Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu: The Prospect Of a Renewed Hope (1) By Ussiju Medaner.

There is so much work needed to be done to return this country to the part of real growth, development, and national glory. Particularly after the streaks of external economic shocks and internal tensions and challenges, politically and otherwise. We might have wasted much time on trivialness, on politics and election campaigns and activities which are not unexpected in an evolving democracy such as ours, but finally, we have to and must come to this point, when they must all end, and developing the country becomes the one and only issue on the burner. That is where we are now, as we approach the eve of a new political dispensation - a new administration. 

The President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu must gear up to face the task of governance like never before. The country is at a very unique point in all of its existence; so much has gone wrong, so much preparations are ongoing and the need for an all-inclusive continuation as well as rejigging of several critical systems to align with global development pathways is imperative. The incoming government must as a matter of fact go outside the box to fix the many disjointed bones of the nation if we are going to witness any reasonable and appreciable growth and development in the nearest future under the administration. Politicking is over, it is about time to deliver the promised 'RENEWED HOPE.' 

Nigeria is now a big house divided against itself. Units working against the central growth objective of the country and all expect the center to grow on its own. The problem has finally become the representation of William Butler Yeats's poem: “The falcon cannot hear the falconer: Things fall apart, the center cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.” 

Yeats wrote the poem sometime in 1919 when Europe was in the grip of a bleak period. The institutions of the state were in dire distress and the fabric of the society was fraying. This is the very situation of the Nigeria nation from the outset of the current democratic dispensation in 1999, that is the Fourth Republic, and even before then. Everything is apparently out of control. We are in a nation where security has for a long time been taken from us and become a most sought-after commodity. Hardly will any of the sectors of the national fabric qualify as a working, healthy system. Education is moribund, health delivery is off, and despite all attempts, social services are far below the expected targets and standards. 

As worrisome as the aforementioned, what really should bother us are the unpatriotic efforts at degrading our institutions which in turn, work in tandem to prevent any sector from working. Rather than having institutions that pull together to ensure that our national systems work, we have for a while been parading institutions whose sole interest is self-preservation, and self-benefits and have continuously taken advantage of loopholes and mishaps in the national systems to service personal ambitions. We are in a country where every establishment looks out for itself and its glory. The media feasts on the failure of the society to sell, and is not really interested in contributing to the solution. In fact, it appears that it prefers the maintenance of the status quo to remain in business. The citizenry, not faring better, would take advantage of the system at any given opportunity to all self-end without regard for what is damaged as a result.  The list is endless; the entertainment industry, the religious establishments, and finally the machinery of governance, all, together, have failed to do their part to bring the nation to glory.

The media, expected to be the arbitrator of investigative journalism, has become exactly a garbage-in garbage-out institution; where everything goes once it serves the interest of those who call the shots. Unfortunately, those who call the shots are politicians who have transformed the media outlets into appendages of the political parties they support. Rather than objectively analysing issues and topics, and projecting genuine and authentic information to the Nigerian populace, they now project agendas, topics, and discussions that arbitrarily promote the acceptance of their choice individuals and groups while disparaging another. Arise Television is a good example of what is wrong with the media in Nigeria. Radio presenters across the country are now celebrities because they have provided worthy platforms for critics of the government and those who are bent on seeing nothing in the country. Call-in programs are now dominated by the same set of individuals who call in every day to oppose government actions and inactions. Broadcasting what is doing well in the country or any of its sectors has totally become alien to our system. You know, sometimes ago, on a radio program, one of the usual callers stated categorically that the Second Niger bridge is not an achievement, and so the ruling APC should stop parading it; and surprisingly, the caller received accolades from even the presenter and other regular callers on the program. 

The entertainment industry is a representation of everything wrong with Nigeria today. That institution is so critical to the development of every society where they operate; the Western world sold itself to us via everything inclusive of the films we watch from their stables, their ideologies, and other cultural elements. The Hollywood of the Americans, for decades, and till now, has given the world, and most especially the African world the doctored picture of the America they want us all to know.  We all grew up envying the system we watched in films and documentaries of those nations. Yet, our own, pride themselves in the ability to expose negativism around the subjects of our national existence. No thanks to our movie industry for persistently portraying us as black and evil; we are a rotten society of cumulatively non-working systems. Acceptance of the works of the industry seems to be measured on the extent to which it presents the ills of the country, whether real or fictional to the world. We are just about to watch another of such supposed 'great' works, “The Gangs of Lagos.”

Then, the citizens across the nation contribute in no small amount to the continuous rot of the national systems in all ways possible. It might appear to be the worst contribution to the national rot because it is the same people who cry for salvation and complain of non-actions and failure of all others that are often the actors behind the worst of attacks against the nation. I listened to a presentation delivered by the Russian President, Putin, some time ago. He was broadly referring to Africa, but the statement is the brief representation of the reality of the Nigerian state and people. Putin said, Africa is a cemetery for Africans, but I think the right update is to state that Nigeria is a cemetery for Nigerians. The rich, who get rich by all means, mostly by picketing the commonwealth of the nation, have their bank accounts in Switzerland and other safe havens of the world; away from where they cannot in any way contribute to the growth and development of the country where they got the money and wealth from which they have been stashing away. With medical facilities in the country left moribund by their very neglect,  this predatory elite with nothing much for the country but access to the nation's till traveling the globe for medical tourism, expending between $1.2 and $1.6 billion annually on medical treatment abroad, while ordinary citizens are denied access to even decent healthcare, how much more a quality one. Nigerian-made goods are way too substandard for their level and when the quality is high the price may not be affordable for the average citizens; so, many opt for cheap affordable Chinese products and other exotic imported products, robbing the country of the opportunity to build its manufacturing capacity to the benefit of the citizenry.

Members of the predatory elite in question own exotic buildings and properties in Europe, the Americas, and other choice parts of the globe; they bury stolen Nigeria money in offshore investment without benefits to Nigeria that lay the golden egg, that is, the source of their wealth. While our universities spend up to seven years to conclude a four-year course because of recurring strike actions, their children and wards enjoy the best of education from Europe and other developed blocks of the globe and return to take over from their predatory parents to continue the perennial predatory cycle of national abuse.

The only thing Nigeria as a country enjoys in its existence from this predatory class, is that they get buried on its ground when members of the category are dead. The rich; the average politician and all those in the corridors of power never have the intention nor the conviction to get Nigeria to function for Nigeria. It has not been to develop the potential of the country for the benefit of all; but rather for personal aggrandizement. That is the singular reason, our education sector, the national health program, the national social service development, transport infrastructure, power generation, and more of such, would remain challenged as they have been for decades, amid continuous plenty.

Unfortunately, the rest of the people, and the poor Nigerians, who should be angry with these men, and use whatever is in their possession to call them to some order, only would line up behind the same people, defending and picking their fights while they continue their very act of undermining our collective development. And that is fair enough, the poor are not in any way better in terms of morals; we are at all levels, as corrupt as the other person. It is either we have access to what to steal or we are working hard to get access to it sometime soon - and would even pray and fast for such amoral opportunities. 

Outside the gross corruption that has become endemic to us, we have also all become emotionally attached to our tribes, religions, and political leanings, all to the point that consideration for Nigeria is secondary to us; and truth and justice are meaningless to us by default. So much that we have all become liabilities to the country instead of assets, productive ones. Among us are the nascent virulent Obidients, predominantly from the Southeast and who have become bitter with the rest of the country because the consideration for their tribal man becoming the president is far more important than Nigeria having a competent, capable, and proven president; and we have the other zealots and bigots who would fight for religion ahead of fighting for the country.

And another worrisome concern from the angle of the people are those in the corridor of power and with greater affinity to the leaders; these people, who should use their positions of privilege to contribute to the delivery of good governance, have become more of sycophants who patronise the corridors of power for self-gratifications in terms of power and money. 

A case study is the current evolving reality around the President-elect; he has won the election, the mandate is already in the bag, and yet, there are those around him who are more interested in greasing their relevance, and have been busy gallivanting about expressing all sycophantic traits. While all hands should be on deck designing governance directions that will deliver the promised renewed hope to Nigerians, these men are busy with jamborees they claim is to protect the won mandate. Which mandate needs protection? An election that was won squarely; over eight million Nigerians out of the twenty-five million responsible voters who turn out ensure that, and as such, nothing is taking away the mandate. So, why the wasteful gyrations around the President-elect? Why the excessive diversion of attention from what is necessary by these men who are apparently bootlicking, until they get attention and government position? 

This is not what Nigerians need; and definitely, not what Nigeria needs. Daily hanging around select locations in Abuja claiming to protect the already given mandate, positioning to badmouth everyone around and close to the principal; taking advantage of proximity to assume kingmaker status, and attempting to take us back to what we are attempting to run away from; the era of unproductive cabals around the corridor of power, is definitely not what Nigerians want. 

These people are already proven failures from their antecedents; having occupied offices and currently holding offices they have not used in any way to positively influence and produce tangible values with multiplier effects, yet they are all hell-bent to call the shots in the incoming administration. It is important to say that these are men of little political value; they literally lost their constituencies to the opposition party as a direct offshoot of their being more interested in hanging around the principal than being on the field and getting results. 

Bent on self-serving, they would go to the extent of creating rifts to profit from, and it is happening already. We have begun to see submissions and write-ups claiming the vice president is planning against the President-elect. They will go further without relenting to ensure the 10th National Assembly is not at peace with the President-elect, and will bad-mouth everyone close to him and who could hold them back from having their desired influence.

These categories of people; the predatory elite, those hustling around the corridor of power, and imminent bootlickers in the next political dispensation are the very critical contributors to the rot of our systems and processes. The incoming administration must take a decisive detour to address the many challenges of Nigeria and Nigerians; but much more, the leadership must be alert enough to sieve out unproductive and unpatriotic sycophants who stick around the corridor of power, for the business as usual, for the fame that power gives and nothing for the country. 

Definitely, it is not working as usual. Institutional rebirths, citizens’ reconnection with the Nigeria project, and populating the new leadership circle with ready-to-serve, committed compatriots are imperatives the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu cannot afford to lose grip of, if the incoming administration is to steer the wheel of the country to the desired Eldorado. While the judgement and decision-making prowess of the President-elect remains top-notch from his antecedent, I will join others in adding my voice that he should underpromise as much as possible, offer succor to the polity, and strive to over-deliver This approach is to avoid building unsustainable high expectations as has been the case in the past and already brewing in the media. Finally, the President-elect would give Nigeria and Nigerians the highest honour of promoting meritocracy, pragmatism, and honesty as national values which was what many respected authorities concluded as the main drivers that catapulted Singapore from a wretched nation to one of the first ten advanced nations of the world. 


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