By Femi Akintunde-Johnson
Someone called my attention early this week to a radio programme where this column’s last article was being read, or discussed. It sounded strange to me, I didn’t know anyone on radio was interested in opinion columns. So, I tuned to 104.7 FM (even one hour after, I still didn’t get the station’s name!) and truly, the article was on, though halfway through. In a fairly well-groomed elocution, the female announcer read the piece to the very end… and two other editorials from two national newspapers. Well, that was novel. I hope to keep an eye (or ear, if you prefer) on that radio station.
Inspired by that verbal rendition of the dreamy quasi-prophetic projections of our last effort, we are persuaded that the matter should be well and truly wrapped up…who knows, the person of our interest may uncharacteristically morph into the spirit and vision of the Buhari of my dream. Well, this is hoping our desires will not be sabotaged by the efforts and ingenuity of Nigeria’s army of “fake news” inventors.
Corruption that virtually re-defined Buhari’s first tenure because of alleged lack of even-handed execution of punitive measures, has been revised, and is now supervised by a three-man supernumerary team whose powers and procedures have been speedily legalised by the National Assembly.
This new force, more or less, is some sort of “Special Investigator” or “Super Spy” that is infused with the constituent properties of Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar (rtd), Major-Gen. Ishola Williams (rtd) and Prof. Dora Nkem Akunyili (late) all rolled into one. It has the capacity to investigate any federal officers, including the President, or entities like EFCC, CCB, Nigeria Police, the Armed Forces, MDAs, etc, and bring the guilty to a quick, lawful and painstaking justice.
Incredibly, the new anti-corruption challenge is taken up by a more vigorous and proactive NASS, injecting fresh thoughts to obsolete regulations; dispensing and abrogating windy and easily exploitable administration of justice. Special Tribunals and similar fast-tracking measures are embarked by the rejuvenated and purpose-driven Assembly.
In fact, at the tail-end of the 100 days, the federal and state legislators have magnificently collaborated to chisel out a process that will surely deliver a truly representative, sensitive and comprehensive review and multiple amendments to the Nigerian Constitution.
Most citizens watch in amazement at the remarkable camaraderie between the two arms of government, such that vigorous and developmental legislative work has given impetus to the new-found activism and focus of the Executive. Hitherto “no-go areas” have become the new lingo: referendum for self-determination, regional-state-and-local-government policing, devolution of powers, recalibration of the exclusive and recurrent legislative lists, collapsing of the national assembly into a unicameral chamber, ease of exposing and punishing corruption, prioritising education and healthcare, etc.
I cannot forget the litany of well-intentioned and precisely delivered Executive Orders. Many of the Orders titilate the hearts of the ordinary Nigerians, even when the anticipated results have not exactly manifested.
One of the most profound Orders involves the unbundling of the octopal Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC. Many of its subsidiaries which have reportedly become cesspit of high corruption, will be programmatically shaved off its mother-board in competitive mergers and acquisitions. This will allow new owners have majority control with an interventionist proviso that can be activated in the circumstance of overriding national interest. Incisive audits prior to public auction of NNPC have revealed stupendous graft, heinous pilfering and generational heists that set the country back in billions of US dollars, and several of our so-called upstanding and respected leaders – as far back as the nose can smell – have taken bunks in the recently commissioned minimum security prisons.
Before the 100 days are over, the now popular Buhari administration rekindles an instant and qualitative reward system for public servants and ordinary Nigerians with irrefutable reports of heroism, honesty and acts beyond the call of duty. Motivated by the sincerity and enthusiasm of government leaders, and the incredible gains of the first 100 days of Buhari’s second civilian administration, and realising that the leadership is fair, detribalised, purposeful, disciplined, hard-working, responsible, people-centred and law-abiding, Nigerians wake up daily to pray for their country and leader; genuinely go out of their ways to replicate the activism and sincerity of governance. They criticise policies and actions constructively; they celebrate the positive, and disdain the negative. We, the people, become the mirror through which the world sees our leaders and country – we have become the bubbling, progressive spirit of the new Nigeria.
Now this: no one has ever been arrested or prosecuted for a still-born or failed dream…I shall not be held responsible for the non-manifestation of my “visions”, “dreams” or “figments” of my imagination. Be truthful, have you not added your own “dreams” or “wishes” while reading this? It’s not your fault. We all want Nigeria to be great, peaceful and prosperous – in hard reality.
We just like empty rhetorics in this part of the world… We’ll say “government is a continuum”, yet when we change administrations, especially, inter-party switch, the entire superstructure of governance is excavated, new policies cranked up, and fresh faces installed. Yet, we serve the same long-suffering people.
If you think a Steve Ayorinde has been good for Culture and Tourism in Lagos State, for instance, why don’t you keep him for the benefit of your new administration?
Why the complete overhaul of high-end manpower every four years? To lubricate your “freedom”, or to “settle the boys”? Whatever, governance suffers, depreciates and totters. And the governed are the ultimate losers; most have not truly felt the presence of democracy besides the usual suffocation, threats, rumours of invasion and seizures and arrests by government officials.
The real “continuum” are the civil servants (faceless, lethargic and unelected) they make your inauguration day boasts turn to odourless gas, because you succumb to the expediency of African-style politics of attrition and patronage.
Here, the governing principle is: It’s my turn now, and no one must crash my parade.
Time to step up, please.