democracy

Travesty Of Nigerian Democracy – Salihu Lukman

5 months ago
5 mins read

On Sunday, November 26, 2023, Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, while featuring on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, informed Nigerians that ‘President Bola Tinubu inherited an administration that was almost comatose’. Before then, Mal. Nuhu Ribadu, National Security Adviser had on November 13, 2023 at the Annual Conference of Chief of Defence Intelligence disclosed that President Tinubu inherited ‘a bankrupt country’. All these are excuses given to rationalise why Nigerians are going through the current difficult times. No one will dispute the fact that former President Muhammadu Buhari didn’t manage the Nigerian economy well. It is about the only administration that operated without an economic team.

However, being an APC government, which succeeded a previous APC government, it is disrespectful to Nigerians to give excuses about the current state of harsh living conditions in Nigeria by blaming previous governments. As members and leaders of the APC, we should take responsibility and take the needed initiative to make life better for all Nigerians. If anything, we should justify the confidence of Nigerians in giving us the mandate to continue to rule the country even after being unable to meet the expectations of Nigerians in many respect. Unarguably, Nigerians voted the APC and President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the last general elections very consciously and confident that under the leadership of President Asiwaju Tinubu the challenges facing the country will be addressed.

Therefore, rather than giving excuses, we should be telling Nigerians what we are doing to address their problems. Excuses would only confirm that we are in denial that a government produced by our party is perhaps responsible for Nigeria’s challenges. Once we are in denial, it also suggests that we are going to grandstand when we initiate actions that worsen the situation or fail to initiate actions to resolve the problem. This will simply mean being dishonest, which will narrow our responses to making excuses for our failure or inability to meet expectations of Nigerians. This must be avoided.

READ: The Cancer Destroying Nigerian Democracy

It is quite worrisome that coming from a party envisioned to be progressive we are giving excuses. How can we Renew the Hope of Nigerians by giving excuses. We must appeal to our leaders to stop giving excuses and take responsibility. If we are to be responsible, we should admit that the current hardship facing Nigerians is largely a product of two critical decisions taken by the government of President Asiwaju Tinubu. The two decisions are withdrawal of fuel subsidy and floating the Naira against other major currencies. No doubt, these are very necessary decisions and President Asiwaju Tinubu deserved every commendation for those bold decisions. Part of what is very glaring is that the decisions were taken by the government without proper planning. Withdrawing subsidy without addressing the question of what needs to be done to guarantee local production, we are bound to have the current mess of skyrocketed increase in prices of petroleum products. Similarly, floating the Naira against other major currencies without taking the needed steps to reduce imports will also produce what we have today whereby the value of the Naira is permanently on a downward slide.

Ideally, if we are progressives as we claim to be, we should have timed all these decisions to coincide with when local production would have picked up. Now that the decisions have been taken, what is it that is being done to improve local production? With respect to local production of fuel, there have been so many references in recent times about repairs of refineries and commencement of production by Dangote refinery. Where are we with all these should the information coming from our leaders and not excuses.

As loyal APC members, it is traumatic to continue to witness situations whereby the business of governance is reduced to excuses. When we supported the merger of our legacy parties, we were very hopeful that the emergence of our party would change all these. Unfortunately, here we are, contending with the same old reality of excuse making by our leaders in government. That is the bane of our politics, it is the travesty, which characterises Nigerian democracy, which APC promised to change. If for whatever reasons, we have been unable to change it under the leadership of former President Buhari, Nigerians have given us a second chance under the leadership of President Asiwaju Tinubu.

 

READ: 2023: The Gale Of Carpet Crossing And Nigerian Democracy

Being a party member who is never a beneficiary in every respect of both the government of former President Buhari and the current one under President Asiwaju Tinubu, we feel the pains Nigerians are going through. It is important to appeal to all our leaders not to take Nigerians for granted. Nigerians voted for our party not because they just wanted former President Buhari and President Asiwaju Tinubu to achieve their personal ambitions of becoming Presidents. Our party and our leaders, notably former President Buhari and current President Asiwaju Tinubu were voted largely because Nigerians trusted that our leaders would honestly deliver on their campaign promises. If by whatever yardstick, the conclusion is reached that former President Buhari has failed, our leaders in government at whatever level don’t have the luxury of celebrating it. Instead, we should all be busy working hard to translate such failure to become the success of President Asiwaju Tinubu.

We must appeal to both President Asiwaju Tinubu and all our APC leaders in government at all levels to resist the temptation of giving excuses. If we at all aspire to return to the founding vision of APC of becoming a progressive party, our leaders, and governments we produced must take responsibility. Taking responsibility is about being honest. When we initiate or fail to initiate actions to respond to challenges, we must accept responsibility. Both in terms of the alleged failure of former President Buhari to initiate the right measures to manage the Nigerian economy during his eight-year tenure and initiatives of President Asiwaju Tinubu to withdraw fuel subsidy as well as float the Naira against other international currencies without proper planning, as APC members and leaders we should take responsibility.

The failure or limitations of former President Buhari is our collective failure, in the same way we will also be failing as a party if we allow President Asiwaju Tinubu to fail whether we are part of the government or not. We must appeal to President Asiwaju Tinubu and all our leaders in government to do something urgently to ameliorate the suffering of Nigerians before it is too late. Nigerians are truly going through hard times. No excuses will pacify our citizens. In fact, excuses will not put food on the table of Nigerians. Beyond all the short terms measures initiated by government such as conditional cash transfers to 15 million Nigerians and N35,000 monthly award to federal employees, what is the economic plan to increase local production of goods and services domestically? What are the specific targets, especially in terms of employment, reducing inflation and other economic indices impacting on living conditions of citizens.

Speaking both as loyal APC member and ordinary citizen, part of our challenge as Nigerians is that we always trust our leaders, which is why it is very traumatic when our leaders fail us. As much as citizens have high confidence in the capacity and competence of President Asiwaju Tinubu to turn the Nigerian economy around for the better, our leaders and our party must earn the trust of citizens. Excuses cannot be currency of earning the trust of citizens. Rather, concrete achievements should be the currency. When in 2015 we undertook to change Nigeria, it wasn’t just former President Buhari that made the promise, it was all our leaders including President Asiwaju Tinubu.

If, as is being alleged, former President Buhari’s government handed over a bankrupt or comatose nation to President Asiwaju Tinubu, for President Asiwaju Tinubu to earn the trust of Nigerians, he must first and foremost accept that as APC leader he is equally responsible for the failure of former President Buhari. With the claim of being progressive politicians, we must not allow the travesty that characterise our democracy, which makes politicians and elected representatives to imagine that they can earn the trust of citizens by giving excuses to define the administration of President Asiwaju Tinubu.

Lukman, a Chieftain of the APC lives in Kaduna

Salihu Moh. Lukman


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