At exactly 6.00 Am in the morning, two buses leave Maza-maza in Mile 2, Lagos, for Onitsha in Anambra state. One bus is called Malaysia and the other bus is called Nigeria. Six hours later, Malaysia is in Ore while Nigeria is in Sagamu. Bus Malaysia is moving at an average speed of 60 kilometers an hour, while bus Nigeria is moving at an average of 10 kilometers an hour. If bus Nigeria is to meet bus Malaysia, at what speed should bus Nigeria be moving? Where on the road to Onitsha will the two buses meet? And when?
This is one of the mathematical problems that end the science career of most Nigerian students. The other one is this simple one: a man wakes up in the morning and decides to go to the market by foot. He takes one step forward and two steps backward. At the end of the day, where will he be along the road to the market?
Most Nigerians do not understand these mathematical problems. Our politicians know that and they are capitalizing on that ignorance to fool us all.
Since coming into power in1999, the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has shown Nigerians who they really are. They do not pretend anymore about their vision for the country. They say that they want to transform Nigeria into Brazil. They think as if they want Nigeria to be Mexico. They act as if they want Nigeria to be, at best, Pakistan; or at worse, Afghanistan. Most Nigerians have come to accept the PDP for who they are.
The same cannot be said about the opposition, the All Progressive Congress (APC). They still behave as if they have something magical to offer. They are solely counting on Nigerians inability to figure out the answers to those two mathematical problems above.
Mr. Bola Tinubu is the paramount leader of the opposition, APC. The primary charge of the APC is to present a different vision for the country- a vision that will separate it from the ruling PDP.
As everyone who cares about the progress of Nigeria can attest, one of the areas of change needed in Nigeria is the enthronement of meritocracy and the disengagement of mediocrity from our public life. You don’t need to be a progressive to know this. It is very fundamental. And that is the very first place that Bola Tinubu’s APC has failed.
Tinubu and his friends in APC would rather force their families and friends on the electorate. It is no longer democracy when the consent of the electorates at whatever level is not sought and, when sought, is not respected. In a democracy, there is no sacrament as sacred as the consent of the people and there is no oath as potent as we, the people. Those who defy them bring upon their heads truckloads of eternal curses.
The second area where the Tinubu gang has failed to make a clean cut from the PDP is in not raising the standard of what public service should be. States run by APC governors are not distinguishable from those run by the PDP governors. Local governments run by APC chairmen are not different from those run by PDP chairmen. APC members of the National Assembly(the Senate and the House of Representative) have not performed any better than their PDP counterparts. The APC members collect the same obscene salaries and allowances the PDP members collect without protest. Just like their PDP counterparts, the APC lawmakers have failed to rewrite the laws of Nigeria to make the country a more just society. Yet, they claim progressive credentials.
The expectations of the people of Nigeria are so low it is obscene. Knowing that, the Tinubu gang at APC has set the bar of good governance even lower. They totally ignore the fact that, for Nigeria to move out of its current pedestrian orbit and jump into an edifying one, the country needs a drastic jolt. A people beaten up for decades can be forgiven for wallowing in low expectations but not a leadership that parades itself as a progressive alternative.
This hypocrisy manifests in opposition characters like Rochas Okorocha, the governor of Imo state. This showman came into office with a promise to rescue Imo state from the scourge of PDP’s let downs. After twelve years of ineptness and corruption under Achike Udenwa and Ikedi Ohakim, the people of Imo state thought they were getting a messiah in Okorocha.
Okorocha came in with an eye on a national office and an exaggerated sense of importance. With a war chest that included a redeployed N2.5 billion naira a year security vote, he embarked on an unsophisticated show of abracadabra. He moved from one half-baked project into another. His policies are not any different. They lack focus and vigorous examination. He undermined his constituents and finished off his party (APGA) where Peter Obi had left it to die.
When Boko Haram threat got to Imo state, the man who had been an enthusiastic supporter of mosque constructions in the state decided that the best reaction was to issue all northerners in his state an ID card. That was the best solution that his brain could figure out. It was simplistic and without an iota of regard to the wider implication of such a policy. But it was quintessential Okorocha.
The pedigree of Tinubu, Okorocha and their likes are troubling enough that a descent society would not hang its hopes on their types. From their upbringing, educational accomplishment, to their source of wealth, these men would be too ashamed to be in public life if Nigeria were a sane society. Nigeria is a country in search of heroes. Every Batman, Spiderman, Ratman and Roachman is pounding his heart and claiming to be a hero- the Nigerian hero.
Tinubu, Okorocha and others, know that Rome was not build by men who took one step forward and two steps backward. They know that a man who takes a step forward and two steps backwards is retrogressing. But they have specialized in amplifying that step forward to create an impression of a forward movement. Tinubu, Okorocha and others, know that for bus Nigeria to catch up with a stationary bus Malaysia, it needs to travel at a speed of 60 kilometers an hour for 6 hours. To get to a static bus Malaysia in 3 hours, bus Nigeria needs to travel at 120 kilometers an hour.
Tinubu, Okorocha and others, know that bus Malaysia is not static but on the move at an average speed of 60 kilometers an hour. They are happy to claim that they are heroes because they are promising to get bus Nigeria moving at 25 kilometers an hour.
The trouble with Tinubu, et al, is not that they are pretending to be the brightest crayons in the box. We can see from afar that they are not. The trouble is that they are invariably creating the impression that all the crayons in the box are as dull as they are. That’s the trouble and our tragedy.