Nigerians, I Hope You Are Enjoying the Change?

I wish I will never have the cause to publish this piece for people to read. I wish this outpour of my thoughts during a lonely, dark and hot time will probably perish in the archives of my laptop and never get out. My heart bleeds like a new bride who caught her groom cheating with a female hotel attendant on the last day of a blissful honeymoon. No matter how good you console her with secular and biblical references, what runs through her mind is the untold hardship and surprises accrued to living with such a randy man she gave her all to for the rest of her life.

2019 is like eternity making reference to where we are coming from. I pen down my thoughts with a broken heart to ease my pains as the art of writing is like my painkiller I have to admit I abuse most times due to overdose.

Its disheartening to see the breakthrough slogan of the masses go from 'CHANGE to CHAIN' in just 9 months. The support for President Muhammadu Buhari 8 months ago was so massive that the United Kingdom former Prime Minister, Tony Blair through his representative, Lord Mandelson at two-day policy dialogue programme in Abuja, May, 2015 urged Buhari to take hard decisions to revamp the sick status of the Nigerian state taking advantage of the enormous support he was enjoying from the people. Like a musical show setting, even the silence of Buhari was blindly applauded by all of us and we named it 'body language'. I know this piece with cause me to lose friends and increase the level of disaffection of some certain people who feel I am derailing in my support of the current administration; but the truth must be told no matter the size of the audience as lies will never stand the test of time even though the instant impact maybe corrective. How many people selflessly supported the All Progressives Congress campaign without financial inducements or future promises of personal gains as much as I did? My records speak volume of my beliefs and unflinching support for the general will of the people which is the core purpose of the existence of the state.

Lets put our political affiliations aside for once, let's pull off the garment of sentiments, let's close our eyes to personal benefits from the current administration, let's rid our heart of religious and tribal sentiments that could cloud our sense of judgement, let's sink into the campaign promise of the ruling party to hit the ground running as you attempt my next question with a sense of truthfulness and transparency.

How do you feel when you return from work at virtually 9pm or 10pm  after leaving the house around 6am only to meet utter darkness like we are in the primitive times when the discovery of electricity was still uncertain by American Scientist, Benjamin Franklin in 1750? Then you stroll into your house with the dim light from your mobile phone nursing the faint fear of what is hiding in the dark. You open the door to your room and the heat envelopes you like you are training for a spell in hell fire after being condemned to death for your sins.

The next activity that strikes your mind is having a cold shower. You head for the bathroom and discover there is no water due to lack of power to pump water into the storage tanks. In that moment of frustration compounded by tiredness, hunger and probably bad experience with a boss or a colleague, you reach for the electricity generator and the fuel tank is as dry as Buhari's campaign promises.

The necessity of power becomes intense; who do you cry to? Banking on the power company for the restoration of light is the height of flippancy when something important is at stake. Then the next step is to run to nearby filling stations only to find some locked due to lack of fuel or you meet a queue that is 'longer' than the late Sani Abacha's loot that keeps being returned endlessly even 18 years after his demise.

Drawing the needed inspiration from the patient dog that ends up with the fattest bone, you join the queue not minding the hyper-inflated Premium Motor Spirit price which is almost double the normal rate due to scarcity,  and with a tactical maneuver, it finally gets to your turn to purchase fuel only for the petrol station attendant to tell you they don't sell fuel directly into Jerry-cans to curtail the activities of black market operators. The thoughts of carrying your 2KVA generator on your head or detaching the fuel tank for a revisit to the filling station strikes your mind as you take that lonely walk home.

Your clothes remain rough needing ironing for the following day's work. Your phone gradually beeps to notify you of a low battery. This is complicated with this age of specialized Smartphones with poor battery strength due to frequency of use. Furthermore, you retire to your mild bakery called your room for the needed sleep with some 'musicians' called mosquitoes offering you an unpaid service.

As you wait for sleep to ease your bitter mood, you unconsciously refresh your Facebook/Twitter or favourite blog and fresh news of the unabated mayhem by Fulani herdsmen, more cases of the Ese Orurus surfacing and the 'Gates' involving financial figures that could shock the devil himself surface. Does that call for a dance?

The drama doesn't stop there; your month ends in this manner in a repetitive way and at the beginning of a new month when you are yet to receive your salary for the month as a civil servant, you receive one staggering power bill in the tune of N20,000 awaiting you as practiced in Lagos. What a rip off!

Enough of the imagery, how does that make you feel? It worsens when a propagandist/sycophant seeking political or economic favour goes on national television to thank Buhari or the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola for the 'good works' when the megawatts on paper has hit an all time low of 1,580MW with an increased electricity tariff of 45% without a proportional increment in earnings. Kai! Diariz god oh!!

Be truthful to yourself. This is more of a heart-to-heart talk and not a regular article. I know this government needs times as its barely 9 months old and cleaning the 16-year rot left behind by the People's Democratic Party, PDP is the usual talk forgetting the fact that 80% of the APC members are from the PDP.

Buhari might have lost his popularity but a turn-around in just the power sector alone in three months will win back all his supporters and appeal to the hearts of others against him because power issues directly affect the masses who don't have the financial capacity to manage it like the affluent. The lingering problem of the power sector today still bores down to a case of square pegs being allocated to round holes. Fashola's appoint shares the same similarity with the appointment of the late former Attorney-General of the Federation, Bola Ige as Minister of Power by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999. They both share the same discipline, ethnic group and high level of expectation from the people. Fashola before his emergence as the Minister of Power, Works and Housing lamented on the state of the power sector which was a focal point through which the APC drove home their points on the removal of former President, Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan. A lot of Lagosians applauded Fashola's appointment with the expectation of the said developmental 'magic' he did in Lagos as governor being repeated. Bola Ige amassed support during his time by giving himself a 6-month ultimatum to revamp the power sector failure to which he would voluntarily resign. Reality later dawned on him and after his self-imposed ultimatum elapsed, he started blaming the power problems on vandalism and sabotage until Obasanjo gave him a soft-landling by re-assigning him to the Ministry of Justice.

The same trend of vandalism and sabotage is the same excuse we get about the shambolic fall in the megawatt which is far from the 25,000 target needed by Nigeria. You can perceive the problem seems historic and Fashola's first move of increasing tariffs for the services people are not enjoying in the face of an economic downturn shows he isn't the man for the sector. Such a capitalist orientation of profits regardless of the plight of the masses should be discouraged. Its a case of absurdity in business for an investor to raise money from its customers to stay in business like the DISCOs (Electricity Distribution Companies) are proposing indirectly simply because we don't have a choice. If this administration can't make our lives better, then it shouldn't make things worse before 2019 when we will be on the march again.

It was on this note that Senator Dino Melaye cried out on Twitter that Buhari should take the burden of the power ministry from Fashola before the burden dislocates his neck.

Someone on social media drew my attention to a conspiracy theory as regards the woes of the power sector. According to him, the National Assembly is yet to approve that 2016 national budget as the Senate President, Bukola Saraki is allegedly using the approval of the budget as a bargaining point out of his travails in the Code of Conduct Tribunal over a 13-count charge of false declaration of assets, hence the major reason why Fashola's hands are tied due to lack of funds. That sounds interesting regardless of the authenticity of the underlying issues raised but I will like to remind others making similar excuses for failure that in a working system, the people need not to pay attention to underlying factors or dynamics of politics and administration. The people only focus on the output of governmental processes i.e results. For example, no bank customer cares about the number or certification of bank workers, their working conditions, security, remuneration and mode of movement of cash as well as the bank's private business engagements or promotions. The customer's business is to save his money when there is a need to and withdraw without hindrance. This is just one of a host of several real life examples.

I salute the current political consciousness of Nigerians which I believe was woken up by economic hardships. That is the real CHANGE we need. The sincere 'change' starts from me and you. This can be confirmed in the words of Aristotle which says: The energy of the mind is the essence of life.

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About Osahon

I'm a journalist and a Political Scientist undergoing a doctoral programme focused on media, democracy and governance in Africa. My mission is to uphold the role of the media as the 'fourth estate of the realm' and also tell the Nigerian Story to the world. You can contact me on Phone number: +2347053302356.
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