As Nigerians, we have the tendency of assessing growth and development on the basis of amenities and infrastructural improvement. Recently, corruption and security have formed the administrative agenda and has largely determined the scope of governance because clearly they are real issues troubling our nation.
Yes, hunger is part of the Nigeria’s reality today. And obviously, the PDP will not relent in making it a focal point of their message to the people. With Atiku being so rich and politically generous, Nigerians will naturally dance to his sweet music of ‘I will create jobs and make life better for you’. It looks like the catch is an elephant with enough meat to feed the entire village in a season of lack.
We are Nigerians, and sadly, the most of us are slaves to our voracious appetites. Our reasoning faculty is highly subdued by the hardship that has long kept us company and by the urgent need to survive. So, it’s difficult for us to see beyond that which appeals to our concrete sense; it’s difficult for us to decipher the abstraction of the necessary economic indices; matters of Human Development Index (HDI), GDP, Foreign reserve, diversification, individual productivity, exchange rate, GNP, inflation and deflation rate etc.
Development is not roads, buildings, etc. Those things only signify growth and not development. The quality of humans, the education standards and the values we hold and apply in our daily lives and to all sectors including the economy, agriculture, politics, religion etc., are what constitute development.
The fight against corruption returned dignity and value to labor. The culture of self sufficiency began to spread under Buhari but not without some harrowing backlash. People became prudent in spending; the pervading handout culture was drastically reduced, and Nigerians restricted themselves to procuring mainly what they need at the expense of what they want. A new but strange trend penetrated our socioeconomic life and this caused a culture shock to Nigerians; a situation that we simply tagged hardship and poverty.
It’s important we understand that a value system survives through continuity and sustainability. Very few persons in our country understand that the hardship of today is a sacrifice for a better economic culture that will turn citizens to responsible spenders and accountable officers. No revolution for mental reorientation in Nigeria can succeed with four years. What will happen if Atiku takes over is that Nigerians will be reprogrammed, the pint-sized value driven mentality that we have managed to gain will be lost, we shall experience a swift mental reverse. The Atiku regime will return the nation to such policies that will gratify the people through immediate benefits. And this is because Atiku’s and PDP’s quests are all about making real his desire to be president and for PDP to return to power. To excite the citizenry, they will abandon the principle of dignity in labour, and this will automatically return the people to the lifestyle of spending beyond their means; laziness and dependence will return as the people’s way of life.
Buhari hasn’t succeeded in tackling the security challenges in the north, and I think that it is because he doesn’t understand the nature of the terrorism. If he does, he would have communicated to Nigerians in clear terms. No sincere and comprehensive expo about Boko Haram has been communicated to the people. For instance, who is sponsoring Boko Haram? Which country is in aliance with the terrorist group? Through what channels do they get their fundings? What types of gun do they use, and in which country were the guns made? The US informs her citizens about these findings before going after Al-Qaeda, ISIS etc.
Atiku won’t also be able to change the security situation for good, because he too has no strategic understanding of the security situation. Unlike Buhari who is way into the war and has the chances of improving on the task, Atiku will be a fresh starter who will do a lot more to get hold of the situation. So, before Atiku makes promises of tackling security, let him tell us about the genesis of Boko Haram, the current sponsors, where they get their guns and money from and a little of how he intends to fight the terrorists. But I don’t think he will, because, just like other Nigerian leaders, he too is not coming with a purposeful governance. I think he just wants to be president. He will share money and make people laugh; but other than that, he brings nothing new to the table.
Buhari began a revolution in Nigeria. The successes made so far has not yet translated to Gross National Happiness, but I think that that revolution is still on course. The process should not be interrupted or truncated. Let’s not confuse the system by falling to the pressures and succumbing to the urges. The continuity and the smooth national progress that we desire will be guaranteed by a sportsmanlike, cordial and smooth regime transition.
It should be about Nigeria and not about Buhari or Atiku, APC or PDP. So, if one wins, all should govern.
Uche Woke writes from Port Harcourt.