Adolf Hitler once told his newly appointed Army Chief of Staffs that he should never worry about what to tell the people because the people are gullible, and will believe whatever you tell them.
And that the bigger the lie is the more believable it is to them. Goodluck Jonathan is not, in any way, reminiscent of that psychotic German mass murder. And Nigerians, in their lawless and bunglesome ways are not, at all, akin to the Germans with their ingrained sense of order and acclaimed efficiency. However, Goodluck Jonathan, deliberately or subliminally, must have borrowed from Adolf Hitler. He has taken to lying profusely to Nigerians, and they are, in their gullibility, believing him.
Goodluck Jonathan is promising Nigerians efficient health care delivery system, good roads, and steady supply of electricity among other things. His promises have found resonance amongst Nigerians because superficially they seem reasonable. However, a scrutiny of these promises reveals that they are spurious and questionable. It exposes them as dishonest, manipulative and (should be) insulting to the Nigerian sensibilities.
Why is he promising Nigerians the basic necessities of life? With the enormous money that Nigeria made from oil over so many years and after 12 years of democracy, life for Nigerians should be comfortable. Nigerians should have access to the state of the art hospitals, quality roads, uninterruptable power supply, etc. That Nigerians still lack the basic requirements of modern life, which are available and taken for granted, even, in the very poor countries of Africa is a powerful and palpable indication that something is terrifyingly wrong with the Nigerian system. Therefore, the issue is what is wrong with Nigeria?
What were the effects of the billions of dollars already budgeted and “spent’ on these basic essentials of life that he is now promising us? What is it about the People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) abracadabra that the more money they budget and “spend” on public facilities and national institutions, the worse their conditions becomes? These are the questions the president needs to answer for Nigerians. To evade them and gloss them over with promises is deceitful.
It is PDP abracadabra that despite the oil wealth that accrued to Nigeria over the years and the supposedly superb economic policies and programs of a continuum of PDP administrations, the Nigerian economy is moribund and a disproportionate number of Nigerians are trapped in desperate, shackling poverty. Why has the quality of life for the majority of Nigerians decreased in the last 12 years of PDP governance and more and more Nigerians are reduced to dispirited and demoralized masses of people wrenched by hardship and consumed by the endless drudgery for daily survival? The number of Nigerians living below the poverty level increased from 45percent to 70 percent in the same period. Nigeria must be the only oil rich country that ranks with the poorest countries of the world in terms of life expectancy, child mortality and incidence of poverty.
Billions of naira was “spent” by a series of PDP administrations to upgrade public health institutions. Why then has the health care delivery system in Nigeria deteriorated to despicable levels, and more and more of the power elite fly to hospitals in America and Europe for medical treatment and even routine medical check ups? Not surprisingly, in the last 10 years, the average live expectancy in Nigeria decreased from 51 for men and 52 for women to 44 for men and 45 for women. Nigeria has one of the highest pregnancy-related deaths in the world. With 2% of the world’s population, it accounts for 11% of the world’s maternal mortality and 12% of the world’s under-five mortality.
The Obasanjo administration by itself “spent” $16 billion (some estimates put it at $13.1billion) on revamping the power sector and boosting its energy generation capabilities. Still, the present energy output is not appreciably higher than it was 8 years ago. The present total power output in Nigeria is about just as high as it was in 1969.
Similarly, billions of dollars were spent on the construction and renovation of federal roads. Lamentably, the nation’s roads, bridges and other public infrastructures dilapidated further into death traps. A good example is the billions of naira budgeted and re-budgeted and “spent” and re-“spent” on the rehabilitation of Benin/Ore Road. Why is it that till this day, it remains in a very terrible and dangerous state? Accidents on that stretch of road are rife, and are repeatedly claiming human lives. Other examples of PDP abracadabra abound.
Mr. President, decency demands that you answer the above questions for the Nigeria electorate. Long ago, in my undergraduate Urban & Regional Planning program, we were taught that to solve a problem, you must first identify its cause. So, Mr. President, if you cannot answer the above questions, it means that you cannot identify the causes of the country’s social, economic, political, moral and ethical maladies, and as such, cannot solve them as you are promising.
On the other hand, if you have the answers and you are deliberately withholding them from Nigerians, then you are being dishonest to the people. As falsehood has been the hallmark of PDP presidents, it signifies that your re-election to the presidency will buttress the already familiar PDP abracadabra.
After all, you are quite steep in abracadabra. Are you not extolling your administration’s fiscal discipline and responsibility while surreptitiously depleting the country’s foreign reserve? The foreign reserve during your presidency has gone down from $46 billion to $4billion. You are hyping your government’s commitment to law and order and war against corruption, but you are glorifying criminals convicted of corruption and theft of public funds. Did you not send a delegation to welcome Bode George on his return from jail? You breeched the zoning agreement within PDP, and with the help of the former PDP chairman, Okwesilieze Nwodo and his disgusting sophistry, convinced Nigerians that zoning is dead in PDP. But you are promising the Igbo the presidency in 2015, as though zoning still exist. If zoning is dead, how then can the presidency be zoned to the South East in 2015?
Finally, if you have the answers to these questions and can truthfully make them available to Nigerians, they will awaken to what the PDP leadership really represents. It represents piratical depredation of the national wealth, destruction of the nation’s institutions, debasement of her moral values and scornful indifference to the economic plight of the Nigerian masses. They will realize that like the political jugglers and financial swindlers that suffuse PDP, you have nothing to offer Nigeria, and your promises are as hollow as the previous promises made by prior PDP presidents.
Invariably, Nigerians will recognize that it is high time they booted out PDP from power by electing to the presidency a man governed by lofty ideals, elevated ethics, and selfless, incorruptible and unwavering commitment to the service of the people.
Tochukwu Ezukanma writes from Lagos, Nigeria.