Bad Governance: aftermath in Nigeria
When Nigeria became a country free from colonial exploitation, spirits were high by people who witnessed the lowering of the Union Jack and the ascension of the Nigerian flag. It was a sight to behold according to late Pa Adugu Agnes, who was in service to the Native Authority as a soldier.
This was an indication that Nigeria was free from Socio-economic and political holdbacks. It was a sign that human capital and infrastructural slavery have ended.
The country had quite turbulent times in the years that will follow. Disunity along clannish and religious agenda usher in the Nigerian civil war sometimes refers to as the Biafran war, from 1967 to 1970, according to history records.
In between times, the attempt at a democratic setup was truncated in 1984 and 1993. These eras are popularly called the First and Second Republics.
The world pressured the vicious General Sani Abacha to handover to a democratic regime. His death in action at the Aso Rock ushered in the gentleman Minna General, Abdusalam Abubakar who facilitated the elections of 1998 to introduce the current democratic regime. From 1999 to date, civilian Presidents including Olusegun Obasanjo, Umar Musa Yar-Adua, Goodluck Jonathan and currently Muhammadu Buhari have occupied the Aso Rock Villa.
In these almost 24 years of uninterrupted democracy, there is the issue of bad governance lingering on the lips of many public affairs analysts who compares Nigeria to the Asian Tigers and China.
Wikipedia says “(t)he Four Asian Tigers (also known as the Four Asian Dragons or Four Little Dragons in Chinese and Korean) are the developed East Asian economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. Between the early 1960s and 1990s, they underwent rapid industrialization and maintained exceptionally high growth rates of more than 7 percent a year.”
Nigeria is still struggling between policy and implementation as a result of bad governance. The variables of bad governance include but not limited to corruption, poverty, underdevelopment, insecurity, unemployment and criminality.
For the sake of focus, let us concentrate on corruption and poverty in this discourse. This is like a tree with two nodes, corruption on one side and poverty on the other node. Both interrelated and interwoven.
Corruption is the major problem of Nigeria. With public officers not accounting for or mismanaging the commonwealth, the country has continued to breed social challenges. The issue of corruption is blamed on poor political will. With the rise in exchange rate with a dollar exchanging for 710 naira as at 31st July, 2023, many Nigerians (educated ones inclusive) live below one dollar per day. This is crazy for a country that is endowed with natural and human resources.
Corruption, also describes as a hydra-headed monster has grown from public spaces to the homes. It has become a tradition for many public office holders.
Attempts have been made to fight corruption in Nigeria. For instance, Obasanjo in his democratic outing reintroduced his War Against Indiscipline and Corruption, this time Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The efforts of the anti graft agency has been reduced to political witchhunt by many Nigerians. Looking at the cases persecuted on daily basis by the Commission, one sees some level of selective justice.
Nigerians voted Buhari in 2015 with the expectation that he could end insecurity and corruption as has always been his campaign slogan. One cannot explain why under his watch, very top and sensitive Government appointees are engulfed in multi million dollar graft accusations. Two examples are, his former SGF, Babachir Lawal and the estwhile Accountant General Ahmed Idris. These are direct appointees of the president that should think live outside the confines of corruption.
Corruption has bred poverty in the land. Majority of Nigerians are living in pain and penury. Yet, government appointees and their accomplices are syphoning millions of dollars.
There is suffering on the land. Recently, this has been compounded with insecurity challenges. To a point, even rural and agrarian farmers can no longer go about their business without fear of bandits, kidnappers or herdsmen invaders.
So much has been invested on the security architecture with not enough results to show for the spending.
The government of Buhari has promised to lift one hundred million Nigerians out of poverty but only time shall tell. At the moment, the situation is quite pathetic.
The way forward is to continue to speak to the consciences of every Nigerian. Corruption is evil and must be so interpreted. If government cannot punish corrupt offenders, then the general society should treat them with scorn and disdain. With advancement in technology, there should be no hiding place for anyone who steals and causes untold hardship on the masses.
Our kids must undergo serious moral lessons for cultural orientation. They must know from world go that corruption is a necessary evil that must be rooted out.
The nation is supreme; laws must be adhered to. The era of impunity replacing the law should be discarded.
People should know that before the encroachment of external culture, we had our values. We could not tolerate bad governance, we hated corruption and we fought hard to defeat poverty. The best way to go will be to look back and fix where we got it wrong. The past is deep. But we can at least, fix the future for generations after us. Posterity has a long eye!