• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

APC and the elusive change

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It is not unknown to us that national disunity caused by ethnic hatred existing among us and our past egregious military and civilian regimes is linked to our country’s underdevelopment. A country driven by disunity cannot attain great heights in the areas of technological and economic development as disunity is a disincentive to national development. In some heterogeneous countries, ethnic disunity preceded civil wars. Ethnic hatred, which is at the root of our national disunity, caused the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War, which raged between 1967 and 1970. Till now, the diverse ethnic groups that make up our country view one another with suspicion and hatred.

It is unfortunate that past military and civilian leaders failed to entrench national cohesion and unity in Nigeria. Such national bodies and organisations as the NYSC and unity schools that were established as tools for entrenching national unity failed to achieve the goals for which they were set up. Our brief stay in places other than our tribal homeland during our mandatory NYSC programmes failed to disabuse our minds of ethnic prejudice and sentiments and pre-conceived notions about other ethnic groups. Sadly, now we are still slaves to ethnic sentiments.

Not only did our leaders fail to entrench unity among us, which is a prerequisite for national development, they couldn’t take Nigeria out of the technological and economic woods in spite of our abundant human and material resources. Leaders envision and imagine what they would like their countries to look like. It takes visionary and patriotic leaders to reshape a country and take it to a great height. A country cannot rise above the dreams and visions of its national leaders. Since we achieved political sovereignty in 1960, the best politicians who possess probity and leadership qualities have not led Nigeria. In fact, until 1999, military regimes interspersed with civilian ones regarding the leadership of Nigeria. It was the military that caused our economic stagnation and technological backwardness.

In our chequered political annals, Goodluck Jonathan has remained the first and only incumbent president to lose a presidential re-election bid. His acceptance of his electoral loss prevented Nigeria from sliding into a bloody political apocalypse. His vanquisher, President Muhammadu Buhari, rode to victory on the coat-tail of his probity, disdain for dishonest behaviour, and his campaign mantra of change. As he is a martinet for good behaviour, not a few Nigerians believe him to be the messiah that will salvage Nigeria from the cesspit of underdevelopment.

Days have morphed to weeks, weeks to months, but the change he promised to bring to us hasn’t dawned in our political polity. So, is he the messiah that will effect redemption in our country? Since he became our civilian president after making futile efforts to rule us in the past, nothing has changed in our country. Some states in the federation owe workers in their employ backlog of salaries.  Workers in the employ of the federal government are threatened with sack, when the issue of youth unemployment hasn’t been holistically addressed.

More so, cases of insecurity of lives and property, insurgency and crimes are still with us. Our media outlets are awash with sordid tales about trigger-happy policemen that trained their guns on defenceless citizens. Teenage female insurgents indoctrinated with the morbid philosophy of martyrdom do detonate bombs in public places with its devastating effects.  No country is without crime; however, our government should make efforts to guarantee the safety of our lives and property.  We are not unaware that the absence of crimes and anarchic situation in a country will serve as a fillip to its developmental initiatives.

But sustainable development can exist only in countries without political conflicts. Recently, a wave of ethnic chauvinism swept through the South-East, which is inhabited by the Igbo people. Their feelings of discontentment and the detention of Nnamdi Kanu, the director of Radio Biafra, sparked off protests by Igbo youths who are sympathetic to the idea of Biafra’s attainment of self-rule. Their protests, which paralyzed economic activities in the South-East for some days, caused loss of human lives and the destruction of property.

Unexpectedly, the Buhari administration ignored the court rulings and pronouncements regarding the cases of Nnamdi Kanu and Dasuki. So have we regressed to the era of draconian laws and autocratic rule? We practise federalism, whose features include the existence of the separation of power. The principle of separation of power makes for checks and balances which eradicate tyrannical rule in a country.

But President Buhari’s sanctimoniousness, moral priggishness and messianic complex are reasons why he has failed to abide by democratic ethos. Is it appropriate for him to set aside and sidestep the constitutional provisions and norms in his quest to rid Nigeria of corruption and keep the country from disintegrating?

Nations are built on their leaders’ adherence to their constitutions. It makes the citizens repose trust and confidence in the government. And it obviates the citizens’ desire to seek recourse to self-help actions and protests since they’re not in doubt that their rights and liberties are guaranteed in the country.

We are still waiting for Buhari’s miracle and the change he promised to effect among us.

Chiedu Uche Okoye

Okoye writes from Uruowulu-Obosi, Anambra State.