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When the tail wags the dog

When the tail wags the dog – Mahfuz Mundadu

More than a decade in to a civilian regime that ought to be a democracy with its promises of endless list of good fortune, Nigerian citizens are still living from hand to mouth. Many more are living from hand to nowhere as the hand does not have any morsel to take to the mouth. This is happening in spite of the fact that from 1999 to date the Nigerian government received more than 34 trillion naira as revenue mostly from the sales of crude oil.

The socio-economic condition of Nigerians is on a downward slide. One needs to drive in to a petrol station only to buy fuel and see the army of desperate beggars of all shapes and sizes that will surround him in search of what to keep skeletal body and bruised soul together. The hash, half-heated, naïve and insincere economic policies of the amateur President with his retinue of political jobbers dyeing to be regarded as statesmen is putting an extraordinary stress on what remains of the financial muscles of the Nigerian ordinary citizens.

Yet the worse is yet to come. The wandering and peripatetic government, that up to this moment seems to be in limbo, has perfected all plans to further increase the pump price of petroleum products latest by the first quarter of next year. In a desperate attempt to justify its cruel and pitiless insensitivity to the flight of common man the government, for the umpteenth time came up with stale and stuffy argument of subsidy removal. They argued that the subsidy meant for the benefit of common man is being hijacked by some cabals which the government has proven beyond any reasonable doubt that it is incapable of dismantling. Not because it can not. Simply because it will not. The will is not and will never be there.

Whether the Nigerian masses will, this time around wake up from their deep slumber and take the fraud called the political leaders to the task remain to be seen. It is still debatable if the Arab spring that saw the disgraceful exit of some African longest service despots is infectious enough to stir Nigerian masses in to demanding a responsible leadership from their selected and appointed leaders.

With the level of poverty and ignorance that permeate the Nigerians social strata from top to
bottom it is spiky, though not impossible to rally the masses around a common goal of demanding for a responsible leadership and refusing to settle for anything less. For too long the hoax called cream-of-the-crop in this country have been taking us for a bumpy ride. Yet the persistent docility of the citizens suggest that this time around, as in the previous instances, there is nothing to hint the politicians that the party is about to be over.

Most pitiful indeed is the way and manner some of the state government went frenzied  and frantic in their insistence and persistence that the withdrawal of oil subsidy ( read increase in petroleum product pump price) is a forgone finale. The issue of right pricing of petroleum product in Nigeria need not to be a rocket science. It is a simple arithmetic that any dunderhead can grasp.

Government claimed that because the Nigeria refineries which were meant to be serving the domestic needs of the citizens are not operating at their respective installed capacity, the only rational thing to do is to import for domestic consumption. It further argued that the landing cost of the product is over and above the government approved pump price. Hence the need for the government to subsidized. For me that is where the government missed the point. The government claimed to have spent well over a trillion naira in the name of subsidy this year. Yet it takes a fraction of that amount to turn around the refineries and restore them to full operation.

Add that to the army of certified, registered and chartered engineers in this country, you will be convinced that if there is will and sincerity of purpose the issue of importing petroleum product for domestic consumption need not to even arise. And if those directing the affairs of this nation could not address something as mundane and as crucial as this issue, then they have no business whatsoever in clinging to power.

Between 1999 to date the federal government has gotten more that what was realized from 1960 to 1999. Yet there is nothing to show for the common man. Put differently the government has been getting richer while masses have been getting poorer simply because the incompetent and fraudulent political whores derive pleasure in exercising power without responsibility. A simple example may suffice. What was spent in Nigeria in the name of improving power sector between 1999 to date is more than what was spent to build the entire Europe after the second world war.

The solution to the myriad of problems facing this country goes beyond the so called subsidy removal. The problem is corruption and the only solution to that is to fight it to a stand still. Unfortunately Goodluck Jonathan does not and will not have the needed courage and dogged determination to bring the culprits to face the wrath of justice. It is one thing to be a President and an entirely different thing to be a leader.

What we really need is a self-less leader and none of the faces parading themselves in the corridors of power come close to that. All the same the masses should stop lamenting or blaming anybody for their woes. They can continue to kill one another in the name of their erroneous belief and understanding of divinity and political affiliation while the politicians continue to plunder the resources of the nation with reckless abandon. They are equally at liberty to chose to continue to die in silence or rise up in unison to bring about the changes that they really long for. To do that, probably we need to  be smoked out of our comfort zone. How and when only time will tell. In getting ready for yet another circle of a bumpy ride we may wish to fasten and tighten our belts.

Because there was no light in the place I call home I have been using an electric gen to power my laptop. Now that the fuel is about to finish I have no option but to stop here so that I can hand fan (fiffita da mahuci) myself to sleep. Nigeria we hail thee !