In my previous article, after the Inauguration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, I strongly recommended that the new and substantive commander in chief of the Nigerian federation should prioritize public good and diplomacy as the most potent mechanisms to deal with vested interest which his administration is liable to. Vested interest is a political reality; it is inevitable especially in a multicultural country like Nigeria.
We often see governance as entirely resting on the leadership or the government. However, the followers or the citizens too have critical roles to play in nation building. The least the citizens could do to enable the government they have instituted to achieve its purpose is to invest more patient capital in the government while they also extend trust and moral support to it. More often than not, impatience on the part of the people does a lot of harm to the progress of the nation; it makes the people subject to the whim and caprices of the opportunists in government; this promotes scattered quick fixes and political instability.
When the citizens do not trust their government or the government’s programmes, what follows are confusion, tension and further degeneration.
It is understandable how direly Nigerians want a significant improvement in the status of the nation and the standard of living of every average person in the country. However, it is important to understand that the change we so much desire is not as simple as it is often thought.
Unfortunately, those who should understand better the philosophy of change often appear to be the ones that stand in the way of effecting positive change in the country, especially when they profit from the old system. They do everything within their power to maintain the status quo. They furtively build encumbrance against any government whose aim is to institute a new order.
Ironically, the retrograde are mostly well-informed and connected. They are the off-stage players. They have many tools in their possession, part of which is the media and the union. They use these tools to spur negative sentiments in the masses and cause distractions for the on-stage or real players.
The organised labour has recently threatened an indefinite strike to ground the entire economic activities of the country over the fuel-subsidy removal. This is a lofty example of business as usual; when a government policy or programme seems not to meet our short term needs or the interest of some group, a disruption is orchestrated forcing the government to jettison the plan. And the cycle keeps repeating itself. If the union continues to see strike action as the only means to hold the government responsible, not exploring possible alternatives, it is not insulated from becoming paraphernalia for partisan politics.
In a society where corruption has become so endemic, effective change can’t be hurried. Effective change should be gradual. At its build up stage, change flow with its temporary pains. Corruption in a society is like a wound on the skin whose healing process may first of all induce a feeling of pain. Thus, change should be gradual and effectively planned for the sake of posterity.
If we all agree with the aphorism that what is built within many years of hard labour may be destroyed in just a day, change should be embraced as a gradual thing. To have a long-term economic benefit, the change process must be given much time and patients and trust.
Several decades of problems of the country cannot be resolved in four years. However, with the political will to ensure program continuity and smooth transitioning on the part of the government and the display of virtues such as patience, trust and empathy towards the government by the people, the change and renewed hope that we all desire will materialize in no distant time. Even if a subsisting government cannot achieve most or all of its manifestoes, the next administration in line can have what to build on if there is continuity in government programs and a corresponding trust, support and patience from the people. These are values that are missing in our government.