The country, Nigeria is blessed with a political history that outspans her colonization by the British Empire.
With a political history that outdates her invasion, it would be assumed that Nigeria would indeed be the political giant of the continent Africa.
The invasion of the then tribes, which constitutes today’s Nigeria, met well constructed and stable pre-colonial structures.
The 1884/85 Berlin conference which saw the then global powerhouses divide the African continent, which was then tagged the Dark continent, was the beginning of the fall of these structures which governed the living of the various tribes then.
Respecting the political prowess of these tribes, the British Empire employed several worthy members as local representatives.
Some members eventually gained international recognition as they were extended political handshakes by the monarchy of the Empire.
Centuries after the invasion of the territories, which were almagameted to form Nigeria, the nation was granted her independence and rights to her political system.
However, tribalism curbed the achievement of solidly unified political structures for several decades.
Also, the military, taking a cue from global politics, seized and annihilated the several political structures, playing the tit-tat game with the nation’s politics.
Every game eventually has an end and so after much ado, the military handed over the political rights to a democratic government and (partially) returned to the barracks. The whistle for the real political game was sounded and the match began. The last military Head of State, Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar handed over to a former military Head of State-turned-democrat, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo (retd.).
Under the political platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the era of democracy was hoisted by the retired General.
As a saying goes, Once a soldier, always a soldier, the retired General rode on the lack of understanding of the real stance of democracy by the masses. Also, still recovering from the brute rule of the military government gave the then political system ability to toll an unnoticed governance of civilian dictatorship.
The words of the then Grand Commander of the Federal Republic and his caucus were law and there was hardly any disputation to them.
As a democratic system requires, there had to be the judiciary, legislative and executive. These arms were overrun by factors of nepotism and favouritism which only helped further in the coverup of the civilian dictatorship. Like a hydra, any head which displayed the least epitome of rebellion was cut off and another grown to replace the felled head. This played out in the impeachment of multiple public officers, some of which were then members of the ruling party who had been termed rebels by the power that was.
The nation’s constitution gives room for only a two-term tenure for the position of top executive positions. This caused controversies in the then ruling party as there were speculations that an amendment of the constitution, to increase the eligible executive term to three, was in play.
By this time, asides the disunity which this caused in the camp of the ruling party, the masses had come abreast with the laws in the constitution and therefore couldn’t be easily waved aside and so implementation of the constitution amendment could not be achieved. Serious turbulence was already been experienced in the ruling party’s camp, which saw the exodus of several top members and the formation of multiple political parties.
For several years, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) maintained its status as the ruling party while due to the fight which the opposition parties always put up against themselves.
A saying goes, To fight a common enemy, even enemies have to team up. The opposition parties, taking a cue from this saying, retreated to the board and returned under a unified political platform to battle the ruling party.
This party was given the name All Progressive Congress (APC).
Investigations were then put in place to discover the desires of the electorate. The summary of the electorates’ desires was that a change was needed and the then opposition party, APC, took up the mantra of change and anti-corruption crusade.
It is a well known fact that demons don’t battle evil and a divided house can’t stand, hence the search began for an anti-corruption gladiator and there seemed no worthier candidate than the retired General who championed the anti-corruption crusade, War Against Indiscipline (WAI), during his time as a military Head of State. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari was a man who had disdain for corruption and it was not an alien fact to the masses.
Coupled with the past administration’s failure to tackle the state of insurgency of the nation, the then major opposition party, APC, achieved the impossible feat of defeating an incumbent government at the polls.
Elections in the nation are usually associated with appellation of the results at the tribunal so it came, to most, as a shock when the immediate past President, Goodluck Jonathan, conceeded defeat and congratulated the retired General, despite calls from PDP party members that the results be contested at an election tribunal.
A new era of democracy was supposedly ushered in, amidst massive celebration by the pro-APC faction of the nation. As every campaign entails, several promises were made during the journey to victory and the promises of the present administration gave the masses a high level of hope.
Encomiums was showered on the present administration when upon assumption of office, public declaration of assets and liabilities were implemented. Prosecution of some top public officers, some members of the ruling party, drew further accolades from the masses. However, like every journey, this was only the beginning. The contents of the book were yet to be shown to the masses, who had already judged the book by its cover.
Accusations and counter-accusations were issued as the present administration almost declared economic and financial bankruptcy, decrying total drainage of the nation’s treasury by its predecessor. However, the past administration has regularly debunked allegations tendered against it.
As expected, President Muhammadu Buhari, being an anti-corruption gladiator, immediately commenced the war against corruption. Several sham deals carried out by the past administration were brought to the spotlight and prosecution of individuals involved began in earnest. This once again led to applauses being rendered the present administration by the masses.
However, as the anti-corruption war escalated, speculations arose as it came to the notice of the masses that the bitter drug of nepotism was being injected into the supposedly impartial crusade. Only supporters and friends of the past administration, who had refused to jump ship and maintained loyalty to their ex-Captain, were invited, indicted and prosecuted. Reports of recovered loots hit the airwaves as several properties were raided and seized, bank accounts traced and frozen and more invitations were sent by anti-corruption agencies.
All these happenings didn’t alter the situation of the masses as months of salaries were unpaid in various states. There was consecutive outcries which led to strikes by several factions of the National Labour Congress (NLC). A shutdown by the striking factions of the workforce dealt further blows on the already-suffering economy and the Federal Government waded in to prevent a total economic shutdown. Bailout funds were issued to states in a bid to lessen the sufferings of the masses and prevent dire consequences.
A hope of salvation was seen in the bailout funds by the masses. This was however not the end result as the bailout funds ended up in the pockets of “unknown” officials whose prosecutions are yet to see the four walls of a courtroom.
The nation is one in which development (financially and physically) can hardly be achieved without the annual budget been signed into law by the President. Consisting of the revenue allocation for all the states of the Federation, the financial oars of various states solely rested on the budget.
The 2016 budget, which is tagged Budget of Change, has been a puzzle game to the APC-led administration until early May. With the budget first declared missing, there had been several other reports which delayed the signing of the budget continuously. Amendment and re-amendment had to be carried out, as the Presidency decried padding as the reason behind the non-approval of the budget, before the President finally affixed his signature.
One of the many campaign promises of the present administration was the reduction of the foreign exchange rate which under its predecessor fluctuated between N200/$ to N250/$.
This was welcomed as an excellent agenda arising from the fact that the dollar was a factor in the global economy and also the international trading currency of the nation.
The reverse became the case as the foreign exchange rate skyrocketed to between N300/$ to N400/$ at the parallel market.
The situation was even made worse as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), with the backing of the Federal Government, barred the use of the nation’s banks electronic cards outside the shores of the nation. This adversely affected Nigerians abroad, especially those who are studying.
The President, when confronted by the media on the issue, was quoted as insisting that the Federal Government could no longer afford to provide foreign exchange for Nigerians abroad and asked that they should source for it elsewhere. When reminded that he had wards abroad, he bluntly commented that he could afford it.
Another failed campaign promise of the APC-led administration is the reduction of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol or fuel to Nigerians.
Now a tell-tale of the past, the promise has been besieged by intervals of scarcity of the daily needed product.
During the past administration, the subsidy on the substance was given a removal deliberation and this invoked the wrath of several groups, notable amongst them was the Occupy Nigeria group, who threatened hail and brimstone if the removal was actualized.
Recently, the Federal Government removed the subsidy skyrocketing the official price of the product to N145/litre. It is to be noted that the honourable Minister of Petroleum is none other than President Muhammadu Buhari, as it was during his time as a military dictator.
Devaluation of a nation’s currency affects her economy positively and negatively. It improves international trading (importation and exportation) but also skyrockets the foreign exchange rate at the parallel market. Critics and opposition parties/groups verbally attacked the past administration for devaluing the currency, with the present vowing never to devalue the nation’s currency while debunking claims that the IMF chairman, Christine Lagarde, visited the nation for that purpose.
Recently, it was discovered that the Federal Government secretly met with the international monetary body, agreed to its terms and devalued the currency.
This would definitely have its tell on the masses as the official foreign exchange rate has skyrocketed to N360/$ at the parallel market.
More analysis of the current economic/financial state of the nation would only lead to an enumeration of the woes and sufferings of the masses.
At the 2015 electoral polls, Nigerians demanded change but the only change they have been receiving are little denominations denominations of money, which is referred to by Nigerians as change.
All that can be hoped upon is the 2019 general elections, where the masses can once again exercise their electoral franchise.
However, it can take only a real seer or prophet to tell its outcomes and the only true one (Time) rarely speaks.
Article by Agwah Michael
(Founder 247NewsUpdate Blog, Researcher, Human Rights Activist, Social Critic and Political Analyst)
LinkedIn: Agwah Michael