Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Goodluck's Gambit

The news is stale, that the president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, is presenting a bill to the national assembly to amend the constitution! He wants to replace the former tenure of executive office holders from the current possible two terms of four years, to a single finite term of six years, or whatever ! 

As is the fashion in Nigeria, there are two camps, the "Ayes" and the "Nays" Right now, the "Nays" seem to be winning the verbal war!

While I am an advocate of the single term presidency, I do not subscribe to the way it is being introduced! 

Those who oppose the amendment point to the myriad of problems, and the miasma of infrastructural rot, and deficit, plaguing the country! 

They would prefer that the president sends an amendment to tackle bad roads, corruption, epileptic (some would say, comatose) power industry, and the high cost of running the country's bureaucracy! 

As we currently stand,  a mere five percent of the total population, consumes ninety five percent of the nations wealth by way of recurrent expenditure to maintain political office holders!

Nigeria has been tottering on like a drunken blind man, on a narrow road between two deep ravines! and she does not know it!

We have been fortunate in muddling, and fumbling through the various crises we have encountered. 

We have failed to grow properly, refused to utilize our resources, and carried on as if oil would last forever! We are neither at par with other nations we gained independence with, and those who are less endowed are even ahead of us in the quality of life they give their citizens! 

Some would dare to call it good luck, but saner people would point out that luck can change! 

The cracks we have been carefully covering with mud, are now wider, and deeper! We now have an insurgency of our own making, we are back in debt, the world's economy is slowing down, there is no nest egg for us to fall back on, and government has just increased it's recurrent expenditure by increasing the minimum wage!

Is this the game changer for Goodluck? He already has opened our own Pandora's box with the minimum wage increase. For the first time, governors are asking for true federalism, and a review of the revenue sharing formula in favour of the states! 

Jonathan in bringing this amendment, is like a groom on his wedding day, when confronted with the fact that his bride to be is stranded at the airport minutes to the wedding, in addition to the caterers refusing to prepare the food for the reception, and his wedding rings being lost in transit: is only concerned with the fact that there are cobwebs in the church where he intends to solemnize the ceremony!

The Americans have a saying, "if it ain't broken, don't fix it! 

Why would one man believe that what Nigeria needs now, is the diversion of another constitutional amendment?

If Jonathan seeks the good of Nigeria, he should send the Justice Uwais Panel's report on electoral reform, in it's original form, to the national assembly!

Or, let him include in this bill, that the president, governors, and their families would pay for the food they consume while in the executive mansion, like the American president does! 

In addition, he should include in the bill, that the members of the national assembly from now on would serve pro bono without remuneration of any form!

I can bet my last kobo that the acrimony, and the do,or die, that is now the norm with our elections will end!    

The problem with Nigerian politicians, is that they think too highly of themselves! They equate election to office with omniscience: they believe that they have a divine right to tinker with our lives, as they please, without consulting us!

There has not been any murmuring concerning the tenure of politicians, no one has started a campaign, collecting petitions to the effect!

The refrain on the streets is fix the power problem, fix the roads, fix health, fix schools, fix corruption, fix Nigeria! 

I wonder why, oh why, does he want to leave the real issues that affect us, and go paint the clouds pink? Or like we say in Nigeria "build us a house on water!

Jonathan's house is on fire, and all he can do is kill the cockroaches, and rats fleeing the fire?

By extending the largess to the members of the national assembly, he has effectively bribed them, and tied their hands! 

Some of us would like to change our lawmakers sooner, than later! 

His desire to ensure continuity is misplaced! Jonathan sees continuity as stemming from individuals occupying the same political office for donkey's years! 

In truth, continuity is the byproduct of strong institutions that cannot be influenced by individuals with evil intentions, no matter how strong they are!

It is because we have not had this continuity, that Jonathan can bring a bill like this before the national assembly! He would only succeed in weakening the frail, and fragile forms on ground 

This his interpretation of continuity was what informed his reappointing his old ministers to to their old portfolios! 

It was a gross error of judgement if you ask me! 

He only allowed those who were thieves among them to go back to the elaborate schemes they had set up to fleece Nigeria: now he wants to do the same for the national assembly! 

President Jonathan was elected on a wave of goodwill, he however believes that it is because his name is Goodluck: he is about to find out if that wave is still far out at sea, or whether it is already crashing on the shore!

Beware Jonathan! Beware of the rocks!


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