nigeria. Common sense shows that international relations should be an avenue to promote Nigeria’s interest by creating situations that would be beneficial for the country economically, politically and socially.
Chief Obasanjo’s globetrotting has not attracted foreign investors to Nigeria. For this, there is no point wasting our resources on the fruitless venture; he should concentrate on improving the security and stability of the nation, which could lure investors to the nation. As mentioned, after traveling around the world for 6 years, there is nothing on the ground to show for it. Chief Obasanjo cannot lead the global government with his misplaced optimism about debt cancellation when the World Bank’s report has indicated that prominent Nigerians have pilled Nigerian monies outside the shores. If we would say that how he has been going about the business of getting more aids for the country, w hy are human misery increasing in the society? If really he knows what he is doing the recent American reports that says our days are numbered should teaches him a lesson. How long would things continue this way? Not quite long ago Senegalese President Wade did say that the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) is a waste of time and resources. But Chief Obasanjo said it is an achievement and progress. And this sounds funny that the man who is the Chair of African Union is leading a nation whose people is drifting and perishing by the day. His commitment to international community is synonymous to a man whose family is suffering of hunger and starvation, but has not cared to feed and cater for them. This foolishness appears the case with our leaders today. They feed the world, but many Nigerians go to bed hungry.
They (and their herd of cronies) have failed Nigeria. During the 1999 and 2003 electioneering campaign they promised the people that there would be free education, free health system, jobs opportunities, among others, but they have failed to deliver their promises. How would the government convince Nigerians to listen to them in future? Has a that cannot feed its people not failed?
The public sector has collapsed. During my years in schools I was taught that public corporations were not established for profits makings – that they were to provide essentials services to the citizens at affordable rates. The various sections of the constitution made it clear that it is the duty of the state to provide good economic atmosphere (Chapter II section 16-18). But the government is not being answerable to the plight of the people. Rather it seems to have introduced a system of “Slavery” that is branded it privatization, commercialization and deregulation. They said that the system is the best - that it would bring efficiencies and stable good economic environment. This system, according to a wise old man, is a process through which government will surrender al l public corporations in the hands of the few rich private firms and individuals. Is that not a violation of the constitution? Who are the individuals that are buying Nigeria? Are they not the same individuals that have Nigerian resources deposited elsewhere to the detriment of Nigerians? In a country where about 75 percent are living in abject poverty, where crime and rituals are daily rising? One still wonders how Nigerians would survive this round of internal imperialism where few Nigerian have hijacked the resources in Nigerian.
Our tertiary institutions that have starved of funds have been mandated to be responsible for about twenty percent of its fund to supplement government allocations. This has now caused some schools to increase their tuition fees beyond the reach students from poor families. Worse still many retirees are dying in numbers while waiting to collect their peanut pensions. What would then be the fate of students from such families? Those students that cannot afford the high fees would indulge in crime or resort to prostitution to raise the money to go to school. This is too bad for the nation. And there seems to be no respite in sight. Let’s collectively come up with better solution to Nigeria’s problems! Our refineries are not working. A focused government would have been interested in fixing the refineries so as to meet up with the capacity needed for domestic use. But the government is only interested in privatizing them and import petroleum products, which in return will be re-sell to Nigerians at exorbitant rates. One may conclude, rightly, that it is a plan not to repair the refineries, so as to continue exploiting the masses with the unending increase in the price petroleum products. One still imagines where the sacked workers of these privatized corporations would go? The disengaged able men and women from their services would increase the number of the unemployed and family burdens that accompany joblessness.
Day in day out, we are watching our public hospitals becoming death centers. Due to lack of adequate facilities lives are not saved in the hospitals. Qualified personnel are not on seat to handle complicated health cases. Good medical attention can only be sought at foreign and private hospitals - it is a no go area for the poor. Despite all the government propaganda, that all is well with our health sector malaria, cancer, ulcer, HIV/AIDS, maternity deaths, among others ailments, are on the increase. During the recent nation wide medical Doctors strike in the health sector of the country about 30, 000 Nigerians were reported dead in various hospitals in the nation.
The rate of youth unemployment is pathetic. The youths that spend nearly ten years pursuing a four years course are left in miseries and they cannot find employment. They kept looking for jobs that are not there; some of those that were invited to interviews could be told that they are over-qualified. Many them are forced to give bribe to the gods at the top before they are hired. With this merit, competency and good performance have been compromised. Where is the nation are going with this! Corruption is the name!
A president that is boring the people with the good news about war on corruption has corruption brewing is right there in the presidency. Corruption has even gotten a permanent seat. Look at the way and manner the President was fraudulently “selected” along with other people in government. The court nullification of elections in Ogun State and the godfather and godson governor hullabaloo in Anambra State, among other areas, are cases in point. Each time courageous Nigerians write the President over the state of the nation, they are nearly taken to abattoir for butchering or openl y insulted and harassed – from Abubakar Dangiwa Umar to Prof Chinua Achebe and Chief Audu Ogbeh. Those people feeding fat on the mess in the society sees no reason to challenge the president - they are blind in defending the president, not knowing that Chief Obasanjo’s pollicies that are hurting Nigerians cannot be covered.
What surprised me was when one of the aids said Prof. Achebe has lost contact with home. He noted that Achebe was blind to the tremendous changes in the country. But the standard of living of Nigerians is going down by the day. There no electricity to sustain the few industries in the country, no security for peace and protections for the populace who are terrorized by highly equipped armed robbers. There are good roads and to reduce rampant road accidents that have resulted in many deaths and deformities. And poverty is on the increase. How does one convince us, that things are getting better? How does one argue that we are third, if not first, in world in corruption index?
We have capable hands in Nigeria to do better job of transforming the present system (the likes of Prof. Pat Utomi and host of others at home). But the administration is wasting our meager resources in hiring Nigerian in the Diaspora and paying them in hard currency. One does not mean that those in the Diaspora should not be welcome to serve, but not to the total impoverishment of the nation.
Let Chief Obasanjo show Nigerians that he has no hidden agenda to mortgage the nation to another round of modern day slavery and internal imperialism. Is the President telling Nigerians that the reform is how the so-called developed world got to where they are today? Is the privatization and deregulation in America and Britain the same with what he has introduced in Nigeria? Perception in life as, Audu Ogbeh, said is reality, lets all accept that there is no leadership in Nigeria, for the house called Nigeria seems to have fallen. We need work harder to re-build on a solid foundation - with fresh building tools and not with the old blocks and porous soil that has caused the old house to fall.
A big thanks you to all that still shelter and accommodate me at a time my idea was becoming troublesome and Marxist, as they do say. Whatever you guys call or address me, I have no regret. I am ready to sacrifice body and soul for the good of our country.