Op-Ed Politics

Nigeria And The Long Wait For Accountability, By Adeolu Gbotemi

Nigeria And The Long Wait For Accountability, By Adeolu Gbotemi
  • PublishedJuly 8, 2017
Leadership in Nigeria has become synonymous with failure of promises and fantasies of electioneering. Nigerian populace is not oblivious of this fact. That is why it has become a principle for the political class to attempt to grab the best possible from the booties of electioneering, so as to bother less if and when the general public engage in endless lamentation usually occasioned by failed promises from their representatives in all strata of governance.
Nigerians are seen by the outside world as diehard optimists. Most Nigerians also have similar views of themselves, although long time of failed promises has not really constituted deterrence to continued participation in electoral process. These unique attributes have however been frustrated by those who have turned peoples’ patience and perseverance to folly and idiotism. The frustrated resilience has, thus, become dysfunctional to the few well-intentioned individuals that venture into the corridors of power to address the corrigenda of political malfeasances.
It is true that all human beings are political animal and that the efficacy of preference comes into play when divergent views are expressed in an effort towards political office ascendancy. Some people may actually not really get fascinated by party sympathy and affiliation; the persuasion of personality traits and oratory power may influence people to inebriation. It is however logical to posit an issue of importance like the one under consideration within the toga of neutrality, so that people generally may see reasons why a shift of ground in matters of principle and discretion has become grossly inevitable.
The skewed mindset and resultant leadership incontinence may have become horrendous in our polity, such that good intentions are shrouded in distrust and hopelessness. This appears to have taken shines off our political terrain as if the faithful and trustworthy ones are not yet born. Situations and circumstances may become so overwhelming that the good intentions and visions become encapsulated in stark reality that throws unsuspecting role players off balance. It is then the strength of discernment that can assuage the pain and become capable of instilling a respite of candour that will enable one to surmount the conundrum of ignorance.
January 2015 to May 29, 2015 can be likened to the period between the amalgamation of Southern and Northern Nigeria in 1914 and the actualisation of independence in 1960. Students of History and Social studies will quickly fathom the rigmarole of power tussle between the colonial masters and the natives, most especially the nationalists that stood to defend the peoples’ interest. It is however, difficult to comprehend that what transpired within the four months preceding the power hand over from the academic president who represented the now comatose Peoples Democratic Party to General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.), will make Nigerians to continue in the imagination web that the illusion of the short period has created for a very long time into our political future.
Our governance in this part of the world is shrouded in secrecy. It was after President Buhari took over that we heard about the ill-concept of “Budget Padding. Little wonder then that growth and dwarfism are synonymous with the self-styled largest economy in Africa. Input and output are two inseparable words that determine the level of success in an organisation (country inclusive). It is from this reality that the phrase “the end justifies the means” crops up. The moment openness is lacking in a process, there is high possibility that little success will be recorded. That is why I will forever be grateful to President Buhari and his APC-led government for breaking the jinx of administrative subterfuge in Nigeria.
I remember a time that my knowledge prompted me to posit that we should suspend budgeting process for a year by giving a million naira each to all Nigerians so as to measure our respective levels of productivity and acumen there from. I now understand better anyway that economic paradigm does not allow for that anywhere in the world. Because money was flowing stupendously, we cannot use that as a yardstick for healthy economic climate.
The case was made worse after the postponement of the presidential election by six weeks in 2015. Money became so debased that our currency became sacrilegious as legal tender in Nigeria. U.S dollars became the currency of inducement in the hands of government personnel and political gladiators. Nigerian press shouted it to the high heaven, but we all feigned ignorance and have turned on our deviant side that remains till date our bane of nationhood and economic emancipation. No one told those who were to take over in May 29, 2015 that it was only six months earlier that Nigeria’s economy was adjudged the largest in Africa. The reckless spending of Mr. President that was to hand over was not reported officially, let alone the deep in ranking that the incommensurate spending represented when juxtaposed with the momentous economic activities that usually guarantee capital inflow.
We are at the crossroad of imperfect operational document in the semblance of a constitution foisted on Nigeria by some laymen that have no understanding of how economy and people-oriented government are effectively run. Enshrined immunity clause does not make leaders answerable for their multifarious malfeasance in office. That accounts for why former President Olusegun Obasanjo and those who ruled after him cannot be punished despite the evil suffered by Nigerians under their watch. They remain sacred cows on leaving office because the constitution shields them from punishment that should be meted for monumental loss of lives and resources that their maladministration brought, with the attendant trauma on the innocent citizens.
Many have argued that nothing is wrong with our constitution. Those with these mindsets are of the opinion that the problem lies with the people in the corridors of power. Close scrutiny will however reveal things that are wrong with both the operational document and the people saddled with its interpretation and application. The clauses are inconsistent with best practices around the world and the mentality of the ruling class also calls for serious examination. The document should be reappraised and positioned in such a way that those who operate it are also meted with appropriate sanctions if goofed in the course of discharging constitutional responsibilities.
The constitution emphasises the secularity of our nation state; but we see religious bigotries on display everywhere. In appointments for instance, we see flagrant abuse based on religion in contravention of the codified principle of religious neutrality and federal character.
The earlier we stop deceiving ourselves the better. We must all rise up to defend our commonwealth. I believe, there is nothing wrong with us staying together as we are under the plurality of nations and faith, we must however allow for fairness in all spheres of human endeavour.  We must also make our leaders accountable to us so that it becomes extremely difficult for impunity to thrive. Exemplary leadership is the only thing that can move us forward as a nation. The earlier this becomes institutionalised, the better for us as a people.

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