Next Level vs Get Nigeria Working Again -By Daniel Uchechukwu Lawrence

Filed under: Democracy & Governance |

The year 2019 is indeed one in which many Nigerians hold in high expectation both in their private lives and in the affairs of the nation especially as the long awaited 2019 general elections is just few weeks away. To the citizens, a time like this provides an ample opportunity to sow a seed into the future that will guarantee their political, economic and social well-being which they are constitutionally entitled to, through the ballot either by maintaining or changing the status quo. On the part of the politicians, such a time demands the use of every means possible and every resource at their disposal either to cease or consolidate power with little or no interest on how such power can positively transform and improve the lives of the citizens who are supposed to be the sole responsibility of the government. But it can only take leaders in a time like this to humbly seek for opportunity from the electorates to represent them in government and contribute to nation building based on their outstanding passed records. The question now is, do we have politicians or leaders running in the forthcoming 2019 elections?

However, since the lifting of ban on political parties campaign by INEC, Nigerians as usual have been bamboozled with many campaign slogans and promises by different political parties. These also as usual have left many Nigerians skeptical about the possible and practical realization and sincerity of these promises which can be summarized as a political noise. Therefore, it is in view of this that we need to examine the campaign theme or slogan of the two dominant politial parties, the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) based on their records in government and at the same time, ask some fundamental questions before we head to the polls.

An African proverb says that ‘anyone that does not know where the rain started beating him, will not know where it will stop’. For months now, different political campaign slogans and jingles have flooded many media platforms and channels with the two major parties, the APC and PDP dominating the entire scene as a result of their financial buoyancy. The ruling APC after her successful hit single released in 2015 titled “CHANGE” have gone ahead to release “NEXT LEVEL” as her proposed hit single again for 2019. On the other hand, the main opposition PDP having suffered defeat with her unsuccessful single release titled “FRESH AIR” in 2015 after 16 years of controlling the central government have equally released her latest song ” GET NIGERIA WORKING AGAIN” believing that it will be the hit single that will bring her back to power come February, 2019. In all these, the Nigerian people serve as a means to an end.

Interestingly, the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) has come with the NEXT LEVEL message even when some Nigerians are still complaining about their disappointment with the CHANGE mantra. sections of the citizenry have expressed their fears about the NEXT LEVEL agenda as they are still nursing the wound of CHANGE. In as much as I appreciate the courage and efforts of the present administration to publicly recognise corruption as one of the major problems facing Nigeria’s development with some steps taken to tackle it and equally steering the minds of many Nigerians to look inwards which brought about so many creativity especially in the area of agriculture, there is no doubt that the government have not done enough in addressing the numerous socio-economic and political problems facing the nation especially in the area of national security based on the CHANGE campaign promises. This is so, not because the government could not have done any better but because it focused much attention and energy on playing politics than doing the business of government. There was more political talks than productive actions. The government fell to the trap of distraction set for it by the opposition.

In addition, the ruling APC under President Muhammadu Buhari have a problem of not taking quick actions and decisions on matters that demand urgent and rapid response. This have resulted to the nation receiving some dangerous blows especially in the area of national security on issues that could have been preventable or easily solved. It is because of this attitude, that the name “BABA GO SLOW” emerged. Therefore, in view of the NEXT LEVEL agenda, to avoid the same mistake some Nigerians whom when already experiencing the CHANGE agenda cried and wished they had asked for the kind of CHANGE they were signing up for, claimed to have made. It will be wise now to ask the APC and Mr.President, “what kind of NEXT LEVEL are we planning to enter? Has the CURRENT LEVEL of CHANGE been completed? Is the NEXT LEVEL, a level of more politics than governance or more governance than politics or both?”

Furthermore, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in her effort to get back to power come February 2019, on the other hand came up with the campaign slogan “GET NIGERIA WORKING AGAIN”. has I honestly find very scandalous. What the PDP and her presidential flag bearer Atiku literally mean is that Nigeria has been working before the emergence of the APC government in 2015. Maybe there interpretation of Nigeria working under 16 years of PDP in the face of abundant oil wealth is our ability to import everything including toothpick without thinking of establishing local industries, the collapse of the rail transport system, the closure of Nigerian Airways, the sale of public assets and the indirectly buying of this public assets by those in authority, the production and sale of crude oil and importing refined fuel without any effort to fix our local refineries, inability to revive Ajaokuta Steel industry, lack of constant power supply despite the billions of dollars claimed to have been invested into power, inability to diversify the economy, destruction of the nation’s education system as a result of poor funding and constant strike actions, increase in yearly unemployment rate, acute corruption characterized by illegal withdrawal of funds from public accounts by public officials for personal investment in foreign countries and the new national anthem of “Share the Money”, poor healthcare system, poor road network construction all over the country, rigging of elections, high crime rate and insecurity, high level of extreme poverty with the shocking world bank report of millions of Nigerians living below one dollar per day, many out of school children and finally before leaving power in 2015 landing the entire nation into Recession which resulted in businesses shutting down and many companies leaving the country thereby rendering many Nigerians jobless and unemployed and devaluing our currency against the dollar.

Out of curiosity, we are still wondering why Idris sang “Nigeria jagajaga“, African China ” food no dey, water no, as usual, and our country no good o” with many other revolutionary musicians under the Nigeria that is claimed to be working before and fortunately Mr. Atiku Abubakar was a major stakeholder in the Nigeria that was working before and now wants to make it work again. Come to think of it, if Nigeria has been working before that we now want to get it working again then why did the party that made such working possible voted out by the people in 2015 election? An election that was internationally recognised to be free and fair. However, if the PDP and Mr.Atiku are telling us to “GET NIGERIA WORKING AGAIN” that means there is a possibility of us going back to things that brought us to the miserable condition we are today. We know that Nigeria was never developed like United States, United Kingdom, or France since 1999 to 2015 and suddenly became bad. Since 1999 to date, Nigerians have been crying for one thing “GOOD AND RESPONSIBLE GOVERNANCE”. In my usual manner, let me ask me ask PDP and Mr.Atiku these questions of mine. Please, was Nigeria working before? Does “GET NIGERIA WORKING AGAIN” mean going back the normal way of life in Nigeria under PDP?

In conclusion, experience has shown that African politicians tend to abandon their policy document immediately they have won their desired political seats while some their political campaign slogan is a direct opposite of their actions in government. It therefore calls on the citizens to trade with caution. In the case of Nigeria, come February 2019, Nigerians must make their decision between NEXT LEVEL and GET NIGERIA WORKING AGAIN or outrightly reject the two considering other options available.