BusinessDay

Nigeria’s shrinking governance amid maximum politicking

To say that governance is on holiday in Nigeria today is to understate it. Unlike what we have ever seen in the history of government and politics in this country, governance has paled into nothingness on the altar of maximum politicking and electioneering well ahead of the umpire’s whistle.

Anywhere in the world, whenever electioneering trumps governance, the economy suffers and that is the story in Nigeria today. Here is a country where the simple government business of protecting lives and property has been left to the vultures.

Nigerians now see themselves as endangered species and that is indisputable given the events of the moment where hunger has become a native in many homes; poverty has become a by-word for most families and human life has become cheaper than vegetables and is being destroyed with impunity.

This, to us, is the height of insensitivity and executive arrogance that have been the root cause of leadership failure in the country and the attendant economic and political underdevelopment

Inflation has also become the bull in a China shop simply because both fiscal and monetary authorities are now distracted with preparations for the 2023 elections. Even the chief servant at the country’s apex bank has earlier shown interest and readiness to throw his hat in the ring for political contestation.

Until recently, following public outcry, a number of key members of President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet were engrossed in electioneering, yet they retained their jobs to the detriment of an economy that is still reeling from the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.

President Buhari’s government has up to one year to go, yet many of his cabinet members are no longer interested in government business as they are busy politicking to either succeed him or occupy other political offices come May 2023.

Presently, Rotimi Amaechi (minister of transportation), Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba (minister of state for education), Ogbonnaya Onu (minister of science and technology), and vice president, Yemi Osinbajo are in the race for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Chris Nigige (minister of labour and employment); Godswill Akpabio (minister of Niger Delta affairs), and Timipre Sylva (minister of state for petroleum resources) were also in the race until their jobs were threatened and they subsequently chickened out.

Besides the president’s ministers, there are heads of Federal Government agencies who are also eyeing elective positions. Bashir Yusuf Jamoh, director-general, Nigerian Maritime Safety and Administration Agency (NIMASA), for instance, is alleged to be consulting for the Kaduna State governorship seat.

Abubakar Malami, the country’s attorney-general and minister of justice, has also declared interest for the governorship seat in his home state, Kebbi.

Needless to say that, in many ways, the political ambition of these public servants is distracting administrative and economic activities of most ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government .

It is sad to note that major business decisions in key parastatals such as Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and National Universities Commission (NUC) are suffering uncertainties because the supervising minister is engrossed with politicking.

Unperturbed by the social upheaval and pressure the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike is piling on household incomes and stability, Buhari’s ministers are carrying on with politicking as if all is well with Nigeria.

Read also: Navigating the current national economy as an average Nigerian

This, to us, is the height of insensitivity and executive arrogance that have been the root cause of leadership failure in the country and the attendant economic and political underdevelopment.

Like many other Nigerians, we are deeply worried with the way major supervisors of government agencies have abandoned their duty posts for political ambition. It is a matter that really calls for worry and must be addressed.

This is an election year and, rather than the maximum politicking we see, we expect President Buhari and his team to be busy commissioning life-touching projects, counting their achievements or even doing more work to ensure that they have something to show to deserve a return to power.

We urge President Buhari and his team to remember that they were elected for service. Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra State and a presidential aspirant, says it is sad and intolerable that schools are closed and yet politicians are campaigning and even talking about elections, which can never happen in any other country except Nigeria. We cannot agree more.

Apart from the ASUU strike, local airlines in Nigeria also have their own worries. They once threatened to shut down operations due to lack of aviation fuel whose price has almost quadrupled to N670 from only N190 this year. Similarly, diesel prices have nearly tripled since the start of the year, with manufacturers facing higher operational costs.

For these and more, we urge President Buhari, who does not seem to know that his administration is crumbling, to take the interest of Nigerians to heart. Nigerians deserve more than they are getting and to serve them more is to reverse the current trend or better still, rot! Let there be more governance and less politicking. This besieged country deserves no less and even more.

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