The Vice-President of Nigeria,Yemi Osinbajo, a professor of law and a pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) combined irrational argument with evangelical exhortation in the classic preacher fashion that true change would come in the year of our Lord Twenty Thousand and Eighteen.
Two Sundays ago, Premium Times reports that Osinbajo during an interview with journalists after a church program in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, said “There are lots of people who will say where is the change they promised?” “People will condemn and shout,” says Osinbajo, “but we are focused, calm and extremely confident that God is on our side and this country will not be the same,” the preacher VP assured a doubting and restless nation. Still preaching to the body of citizens with expired hope, he said “In another couple of years, in 2018 we will see the difference.”
By now, Nigerians are familiar with the fire wall of blame game erected by both President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Osinbajo around their failure to deliver their signature campaign slogan of “change.” Osinbajo's statement sounds unrealistic with a biting satire of optimism. Muhammadu Buhari administration is “focused and determined to ensure this country is put on the right track,” says Osinbajo. As if on the pulpit, the preacher-pastor VP is fired up: “All of us have a part to play in the change. Nigerians must be patriotic in our dealings and daily activities. We should be committed to the nation,” says Osinbajo.
By the way, whose change is it? For who and by who? Who owns the change? Who promised change? Who needs change? The campaign of “change begins with me” concocted by the Buhari-Osinbajo administration is a manipulative reverse psychology of blaming the victims (Nigerians) for being victims of the regime's deception, incompetence, inaction, and mismanagement of the economy that has brought more misery than relief to Nigerians in the past 16 months.
The political strategy of blaming the previous administration and shifting responsibility of change to the Nigerian people by this administration is a wild and dangerous invention. It would only fern resentment, anger, and hatred from poor Nigerians against the government whose campaign cornerstone was “change.” No doubt, the progress report card of the administration in the past 16 months has destroyed to a large extent its credibility. It has eroded our trust and loyalty.
The Buhari-Osinbajo preference is to appear like they're solving the problems for which we duly elected them to tackle, rather than actually tackling them. We're inundated with the same repulsive regurgitating mantra of why the “change” they promised isn't forth coming – soon. Listen to the second part of the VP's sermon: “One of the reasons why we are in a recession is the fact that we lost about 60 per cent of our revenue due to the vandalisation of the pipelines on the Niger/Delta and we lost almost 40 per cent of the gas.” “These are challenging times,” Osinbajo reminds his Nigerian congregation. “It is very obvious and we know the reasons. It is high level of corruption and we have dealt with that. We are controlling government expenditure. Once you can control corruption, we are out of it.”
We're tired of the sickening repetitive excuse of dwindling revenues from oil as one of the reasons for the incompetence of the administration. Buhari-Osinbajo knew way back that revenue from oil had fallen before they came into office. It's no new news. We have dealt with corruption? How? How can you control corruption when corruption is dictating the terms of engagement in the war against corruption? What results have you gotten? Is there anything to celebrate in the war of corruption when a thief only refunds chicken change of a million or two from billions of heist taken from our treasury? Is there any reason to roll out the drums when the looters particularly the most prominent and the ones with the most pile of stolen Naira like Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki, Sambo, and other baron looters still out there untouched, unmoved, unaffected, and free from prosecution and conviction.
Mr. VP, what's the status of war on corruption now with these thieves? What happened to their cases? How long would it take to prosecute and convict them? What happened to the proposed corruption courts? What's the purpose of fighting corruption without corresponding punitive punishment that could deter other elected thieves from stealing?
We know change is incremental. It comes in bits and bites. It won't be a wholesale one-time event. Fact is, we've not even seen any small change taking place, except from the screaming headlines of arrests of looters by the EFCC on pages of newspapers and the paltry refunds from the thieves. It's all deja vu again – it's change without change. The unfulfilled promise of change by this administration is an ominous climb-down from its pre-election claims and it's a destructive weapon typical of political con artists.
We now know that the APC campaign slogan of change was an empty promise and trade mark arrogance that made the change mantra both despised and disturbing. If there was a time when the joke of Buhari-Osinbajo administration lost all its humor, it's clearly now. Change? What change? It's a change we can't believe in: undiminished unemployment, the daily aggravated starvation, the unmatched penury of families, the unattended health problems of millions of sick and the infirm, the tone deaf attitude to constructive criticisms and suggestions coupled with the administration's ineptitude of not acting faster, promptly, properly, proactively, and decisively. But the most relentless drag on the administration that promised change is even more ominous. It's the country's fatalistic sense of hopelessness and helplessness arising from the stalled moribund economy which remains intractable.
The change vis-a-vis the war on corruption seems to have a prosecutorial gene. Its failure to get conviction speedily and successfully against the public faces of corruption whose membership includes high power and high visible politicians. The Buhari-Osinbajo led federal government has neither aggressively prosecute corruption nor compellingly worried by the snail speed with which it fights corruption. Indeed, the unannounced truce reached on corruption between the government and the thieves makes President Buhari looks like he's fronting for the crooks and the thieves even if he's not.
Buhari-Osinbajo administration is guilty of transgression of undelivered change that it promised Nigerians. As we confront the disappointment of heart wrenching political malpractice, a troubling sense of malaise and despair casts a pall shadow on the lives of our people. Nigerians are boiling with anger for the failure of the government to respond adequately and aggressively enough to the massive wave of sufferings because of rising unemployment and resistant poverty. The failure to respond directly by targeting the needs of our people makes mockery of a government that boasts of change.
The sermon on change by Osinbajo is a quick-witted farce that doubles as the most disengaging and comic filled buck passing of a campaign promise. Nigerians, brace up and fasten your seat belts – it's going to be a long walk, long wait, for change in 2018, a year before the demise of the Buhari-Osinbajo government.