By FENNY J FWA
Fews days ago, the polity was charged with rumours of a coup being allegedly hatched by some soldiers. The first salvo was thrown by the chief of Army staff, Buratai who alleged that some soldiers were being prodded by some disgruntled politicians to hatch a coup that will dismantle the political structures built and nurtured for the past 17 years.
That was the tonic our under performing politicians needed to start fidgeting and getting tensed up and making very condemnable remarks on the purported coup plan. All of a sudden, the leading lights in our voodoo democracy became visibly worried.
Nobody needs to tell our rapacious, gluttonous and corrupt public office holders what to do to keep the khaki boys at bay. Just two words; good governance. The panacea to such coups are not far fetched. For our politicians to forget about the spectacle of coup, they most address the issues that are bedeviling the polity.
Concerted efforts must be made by politicians to stop the fraudulent mismanagement of our resources. Trillions of naira have been frittered away in the name of fuel subsidy which went to the pockets of politicians. We can’t forget too soon the trillions of naira that went into the power sector without commensurate result. The $2.1bn meant for the purchase of arms to curb insurgency was diverted as ATM to PDP apparatchiks. This list of financial sleaze is inexhaustible.
A a serious minded leader must be visionary. He needs to have well articulated policies and programmes geared towards growing the economy and providing infrastructural facilities and amenities and these must be religiously executed to free the masses from poverty, hunger, disease and want.
Our politicians’ penchant for ostentatious life style, using public funds to buy private jets and buildings state of art houses here and abroad and acquiring the most expensive cars for their personal pleasure should be discarded. These are obscene and repugnant to the generality of the people that are facing hard times.
Wastage and leakages which have been our second nature should be done away with and putting in place austerity measures that will save resources to execute viable projects. Imagine the resources wasted in buying plenty of cars in the convoy of public officers that are large in number. I happened to see the convoy of the president of France and the prime ministers of Italy and U.K consisting of only two cars with two heavy motor cycles. The convoy of our governors are twice the size of presidents of the 10 most prosperous nations in the world.
It’s the general consensus both in country and abroad that Nigeria runs one of the most expensive government in the world. This unsustainable cost of governance ought to be drastically pruned down especially in the executive and legislative branches. Everybody is worried that our legislature is the most expensive in the world. It has become extremely imperative for review of their annual budget which takes away about N135bn i.e more than the capital projects of works, agriculture and health put together! This is the height of insensitivity to the parlous state of economy and the poverty and hunger that pervades the land.
Despite the strident and deluge of protests from the generality of the populace who elected them, the politicians still got the effrontery to jerk-up the budget by N10bn in 2017 budget.
Similarly, primitive and aggressive clamour from ethnic bigots have retarded growth and development. These cankerworms have manifested themselves in the polity with lopsidedness in appointments and siting of projects in which some geopolitical zones were apparently shortchanged while few others got undeserved patronage. This is a serious concern in the polity and has given the separatists the needless tonic to up the ante of their struggles.
In the same token, merit has since been relegated to the background while mediocracy has been promoted to the highest levels. Little wonder that the best brains that have excelled in the private or public sector or in the academic circle are not patronized to the detriment of the system which is underperforming because of lack of qualitative people in critical sectors.
Impunity has since become the norm rather than the exception which constitutes another serious blight to our democratic claim. It’s sad that the law enforcement agencies have been used to arbitrary hunt opponents and others branded as anti government. This reached its crescendo when the inspector general of police during the president Jonathan’s era interpreted the judgement of the court and enforced it when he decided to close the chambers of the house of representatives while trying to prevent Aminu Tambuwal, the then speaker from entering the chambers on the grounds that he had defected to APC and therefore must be ejected out of the office.
There were also cases where some governors of the opposition parties in Jonathan era were prevented from landing at the Ondo airport and taking off from Kano airport.
A court of competent jurisdiction has ruled that Col Dasuki should be granted bail, but up till now he is still being detained.
Electoral fraud has been causing a lot consternation in the polity. In most cases, the electoral fraud is being executed using brute force and leaving a lot of the electorates bruised, maimed and killed and usually results in loss of valuable properties.
When political gladiators do away with these vices, they are rest assured the masses will turn out in large numbers to frustrate the vaulting ambition of the khaki boys. This happened in Turkey when millions of Turks came out to frustrate last year’s attempted coup for the simple reason that democracy has made Turkey having the 17th largest nominal GDP in the world.
Today Turkey is one of the world leading producers of agricultural products, textiles, motor vehicles, ships etc. For almost 12 years that president Recap Tayyip Erdogan has been in power, Turkey continues to grow economically, socially and politically. He was able to unite the fractured country with his policies. So when the coup plotters struck, president Erdogan operating in his hide out call on the Turks to resist the coup and they did. The people therefore hearkened to the voice of their performing and inspirational leader and without arms, they crushed the short lived coup.
This is a clarion call to our leaders that keeping our khaki boys permanently in the barracks is more than making loud noise. It must be grounded in providing the people with democratic dividends and they are rest assured the masses will protect and preserve democracy with the last drop of their precious blood as it happened in Turkey.
A word is enough for the wise. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
– Fwa, a retired permanent secretary in the Adamawa state civil service sent in the piece from Karewa GRA Yola, firstname.lastname@example.org