By Dr. Prince Charles Dickson
When the glory of the “God” of good leadership departs, the people perish. Chris Kwaja PhD
So it’s now Value Added Tax VAT, everyone is an expert on taxation, the tempo has again increased on the need to restructure, we again are back to the fact we cannot continue like this, that all is not well, and that good governance is far from us. All the agitations is a mirror of the fact that citizenry look up to no one, to others it is Mazi Nnamdi Kalu, for others Sunday Igboho, there’s a cacophony of voices, on Monday it’s Miyetti Allah, Tuesday, Ortom, Wednesday, MURIC, Thursday CAN takes over. Wike is trending, there’s currently a tour ongoing in the UK with political gladiators visiting the personae.
For six years, we have moved from grazing, to RUGA, to Ranching, now it’s farm estates, we have dissipated energy discussing cows that we now act like one. With anti-grazing and grazing routes we are still a business running on deficit, no political will, no sense of leadership at getting anything done.
So, before the advent of this democracy many of us insisted that there was need for a Sovereign National Conference SNC, we faulted the structure, we saw the wind that today holds no good for us all, there was the school of thought that with years of military rule, all our ills would be cured with the coming of democracy. Alas, with our kind of democratic practice “the breeze has only exposed the buttocks of the fowl”. Yet of a truth between the Obasanjo and Goodluck era we did a caricature that is best captured in the manner below—
The National Conference by the Goodluck Jonathan administration had 94 delegates more than the number nominated into the defunct National Political Reform Conference, NPRC, convoked by former President Olusegun Obasanjo administration in 2005, it cost the Nigerian tax payers an extra N6 billion.
While 492 delegates were nominated to the National Conference, about 398 delegates attended Obasanjo’s NPRC.
About N7 billion was allocated to the Goodluck conference, the amount is about N6 billion more than the about N1 billion believed to have been spent on organizing and maintaining delegates to the defunct conference.
Two conferences, countless wasteful legislative houses from national to state level, a gathering of ex-this and ex-that. We still have not gotten it right, the god of good leadership simply has turned his back on us.
We do the same things repetitively and crave a difference. Nigerians do well everywhere but home, we debate over what term is best—bandits, terrorists, unknown gunmen, or gunmen unknown.
Jobless young population litter everywhere, the few jobs available are in the market sold by our senators, ministers, high ranking political and civil service office holders to the highest bidders, not minding that they are not qualified, leaving us to dry in the sun. Everywhere fire is on the mountain, the systems reek of incompetence, public offices are glitched on the premise of ethnicity and faith, nepotism is at an all time high for the benefit of the elite. Even the young ones with entrepreneurial spirit are frustrated with a system that stamps their ideas dead on arrival.
The Nigerian character has become passive, and I will explain our so-called federalism in this manner.
A few days ago, a mutual friend of ours spoke to a senior official at the World Health Organisation (WHO). He asked her if she knew how many people lived their lives on our planet without shoes. The reason he asked her this question is because he was wondering about Tungiasis, an ailment caused by the infection that results from the entry of a female sand flea (Tunga penetrans) into the skin. This problem has a variety of names in many different languages – from jigger or chigoe to niguá (Spanish) or bicho do pé (Portuguese) to funza (Kiswahili) or tukutuku (Zande). It is a terrible problem that disfigures the feet and makes mobility difficult. Shoes prevent these fleas from burrowing into the skin. She was not sure about the number but presumed that at least a billion people must live without shoes. Tungiasis is only one malady amongst many caused by a lack of access to shoes, with others such as Podoconiosis afflicting people who walk on red volcanic clay soil that inflames their feet in Central America, the African highlands, and India.
A billion people without shoes in the 21st century. Hundreds of millions of them are children, many unable to get to school for lack of shoes. Yet the global footwear industry produces 24.3 billion pairs of shoes a year, namely three pairs of shoes for every person on the planet. There is big money involved in the footwear industry: despite the COVID-19 crisis, the global market for shoes was estimated at $384.2 billion (2020), which is expected to grow to $440 billion (2026). The major consumers of shoes live in the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy; the major producers of shoes live in China, India, Brazil, Italy, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand, Turkey, and Spain. Many of those who produce shoes in a country like India can neither afford to buy the shoes that they produce nor even the cheapest flip flops available in the market. There are more than enough shoes in the market, but there is not enough money in the hands of hundreds of millions of people to buy these shoes. They work and produce, but they cannot afford to consume enough for a decent life.
Read the above again and you will understand why Nigeria cannot work, those that are responsible for the taxes, monies that fund the lifestyle of the elite and opulent politicians cannot enjoy good governance, the god of governance is not anywhere around. Our politicians promise footwear, but take away our legs, they promise hospitals, but cannot deliver on a local chemist, they promise roads, and transportation, but we get roads that are death traps, with boreholes on them, we build trains with locomotive engines when the world in Dubai is inducing rain, and Facebook and Rayban glasses have moved to the next phase while we discuss cow routes.
It is rocket science to boost the health care sector. To evolve a corrupt free social protection programme to low-income households in the form of cash transfers, electricity subsidies, and food aid, as well as expanding unemployment benefits to workers in the informal sector, and implementing tax deductions. Government and governance apologists keep pointing to boreholes in 2021, and motorcycles bought for security outfits, when will the god of good governance come back, it has since departed the land like the god of soccer, we are left fighting in all spheres for a god that we claim and believe is strong, yet we suffer and lack the basics, for no reason but that we are just one business and not a nation.
For how long, how long, is there change in the horizon, is there anything to hold on to, are we going to be knowledgeable at least this once to change the course of our destiny? The politics of Nigeria, the politics of deprivation, the future is bright and ours for the taking but then do we know or we want to leave it to them again— Only time will tell.
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