Whether it is American politics with its characteristic intensity and sometimes crude and calumnious election campaigns, or it’s the Nigerian electoral feverishness with its jabbering, lies, and bold-faced mendacity, political campaigns in these two climes routinely throw me into a state of electrifying excitement at their onsets. Aside from gruesome killings and kidnapping episodes, and the splurging orgies and cash-carrying wastages of resources, I always look forward to campaign seasons in Nigeria.
The commencement of the season reinforces the fact that I have always known since I cut my teeth in the observatories of global politics. Politicians are half-human and half-beasts. They are half-sane and almost fully and deliberately schizophrenic. To the politician, every ally is a potential adversary; and today’s foe is tomorrow’s potential fanatical friend. In politics, there is no permanent friend; personal interests, in their innumerable verses and versions, are front-and-centre in the think-tank of politicians. To politicians everywhere and anywhere, self-interest is the oxygen they breathe.
In 2014, former President Olusegun Obasanjo threw his godson, Goodluck Jonathan, under the bus and jumped on the gigantic campaign wagon of retired Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. Obasanjo and Buhari’s military backgrounds, not ideas or ideologies, probably brought them together singing like canary lovebirds. I am bold to conclude without any equivocation that neither Sai baba nor Baba Iyabo has clear ideological pathways that younger Nigerians can tread with the hope of one day becoming ideological titans. In months leading up to the 2015 election, Obasanjo said many lofty words about Buhari: “I see Buhari as the next President and Jonathan is aware of that…” Baba voted for Buhari and power changed hands. A few months ago, in a ruthless and radical spin-around, (this was not unexpected) Obasanjo sounded an alarm asking the President not to run for re-election in 2019. Baba has since spoken many awry things about Buhari’s leadership ability or lack of it. And those words of recrimination eventually loosened up the taciturn tongue o the President who wants to remain in power until 2023.
At a private meeting made public in the Villa, Buhari hauled the following jarring jabs and jibes: “…and one of the former Heads of State between that time was bragging that he spent more than 15 billion American dollars, not naira, on power. Where is the power? Where is the power? And now, we have to pay the debts…” Buhari didn’t have to name names. We knew the direction the sword swung. And the target, Baba Iyabo, knew it too. Buhari did not accuse Obasanjo or anyone of corruption. He only asked a generic question: “Where is the power”? And Obasanjo fired back doubling down on his earlier multiple tirades that Mr. President is clueless and unknowing.
Sixteen years before Buhari came aboard, reports had it that a total sum of $29.635 billion or N6.52 trillion was wasted on electricity supply between three presidents from the same party. The administration of former President Obasanjo reportedly spent $16bn (N3.52tn). His successor, the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, expended $5.375bn (N1.183tn). Immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration spent $8.26bn (N1.817tn). We don’t know where power is; but we have an idea where the money went. Nigerians know where their stolen money goes; they just don’t have the boldness to stop the traffickers. Defenders of Baba Obasanjo’s reported $16bn are now saying that the former President spent only about $4billion on power. Are we saying it is better to waste $4bn than flush $16bn down the drainpipe? Must we now argue over “how much” rather than the ‘how well’? Progress and development come out as still-born twins of metastatic misery and massive mess.
Nigeria has spent at least N15tn on power since democracy showed up with its hydra-headed, dehydrating, debilitating monster self in 1999. But where is the promised power, my friends? China constructed the world’s largest 22,000 MW hydro-electric plant for $25bn. Nigeria spent $35.45bn for 2,500 MW. Nigeria today is in megawatt of darkness with gigabyte of excuses from those who are wont to over-promising that light will soon replace darkness. Money budgeted for power melted like ice cream in the oven of fraud and corruption. Where is the promised power? Corruption and truth aren’t in the same category. They inhabit not in the same dwelling tent. While truth lives in the iron-dome self-defending, corruption lives in a bubble self-defeating. Even if maligned and doctored by experts in espieglerie, truth will always and forever defend itself. The corrupt in Nigeria will continue to try; but corruption cannot be defended even by the cryptically corrupt and their myrmidons. Misery will not end in Nigeria if the mischievous continue to oversee any sector of the nation’s economy.
The Information minister, Lai Mohammed, also told us not too long ago that when this administration assumed office, available power on the grid totalled 2,690MW, transmission capacity was around 5,000MW and distribution capacity was 4,000MW. As of September 4, 2017, the available power that can be put on the grid was 6,619MW; the transmission capacity was simulated at 6,700 MW (up from 5,000 MW in 2015) but the distribution capacity was 4,600 MW, which was what was put on the grid. On September 12, 2017, production of power reached an all-time level of 7,001MW. President Buhari said in his New Year speech that the nation’s generating capacity was at 7,000MW; and just over 5,000MW was distributed in December. But where is the power?
With this question, I conclude my thought for the week: When will Nigerians stop hurting Nigeria? Is it not incontrovertibly true that Nigerians are their own worst enemies? Are destroyers of Nigeria not Nigerians? Marcus Tullius Cicero, the Roman philosopher and political theorist, put it more lucidly: “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gates freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.” When will Nigerians stop hurting Nigeria?
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.
Contact: [email protected]
Source : https://punchng.com/power-why-are-nigerians-destroying-nigeria/