By Sunny Ikhioya
YOU claimed during the 2015 election campaign that you do not understand why we are talking about fuel subsidy; today you have been in government for over six years and subsidy cost has escalated under your regime. Who is sabotaging Nigeria?
We are an oil producing nation and attend meetings regularly and even got allocated executive seats at the OPEC sessions; yet we import all of our petroleum products from abroad. Who is sabotaging who?
We are an oil producing nation with four standard refineries, three in the South and one in the North, all of them not working presently and millions of dollars spent annually on their maintenance. Who is sabotaging Nigeria? The technology of refining crude oil into petrol and diesel is no longer rocket science.
The locals in the Niger Delta have mastered the art of cooking oil to produce petrol, kerosene and diesel. But instead of streamlining these local productions and bringing them up to acceptable standards, we are busy sending military personnel to destroy the production centres and wasting whatever they have produced. Who is sabotaging Nigeria?
You send troops into the creeks of the Niger Delta to ensure that local production is stopped or totally eliminated. These men see the viability of this project and decide to have a cut in the deal. They collect their cut and the locally produced petrol and diesel are allowed into the mainstream. Who is sabotaging who? You know that the importation of petroleum products into the country is depleting our foreign exchange earnings and you are stopping local productions of same products. Now prices of almost everything have escalated because of wrong policy implementations. Who is sabotaging who?
State governors are given huge allocations as security vote; meanwhile, the entire country is sinking under the weight of criminal activities. Who is sabotaging Nigeria? Everyday die-hard fundamentalists and insurgents, run riot maiming, killing, kidnapping Nigerians and destroying their properties. But instead dealing decisively with them when arrested, they are granted amnesty under the guise of reforming them. In other words, you end up compensating the criminals and abandon the victims. Who is sabotaging Nigeria?
We all claim that we are in a secular nation, where everyone is free to practise his religion in any part of the country. Now you go to people’s shops to destroy goods and properties on the excuse that your religion does not permit such. Meanwhile, you are collecting large chunks of money as taxes derived from the goods you are destroying. Who is sabotaging Nigeria?
We claim that Nigeria is a multi-ethnic nation, on which account every section of the country must have representations in federal appointments.
You have deliberately miscued this policy that is meant to unite this country by ensuring that only only people of certain ethnicity and religion are placed at the echelon of strategic positions at Federal Government institutions. Who is sabotaging Nigeria? All over the world, people are looking beyond petroleum products-driven engines. In fact, other countries are now using solar and wind to generate electricity and power their motor engines.
But we spend a huge chunk of our hard earned money digging to find oil in the desert part of the country, something previous administrations tried without success. Meantime, our refineries are lying idle. Who is sabotaging Nigeria?
Almost all of our major federal roads are in very bad shape, especially in the Southern part of the country; they are in this state because of depleting funds and you chose to, at this period, to build a railway line from Nigeria to Niger Republic, when such a project is crying for implementation in the commercially viable part of the country. Who is sabotaging Nigeria?
Agreed that we are in a secular state, a country badly in need of scarce foreign exchange; meanwhile, you dole out millions in foreign currencies to encourage religious pilgrimages abroad, money that can be used in addressing critical infrastructure needs of the country.
You forget also that there are certain percentage of your population that do not benefit from this religious largesse. You are in charge of government and certain officials have been found incompetent in the performance of their duties, instead of relieving them of their duties, you granted them extended stay in office and when you finally removed them, you recommended them for higher diplomatic assignments. Who is sabotaging Nigeria?
That is the question we must all ask ourselves. The solutions are not far fetched, it is imperative for us to look deeply into the mirror and see facing us the main cause of our problems; to be honest, the fault is ours. We have to take management to another level, especially as it affects public service. This country is suffering from maladministration in all of its ramifications and the resultant consequence is a drifting nation.
Suddenly, from every corner, groups are springing up, asking to be released from this union that is not working. It is very important that government officials take very positive action to halt this drift. The answer is not in bullying or suppression of dissenting voices; the answer is in sitting down with everyone and talking it over to find a way forward.
There is no other way; an idea whose time has come can never be stymied; power is ephemeral; Generals have come and gone; suppressing dissenting voices did not start today and is still continuing; but, ultimately, it is the people who will come out victorious. The situation in the country today is not a matter for grandstanding by those in power. Those sabotaging this country are the people ruling us and their business accomplices.
Let no body say that this country is poor; this country has potentials to be great, it can be seen by all. You calculate wealth potentials through tangible and intangible assets; the intangible assets in Nigeria are in our resources and potentials that are yet to be tapped. Let us review our management of these assets and begin to do the right things.
The insurgency and banditry we are facing presently is also as a result of the mismanagement of our resources; people’s minds have been reprogrammed to finding ways of making easy money; people who were once gentle, loving, passive with neighbours and strangers have been transformed into dangerous criminals. We are our own problem.