During a light conversation with a friend on issues around recession, he started lamenting at the age of President Muhammadu Buhari, claiming that it was part of Nigeria’s problem to have elected a President that is too old to get things right.
“How old is Donald Trump?” I shot his rhetoric quietly. “Seventy years”, he responded reluctantly. Then, I educated him that he was not looking at the direction of the country’s actual problems. It is not age of the President but the vibrancy of a system that makes good
Leave Trump to start drinking tea and bullying everyone around, America will still run as a country predominantly even though we agree that the influence of Mr President goes along way in determining how a country will fare at every given time. Statutorily, institutions will still function as the pillar of a country’s existence and sustainability.
ALSO READ: Biafra: IPOB to hold referendum See shocking details:
The oldest American president to assume office was Ronald Reagan, who was 69 years, 349 days old when he assumed office, and was also the oldest in office at 77 years, 349 days, when he left office.
Our problems are simply two, and recession is not even one of them. We have broken institutions and failure to honestly have this country restructured to a working mode.
I told my friend that it might interest him that Germany, Canada and Spain and many European countries came out of recession recently. Recession is a global crisis. What makes our case worse predominantly are existing bad economy, fall in oil price, corruption and a country badly managed over time as a dependent economy due to lack of vision and sincerity on the path of most leaders in the past.
We have a broken legislature that makes kick-back a condition for passing the budget; a broken judiciary (which is worse) that has continued to harbour corruption and shield corrupt persons from trial and punishment; a broken executive system that gave room for a Chief of Staff under a very strict and financially incorruptible President to think of stealing even when the prime focus of the administration is wght against corruption.
Institutions like the police, the army, customs, immigration, electoral commission, pension
board, communications commission, sports commission, exams board are all living with the dangerous virus of corruption. The education, agricultural, health, petroleum, and aviation sectors of government are all soaked in corrupt and financial practices. The private sector is in a shambles for financial desperado based on usurpation of the innocent citizens of the country.
No place is safe enough. That is rather our problem!
You go to a bank, a security personnel demands a tip; at an eatery, someone in charge of security is busy saluting for a tip, clearly unmindful of the security condition of the establishment. No one does anything for you that you may say “Thank you” but rather, you must appreciate in cash. Not even a simple greeting in the lobby is free sometimes.
Still talking about institutional matters, the way power mongers and cabals can own a President in this country is unthinkable. Those owning Mr President presently will discourage him from doing certain things his party promised, notably restructuring Nigeria which is among the cardinal campaign points of the All Progressives Congress in 2015.
As an opposition, the APC saw that Nigeria had been running a structural system that would never give room for development considering our multi- ethnic and religious differences; but what is the APC doing about the matter right now? Who is talking about it?
Those who own Mr. President now are already taking possession of 2019 strategically.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan was never a good President; as a matter of fact, he was one of the worst this country ever had. As a matter of fact, if he did well, Nigeria was not supposed to be thinking of Buhari as a saviour and only way out. But apologies to Jonathan because unconsciously, we saw him as everything that was wrong and deeply focused on ousting him on
that premise rather than seeing our institutions as the problem farther than Jonathan was.
How do we now rebuild our broken institutions?
Everyone has to get involved in this special duty. In the journey to rebuilding our institutions, President Buhari as father of the nation must reflect true federalism as a regular attitude beginning from his pattern of appointments; that is how to unite our multi-ethnic society and fulfill the version of our old anthem that says: “though tribe and tongue may differ, in
brotherhood we stand”.
True federalism is when everyone has a sense of belonging and government is not seen from sectional lenses.
New leaders must emerge that are truly committed to carrying out a structural surgery on our system. Returning to a regional system, contrary to some assumptions, does not weaken the centre; rather, it makes the regions more vibrant and productive. It helps regional growth which becomes the pride of the nation as a whole. I recollect vividly that the first television station in Africa, first Stadium in the country, Cocoa House and free education we enjoyed in the old
Western Region while growing up were not built with petroleum revenue.
The North and East were also growing rapidly in the production of notable produce that put the Nigerian economy as a competitive market. The sudden migration to the left, leaving all our prospective treasures to focus only on oil weakened the productivity of the regions and we gradually drifted into a completely dependent economy.
Now that the National Assembly is pointing towards local government autonomy, the apex legislative body should overhaul political intents of its leadership; stay upright to consider all issues around national development. What is the fate of restructuring? What is its stake on state police? What are the legislative provisions that compel leaders to remain accountable before the law and the citizenry? How do we help those who are celebrating Ibori’s return and urge
him to run for the Senate from their depreciating mental health? How do we build respect before the world so Trump doesn’t keep bullying our ass?
All our institutions must be rebuilt to fit into the 21st century compliance beginning from the family unit, religious institutions and government as the biggest institution that shapes our lives. To rebuild all broken institutions, we must be honestly religious and stop blaming God for our declining conditions.
As I write this, I can’t help rexecting on the lessons of this season of love and mercy, in line with the words of Joel Osteen:
“I believe if you keep your faith, you keep your trust, you keep the right attitude, if you’re grateful, you’ll see God open up new doors”
Olulade is a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, representing Epe