We appreciate God that Nigeria is 54 years. We thank God that we are still together as one entity despite the huge tragedies of the past. Nigeria has been a country where the best never happens and the worst never happens. But we cannot continue to celebrate mediocrity in the age of success. We cannot continue to celebrate impunity in the age of rule of law. We cannot continue to celebrate corruption in the midst of abject and extreme poverty. 2015 is decision time and we must seize the moment to bring the desired change and to put Nigeria on the path of progress. This is a task that must be done. This is our chance.
Recently President Jonathan said poverty has been reduced by 50% in Nigeria. And I ask: where are the indices? Where are the empirical evidences? We cannot eradicate poverty in Nigeria until we fix our power sector and overhaul our crumbling infrastructures. In 1999 Nigeria was under 4000 MW of electricity and almost 16 years after we are still under 4000 MW. So what are we talking in spite of all the billions of dollars invested in that sector? Now what can we call this? What is happening? Did the money get lost? Did somebody shortchange Nigeria? Is it sabotage? Is it corruption? Is it leadership weakness or incompetence? Where did the rain start beating us? The truth is this: until we fix the power sector the dream of reducing poverty to the barest minimum in Nigeria will continue to elude us. But the tragic reality is that power generation and distribution are fast turning to rocket science and only a daft and rudderless government, as we have been having since 1999 can assure this.
Now, how can anybody believe that we have reduced poverty by 50% when there is massive unemployment in the land? Are we working with statistics or is it just doing guess work? Is it just dropping mere figures to please the political hangers-on? Why should a president of a country be talking so off cuff in his belief that Nigerians know nothing and are not bound to interrogate? Do we just quote figures just for the sake of it thinking that we are all gullible people who will accept it hook, line and sinker? Are we not living witnesses of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment tragedy recently? Did you not witness nearly two million young Nigerians scrambling for 3000 jobs that may have been given out to girl friends, relations and friends even before that fatal tragedy? Did you not see the tragedy of losing nearly 30 young Nigerians due to stampede for jobs that were not there in the first place? Did you not see one of the characters of the immigration tragedy Mr. David Parrandang being honoured with National Award in Abuja few days back? If millions of young graduates are out of jobs, it becomes a joke taken too far when the President claims that poverty has been reduced by 50%. This is ludicrous, This is careless talk. But then, no less a person than the United Nations Secretary General revealed that Nigeria has the third highest population of poverty in the world despite our oil wealth. If we recall that the countries Nigeria trail are countries with 1.3 billion people and 1.1 billion people, we will realize why Nigeria is practically the poorest country on earth with its estimates 165 million people.
In matters of National Security I think Nigeria is at the lowest level now since the 80s. Never in the history of this country has the moral gauge sunk as low as we have it today. The Armed Forces of Nigeria rated so high in the past in the comity of nations has gone down considerably, so weak that they now run away from rag tag insurgents called Boko Haram which the PDP controlled Federal Government created in order to remain in power. It is now clear to us that President Jonathan and PDP are harvesting political gains from the Boko Haram onslaught. Since the federal government negotiator Stephen Davis spoke about the involvement of PDP controlled Federal Government in the mass murder of innocent Nigerians just to remain in power they have become speechless. Now I want Nigerians to take notice of this: As 2015 draws near the nearly 300 Chibok Girls will be released from where the thieves and murderers in PDP have kept them and the gullible Nigerians will clap for them and the clamor for votes for President Jonathan will continue. Even Boko Haram insurgents will surrender their arms because their sponsors would have told them to do so, and the gullible Nigerians will say yes, I told you so. Why do Nigerians think Modu Sherrif the founder of Boko Haram was warmly received by PDP and became a presidential consort to foreign countries when he is deeply indicted for sponsorship of Boko Haram? All these dirty maneuvers were contracted to swell more votes for President Jonathan in 2015. Nigeria’s Armed Forces until recently was one of the greatest standing Army in Africa but in order to remain in power, Nigeria’s PDP has destroyed all this. As I write this, President Jonathan has so divided Nigeria along ethnic lines that all the things that hold us together as one family are now being called to question. When there is a threat to security of lives and property then nothing is safe. In the atmosphere of chaos and strife businesses will be hampered and jeopardized, and the result is poverty and prostitution. War time is whore time!
Impunity, mediocrity and corruption devastate Nigeria in no uncertain terms now. Where do we start? Is it from the stolen 20 billion US dollars, the 9.3 billion dollars loaded to South Africa, 10 billion naira spent by a Minister to hire planes, the trillions from the petroleum subsidy, the trillions from the kerosene subsidy, the SURE-P loot, the Pension scam, and crude oil theft that rose to a frightening level this year? We have gone full cycle and Nigeria is bleeding so badly from this. The fat cows that grow corruption in Nigeria have never had it so good while the poor and distraught masses have never had it so bad.
We are gradually taking this madness to the judiciary and this will be the last straw that will break the camel’s back. When the institution of Justice is assaulted the way Mr Ayo Fayose and his thugs did in Ekiti State then everything is lost. This is the first time this kind of madness and brigandage is being witnessed in the nation’s history and if we treat this assault with kid gloves the madman Ayo Fayose will kill Judges even as police are standing by. With his hands tied to two murder cases, his case with EFCC, and the excess luggage of impeachment he suffered in 2006, is Ayo Fayose still qualified to be the Governor of Ekiti State, the land of knowledge?
These are just few instances of the mess Nigeria has been ran into in the past 54 years. At 54, Nigeria is a nightmare to Nigerians and Nigerians seek every available way to escape the horror called Nigeria. Life has become so unlivable that Nigerians wish for something else than a so called independent nation riddled by a fiendish cartel and cult that eat and devour others for their existence. Nigeria badly needs change to kick start the process of recovery. Nigeria needs change to reverse the deteriorating state that sees Nigeria at the very bottom of every available indices of progress all over the world. Nigeria needs more than what Senator John McCain termed a practically non existing government, a government soaked in corruption, misdeeds, impunity and incompetence. Nigeria needs a government that unites rather than divide Nigerians, a government that leads by its stellar example not by its putrid malfeasance. Nigeria needs to be recovered from reprobates and scoundrels who are leading a rich and well endowed country to a certain doom. That should suffice as the best message for Nigeria at 54.
Joe Igbokwe is the Publicity Secretary, All Progressives Congress, APC, Lagos State.
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