Friday, May 29, 2009

Ten Years of Democracy - Who is The Biggest Loser?

As we mark the 10 years of democratic rule in Nigeria, the question on my mind is who has been the biggest loser in the last ten years? Unfortunately, all socio-economic indices show that the nation has been retrogressing since independence. The last ten years of civil rule has also not made any difference. In fact some will agree with me that the situation in the last ten years is worse than what it was twenty years ago. The rot in our economy and social life has continued to perpetuate - even at a faster pace! Our leaders have continued to loot the treasury with impunity.

While the failure of how our leaders will suggest that the masses are the biggest losers, I however want to disagree. Yes I agree that the masses are yet to see the dividends of democracy. Yes I agree that nation’s infrastructure are in decay. I agree that our refineries are still not working. I know we have given up on stable power supply. I know we have no potable water supply. I agree that our major highways are death traps. I know we don’t have a functioning transport system. Yes, I agree that 70% of the nation live in abject poverty. Yes, I agree that our educational system is in a mess. I will however argue that our leaders are the BIGGEST losers.

They are the ones who have failed in all aspects of life. Despite the vast human and mineral resources at their disposal, they have failed to make any meaningful positive impact on the economy. Instead of providing good leadership and governance, they continued to loot the treasury with impunity. They have used their position to rob us of our commonwealth. They have turned a nation of 140 million into a country of Oligarchs. They sold government owned enterprise to their families and cronies under the guise of privatisation. They continue to distort the market by creating private monopolies under the guise of Public-Private Partnerships.

All they know about is rhetoric. They tell us about due process and rule of law. However, they award billion dollar contracts to their cronies without any regard for due process. They squandered the nation’s resources on grandiose projects that lack any public benefit. They use the ‘rule of law’ to subvert the fight against corruption. They use taxpayers’ money for cosmetic image laundering projects. In some other society, some of our leaders will be languishing in solitary confinement.

They come up with vision and agendas that are bereft of any rational thinking. They talk about Vision 2020, in a nation that can’t get its refineries to function. Our can we a one of top 20 economies when we can’t even get the simple things right. Our can we be one of top 20 economies when we can’t even generate 1500mw of power? How can be in top 20 when industries are closing down left, right and centre due to lack of power supply? How can we be in top 20 economies when we are still importing plastic chairs from overseas? How can a nation of 60% unemployment be in the top 20 economies? How can an economy that is controlled by few private individuals be in top 20 economies?

Our leaders are a failure. They are visionless. Most of them are born losers! Some are not even fit to run a family not to talk of nation. What else do they want? We have the vast mineral resources. We enjoyed almost 10 years of oil boom. We had the opportunity to develop our human capital. Despite all these opportunities they continued to lead us on a path of destruction. All we read about in the media in the last ten years is systemic looting and thieving. They have turned the commonwealth into private possession.

Our leaders are cowards. They loot the treasury and seek court injunction to prevent them from being investigated or probed! Due to fear of been voted out of office, they continue to rig elections. They use state agencies to intimidate innocent civilians and subvert democratic principles.

It is also interesting to know that some of these leaders are now attending Harvard University to learn about leadership and governance. These are some of the delusions of Nigerian leaders. Can someone please tell them that leaders are born and not made? You do not need to attend Harvard University to become a good leader. How many of the world great leaders are alumni of Harvard University?

But in all these troubles, I can see hope. The days of these kleptomaniacs are numbered. The alarms bells are ringing. The sound of the warning signal is getting louder. Let him that has ears listen. But as they say, the dog that is destined for doom will never heed to the call of the hunter.

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