AS it is their normal practice whenever a year ends and a new one rolls in, they have since been sending us boring, unrealistic and insincere messages urging the battered, hapless and helpless rest of us to be hopeful that 2013 would be better.
Among this group of traditional message senders at the beginning of every new year are leaders at various tiers of government, former occupants of political positions, religious leaders and community leaders across the country.
But over the years, evidence has shown that most of these people are not sincere and honest in their dealings with the rest of us who are gasping for breath as a result of suffocation from the debilitating effects of abject penury in the midst of bountiful human and natural resources God has richly endowed our beloved country.
Do we really need these unending meaningless, uninspiring, depressing, discouraging, disturbing and provocative annual messages from our leaders? Will it not be more appropriate for them to stop talking and instead, hit the ground running by providing the people dividends of democracy through good governance?
Our religious leaders – Christians and Muslims, should share in this blame. As soon as a new year emerges, the religious leaders are fond of assuring those in authority that all will be well for Nigeria and Nigerians throughout that particular year.
Religious leaders do not tell our leaders the truth. As servants of God, religious leaders, irrespective of religious or political inclinations, should be bold and courageous to tell those in authority the truth at all times. Religious leaders that cannot tell those in authority the truth without fear or favour do not deserve to remain in office as the servants of God that should be respected by their followers. They are not good role models that should be emulated.
When 2012 rolled in a year ago, many religious leaders sent out their messages as usual and assured those in authority that the year would bring good tidings for Nigeria and Nigerians. Now that 2012 has just left the stage, can the year be regarded as the one that brought the country and its citizenry good tidings, especially judging by the unprecedented calamitous happenings that consumed hundreds of precious human lives and valuable property and also threatened the unity and stability of the country?
Was it not one of the religious leaders that said some years back that God spoke to him that he was destined to be the President of Nigeria? Thrice he participated in the presidential election but thrice he failed woefully at the poll. Recently, his political party was one of those formally de-registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
But God does not lie. Whatever He says He will do, He will certainly do. I never imagined that a popular religious leader could use the name of God to lie just because he wanted to pursue his selfish political ambition. He failed not once, not twice but thrice in 12 years. What other evidence is there to show that God never spoke to this religious leader who only wanted to use the invaluable name of God to deceive the electorate?
But in reality, this particular religious leader’s lie against God is clearly a reflection of the rising level of deceit, insincerity and dishonesty being displayed by many religious leaders across the country.
God has not spoken to them but they will go about deceiving their followers and those in authority. This is why our leaders, who are noted for poor performance, go to corrupt and shameless religious leaders for salvation through prayers.
Prayers for what? Can’t these religious leaders observe that their prayers are not working? Can’t they realise that as these leaders are kneeling before them for prayers, as such prayers are entering through the right ears they are going out speedily through the left ears of such leaders? It is like those that went to universities but never allowed university education pass through them. A colossal waste!
When our leaders go to religious leaders for prayers, do they allow such prayers to sink down properly in their body systems so that the prayers can germinate in order to bring about the much-desired results?
Are the religious leaders not bothered about the way things are not working in Nigeria and that this could be that those leaders they are praying for are not spiritually inclined to allow such prayers to guide them aright in the discharge of their sacred obligations to the country?.
What is the essence of our leaders going to religious leaders for prayers and the effects of such prayers will not be reflected in the way they are expected to effectively address those issues affecting the interests of Nigerians, most of whom have been heavily pauperised while many of those in government are stinkingly rich through ill-gotten wealth?
I was not surprised when President Goodluck Jonathan, ahead of 2013, promised he would perform better in the new year. What this implies is that for him to perform better in 2013, it means his performance in 2012 was good. However, not many Nigerians will agree with this position. Nobody can give what he does not have. It is impossible for anybody to build something on nothing.
For the president to perform better in 2013 what were the veritable structures he placed on ground in 2012 for him to achieve this cardinal objective?
Nigerians are familiar with promises by their leaders especially when a new year is approaching. Such promises are not only laughable but they are also ridiculous since at the end of the day, the promises will not be fulfilled. Nigerians are used to broken promises and dashed hopes, courtesy of their leaders.
To Nigerians with discerning minds, 2012 has gone down as the worst in the history of Nigeria in recent time. And so, it is for this reason that no right-thinking person will believe, as promised by the president, that 2013 will be better than 2012. This is just one of the political tactics for preparing the ground for 2015 whereas nobody knows tomorrow.
Although the president has over the years, be in government serving in top political positions, but unfortunately, his administration, like that of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, has steadily been on slow wheels. The administration, like it obtains in most of the states where the governors are indolent, has been dancing in cycle.
It has been motion without movement. No meaningful development in strategic sectors of the economy in spite of promises to fix collapsed infrastructure. Billions of naira and even dollars injected into the power sector are not yielding the desired result. Power supply remains epileptic in spite of steady rise in electricity tariffs. The manufacturing sector has virtually collapsed after several blue chip companies have relocated to neighbouring countries with conducive operating environments.
Government continues to turn deaf ears to calls to establish cost-effective oil refineries to complement the services of the aging ones. The people continue to suffer due to scarcity of fuel and other related products, despite Nigeria’s position as the sixth largest producer of oil globally.
The oil and gas sector is corruption-ridden. Oil theft has become a big business while the number of oil thieves, most of whom are untouchable notable personalities and their children, has risen considerably.
Educational institutions, especially universities have become safe haven for lecturers with fake doctorate degrees and half-baked as well as unemployable graduates. Health institutions remain mere consulting clinics and this is why top government functionaries and their families troop abroad for medical treatment at government expense.
There is nothing to show for billions of naira pumped into construction and rehabilitation of roads and highways that have become death traps. Lip service is accorded diversification of the economy as the agricultural sector continues to be neglected. Millions of naira injected into youth employment and wealth creation have become drain pipes.
The level of corruption, especially in high places, in spite of government’s fight against the cankerworm, is rising. No meaningful achievement can be recorded in this regard until high-profile corruption cases are handled conclusively and those found guilty are jailed to serve as a deterrent to others.
The leaders should live by example for others to emulate in order to have a disciplined society.
There is no way 2013 will be better if the Jonathan-led administration allows the disturbing level of criminality and insecurity witnessed in 2012 to persist.
I found it amusing when on several occasions at various fora within and outside the country, President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice-President Namadi Sambo and Finance Minister/Co-ordinator of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, repeatedly assured the global community that Nigeria is safe for foreign investments. Patriotic Nigerians that consistently voiced out their views that contrary to what public officials, including Reuben Abati, Doyin Okupe and Labaran Maku were saying, Nigeria is not safe for foreign investments, were unpolitely asked to shut their mouths. What a pity?.
But by the way, which other evidence was needed to confirm the deteriorating level of criminality and insecurity in the country following the abduction of the Finance Minister’s 83-year-old mother by daring kidnappers from the fortress where she lives? Perhaps the message the kidnappers wanted to send to the world-acclaimed former Managing Director of the World Bank was that contrary to her unbelievable claim, insecurity in Nigeria is real.