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A decade of failure

The last one decade of civil rule in Nigeria saw so much revenue that the entire period of all the past military and civil regimes…

The last one decade of civil rule in Nigeria saw so much revenue that the entire period of all the past military and civil regimes between 1960 and 1999 (33years) put together did not see. Yet, at no time in the history of the country did Nigerians experience poverty, disease, poor quality education, bad roads, failed rail system and a collapsed power sector than the period government is urging Nigerians to commemorate. We consider the recent declaration by the National Coordinator of the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) that 74million Nigerians are poor, as alarming. The Universal Basic Education UBE) which was launched on September 30, 1999 at Sokoto by former President Obasanjo was planned to provide not just compulsory, but also, free education at the basic level (primary through junior secondary). A visit to any public school in the country including those that are just few kilometers outside Abuja city would persuade you to believe that basic education is still far from being free. Classrooms are overcrowded; pupils sit on bare floors; parents provide every learning material (including chalks in many cases). Well, if government’s failure to provide good governance is a dividend of democracy, we ask Nigerians to celebrate!

Some of the wondrous dimensions typical of the political process that obtains in Nigeria today are things that we neither saw nor dreamt of. They are behaviors that were completely unheard of in our past democratic experience during the first, second and third republics. The blatant fashion of thuggery, the wild style of stuffing and snatching of ballot boxes, high-level political brigandage, incredible manipulation of election results, high-priced imposition of unpopular candidates, fraudulent declaration of election results, unrepentant betrayal of the electorate, unethical defection from one party to another, and the playing of garrison politics; are new phenomena introduced by the wicked brand of contemporary Nigerian politicians. Well, if the re-run of gubernatorial elections in six states of the federation and the return of same governors under controversial circumstances, implies the Nigerian definition of free and fair elections; then, Nigerians may wish to celebrate!

The judiciary too, which expectedly should monitor and ensure that electoral offences are duly penalized, has not really helped matters. Nigerians completely lost confidence in the judiciary when the Supreme Court in a judgment over the 2007 presidential election considered as free and fair the same election which local and foreign observers unanimously described as extra-ordinarily fraudulent. If credibility is no longer a quality required of a free and fair election; then, Nigerians have a cause to celebrate!

Spree corruption has been the order of the present democratic dispensation. There is no week that the media will not carry news or reports about the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arresting or prosecuting a public officer. Nearly every ministry including education, health, works, and power has been visited by the peril of corrupt public officers. The suspension of local government chairmen in different states of the country for financial misconduct is no longer news. The monster called corruption seems for now to be without borders. Just recently, the Director of Operations at the EFCC headquarters was redeployed back to the Nigeria Police Force for an alleged involvement in an examination malpractice as a law student at the University of Abuja. Where for Allah’s sake, are we heading for in Nigeria?

Prevailing unfortunate circumstances are compelling Nigerians to look back at past regimes (including military rules) with nostalgia. We remind Nigerian leaders that their failure to provide good leadership qualifies them to be part of those described in Qur’an 2:16 as people “…who have bartered guidance for error…” and have lost true direction. Most of our leaders today are no more than pure hypocrites who when they speak, lie; when they make promises, fulfill not; and when entrusted with anything, betray. Allah (SWT) warns in Qur’an 9:68 “God hath promised the hypocrites men and women, and the rejecters of faith, the fire of Hell: therein shall they dwell: sufficient is it for them: For them is the curse of Allah and an enduring punishment”. May Allah save us from the mischief of “ministers” that would speak on the Hausa BBC service, against universal truth and common good of Nigerians in order to celebrate “democracy day”. May Allah (SWT) touch the hearts of our leaders with concern for the welfare of ordinary citizens so that failure would not be institutionalized for merriment, amin.