When are we going to get a break from the public disgrace our political class puts us through? From the era of the Fourth Republic, the stories from Nigeria are one that as my people say ‘brings shame to the family name’. Good, there are thousands of Nigerians breaking grounds and smashing records all over the world but the damaging output of the government and political rulers are obscuring these wonderful individual feats.
My major disappointment with this current administration is that they have made matters worse, I and many other Nigerians must have looked forward to them (especially because of the Mr. integrity mantra they campaigned on) to change the narrative, I hoped for a rebranded Nigeria where first, the leaders take responsibility in doing things right and can now require same from the followers. But wetin we get.
Well, to the matter of the day, just yesterday on a social media platform of Nigerians in Diaspora, someone posted that Africans are quick to accept any stereotyping that was put on them. He cited the example of the west telling us we are black and then asked who told them the color black was black, there were other points he noted. Well, as normal with social media platforms, there were responses and the majority disagreed with him. Their claim was, just a name change will not do the magic. That pretense wasn’t the solution, that even if we try to say the color black isn’t black or we try to convince ourselves that we are not as backward as the world thinks but in truth our actions and mindset will still prove otherwise.
I agree with the latter, trying to say we are not what they say does not change things, what matters is our output. Take, for instance, the same day as this discussion held, on twitter @CivivHive had posted a piece of breaking news. The headline says ‘Breaking!!! 7 MDAs spent a total sum of N3.03bn on #COVID19 contracts!’ what is wrong you may ask. Perhaps other nations might have spent higher. Just be patient and hear out the contracts then you will realize what a joke our crop of leaders are and this will justify when others call us a joke nation.
Everything they claimed to have spent that huge sum of money on was either not relevant or it was well overblown. For example, there is the case of @NCDCgov spending the sum of N39.75m to purchase Prado Jeeps. Isn’t that a big joke on us, amidst a pandemic that was ravaging businesses and government crying wolf that financial resources were tight, busy submitting loan applications all around and increasing citizens tax. Remember also that the ministry of health even had to beg for ventilators claiming the nation could not afford it due to dwindling financial resources occasioned by the tragic drop in prices and sales of crude oil. What a shame and disservice to the people.
Moving on, the same ministry of health who appealed for free ventilators, according to @CivicHive investigation spent N37.06m on just 1808 pieces of ordinary face masks (i.e N20,467 per mask). Please, help me as am laughing into a coma. Recall, that even on the streets of Nigeria when private shops inflated the price of the mask, relevant government agencies swept on them and that helped to an extent in stabilizing the price so that people could afford it. But our very own FMH was buying from a source we don’t know for N20,467 per mask and you will tell me that the man outside when he calls us a joke nation is wrong? No, we (our political leaders with compromised private associates) are the ones pulling the joke on ourselves. You need to see the @CivicHive report yourself and you will weep at the level of mistrust this government has shown in their management of the collective wealth of Nigerians. For a nation that is not a joke and one that means business, this is the perfect time to fix our poor health facility issues and even a great time to address working policies and other essential policy matters but as a joke nation, they are busy looting funds.
Let’s remind ourselves again of the NDDC Covid19 fund saga, billions squandered and looted, what has even become of the case again? After we heard, ‘honorable minister off your mic’ that seems to be the pause for now that may lead to the end of the probe and under the carpet goes that national scandal and misappropriation. The painful part is the people who perpetuated it will remain in office and continue to do what they know how to do best.
Lastly, on this matter of critical self-analysis is the case of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development. Vanguard News on August 3, 2020, published a report that cited the Minister (Sadiya Farouq) as saying that N500m has been used for the school feeding programme in three states. Well, while it is a welcome initiative to feed the supposed hungry and vulnerable kids in society, it is most important that it does not end up only as a number giving activity. Evidence should abound as to who and who benefited from any such intervention programs. Everyone can sit in the comfort of their offices and concoct an expense report and then come out to tell the public that this amount was spent on this and that. Truly, that has been the case with Nigeria. And for as long as this continues, those who call us a joke nation will be well justified when they say so. However bad it is I won’t give up on my country! I can’t give up on for it is all we have got and we pray, hope, and will do our bit to see that all ills one day become a thing of the past.