After the 2015 general elections which brought in President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) to power, the expectations from Nigerians about the new government were very high.
They thought immediately PMB assumed the mantle of leadership and took over from Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ), every challenge confronting the country would be quickly fixed, and Nigeria will work perfectly, with immediate effect and automatic alacrity without any hiccups or anomalies.
Both the public and the new government did not envisage the magnitude and depth of the horrible mess that was already on ground. Indeed all spheres of the economy and the polity have completely mismanaged, with graft stinking to high heavens and impunity of all sorts was the order of the day.
Therefore, over the past one year or thereabout of the PMB administration in office, efforts were geared towards clearing some of the ubiquitous rot, open new vista of opportunities, break new ground in domestic and engagements, deal decisively with all forms of corruption, initiate the process of diversification of the economy, restructure the oil sector, reorganize the NNPC, wage relentless and unwavering war on terrorism and insurgents, took giant steps to fix infrastructural deficits, reduce the cost of government, assist states of the federation with payment of workers’ salaries, reduce the high cost of doing business in the country, block the loopholes and leakages in the system, create an enabling environment for business to strive and put in place a virile and strong economy.
At this juncture, it is very important to highlight the fact that, as soon as the present came on board, it so happened that, whenever a horrendous discovery or horrible snag is uncovered and serious attempts are put in place to fix it; other more mind-boggling findings are unearth, and those who presided over the affairs of the Nigerian state in the past and are responsible for the sorry pass in the country is enmeshed, are making unguarded statements, and carrying on with impunity and reckless abandon, without caring a hoot about the mess they created which is now causing problems for the whole country, especially the merciless and wanton looting of the treasury and the systematic institutionalization of corruption.
Instead of them to be sober and remorseful over their past misdeeds, political misadventures and ruination of the national economy, it is astonishing that these political demagogues are contemplating of getting back to power in 2019, this is in spite of the savage havoc they wreaked on the polity, when they had the privilege to make the difference, they never did.
In the last 16 years, they ruled the country like a one party state, there were no new and creative ideas to take the country to greater heights; they painstakingly looted the country blind, increased their on and off shore bank accounts, inflicted pain and misery on the land, mortgaged the future of the people and generations yet unborn, led a government based on nepotism and favouritism, accentuated the debt burden of the country through crude oil importation, fictitious and ersatz oil subsidy payments to cronies and surrogates, over-invoicing through non-existent companies, false and anticipatory asset declarations as well as outright looting of the treasury through payments for contracts not budgeted for and not executed.
And, nothing has changed about them other than the fact that, they have been kicked out of government, if by any chance, they get back to power, they would undoubtedly continue their kleptocratic and plutocratic forms of government, which have no bearing with the aspirations and needs of the generality of the people.
It is for this reason that the people of Nigeria should be patient with the government of PMB, in its bid to rescue the country from the shackles of despair, morass of anarchy, precipice of disintegration and abyss of economic decay.
No doubt, the present administration has the capacity and resolve to effectively deliver on its electoral and electioneering promises, albeit, it will not be with instantaneous effect given the enormity of the challenges on ground.
It is most unfortunate that, Nigerians do not have deep sense of history; they swiftly gloss over historical events and also easily forget history facts and details; anybody that remembers our collective history in the very recent past would not pray that, such misfortune that befell the country, by having the type of political misfits who wantonly decimated the destiny and fortunes of Nigeria to ever come back again.
Therefore, rather than vilify and cast aspersion on the present government, through orchestrated campaigns of calumny and baseless mudslinging, the public should exercise patience, maturity and understanding.
With the benefit of hindsight, in the last one year or so, we can vividly see the sincerity of purpose as well as purpose-driven leadership exhibited by the present administration and there has not been anything like this since 1999, when the present democratic trajectory commenced.
Without mincing words, the government has shown strength of character and willingness to make Nigeria great again.
For example, it is imperative to underscore the fact that, Treasury Single Account (TSA), which this government introduced, is meant to halt corruption in government and has helped in no small measure, to stop the reckless diversion of public funds into private pockets. We must have it in mind that, corruption is the number one problem that is responsible for the continued underdevelopment of the country, given its vast natural and human resource endowments; also, the Biometrics Verification Number (BVN) has exposed not less than 43,000 ghost workers in the federal payroll and several other ghost workers were discovered in various states of the federation in the country; thereby saving the country billions of naira that would have been illegally stolen.
Similarly, at the inception of the present administration, several ministries and parastatals were merged to drastically reduce the high cost of governance, so that, money saved can deplored to other critical sector of the economy, in the same vein, corruption in the military has been fought to a standstill and the process is still on-going, also professionalism is been gradually restored to the military and properly equipped too, while the menace of the Boko Haram insurgents has been rendered largely ineffective, while the scourge of the Fulani herdsmen be curtailed squarely.
The present government has equally made adequate provision for intervention fund to cater for the socio-economic needs of the downtrodden. Again, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Bank of Industry (BOI), the small and medium scale enterprises are funded as the engine of economic growth and development.
In the same token, stolen funds which is over N3 trillion is kept with the CBN for the rainy day as well as for economic resuscitation; however, much more stolen/slush funds are still coming into the coffer of the government.
There is also the trial of high profile political figures and politically exposed persons for cases relating to graft, embezzlement, misappropriation of public funds and other related offences before courts of competent jurisdiction.
The government has also improved and modernized its tax collection system, as a very important instrument of positive economic change and development; the government has similarly refurbished the four refineries in the country which is at present working at about 40 per cent capacity, but government is working hard to ensure that the refineries are working at full installed capacity, so that, full domestic production can start earnestly and importation of refined crude oil will stop.
Then new refineries can be built and licenses given to private individuals and organizations to venture into oil business in the country.
From the foregoing therefore, it is evidently clear that the present democratically elected government of PMB is trying hard to build institutions of government that are enduring and can truly stand the test of time, away from the era of building personality cult around some well placed people in the society. Hence, this government is charting a new course for the country in administration and governance.
Therefore, irrespective of the person and party in power or government; things will function perfectly well for the overall wellbeing of the populace. Also, this government is taking very tough decisions for the betterment of the future of the country; decisions that will hurt now, but will make the future secured, fulfilling and rewarding in all ramifications for all.
The PMB’s government is bent on leaving indelible marks of the sand of time, by righting the so many wrongs in the polity, revamp the economy, stop corruption, ensure peace and security; and make Nigeria a better place for all to live in; a new Nigeria for all Nigerians. No doubt, Nigeria will rise again.
Jide Ayobolu, a social commentator based in Lagos writes this piece.