(By Kolawole Dare Dan)
“Is democracy possible under a free market system? Where you’ll have rights you cannot exercise? Here, you have a right to quality education but cannot afford it; a right to speak but cannot be heard; a right to be voted for but cannot afford a political party form? A right to basic amenities but cannot afford them… All because profit is standing between you and your rights.“
CHILDREN of average Nigerians should be getting ready to be spanked silly for watching the TV and adults should also be getting prepared for further journey into emotional stress when electronics will have to run because electricity now will be charged in units for profit like we have it for making calls and browsing the internet—and of course, more Nigerians should be getting ready to be denied basic needs simply because they will not be able to afford it.
The reason why we have coal, gas, solar etc and still cannot generate electricity as a nation is simply because we lack committed leaders—leaders that do not have service to humanity in mind but profit.
You must have heard of ‘Chicago School of Economics’ and its boys in the 70s-90s pinning down economies in different countries of the world, well, we now know the mother of these boys. Okonjo-Iweala; having been schooled and groomed in the West on how world economy should be run using the principles and policies of capitalism, has successfully planned and watched Nigeria economy produce the richest black man in the world in one of the poorest (per capita income) black nation of the world. Nigeria can also ‘boast’ as a habitat grooming the highest number of billionaires in Africa with 20 of them compare to nine in South Africa and eight in Egypt. These billionaires are not made by the Grace of God, by luck nor were they made by accident like most Nigerians always want to believe, rather, they’re made by well-planned economic policies and principles that have been successfully used in some other countries to change the course of prosperous nations to that whose resources are greedily shared by a few scavengers.
Right under Okonjo-Iweala’s nose as the coordinating minister of this Economy and Minister of Finance are more nationalised companies going private. Now, the word profit is dominating the Nigerian political and social spaces instead of service-service to humanity.
We cannot forget in a hurry the rude shock that woke us up on the 1st of January 2012. To most Nigerians, the president just woke up that morning and decided the price of petrol per liter be sold for N140 from a previous price of N67… which is not true. The fact is that, that move was well-planned by every stakeholder (both local and foreign) except, of course the Nigerian masses. I am sure the possibility of a nationwide revolt was considered in their plans and the way to go about it was also designed too. For them, all things went according to plan and for us, the masses; we have managed to naturalise our existence with the shock.
If anyone has read Naomi Klein’s account of how capitalism took over the world and still taking it over in her book “The Shock Doctrine”, one will understand why nationalised companies will have to crumble and the situation of Nigeria will have to be this way under the present dispensation. The truth is that capitalism has no human face; in profiteering, nothing goes for nothing.
Capitalism only has the face of a beast and the palliatives that come with it in form of foreign aids, philanthropism etc used in cushioning the effect of hardship on citizens are just masks to make capitalism look human. The fact remains that Nigeria as a nation has enough resources in human and materials to cater for her citizens and that why people still die in hospitals of diseases that have cure; on roads ridden with potholes; in crashes of airplanes; and why many still live under the poverty line is simply because the economic policies used in managing our resources by capitalist indoctrinated minds can only make the rich richer and the poor poorer.
Is democracy possible under a free market system? Where you’ll have rights you cannot exercise? Here, you have a right to quality education but cannot afford it; a right to speak but cannot be heard; a right to be voted for but cannot afford a political party form? A right to basic amenities but cannot afford them… All because profit is standing between you and your rights.
Which national companies or institutions are next on the line waiting for privatisation? – The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA); Nigerian Water Cooperation; Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) or the Federal Universities?
Nigeria airline is gone and we all know the private companies reaping profits in that sector despite the fact that services have drastically degenerated; Nigeria Telecommunication (NITEL) went down and also we know the government pals whose pockets are filled to the brim as they rake in profits on bad services.
Nigerians should not expect anything different from what has happened prior now in the greedy acts of privatising national companies. The trinity of capitalism (deregulation, privatisation and cuts on social workers pay) is not an alternative to government’s failure in its social responsibilities. Nigerians should hold the government responsible for the failure of these companies and institutions because we have the human and natural resources to make all these companies work for all and if they are not working it will only mean that the people elected to manage and control the affairs of the economy for the welfare of the citizenry have not been doing their job, are not capable of doing it or better still have intentions—intentions hidden from the masses.
•Dan is a farmer and a poet
“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”