APC manifesto: Nigerians want miracles

The All Progressives Congress recently unfolded an eight-point cardinal programme that covers electricity generation, war against corruption, food security,   integrated transport network and free education. Others are devolution of power, accelerated economic growth and affordable health care. While the party has tried to assure Nigerian that the programme will transform Nigeria, the ruling PDP has through its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh said that the APC eight point programme, which offered nothing new was “a very poor imitation and a bland parody of PDP manifesto.” And echoing similar sentiment, Dr Doyin Okupe, says “It is a plagiarized version of the PDP manifesto and it lacks vision”.

It is difficult to disagree with the two misinformation merchants though their claim in itself is an admission of failure by PDP that in 1999, promised through Obasanjo, its leading star, to provide stable electricity within two years, embark on agricultural revolution, end massive importation of foreign goods as well as fight corruption, some of the issues the rival ACP now says it intends to tackle. After eight years of Obasanjo roadmap, Yar’Adua’s seven-point agenda and President Jonathan’s own transformation agenda that has run for over two years, outside PDP and its leading light, the verdict today is that we are worse off than we were in 1999.

What the APC eight-point agenda has offered the electorate therefore is only a choice between PDP’s 14 years of failed promises and APC’s hope based on the credibility and the past records of its chief promoters, Buhari and Tinubu. The party wants the electorate to be guided in 2015 by the record of Buhari who ensured during his short term in office, the nation not only stopped importation of wheat, our problem became how to store locally produced grains; the nation not only creatively ensured we did not waste billions on importation of refined fuel, but was exporting refined fuel; and of course the record of the defunct ACN governors from Lagos to Edo who have set standard of performance yet to be matched by those PDP governors who collect from the federation account in one month what some of the opposition governors collect in 12 months.

But I think Nigerians want more. The APC eight-point programme like the PDP 14 years recycled agenda, are routine responsibilities of government that do not require the intervention of angels or men with special talents. They remain intractable because of the greed of PDP leaders who chose to serve themselves rather than fulfil their obligation to Nigerians. This is not just the views of a critique of PDP’s inept management of the nations affairs, it is also that of the various probe bodies set up by the government itself as well as that of the judiciary that at different periods indicted nearly all the past PDP chairmen, past Senate presidents, past Speakers of the Lower House, ex-governors some of whom have served jailed terms at home for financial malfeasance or abroad for money laundering.

An army of frustrated unemployed youths driven into the embrace of Nigeria’s prosperity prophets by PDP 14 years of uninspiring leadership have grown to become miracle seekers. They therefore want nothing less than miracles from APC. Their expectations are legitimate. The challenge of what appears impossible task, which often come through dreaming dreams, is what after all make political parties relevant to their societies. Political parties in the US, Britain, Japan and China modernized their societies by dreaming dreams.

Nearer home, we have the example of the western Nigeria under Obafemi Awolowo in the 1950s. When the AG launched its freed education programme, others that could not dream dreams dismissed it with a wave of hand. In fact NCNC went a step further to undermine it through campaign of misinformation which resulted in AG’s loss of federal election in 1952. The success of free education became a testimony that those who dared to dream often perform miracles. More miracles followed. The Awo-led AG awarded more foreign scholarships to youths of the defunct Western State in their first year in office than the total number of scholarship the departing colonial masters awarded to the whole of Nigeria in the preceding three years.

Nigerian miracle seekers, assaulted by PDP’s celebration of generating 2500MW in 14 years after frittering away of over US$20 billion want dreamers who will generate 40,000MW in four years, repair our refineries in six months, insist we eat our own local rice in one year, stop importation of used tyres from Ghana, South Africa and Europe in three months by giving bailouts to Michelin and Dunlop to relocate from Ghana back to Nigeria.

Beyond the yearning of Nigerians for dreamers, APC eight-point agenda whose originality is being violently contested by PDP can hardly be attained within the present system that has sustained PDP anarchy and rape of our nation for 14 years. This is why one finds it curious that restructuring is conspicuously missing in the APC agenda. This omission cannot be attributed to differences in ideological orientation of the merging political parties. Restructuring formed the major platform of Buhari’s quest for the presidency in 2011. Of course restructuring and regional integration are experiments that have started to yield dividends in the states controlled by the defunct ACN.

They can be best achieved within a restructured Nigerian federalism. The six power blocks that emerged after the 2011 election which bear semblance to Alex Ekwueme ‘s recommended six geo-political zones as the building block for a federal arrangement that will reflect our cultural and ethnic diversity can become the platform for APC dream of a restructured Nigeria. The current 36 state structure with 774 arbitrarily created LGAs have become channels for the depletion of resources desperately needed for developmental efforts.

For instance the current six states of the South-west do not need more than a governor and perhaps six deputy governors to coordinate the activities of LGA which should be the responsibility of the zones/regions instead of depending on father Christmas from Abuja whose interest is in patronage not for development, but for destabilization of states as it is now evident in the sponsored crisis in Rivers and Adamawa.

And at alleged N50m monthly allocation for security to a governor, the six state governors take away N300m in a month or N3.6billion in a year, or N14.4billion in four years, enough to make the South-west self-sufficient in rice production or turn the South-west to a major exporter of ‘ofada and Igbimo’ rice. Savings from just the rationalization of governors alone can perform the same miracle with cotton in the North-east now made ungovernable by jobless religious fundamentalists, groundnut in North-west palm oil in South-south and South east.

Of course it will be a miracle to restructure a nation where ‘Nigerian army of anything is possible’ created states for their wives and local government for their media assistants; where the obsession of the young and the old in their 70s who had served as ministers and senators is to become governors of their unviable states; where governors of insolvent states that cannot pay salaries of teachers fly private jets and ride in armoured vehicles; where state representatives at the centre are the highest paid lawmakers in the world; where hardly literate local government councillors are better remunerated than university professors and where ministerial appointments like oil block allocation are shared on the basis of state representation.

But then beyond mobilization for elective political office or ensuring actual takeover of power, what political parties are in the main called upon to perform, are miracles. And only parties that dream dreams succeed in this endeavour. APC must note that traumatized Nigerians who have lost hope in all politicians, military and the current ruling class, are impatient. They don’t want more of the same. They want dreamers. They want miracles.

0 views0 comments