WEDNESDAY COLUMN by USSIJU MEDANER
The struggle to snatch the ultimate seat of government ended some days ago; the Supreme Court in an undisputed and unanimous ruling dismissed the appeal in its entirety. The opposition party had told Nigerians immediately after the elections in which they came a distant second that they actually won the contest; APC and INEC made a gross error, the original and authentic result of the presidential election is on a hidden INEC server. How did the result get to the server, the INEC server theorists insist the 2019 election results were electronically transmitted which claims of evidences filling the air? We were also told that Microsoft experts were called to prove the existence of the server and the authenticity of the information it contained. An expert was invited all the way from Kenya to expose INEC and reclaim the stolen mandate; the best of Nigeria orators were also hired to tell the court how PDP candidate won the election with a doctored result that showed that only APC and PDP participated in the presidential election and that Nigerians have become sophisticated enlightened that no single case of invalid vote is recorded in an election where over twenty-seven million Nigerians voted.
We were all called fools; we trooped out to vote; we watched results collated at our various polling units and recorded; we all stayed glued to our televisions for days as one after the other, returning officers from states took the podium and manually presented the states presidential election results. Then we were told we must be blind not to have seen and known that the results were not manually collated. INEC played us all; the more we look, the less we see.
This is not limited to the presidential election. In all states and across parties, politician took the masses for a ride with unnecessary litigation; they were ready to spend the stolen dollars all the way to the Appeal Court or Supreme Court as the case may be.
How could certain individuals face Nigerians with a known fact of deception and be able to stick to it to the end? What manner people would be ready to take power by all means on the back of such magnitude of lies? Was it not ugly enough that they are recorded perennial thieves on printed pages of books and their only audible response were the solemn silence and the rhetoric of “others are corrupt too”.
While I was wondering why all these politicians would go all the way to the appeal court and supreme Court, it suddenly occur to me that the game was no longer about the 2019 election; the relevance theory has set in; they needed the procedure to stay relevance in the public domain and on the very many social media. The game is about and has shifted to 2023. Having failed to “cum” as planned in 2019, the grand masters of corruption and lies are already planning to come again in 2023.
Now that all the cases are over, I am wondering what the next move at staying relevant by these politicians would be; I hope the farmers/herders clashes and the kidnaping would not resurface from the oblivion they have recessed to. Let all be on the watch-out and above all, be ready to reject in a clearer voice in 2023 what we had already rejected in 2019.
Now, to another issue; who did this to us? The resources belong to over two hundred million Nigerians but a handful, very greedy individuals just wanted it to themselves and all these happened at a time when the enemies of state and their gang adjudged that the country was working. The south-south region for instance, Underdevelopment of the region becomes an exaggerated understatement; the federal government being on the receiving end. The citizens abusing the federal government, the president and even the northern region for their many woes; but we all know now very well how NDDC got the billions annually and wolfs; animals in human skin. Sit round the table and share the billions
Seriously, some people are wicked; over 12,000 developmental projects fully paid for abandoned in only one region in just few years. Someone aptly wrote “New contract were drunkenly awarded, new monies were collected and shared, projects were abandoned and more projects yet awarded, to fatten the gluttons”. The masses, the poor of the region crying; the elites amplify the sound of misery yet living large in the midst of penury. In their pockets are the good roads, electricity, schools and all meaningful developments for the region.
Non-ending rhetoric; the militants throws tantrums and sympathy follows; more money is pour like rain from heaven, they filled their mouths and pockets. All these happened in the course of time when the region has their illustrious son at the helm of the affair at the presidency, at NDDC, at the ministry of Niger Delta and ministry of petroleum resources and at a time when they still maintained the country was working. Yet no physical presence of a single world class infrastructure, no rail line, no school but hunger and more hunger.
Could you just imagine, one man, taking 300 contracts to develop several aspects of the region, took the entire money and did nothing ( 120 of such contacts were fully paid without the execution of same). Yet today he is celebrated and loved by his people who are busy abusing and blaming the power at the center for their woes.
Those abandoned projects are the aborted future of the region. While NDDC and other agencies responsible for developing the region became ATM for the few and development become a rare attribute of the region; youths in the region still see attempt by the present administration which they have tagged “non-working” to redress the anomalies as an unwanted venture.
Please, who did this to us?
Another issue; quite a number of positives are happening to this country lately. Gradually, Nigeria is waking up and taking its place as the giant it is. It is becoming easier to do business in Nigeria; we are now classified as one of the ten emerging economies in the world and have risen fifteen places in the global ease of doing business. In just a space of three years, we moved away from importing about 3.4 million metric tons of rice annually, second only to China, to been 100 percent free of importation of rice and momentously pedaling to meet local rice consumption through local production.
Believe me, we are getting there; we are getting closer to the target now. You need to know, Nigeria is the world largest producer of Shea Butter, the largest producer of cassava, the third largest producer of Millets, third largest producer of sorghum, the third largest producer of groundnut, the fourth largest producer of cocoa and edible Aroids, the fourth largest producer of cowpea, the fifth largest producer of palm-oil, the sixth largest producer cashew nuts and sesame seeds and for a fact, 70 percent of all global yam production is done in Nigeria. I told you we are almost there; we are close to the days of glory. All we need to do is to shift more to processing and the value chains at home.
My only sadness is that we could have gotten there earlier than now, saving Nigerians all the undue stresses they have been subjected to. If the $16 billion earmarked for power infrastructures between 1999 and 2007 had been judiciously used and not lining pockets of wicked men; if the $500 million cassava bread processing of Jonathan had been a reality instead of the fund stolen by men who did not see stealing as corruption; if all the billions earmarked for road construction had not ended up serving personal aggrandisement and those few men are not busy strategizing how to rob the nation via every possible avenue like the case of the $9 billion P&ID contract robbery, perhaps we would have gotten there.
I remember one other thing. Wailers should please release the Supreme Court and its judges. In the course of the 2019 elections, the apex court have lived up to the bidden of been an impartial carrier of justice. They did a technical judgement in Zamfara, stripping the ruling APC of all already won elective positions and handed them over to the PDP on a platter of gold. In River State, the judges of the apex court removed the ruling APC again from all ballots. A good number of elected senators and members of House of Representatives of both the APC and PDP have had their victories overturn by the apex court. If the court, in the same line of wisdom and discharge of duty threw out a frivolous application based purely on the framework of a non-existing INEC server, what has it done wrong? Please, it is the same court and democracy is not under any attack, what you feel is just a figment of manifestation of hatred borne against President Muhammadu Buhari, so please free the Supreme Court and thank you.
Finally, let me end on this note; our generation inherits a bastardized Nigerian. We wake up daily to messages and reasons why we should hate the country. Groups after groups seek and amaze popularity on the back of divisive messages and propaganda. We got worse by the day, the rich getting richer, the poor poorer and the youth wasting. We become so engrossed in hating that we have not for once stop to ask what the effects are on us collectively and individually.
There can never be any appreciable development in the kind of atmosphere we are creating and multiplying in Nigeria; more hatred, more backwardness and same breeds more joblessness.
In the midst of enmity, we will never be able to stand up effectively to those tampering with our common wealth nor constructively design a better and greater tomorrow for the country.
We must come to the junction where we will wake up from our slumber and retrace our step back to discover the ingredients that guarantee real growth and national development. We must rather fight to be united rather than preaching separation.
This country is capable of great things if only we can change the narrative.
Let begin to do things differently from now. What about you? Will you be part of the movement for the birth of a new Nigeria?
God Bless The Federal Republic of Nigeria