Nigerian has experienced dehumanizing and deplorable condition in the hands of callous and self-centered political elites that have taking control of leadership positions either during military or civilian dispensation of Government over the years. The International Community sees Nigeria as wealthy nation due to the abundance availability of natural endowment; but regrettably, the ordinary Nigerian continue to live in misery and abject poverty, due to successive looting of our common patrimony and ruthless embezzlement. The recently inaugurated Governing Party; the All Progressive Congress APC; haven considered the mood of the people, had decided to use the “Change mantra” as its campaign slogan. The current President; an ex-Military Head of State was able to gained the people trust due to his perceived honest personality and a man with uncommon integrity, with zero tolerance for treasury thievery.
The President said he would see to it that there is change in the way Government runs its affairs. Change is therefore define here as; to make the form, nature, content, future course, of something different from what it used to be or from what it would be if left alone: Example is to change one’s name; to change one’s opinion etc. Political change occurs when the ruler as in case of Nigeria, Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from People Democratic Party PDP; Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, lost power to present President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; President Mohamadu Buhari of APC; automatically, the type of governance that used to be in place has to change. Governance is identified with the type of system used to rule a country. Nigeria as a Sovereign Country adopts democratic system of government.
In my opinion, I think change should be more ingrained in people’s thinking mentality, as well as in the running of government day to day activities. These include; the process of making laws or amending the constitution, the initiation of government reforms to promoting good governance, enhance political culture and every aspect that will make Governance to be people oriented in area of fulfilling electoral promises. Unfortunately, most Nigerians clamoring for “change” has taken it to be just only change of baton from opposition government the PDP, to the now governing party the APC; this kind of thinking will compound the entire process. Take for instance, Nigerians perception of political portfolio to mean favoritism, Patronage, or in fulfillment of federal Character instead of focusing on service delivery. This has been the reason why the country’s growth has been stunted; government functions that should be taking serious is left in the hands of mediocre that will do everything to grab power at all cost.
Imagine if a legitimate and serious minded Nigerian entrepreneur or a dedicated and career conscious Nigerian; is call upon by the President to take up a Federal Appointment; such an individual will have to undergo critical consideration before accepting such offer; probably in consideration of strong commitment to business or career. But such is not the same for professional politician who has no legitimate means of livelihood except to live on government for the rest of their life, not minding their productivity. Another vivid example is that of former Personal Assistant to President Barak Obama; Mr. Reggie Love. He was so closed to the President that Obama jokingly refer to him as his little brother. Surprisingly and because of his quest to return back to school, Mr. Love has to voluntarily resign his appointment to allow him full concentration. If it were in Nigeria such a man will be cursed by his family because such a position is a do or die affair. That is the part of political culture we should strive to develop and inculcate as a people.
Nigerian need to learn a lesson from two former INEC Chairmen; Professor Maurice Mmaduakolam Iwu; which oversaw one of the most acclaimed fraudulent elections in Nigeria history. Despite his perceived poor performance, he fought hard to keep his job. However, Prof. Attahiru Jega; despite the threat against his life he improvise and brought innovation to bear into the recently conducted election, and willingly bow to allow someone else to contribute.
If the recent democratically change of Government that is widely seen as “People Bloodless Revolution” with the hope of moving away from poverty to economic prosperity of the people, government appointees should be seen as accepting national call for a service to father land. Government appointments should be treated as employer and employee relationship, Salary to government appointee should be commensurate with tasks given, performance of the appointee must be measured and if his/her impute is lower than expectation, somebody else should do the job.
Unfortunately, the Outrage of Nigerian in the recent Federal Government appointments is a cause for concerns when the President has not yet constituted his full cabinet. This scenario played up when Senator Bukola Saraki maneuvered his way to become the Senate President. A lot of people were quick to castigate the President; insinuations like PMB has cut off his political benefactor; Senator Bola Tinubu. All kinds of inferences were widespread; only for the public to later realize that the President was not in league with the process that brought Saraki as Senate President. I personally think it is always better to watch in patience to see the end of a process that is still in the pipeline, to avoid heating up the polity unnecessarily, there should be change of altitude in respect to this.
In people oriented Government, the help of critics is always taking very serious by all responsible leaders; unfortunately, it seems die-hard followers of former President; Goodluck Jonathan are very bitter to challenge every motive of the new government. They tend to ridicule unnecessarily to justify the reasons they were against PMB no matter how good his intention might be. They forget the fact that the same Nigerian was solidly behind GEJ, when it was clear the cabal was trying to usurp his position. Criticism should be allowed and it has to be constructive in nature. A vivid example is illustrated below:
a. Since Jonathan lost election as a result of fail electoral promise and corruption, it is the hope of GEJ followers that PMB should fail; forgetting the fact that it is the masses that will always bear the brunt of a failed Government.
b. Refusal to admit that GEJ administration was grossly corrupt, and he openly came out to promote grand theft and wholesale corruption during his election campaign. Most Nigerian may not have known or remember if Jim Nwobodo was part of the elite that have stolen the country blind if not for President Jonathan; who shamelessly and openly criticized PMB for putting him in jail for stealing money that he claimed was not enough to buy a Peugeot car.
c. Refusal to know that Leadership is to inspire others for greatness not for self-enrichment.
d. Refusal to know that GEJ was voted out because he failed the people on his electoral promises, including his immediate community in Otuoke, not because they were difficult to satisfied, but because GEJ was arrogant in wasting the nation resources on frivolous adventure, that has no economic significant to the common man.
A case in point was when a brother of mine sent a text drawing my attention and referring to the President as to my Buhari and how PMB has not been able to make any difference compare to former President Jonathan; I criticized so much, he wanted President Buhari to fix Nigeria myriad of problems in less than three months which is; Medical workers strike that has lingered on throughout six years of GEJ administration. I explained to him that the President is trying to clean up the system and hit the ground running to meet people’s expectations. I mentioned electricity which the public has admitted to be a bit stable contrary to the past. Instead of him to admit that fact, he said electricity is stable now because of the raining season. The protracted strike embarked upon by health workers has been lingering during GEJ time; he never took it as issue. In actual sense, PMB has not specifically done anything about electricity, but because he told the New Investors handling power distribution to be alive with their responsibilities or will take the license from them, that was how the little improvement is being recorded.
At this juncture, effort should be made to understand what governance entails. Government is the political direction and control exercised over the actions of the citizens, societies, and states; by directing the affairs of the state through the constitution. It is the duty of the leader in a Government to:
• Establish a clear vision,
• Sharing that vision with others so that they will follow willingly,
• Providing the information, knowledge and methods to realize that vision, and
• Coordinating and balancing the conflicting interests of all members and stakeholders.
Using Nigeria as a case study in this change dispensation, it is incumbent on the newly elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari PMB; to use his enormous goodwill, experience and the support of the people to embarked on reforms constitutionally to enable him implement his “change” policies that has been obsolete and still holding the nation back. A case in point is a total scrap or amendment to the “federal character” principle, which has been enshrined in Nigeria’s Constitution since 1979. It seeks to ensure that appointments to public service institutions fairly reflect the linguistic, ethnic, religious, and geographic diversity of the country. Federal character is enshrined in the constitution to prevent tribal or regional domination of any government or its agency. Unfortunately, with due respect, its inappropriate application creates mediocrity, inequality, corruption, lack of transparency and/or competition and above all tribal dominance by the major ethnic groups. Federal character ordinarily protects minorities, but under the constitution it is operated to protect the majority ethnic group lack of will of competitiveness and open-mindedness. (Nasiru Nash Haruna Esq).
Majority of people that benefited from such policies were mainly from the Northern region of the country especially in tertiary Education Admission. Candidate A with lower grade is admitted for a program, while candidate B that scores the highest grade is rejected. This idea of promoting mediocre and rejecting merit should be stopped. Government should strive to encourage foreign investors through incentives to invest and partner with local entrepreneur in jobs creation to curbed poverty and unemployment. There is need to embark on national re-orientation, especially to the youths to know being educated or going to university is to be enlighten, independent thinker and to have a creative mindset, not to be obsess with instant wealth, however the minimum requirement is for them to be gainfully employed after study. On the other hand, it should be noted that in most cases university education is not a yardsticks in becoming a successful and wealthy entrepreneur, but through inculcating a trait with Strong leadership qualities, highly self-motivated, strong sense of basic ethics and integrity, willingness to fail, serial innovators, determination, Competitive spirit, and taking advantage at any opportunity.