Nigerians And The Declinism Of Seeing Each Government That Comes As Worse Than The One Before

Feature Article Nigerians And The Declinism Of Seeing Each Government That Comes As Worse Than The One Before

It is not an exaggeration to opine that despite former President Muhammadu Buhari staying in office for two terms; which lasted 8 years that not a few Nigerians will confess that they did not feel any relief from his administration after the hardship his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan brought upon Nigerians, which he (Buhari) capitalized on to campaign that he would “Change” for the betterment of Nigerians as a people and Nigeria as a nation. In fact, not a few Nigerians will say that from all indications that Buhari’s government was better than that of former president Jonathan even if he had close to a decade in office to actualize the “Change” he promised to bring to bear on Nigeria. The reasons for scoring the former president low, particularly in this context, cannot be farfetched as no sooner he got hold of the rein of power, prices of all goods and services in Nigeria unprecedentedly went up, particularly essential commodities. It was that bad that each time one bought a product from the market and goes back the second day; it was noticed that the price had drastically increased.

Given the foregoing, it will not be a misnomer to say that it has become a trend in Nigeria to see each government that comes being worse than the one before.

In fact, right from the tenure of Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, who led the country from 1960 to 1966, and that of General Aguiyi Ironsi whose tenure was cut short in 1966 to that of General Yakubu Gowon who presided over the affairs of Nigeria from 1966 to 1975, the trend of former administration been better than present administration has been in existence.

In fact, a peep into the dark underbelly of Nigeria’s political leadership shows that with the exception of the brief regime of General Murtala Ramat Mohammed; from 1975 to 1976, that virtually every nascent government was criticized for been worse than preceding government.

The regime of General Murtala Ramat Mohammed came, and was not vilified for bad leadership, though short-lived, it pragmatically focused on fighting corruption, pursuing social justice, and restoring public confidence, even as the regime also initiated the process of returning Nigeria to civilian rule, which was tragically cut short by his assassination in February 1976.

Following Mohammed’s assassination, General Olusegun Obasanjo assumed power as the head of state until 1979, thus through his presidency focusing on economic reforms, combating corruption, and advocating for African unity and development. Under his leadership, Nigeria transitioned back to civilian rule through the 1979 elections. Obasanjo later returned to the political scene and was democratically elected as Nigeria’s president in 1999, serving two terms until 2007.

To cut the narrative short, it expedient to opine that the trend of seeing a new government as been worse than previous government did not begin today. That said, it is expedient to urge the reader of this piece to ask any Bible scholar why people always compare past and present governments in terms of performance, and conclude that the incumbent government is worse than the preceding government. In making the foregoing enquiry from a bible scholar or a clergyman the response that may likely be gotten is that despite Moses being often cited as a biblical example of servant-leadership, his leadership style was condemned by some sect of people that fell within the purview of his leadership so much that they yearned to go back to Egypt where they were subjected to the slave masters ‘oppressive dispositions as they were placed under forced labor. Worse still, the Bible recorded that they built cities for Pharaoh, and that the Egyptians feared the Israelites and made their lives miserable with hard labor, making brick and mortar, and with work in the fields.

Despite the oppression which the Israelites suffered in the hands of the Egyptians, they soon forgot under Moses’ leadership, and even yearned to go back to Egypt as they at a point whined, “If only the LORD had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.”

Analyzed from the foregoing perspective, it is expedient to say that despite former President Muhammadu Buhari’s woeful performance as Nigeria’s president that not a few Nigerians, like the Israelites, have today started to be nostalgic of how the economy was before the nascent administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu commenced just few months ago.

For instance, social media platforms are literarily awash with videos posted by some Nigerians crying out for succor as the rising cost of living bites.

One of the skit makers or video makers, disclosed that he voted for the All Progressives Congress (APC) because he believed in President Bola Tinubu, but he now gets slapped everywhere he goes, stating that former President Buhari is better than Tinubu, even as he added that Nigerians are not happy with the present administration.

Another man in the same video, urged the President to restore the old pump price of fuel, and stated that Nigerians should not be taken as fools.

Besides the height of dissatisfaction over Tinubu’s led government been expressed on social media platforms through skit making, virtually everyone in Nigeria across households, neighborhoods, churches, offices, and even while on transit in commercial vehicles, not a few Nigerians have become unanimous in their views that the ongoing government of President Tinubu is not doing better than former President Buhari’s administration as virtually everything worth buying and services worth subscribing to have become extremely pricey to not a few Nigerians, and unaffordable to some.

Given the performance dissonance that has no doubt characterized Tinubu’s led government that commenced on May 29, 2023, it is germane in this context to say that the trend of comparing an incumbent and preceding governments is captured in one word by lexicographers as “Declinism”.

According to lexicographers, “Declinism is a cognitive bias that views the present and future negatively in comparison to the past. It is rooted in the belief that the world is inevitably heading towards a worse state, and may be driven by factors such as pessimism, nostalgia, and exposure to negative news.

Declinism may not be just an opinion, but a mindset that can have negative consequences on a person’s mental and emotional well-being. People who view the world through a lens of declinism may become overly pessimistic and anxious, as well as feel hopeless about the future”.

At this juncture, it is expedient to urge the president to fulfil his promises of charting a critical and enduring path to the country’s economic recovery as it has become more compelling for people to compare his performance with that of former President Buhari’s 8 years woeful performance. To me, given Tinubu’s antecedent, particularly as the former governor of Lagos State, it sounds ridiculous for public opinion to compare him with Buhari, and scandalously ridiculous to reach the conclusion that Buhari performed better than him as a leader.