Each passing day, in the last three years, continues to present Nigeria as a country in need of reassurance that all is well. The recurring and escalating cases of kidnapping, banditry, terrorism, killings, ethnic and religious clashes seem to have overwhelmed both the citizens and their leaders as insecurity presents a major concern.
While the leaders implore the citizens to cooperate with the security agencies to find a lasting solution to the problem, the leaders, on their part are deploying all the arsenal at their disposal to shore up faith and hope that the worse will soon be over.
Without doubt this recurring security challenge has so drained the nation of its resources, destabilised and distressed the people that most of the citizens are almost at the verge of despondency.
From the highways to the farms, from schools to homes, nowhere seems safe as the movement of persons, goods and services from one location to the other is becoming increasingly dangerous if not unduly tasking. On their part, the leaders have deployed available resources to tackle the myriad of problems, such as mounting security challenges, worsening poverty, widening social inequality and injustice among the people. Though there is palpable evidence that most of the issues are not easy to resolve, it is also true that it is not for lack of trying given the fact that the rot predates the current administration.
Having said this, a section of the leadership seem not to sufficiently appreciate the enormity of the challenges confronting the polity. By their lifestyles and idiosyncrasies, they give majority of Nigerians the wrong impression of the state of affairs. The president understands the situation well and has reduced his travels within and outside the country to the necessary. But the same cannot be said of most of the state governors and members of the legislature.
Since the relaxation of restrictions on international travels in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, some elected and political appointees have renewed junketing in and out of the country as if to cover lost grounds. Some governors, for instance, have been known to travel overseas to watch football matches at weekends and also embark on other frivolous trips that have no immediate benefits to the people who elected them into office.
Some reportedly travel out of their states without the knowledge of key officials in their administration. There are claims of cases where some governors have travelled abroad without informing even their deputies. During such periods, governance is brought to a standstill. There are also situations where governors cannot be found in the Government Houses as they have virtually moved the seat of power to their villages or Abuja, the nation’s capital, thereby becoming inaccessible.
Added to this appalling scenario is the undue attention which the governors and other top government functionaries and politicians have been giving to the 2023 presidency while critical state matters deserving serious attention of such officers are neglected.
As a newspaper, we believe that the numerous challenges facing the country and the 36 states of federation should pre-occupy the mind and actions of state officials. What is required at this time, in our opinion, is a new approach to governance where the governors are always on the driver’s seat, be innovative and pursue inclusive governance to give the citizens a sense of belonging. To be junketing from one state to another, forming political alliances and building political blocs when they still have over two years in office, for several of them, appears a misplacement of priority or a display of poor understanding of the current unacceptable state of affairs in the country.
In our considered opinion, this era demands from leaders, the adoption of austere measures in the management of public resources. We further admonish the state chief executives to concentrate on short and medium term programmes and projects that can alleviate the suffering of the people and refrain from those that the available resources cannot cater for nor be completed during their tenure.
In the same manner, they should ensure that members of their families refrain from open display of ostentatious living. To ask the citizens to tight their belts while families of state functionaries openly display unearned wealth will continue to pit them against the majority of the people.
While not justifying the haste Nigerians rush to destroy public property at the slightest provocation, we feel that this increasing display of wealth amidst squalor in the land is what makes the people to vent their pent-up anger on the little infrastructure there is. We are compelled to insist that the time to rejig governance in favour of the generality of Nigerians is now.