(By Jude Feranmi)
“If anything, democracy, a government of the people, strives and develops when the people can have their say, no matter where they are saying it; online or offline. Now that we can all have our say and critique the government from wherever we are as far as there is internet access, we should begin to ask the real questions so that we can get the real solutions, because as far as I am concerned, no amount of name calling or abuses can change a thing“.
I decided to write this piece because at first I thought it was going to help someone, but on second thought, I ‘hoped’ it was going to help someone. Nigeria is characterized by so many blessings that it has become a curse for our nation. We do not only have so much natural resources at our beck and call that our tax incentives happen to be one of the most liberal tax incentives in contemporary world, we have more than enough human resources in the form of consultants, analysts, professors, readers, nobel prize winners that we in the logical sense of the word should not even qualify as a second world country. Our blessings are curses in disguise and unfortunately for Goodluck Jonathan, he is the President of a country that is so much divided along ethnic social lines at such a time as this when the internet has given the media the almighty power to shape opinions and bring to the fore both facts, figures, lies and libels when social media was birthed. If anything, democracy, a government of the people, strives and develops when the people can have their say, no matter where they are saying it; online or offline. Now that we can all have our say and critique the government from wherever we are as far as there is internet access, we should begin to ask the real questions so that we can get the real solutions, because as far as I am concerned, no amount of name calling or abuses can change a thing. We should start looking at the real problems in a bid to proffering solutions that are real.
As much as majority of the people will refuse to admit, Goodluck Jonathan’s administration has brought in some of the global best practice initiatives into the system through his ministers and as much as we try to hate him and his ministers and call him names, these initiatives will refuse to disappear. I would not repeat the mistakes of Reuben Abati and Reno Omokri who is also known as Wendell Simlin (a tush “transformation” if you ask me) by just stating that GEJ did something and leave the reader in the dark as to exactly what he’s done. I will really encourage the reader to use the God given gift of the internet “google” to search for these changes as I will indicate here to actually confirm that something is been done( on paper though as I will indicate later). The Ministry of Agriculture has succeeded in bringing down the rice import bill from N7bn to N4.3bn IN A YEAR. At times I wonder what exactly is going on in that sector as it appears different from every other sector since Akinwumi Adesina took the office of the minister. The railway industry is another of its kind even though improving at a slow pace. The kind of development going on in the railway industry has never been seen since the inception of the NRC even though Bamanga Tukur is the chairman of that council. The Chinese are going to be finishing the Kaduna Abuja railway track which is going to be one of the finest and fastest tracks in West Africa. The commercial implication of that track when it’s completed is limitless. The banking industry continues to improve with beautiful amazement and as much as we might want to posit that it’s private sector, we would do well not to forget that it is being controlled by the CBN which is explicitly government. The kind of macroeconomic stability we are witnessing in the country right now was last witnessed in the days of Sani Abacha who had to do that for his embezzling motives (probably the more reason why he was posthumously awarded during the centenary celebrations). Power reform by which I mean electricity and gas reform has never witnessed this kind of ongoing reform before Goodluck Jonathan and even though we would not have constant power supply in the next 6 years even if we had all the money we needed (which we do not have), a sincere approach at identifying the problems and moving one step at a time is what is the status quo. Information and Communications technology is no doubt a miracle with daily improvements and beautiful competition that fosters increasing development. I can go on and on but this piece would not be complete.
There are tons of beautiful policies that are been crafted by this administration that I at times wonder why we continue to remain the way we are. Of course, Change doesn’t come overnight but there should be telling signs of things to come no matter how small. The national youth policy is one of the most carefully drafted youth policies in Africa, drafted with the youth in mind, but what do we have? 5% implementation for the last 5 years. There is a policy that provides N10,000 for any Nigerian student who wishes to get a computer since 2010, the question is how many students are aware of that talk less of how many students are benefitting? I just finished studying the National MSME Policy and I figured out that we have had policies favoring SMEs in this country since 2007 which was just reviewed; the question is why are the people not benefitting? There are almost more than 10 routes of accessing finance for an SME in this country but the individuals either do not know or the policies are not working. NERFUND currently runs at a N5.7bn deficit as at 2013 for loans that are supposed to go out to SMEs that they can’t recoup, where did that money disappear into?
Starting to discuss why these policies which are pro-people policies do not work is another discusses for another day but permit me to leave the reader with one statement of fact.
“The bane of our governance will never be recorded in history as IGNORANCE because
We do know what to do, we have just refused to do it.”
“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.”