Friday, October 2, 2009

Nigeria @ 49: Senate President David Mark, the Delusional Optimist

With prevailing realities, there is no gainsaying that Nigeria has failed as a nation since independence. President Umaru Yar’Adua also confirmed this when he expressed regret that the promise of independence is yet to be fully realised 49 years after. In his words the President said “today (October 1 2009) should be a forceful reminder of the promise yet to be fulfilled, of the dream deferred for too long, and of the work that is still outstanding”. However, one person that seems to see things differently is the Senate President, David Mark.

The Senate President in his “goodwill” message to mark the 49th Independence Day anniversary was quoted as saying “At 49, no one can argue that Nigeria has realised its full potentials. This notwithstanding, we have made remarkable strides, especially in our steady march towards democracy and the rule of law. There are some successes we have to celebrate and consolidate”. Having read this statement, I was convinced that Senator Mark lives in a world of utopia. For a Senate President, who is the nation Number 3 citizen to say Nigeria has achieved its full potential in the face of abject poverty and indiscriminate looting of the nation’s treasury is not only patronising but preposterous. Such a statement is a slap on the face and an insult on 70 percent of the masses who have been continuously impoverished and thus live in abject poverty. If indeed we have realised our potential, then what Senator Mark is saying that, it is these 70 percent that do have a problem, and not the leadership.

For me, I will describe Senator Mark has someone who is probably suffering from “Delusional Optimism”. By definition, “delusional optimism” is a habitual failure to accept reality, unless it matches the positive outcome you want. And this problem is not peculiar to Senator Mark. Ex-President Obasanjo during a recent interview on the BBC programme Hardtalk, was also quoted as saying “based on the nation’s (abundant) resources, that Nigeria has achieved its potential”. Can you imagine that? Our leaders sometimes try to fool their minds into seeing something “good” instead of facing reality. They impose their own standards of “good” and “bad” on issues that have no such qualities. Their thinking is confused, misinformed or simply wishful.

Now going back to Senator Mark’s comments, on what indices are the potential we have achieved measured? If realisation of our potential is about being a leading corrupt nation, then the Senate President should take delight in the report recently released by Transparency International, which ranks Nigeria as 121st on table of the world’s most corrupt nation. Also, the Senate President will probably be the happiest person to know that we have lost almost $850bn through institutionalised corruption since independence. If the realisation of our “full” potential is about being one of the poorest nations in the world, despite being the world’s sixth largest crude oil producer, then we have indeed realised our full potential. Senator Mark should be informed that more than 70% of Nigerian citizens live on less than $1 per day. In fact the pace at which the potential of being one of world’s poorest nation has been realised is quite phenomenal. According to research, from 1970 to 2000 the Nigerian government received over US$300 billion from oil sales while the percentage of citizens living in extreme poverty (on less than US$1 per day) increased from 36 per cent to around 70 per cent.

Also why wouldn’t Senator Mark think we have realised our full potential, when he enjoys 24-hr uninterrupted power supply, thanks to multiple generators at his official lodge. If the realisation of our “full” potential is measured by the number of days that the masses can survive in perpetual darkness, then we are definitely on the right track. Senator Mark will be happy to know, with a population of 140million, we can only generating 2,900mw.

If anyone takes an in-depth look into Senator David Mark life history, then you probably wouldn’t blame him for making such a condescending statement. This is a man that has occupied one government position or another since Buhari-Idiagbon regime. At the age of 44, he has already been the Military Governor of Niger and the Old Ondo states. Within that period, he also served as the Minister of Communications. And as we know, he is now the Senate President. Those who know him will agree that he has a strong tendency for making silly jibes. This is the same man who said, “Telephones are not for the poor” during his time as Communications Minister. Now tell me, how can a man that has enjoyed perks and luxuries of public office for almost half of his life, not think that Nigeria has achieved its full potential?

The likes of Senator Mark encapsulate the challenge we face as nation. As long as we have leaders who are so detached from the reality of occupy positions of power, then we can never move forward as a nation. These guys are stuck in the cocoon called Abuja. There very insensitive to the plight of the masses. Rather than face challenges, they bury their heads in the sand pretending all is fine. Their definition of nation’s potential is the amount of money they can loot from the state treasury. Their definition of the nation’s potential is the number of oil blocks in the Niger Delta that can be auctioned to their families and cronies. Their definition of the nation’s potential is measured by the number of state-owned assets that can be sold to their cronies through dodgy privatisation deals. And finally, why wouldn’t a Senator that presides over a legislature that is maintained with N1.3 trillion yearly, but has only managed to pass four bills since its inception, not think that Nigeria has achieved its full potential?


Esiarp Elegbede said...

You have said it all. They are all 'morons' occupying boom and enslaving great futures. Truthfully, I am 'hurting'.

Anonymous said...

Oh, it really is heartbreaking, what can we do? Enough is enough!

Isioma said...

Right now i am so embittered by what i have just read that i feel like poking someones eyes out. All i can wish them is the most gruesome and shameful kind of death, while their offspring hide their faces in shame.

Seyi said...

I can feel you guys. When I read the statement, I couldn't help it but respond, hence my post.

In fact, I had to restrain myself from raining curses on the guy in my post.

We will get there someday...



Ola04 said...

Sometimes I think about Nigeria and just feel like crying...

Anonymous said...

Dear All,

Much as I identify with all the comments I do have a subtle difference.

We, Nigerians, have a 'sit-down-look' attitude to all the issues. We are quick to point to the leadership.

China is what they are are today because some students said enough is enough at the Tenement square in 1989 I think.

We need to wake up as masses and 'chase' these morons out of the high offfice. Aluta must rise up and continue.

Anonymous said...

I wonder the kind of leaders we have in this country......when tertiary students cannot go back to school,secondary school teachers are on strike,subsidy is about to be removed on petroleum product.....everything is just messed up,yet somebody sits down in the confine of his home(tax payers' money) and dictates crap.My only prayer is that God in his mercies will judge them one by one.Do i hear a BIG amen to that?????

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