by ahjotnaija


Hand-in-pocket: Oluwaseun Tanimomo of TPoM

Because it is fast, short and life-altering, sprint-athletes spend years steadying and hastening their paces before big events. Planning, self-denial and discipline are some of the recipes for success in such big life-time events. Who builds a house without counting the cost? So, it is surprising that the Buhari presidency delights us with stories of unprecedented corruption in high places that marked the immediate past government. As a result, we are encouraged to believe the journey to Eldorado will be slow but steady.

Being Nigeria’s president is not childplay but a post that exerts carefully coordinated campaigns in outwitting opponents, it is preposterous therefore that after months in office, many supporters of the president still delude themselves in the slow and steady discourse the media team of the president forced down their throats.

One would have expected that within the first months in government, the APC-led government would have departed or at least distanced itself from some of the policies it criticised the former ruling party for. For one, what are the plans of the present government as regards the autonomy of the Local Governments? What steps is the government taking in making sure that Nigeria becomes a true federal state as repeated by the APC during the PDP administration? Is the presidential hanger still adorned with numerous PDP-purchased aircrafts? Who exactly in the whole of the APC-government complains about the jumbo pay our elected politicians earn? And what happened to state policing?

The in-due-course narrative that the government has sustained as a visage for its slow progress is both tiring and excruciating. His first months might have been greeted with unanimous stories of frequent power supply and general public service sit-tightedness, many took this as a sign of progress and bought into the slow-and-steady business, months after it is beginning to look like business as usual. My theory is that many of these civil servants sat tight because the No-Nonsense President was in town, President Buhari should have rode on that momentum. Iron bends better when struck hot. As it is, it seems that a number of civil servants who were used to a laxed lifestyle under previous administrations have fallen back to their old selves to their shells.

At the coronation of the Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, President Buhari (then presidential aspirant), evidently miffed, had asked “what is Boko Haram!?” His anger seemed to demonstrate a deep understanding of the menace and a detailed line of action. Unfortunately, months down the line, Boko Haram has claimed by a rough estimates at least a sixth of what they did under President Goodluck Jonathan. While our soldiers have shown great commitment, audacity and tenacity in bringing this menace to an end, more can still be done. What we have in the NorthEast is a full-fledged war and the government should not be reluctant in assembling the full might of Nigeria Military in handling this imperilment. Another question: Will our girls be brought back?

The economy has not recovered and as at the time of writing this, the Dollar exchanges for well above 200Naira, close on the heels of 300Naira. Unemployed youths still roam the streets unattended and customs and immigration officers at the airport still ask for bribe though now in a mild manner. The government should focus its energy on fixing paralyzed sectors, and revamping the economy. The presidency should as a matter of urgency attend to the fuel crisis; thankfully there are fewer queues. It is time to implement those electricity policies that the government promised during the elections.

It is worth noting that the media has been favourable to this administration. As an instance, the war against Boko Haram has not been reported in the same light as during the Jonathan administration. But support soon wanes when there are no noticeable improvement. The pervasive recklessness and cluelessness of the former administration does not help matters so that a call for action in this present administration reroutes you to the Jonathan years. This administration seems in many regards knowing of what to do, so it should move beyond semblance.

In fictitious spaces and imaginative realms, the tortoise can outrun the hare but in real life, complex and sophisticated situations, slow and steady does not win car race neither does it help a country develop. A lesson to be learned from the fable: the tortoise won because the hare lacked strategy, was lazy and overconfident. In my humble submission, our president can be fast and steady. We celebrate countries like Canada, Singapore, Georgia because out of nowhere they have risen and towered high in record time.

It is almost 2016, if we are still stuck on basic infrastructural development when will we start talking about other pressing issues that concern us like ecological problems? When will we have trains that run from Aba to Zungeru? When will we have well-lit streets, drainage or national health insurance scheme for every Nigerian? When will there be social plans for the very poor and foreign aids to other countries? When will we be able to call the police and expect to see them at the door within 10 minutes? My spirit tells me that if an African country gets it right others will follow suit. I want that country to be Nigeria.