Wed, 29 May 2024 Feature Article

A Chronicle Of Misgovernance Since May 29, 1999 And The Quest For Deliverance

A Chronicle Of Misgovernance Since May 29, 1999 And The Quest For Deliverance

Barely two months into the inauguration of the 1999 House of Representatives, scandal struck. Ibrahim Salisu Buhari, the young Speaker of the House, was exposed for falsifying his age and academic credentials. His claim of a University of Toronto degree turned out to be a sham, and he was forced to resign. This incident set the tone for a troubled democratic journey.

In 2006, President Olusegun Obasanjo flirted with the idea of a third term in office, defying constitutional limits. His ambition threatened the very essence of democracy, but Nigerians rallied against it, preserving our fragile system. Yet, the scars remain, reminding us of the fragility of our democratic institutions.

Our leaders, like the ancient Israelites, have led us through deserts of corruption, insecurity, and economic woes. We yearn for a transformative figure, a Moses, to part the Red Sea of misgovernance and guide us to the Promised Land of prosperity, justice, and unity.

As the quest for good governance persists, Nigerians voted for Goodluck Jonathan, a Nigerian zoologist and politician, who served as vice president of Nigeria, from 2007–2010. By virtue of his victory at the poll when he ran for presidency, he won and became Nigeria’s president from 2010 to 15. His administration faced significant challenges and achieved mixed results.

In fact, his administration faced significant challenges and achieved mixed results. The foregoing view cannot be pooh-poohed as under his administration, Nigeria rebased its gross domestic product (GDP) for the first time in over a decade, becoming the largest economy in Africa by overtaking South Africa and Egypt.

Despite this economic milestone, the country was not spared not spared by providence from grappling with unemployment and other economic issues, even as he dealt with an insurgency led by the Islamic militant group Boko Haram. The group gained strength and territory during his presidency, leading to increased instability in northern Nigeria.

While efforts were made to address security concerns, the overall impact was not entirely successful, coupled with the challenge which his administration faced, there was a widespread perception that public funds were pocketed by influential individuals with impunity during Jonathan's tenure.

Despite the foregoing retrogressive atmosphere that characterized his administration, it is germane to opine that while some anti-corruption efforts were initiated, challenges remained in achieving full accountability.

In summary, Goodluck Jonathan's administration had both achievements and shortcomings. His legacy is a complex one, marked by economic progress, security challenges, and corruption issues.

In a similar vein, during former President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure economic challenges were grappled with, including the tackling of recession during his first term. Critics argue that his policies did not effectively address the issues that beleaguered the economy under his administration.

Ostensibly countering critics’ assessment of his administration, his positive self-assessment during a ministerial retreat emphasized progress in security, the economy, and poverty alleviation. However, public opinion remains divided.

Buhari promised to tackle insecurity, particularly the Boko Haram insurgency. While some progress were made, attacks persisted, and banditry increased in various regions.

His administration rehabilitated and reintegrated repentant terrorists, which drew mixed reactions from the public.

On his achievement in fighting corruption and and entrenchment of good governance, Buhari vowed to fight corruption and strengthen institutions. His efforts included high-profile arrests and asset recoveries, even as critics argue that corruption remained pervasive, and some accused his government of selective anti-corruption efforts.

Regarding his efforts on economic reforms and poverty alleviation, Buhari aimed to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within ten years. However, specifics on achieving this goal were lacking.

Exactly a year after leaving office after staying 8 years in office, not a few of his critics and the question on whether his policies significantly improved citizens' lives and reduced poverty was rife, and still on people’s lips,

As to the public perception of his government, the trust over his administration unarguably plummeted with growing dissatisfaction over political inclusion and undelivered promises.

It will be recalled in this context that former President Olusegun Obasanjo, other elder statesmen, opinion leaders and Journalists on various occasions criticized his leadership, and unanimously expressed their concerns that Nigeria was moving toward becoming a failed state

In summary, Buhari's performance remains while in office for 8 years has remained a subject for debate. While some commend his efforts under his two-term administration, others believe otherwise.

In a similar vein, Nigeria's economy under President Bola Tinubu since last year, May 29, 2013, is undoubtedly not faring better as not a few Nigerians are facing unrelenting hardships across the land.

In fact, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu's one year in office has been marked by economic turmoil and widespread suffering. From the outset as his policies have driven the nation into unprecedented economic despair, unraveling the fabric of a country once brimming with potential. Under his ongoing leadership, Nigeria has become a landscape where citizens queue for food as if in a war zone. This is not a country at war; there is no drought or natural disaster to blame. Yet, the suffering is palpable, the hardship is unarguably unrelenting, and the future increasingly bleak.

Not a few experts and observers are alluding to the fact that his adherence to World Bank-prescribed economic policies, the abrupt removal of fuel subsidies, the devaluation of the naira, and hikes in interest rates and electricity tariffs, have wreaked havoc. Inflation has soared to a 28-year high of 33 percent, with food inflation hitting 40 percent. For a nation already struggling with 133 million people living in multidimensional poverty and over 20 million children out of school, these measures have added millions more to the ranks of the impoverished and out-of-school children. Nigerians, particularly women and children, now face daily hunger and uncertainty. Fathers are abandoning their families out of despair, unable to provide the basics.

While President Tinubu projected higher oil production and tax collection as part of his budget plan, the reality on the ground has been far from optimistic. The economy has not experienced the promised growth, and inflation remains high. Healthcare and education have suffered, and corruption persists. As Nigerians grapple with the harsh economic realities, the hope for positive change seems elusive.

Against the backdrop of the foregoing, one is compelled to ask at this juncture, who would become the Moses of Nigerians at this time of their need?” The reason for the foregoing question cannot be farfetched as Nigeria's journey into democracy in 1999 was a beacon of hope. After years of military rule, citizens anticipated a new era of prosperity, accountability, and progress. However, more than two decades down the line, disillusionment prevails. Our leaders, entrusted with the nation's destiny, have often fallen short, leaving us yearning for a modern-day Moses to lead us out of this wilderness of misgovernance.

Given this contextual chronicle of mis-governance that has remained Nigeria’s lot since May 29, 1999, it is not a misnomer to opine that Nigeria needs deliverance, undeniably by a leader that possesses the kind of leadership qualities of the Biblical Moses, come 2027, and not that of a partisan politician.