Government Without Soul

Is it difficult to see why the cacophony for change deafens the Nigerian political space? There must be facts above the din enough to compel a wise leader to be seen to act on the side of the preponderant majority that claim to bear the brunt of misrule. Jonathan is politically blind and deaf to appreciate the crux of the matter. We shall start with the bungling of power supply in Nigeria. About five months ago, the people in Warri and neighbouring places in Delta State in their tens of thousands marched against the extortionist practices of the new distributors of electricity in their area. They complained of atrocious bills for power never supplied and moaned the perpetual darkness that enveloped the zone because of lack of electricity. The people of Ekiti State followed also to relay the same complaint, protesting in their hundreds of thousands. They besieged the offices of the new operators and asked them to quit. Only last week, about a million people took to the streets in Ondo, Ondo State, with the same song that power supply was at its worst in the annals of the town despite President Goodluck Jonathan’s claim that Nigerians enjoyed 18 hours of uninterrupted electricity daily under his rule. Why must a government lie so blatantly as to be held in scorn by the people? It does not bother Jonathan. This is the tragedy of a nation with a dubious journeyman on the master’s seat. The story of power supply and extortion is the same all over Nigeria from Lagos to Sokoto and from Port Harcourt to Kaura Namoda. Darkness reigns, yet government lies that the people have never had it so good. And energy is power. There can be no growth without power and all the necessary infrastructure except in Nigeria where Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala claims the country is the biggest economy in Africa though short of a thriving manufacturing sector, agro-industries, roads and other essential municipal infrastructures. Rail services are naught. The new electricity operators bill consumers N750 monthly a meter for maintenance of a facility they do not own. They charge VAT for value not added because their supply of power is once in a while. Where in the world is the consumer charged VAT for what is supposed to be a subsidised function to aid productions and productivity? It happens in Nigeria because Jonathan turns the blind eye to all actions against the people. He is the new rich accomplice. Under the act that established the defunct Electricity Corporation of Nigeria (ECN), which the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) inherited, meters were supposed to be supplied free because they were properties of the corporation. Even before the fumbling reformer Olusegun Obasanjo created his Power Holding Company of Nigeria, which had no legal force behind its existence, because the laws establishing NEPA is still part of the Nigerian constitution unamended, the authority had started guess-estimation of bills to consumers. That authority followed by stealing people’s meters from houses and compelling them to buy new ones at astronomical cost, the lowest of which was N12,000. The meters bought by consumers are the ones the new operators say they are maintaining by reading them only and charging consumptions at inflated rates that go through the roof. And Jonathan allows this fraud unchecked. I paid N20,000 electricity bill three months ago and it has not been reflected in my account till date. The new operators are incompetent extortionists. When Jonathan handed over our collective property to them for free, they started to load bills with unconsumed power rates running to tens of thousands of naira per meter. Jonathan did not listen to the cries of the people that the cow was being milked dry. They added N750 for meter maintenance cost unashamedly, because they enjoy the support of Jonathan to whom they have just given N5.5 billion to contest for re-election. And imagine billing a house without meter, the same N750 maintenance cost. There are millions like that they cheat. Jonathan does not protect the overwhelming majority of Nigerians against their exploitation by an insignificant few who have cornered the nation’s wealth. Jonathan, take heed because you are driving the dog to the wall. Anthony Cardinal Okogie was forced to question the immoral gift of N5.5 billion to Jonathan by the new operators because it was at a time the minister of power, Chinedu Nebo, exposed the rot that the crooks acquired power distribution supply without the finance to run their companies. The government was going to obtain loans from the World Bank to help them meet the running cost. It was at the same time they were donating to Jonathan’s campaign. There is too much window dressing, like the Egbin project. The available statistics puts poverty incidence in Nigeria at 80 per cent. About 80 million people are said to be unemployed. Graduate unemployment was recorded as 40 million young people. The harsh climate of want that exists has created such tension in Nigeria thick enough for the people to touch because it is prevalent. Does Jonathan still wonder why with one voice the people are rooting for change in leadership? They think he is an accomplice of the exploiters. The alternative to public electricity supply is the generator. This is sold at a cost beyond the common man’s means to afford. It needs petrol or diesel to work, the cost of which democracy has hiked frequently to 3,000 per cent of its rate as at 1999. The PDP government from Obasanjo to Jonathan has declared war on the people in every of its action. How have Nigerians wronged the PDP? The people bore the injuries as long because they were giving democracy a try. Now the load is breaking their backs. Perhaps, Ebenezer Obey foresaw this period when he wrote the song, ‘Ketekete’. In fact, Jonathan is burdening the Nigerian donkey to its grave. Jonathan does not care about the plight of the people. He carries on as if it is bliss in Nigeria. Boko Haram is not up to a thousand degree of Nigerians’ pain. Those of us not in that crisis zone are not living better because we have armed robbers, kidnappers, ritual murderers and all sorts of miscreants to bow to for existence. The police may also soon start to charge VAT for protecting nobody. In all my more than three scores and 10 existence in Nigeria, I have only witnessed two insensitive governments – Obasanjo’s and Jonathan’s. In fact, Jonathan is the fourth term of Obasanjo’s government, so the retired general should not draw wool over our eyes because he set the tone for the present decay in Nigeria. Obasanjo should spare Nigeria the odium he releases periodically in search of relevance. What was good in the way he bypassed the judiciary? Who invested him with the powers to determine guilt and collect money without the warrant of the court? Is he so illiterate about the constitution and the separation of powers? It was his impunity that fathered the breakdown of law and order, which has spread to the present administration. In fact, Obasanjo broke the law countless times and ought to have been impeached when in office. He ran a do-nothing government like Jonathan now does. Their governments have no soul. The collapse of the manufacturing sector speaks volumes of his performance in office. The pot should not call the kettle black because Obasanjo’s government was corrupt.

We don’t want to mix clean water with mud and that is why Nigerians are calling for Muhammadu Buhari and a complete reversal of the present economic system.

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