By Sani Nahuche
In the normal sense of things, if a government existed within another government, one would ultimately seek to oust the other. Politically, it can be described as running a parallel government – where one government aims to concurrently run alongside one in a state or country.
The fundamental role of any government is to promote the welfare of the state. This role can be assumed in various ways and forms, some of them include monitoring the economy, business, security, providing basic infrastructure and so on. However, where the government has been grossly incapable of carrying out their most basic functions, do they still serve as the government of the people?
Albeit, the contrary is the case in Nigeria. The government has basically failed to provide anything remotely close to what any normal government should. Nigeria amidst its massive earnings from oil still lacks basic amenities like electricity, good roads, housing, and water. This sad trend has ultimately forced the people to assume the job of a government that they ironically pay tax to.
In Nigeria today, the average citizen is saddled with at least 65% of the normal function of the government. Citizens are forced to provide their own electricity – this is on the back of the phantom 16 billion dollars that was said to have been invested in the nation’s power grid since 1999. Most Nigerian homes and businesses are forced to buy a power generating set and fuel it themselves. Imagine running a successful business or industry without a reliable power supply.
The security situation in the country has steadily worsened over the years. Politicians now seem to draft a battalion of the country’s security operatives to themselves and their families. The average citizen is left with no option than to hire and pay someone to secure their premises/business. The saddest part of the nation’s security state is that the government uses these security agencies at will to oppress the citizens, rather than defend them.
Recently there has been a clamour for the restructuring of the nation’s security agencies due to misuse of power, harassment, bribery and assault, but these vocal complaints have been matched by an equal amount of silence by the government. Nigeria is a country where only the rich – the politicians and celebrities – are entitled to any form of decent security.
The same harsh fate awaits our roads and water supply. The average Nigerian has to drill a borehole with their own money to gain access to sustainable drinking water. Our roads are bereft of any sort of coordination, maintenance or infrastructure. This sorry picture is the same for education, housing, and economic policies. In a country where the government taxes its citizens and yet grossly fails to provide the most basic of amenities, can the country still be thought to have a working government?
A country where the majority of those in government would prefer to send their children abroad to study, rather than upgrade its educational institutions, a country where those in government shamelessly travel abroad for medical treatment rather than fix their hospitals, a country where the citizens are forced to provide their own security, power, water, education and basic infrastructure, can be likened to a country without a functioning central government.
A ‘supposedly’ developing country running one of the most expensive democratic systems in the world, at the expense of its majorly poor citizens that are ultimately forced to provide their own basic needs. A country where 70% of the youths are either underemployed or unemployed – wasting away its youthful population. A country where its leaders comfortably conspire and connive to loot the commonwealth of the nation without pity or fear of authority.
Small and medium scale businesses – the heartbeat of any economy – are currently struggling to break even. Interest rates are astonishingly high, ease of doing businesses is ludicrously difficult, people are forced to provide their electricity, water, security and other necessities, at the expense of the little profit they make from their businesses. Ultimately, most businesses in Nigeria are folding up, relocating or retrenching their staffs, the government’s economic policies are poorly thought, and it’s just too expensive and unprofitable to adequately run a profitable business in Nigeria.
Corruption has always been the Achilles heel of the most populous black nation in the world. The citizens have also failed to treat those in authority with as much disdain and vocal criticism as they maybe should have. When politics and power are seen as a tool to steal, oppress and undermine the will of the people rather than diligently serve them, the result is a society where impunity, stealing, corruption and lethargy is the order of the day. The average Nigerians each as governments of their own.
The time has come for the citizens to start voting in the government of their choice and holding them accountable to their every actions. A government that would be made up of people that are actually willing to assume the role of a government and lift the heavy load that now rests on the weary shoulders of most Nigerians.
Nigeria is the sad tale of a nation where a good number of over 180 million citizens have to largely provide their power, education, water, security, health care and general welfare from their own impecunious pockets, despite the existence of a central, state and local government. A country where a central government exists and these many flaws are apparent can only be likened to a country with over 180 million individual governments and ineffective central, state and local governments.
To aptly describe this unfortunate situation, Nigeria is currently a country of various governments, a country where every citizen is a government of its own, a country where the central government has monumentally failed to carry out even the most basic duties to the people they claim to serve. A country where you, I, and the next man are walking governments of our own!