By Seth Akintoye
Some pundits, including a popular Pentecostal pastor, have said there might not be elections in Nigeria next year.
There may be some possibilities in their postulation, going by the orgy of violence in many parts of the country. There is daylight robbery on highways. Kidnappings for ransom in most states of the federation. Ritual killings for money’s sake. Forceful takeover of other people’s property by miscreants. In fact, non-state actors are in control of the country: in short, nobody should be deceived. Simply put, the country has failed!
What makes the proposition of no polls next year seemingly germane is the behaviour of our politicians and the propaganda that has occupied the public space.
With barely six months to the February polls, none of the presidential candidates has given an inkling of how they want to re-float the sunk ship called Nigeria, and resolve the enormous problems threatening our existence: no manifesto, no visible campaign structure, no serious public engagement or disclosure.
The only thing we see or hear is propaganda, pull your opponent down, deceitful messages, lies, and an arrogant sense of entitlement as if Nigeria is the personal property of any individual, whereas the truth is that no Nigerian is more Nigerian than the rest of us.
The economy has collapsed, no doubt. The Federal Government has been borrowing heavily from the Central Bank to pay workers’ salaries monthly. This is besides the humongous foreign loans which we are finding difficult to put a figure on.
Some economic experts have alleged that the CBN has embarked on reckless printing of the naira to satisfy the profligacy of the Buhari regime.
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have warned us several times that our economy is heading for the rock. But nobody seems to be paying attention.
Our currency, the naira, is not worth more than a roll of tissue paper anymore, amid dead factories, collapsed production lines, and unbridled importations. Yet, no presidential candidate has given us any idea of how to revive them.
What we hear from the politicians are mere catchphrases: Emilokan, Obi-dient, Articulate and such nonsense that do not benefit the common man.
How do we resolve the perennial fuel importation and the dubious subsidies that have left the economy prostrate like cancer?
Well, some have argued that the Dangote refinery is in the offing! But I think it will be the height of stupidity for a nation of 200 million people to depend wholly on a refinery! We ought to have multiple refineries and become chief exporters of refined fuel. That is part of the diversification of the economy we have been talking about for decades.
Let it be known by politicians, in case they are still fooling themselves, that there’s nothing remaining of Nigeria. The economy has collapsed; the healthcare system is in disarray; the government has failed; agriculture has been neglected, and there’s hunger in the land!
At hospitals, patients spend the whole day to see a doctor, and when they eventually see a doctor they can’t afford the cost of medical tests or prescribed drugs.
At LASUTH recently, I witnessed a pitiable scenario: a nephrology patient was asked to do some tests to enable the doctors to give an appropriate treatment. But a month or so after the prescribed tests, the guy came back to the clinic with the tests undone!
The doctor explained that the tests were necessary to determine and commence the appropriate treatment, but the patient had no money!
Nigerians are suffering, in fact, people are dying in droves in a land flowing with milk and honey, but whose politicians have appropriated and badly mismanaged.
Let the rich, especially politicians, know that they and their families will no longer sleep as long as the poor are hungry. The late sage, Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo, like the biblical Jeremiah, warned us that a time would come when the poor would have nothing to eat but the rich!
That time is here already! A word is enough for the wise!