• Friday, July 12, 2024
businessday logo


Masses under exploitation, what a country!

Masses under exploitation, what a country!

The progressive suffering of the masses of Nigeria, should give any human being with blood running in the vein a serious concern. Few days ago, on arrival in the Federal Capital Territory, I stumbled into two citizens – a commercial driver and passenger fighting over a gallon of kerosene allegedly kept carefully in the boot but discovered to have emptied away inside the boot.

It was a fierce disagreement developing to violence between the duo. While the accusations and counter-accusations persisted, I intervened as a good Samaritan, volunteered to pay for the kerosene not knowing the present-day market value of kerosene in the country.

I had expected that it was the price I used to know, maybe at most N700 for the full gallon until the owner announced that the 5 litres in the gallon was bought at a cost of N5000 at N860 per litre. I shouted thinking he wanted to exploit me. To verify the claim, we drove down to the nearest filling station. Behold, the passenger was correct. It dawned on me why the aggressive resistance.

Apart from my commitment to pay for the wasted kerosene, it was painful that a commodity for the poorest of the masses could cost higher than gas, diesel and petrol used by the advantaged class. How did we get to this point? If I hadn’t confirm the price at the filling station, nothing on earth would have made me believe the passenger. To call a spade a spade, the country is in a coma.

It is well known that the class of people that use kerosene in the country are those with the lowest incomes. The question? How did the leaders allow such abnormality to befall the masses, and yet, seemingly behave as if all is well? How could a litre of kerosene rise to such price when many do not have livelihoods? Indeed, there is ‘fire on the mountain’ as ‘ASA’, a music artiste echoed recently to ‘entertain’ President Muhammadu Buhari and his audience in the Presidential Villa at a function. This exorbitant price must be arrested by the authorities.

In a sane climate, the authorities should do everything humanly possible to ensure that an essential commodity like kerosene is available and affordable to the vulnerable masses. Or is the government unaware? The question begs for answers.

It is loathsome that while the poorest class of citizenry are helpless, hopeless, abandoned, subjected to misery, hunger, starvation and all manner of deprivations, politicians including public officeholders are flaunting wealth, displaying moneybags. Recently, the presidential aspirants of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) paid a sum of N100 million each for a nomination form.

Their PDP counterparts paid N40 million. Governorship, Senate, Houses of Representatives and Assembly aspirants also paid huge amounts too. These are manifest insensitivity.

They even brag about it, meanwhile, this is a society where the youths have taken over the forests as an operation base for sundry criminal activities for survival including banditry and kidnapping at highways for ransom. Lots of children are still out of school despite robust interventions through UNICEF in conjunction with foreign partners. The question is – how will these foreign donors mirror Nigeria and Nigerians?

These dangerous results point to a dire need for orientation for public officeholders. This is the reason the clamor for a president based on ethnic background should take the second row.

Although, the rotational arrangement is a step in the right direction and should be sustained for a harmonious and peaceful coexistence considering that Nigeria is a multi-ethnic society, nonetheless, competence and capacity to lead with expected results must remain profound. Interestingly, all the ethnic groups have proficient personalities with outstanding antecedents to justify being entrusted with the destiny of the citizens of the country.

Strangely, some folks have in their minds already shared, distributed the leadership of the country amongst themselves. This is a country of over 200 million people, yet, some people claim it is their turn to rule irrespective of peoples’ demands, and not even bothered about what to bring to the table.

The yardsticks for sharing it remain strange. If it is anyone’s turn, who then ‘turns’ the table for it? Unequivocally, the power belongs to the people. Shamelessly, some people joined in echoing, amplifying such a blunder.

Read also: How interest rate hike affects Nigerians

What a country! Emphatically, what should determine interests for governance must be the three Cs; credibility, competence and capacity, and not perceived turn-by-turn formulas or structures.

Recently, the apex socio-cultural organization of the Yoruba people, Afenifere, displayed patriotism, adopted a candidate from another zone based on merit – antecedents despite the fact that a candidate from its zone is in the ballot. This is the only way to move the nation forward, and not tribal sentiments.

Dividends of democracy and economic growth do not come by default or chance but capacity to make good policies. It is the norm in the private sector particularly the financial subsector.

Compare the performance of the uncreative pre-consolidation banking subsector with the present thriving post-consolidation banks, the difference is clear. The consequences of poor managements will always go in its direction and vice versa.

The stroke by Afenifere is a needed impetus for progress and productivity. No nation or society grows by placing ethnic sentiments above aptitude. I give it to the Afenifere. It is therefore a challenge to her counterparts like the Ohaneze-Ndigbo, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) in the core northern region, Middle-Belt Forum (MBF), and Pan Niger-Delta Forum (PANDEF) to always enthrone objectivity in national affairs.

Let nation-building override all considerations. When power reverses to the turn of the northern region, let the most qualified also receive backing. Nigeria can only grow to become a great nation being yearned for when all sentiments are dropped at the altar of nationhood. The most qualified candidate in any election should be massively supported with the rotational consideration. This will promote distinction and affect outputs.