The Greater Nigeria Project and the Change Option: Flying Against the Wind By Jimi Bickersteth
This rainy morning, staring out the windows of a cosy Gulfstream series, on a midmorning flight from the Federal Capital, the bird, trapped in the sea of nature in the last fifty five minutes, commences its landing procedures amidst trepidation on what the outcome of the shut down ordered by the NLC is going to have on Lagos.I did the second best thing one can do with one’s lips -smile.
The carpet of clouds finally gave way too an aerial view of the city’s skyline, I heaved a deep sigh, wondering what the town service fare would look like with the increase in pump price, and the fuel scarcity of the previous week.
In the meantime, looking at the array of fellow passengers in the 20some seater droning bird, my thoughts strayed back to a conversation we were quietly enjoying above the cool din and aesthetic ambience of the aircraft and its laborious effort to touch down;about the state of the nation, the numerous scandals and all that has come out of the Pandora box,the fuel subsidy removal, the family as the bedrock of society-indeed civilisation itself, Cisero said, “The empire is at the fireside”.
This fuel subsidy thing is magic, and the more you look the less you see. A nation that consumes 40mln bpd and could only provide 18mln bpd, and the resulting scarcity and hoarding, and with the removal of fuel subsidy, the usual rigmarole of Labour to negotiate a downward review on one hand and an opportunity to press for wage increase from the excess fund anticipated. Which is not permanent in the volatile oil market, and any twist must shift the cup from the lips and we are back to square one, but with hyper inflation.
This raises two valid questions, i.which is the way forward to a final resolution of the perennial hike in pump price and the promises of using the excess fund that would accrue to provide turnkey jobs, ii. getting the refineries to work at full installed capacity, and with the PIB what are our legislators doing in 17years ,without helping the economy by legislation to amongst other things,to open up market.
However, once it set out,the government must be willing and ready to confront and meet all challenges confronting us as a nation on the nose;this is when we can change from a wobbling drifter and dreamer;emerge from the prison we have been living in. But the question is, for how long can we go forth with sharpened sticks to hunt this woolly sabre rattling mammoths, less than a thousand of them, that have consigned our nation to the back-heel of history.
The Fashola epistle on PHCN, came to the fore, and in retrospect, and in spite of the divergent views expressed,the consensus of opinion in the subdued atmosphere, is that for once, in the nation’s chequered history, a Minister Fashola, (I’m not a big fan of his)who had fell for the nation’s public servants antics, and acquiescing to the ill advice and the subsequent arbitrary increase in tariff to a privatised entity, an increased burden on the poor, which amounted to changing the rules of the game in the middle of the tournament and under the full glare of our lawmakers. An agreement is an agreement is a time-worn cliché.
The eminent legal luminary and politician has recant, and appears to have gained the prow, as he is set to provide the nation, steady, stable and sustainable power supply. While it is still an epistle on wishful intents, and mere rhetoric and politics, may our expectations birth fruition and manifestation.
What one could glean here is that our politicians are beginning to know that there are two powers of personality they can develop that will increase their charisma and ability to influence the course of the nation, even as they try to work and provide the dividend of democracy to the people.
The first of these powers is power of purpose. Men and women with charisma and personal magnetism almost invariably, have a clear vision of who they are,of where they are going and of what they are trying to achieve.
The second is the sincerity of purpose and congruent to this is the humility to accept when they are wrong.
The Fashola epistle has brought out some elements of magnetism which apparently has been lacking in our politicians, whose only motive for been in government is to milk the treasury, and this has been the bane of the growth and progress of the nation. The most subtle of all temptations is the seeming success of this looters call politicians,with scads of money, ‘?ní ?u sónà lófi ìyá ègbopo’.It requires moral courage from the people to see without flinching, material prosperity coming to men and women who are dishonest;to see politicians rise in to prominence, power and wealth by trickery and corruption;the problems of rights and justice, to see virtue in rags and vice in velvet, to see ignorance at a premium and knowledge at a discount. This puzzles of life do not appeal. There we all were – each of us hoping that someone else would speak first. You get the picture?
At this moment of turmoil and uncertainty,its pretty difficult to believe and trust PMB, because when ocassion demanded in the past, political leaders have reneged on their promises . The nation with its harrowing economic situation has trumped up and yielded leaders, who when waylaid by dirth of ideas and paucity of fund had demanded courage and patience and belt- tightening from the languishing and suffering masses, only for them to export the people’s money.
The nation’s politicians are no great shakes, and they seem to forget that whether man has had wealth or prosperity,failure or success, counts for little when it is past. There is but one question for them though, as with other mortals, to answer,to face boldly and honestly as an individual;how will I let poverty or wealth affect me. If wealth which in 97%of the case is ill gotten has come and has made one vain, arrogant, contemptuous, uncharitable, cynical, to the people they are meant to serve;closing all the tenderness of life, all the channels of higher development of possible good to our fellow men, making one the mere custodian of a money bag, then wealth has lied to one,it has been failure, not success:it has not been riches, it has been dark, treacherous poverty that stole from one even oneself.
The people under the presidency of PMB have been able to trace back through the genealogy of circumstances and have seen how logical has been the course of their sorrows and statistics of failures, gloomy post-mortems, a near-sighted and half-blind world of politicians, who have used the nation’s resources to travel abroad but could not use the abundance of our resources to replicate or duplicate what they saw in those climes, lay at the doorsteps of a people, traumatised, depressed and suffering amidst plenty. The thing is there’s been a lot of wrongdoings and several lame and insipid efforts to prime and right them, and the fear is,would this not be another fruitless expedition.