Life is very dynamic, indicative of the non permanence of anything. Everything that exist pass through changes, hence what we understand as times and seasons are God’s own way of bringing about changes with respect to nature. The seasons have strong influence on all activities and therefore a big change factor.
Change simply means to make something different, and on the basis of this simple definition, one could see that change must not necessarily be a natural thing. Situations do warrant deliberate desires for changes with an intent to alter the statusquo and create room for something different for individual selves, family, community or society at large. This explains the popular notion that ‘the only thing that is constant in life is change itself’.
Change has been and would remain the language for real or imagined intentions towards re-invention, re-modelling, re-shaping, re-invigoration, and repositioning of every society, hence it is very common in the political parlance or lexicon. When politicians seek to oust their rivals in government, especially through elections, they preach ‘change’.
The slogan becomes very impulsive in the minds and mouths of such oppositions and power seekers and promises of change become unequivocal in every speech and at every given place, occasion and opportunities. Unfortunately, the rather unsatisfactory showing of most serving governments of the day often made it a little difficult for the dissapointed electorates to resist the change manstra preachings, especially as such power seekers present themselves as the messiahs in the waiting.
That was the lot of Nigeria in the build-up to the 2015 general elections. Politicians of different ideologies and parties capitalized on the visible mediocrity and seeming inability of the government of that time. Nigerians were already weary of so many deteriorating national issues especially the insecurity challenges of kidnaping, armed banditry and Boko Haram insurgency. And so, it became quite an easy idea for office seekers to preach and eventually attracted change, but now somewhat best described as a slogan that was merely for political office ascendancy.
Disheartening to note that five years down the line of the existence of the change manstra politicians under the leadership of Mohammadu Buhari, things really did change drastically, but all to the contrary. Our naira has been so weakened that it is now almost of the lowest value in the entire world. Security has gone from being bad to absurd with other dimensions like herdsmen onslaught gaining momentum.
Our military have failed to eliminate Boko Haram in five good years of the administration of a party that boasted of ending it within three months. There were also insinuations of conspiracy and compromises concerning the fight and much more demoralizing is the often mysterious deaths of those who have proven to be very instrumental towards quelling the insurgency.
Everything in Nigeria had long gone out of hand to the extent that we have moved from the developing country we were tagged decades ago to one that is purely dependent on others for almost all our needs. The successive governments have continuually failed to meet the needs and expectations of the citizens and we are now so retarded as a nation.
Our contemporaries by reason of the indices of growth and development had long left us behind. All that had plagued us is nothing but bad leadership and governance. The effect of the above plaque reflects in the entire sphere of our national life. It is the root cause of the accompanying societal ills of bribery and curruption, kickbacks, diversions, money laundering, project abandonments, nepotism, and indeed all others. These in turn culminated to the collapse seeing in all sectors of the economy including a very serious dearth in infrastructures.
The end products has been an unprecedented level of decadence with bulging gap in social and economic well-being. The citizens had long been and remained pauperized and with with much hopelessness, often leading to high inclinations to leave the country shores.
As bad as this present government and governance has been, it must also be clearly stated that it is not limited to it. Every successive governments from the past had always seemed to be worst than the former. The less beauracratic governments of the military era could not be used to better our lots as indeed such hydral-headed societal ills like curruption was arguably institutionalized during that era.
So, what changes do we desire to take us out of the kleptomaniac situation we are in today? Obviously the change we desired and still desire is a holistic one that would entrench an egalitarian society where equity thrives. A society of fairness and justice that gives room for and to everyone to survive. A society that upholds the sanctity of human life and dignity, birthed on democratic principles and guaranteed freedom, as expected.
A changed nation which every citizen would be very proud of, and content with, and only opting outside the shores of the country on the neutral grounds of businesses, tours, expertriate works, technological acquisitions/ exchanges and environmental/ habitat preferences, and not on the often prevalent circumstances that depicts fleeings to seek survival elsewhere.
We desire a change that would recognize the fact that there is a common market for everyone from all sectors of the economy and therefore restructured salaries and wages in such a manner that shows such understanding. We desire a change that will no longer give room for situations where one percent of the citizens is at an advantage over the rest ninety nine percent and the resources no longer in the hands of just a few political class.
A change that would showcase that interests in leadership and political positions is not on grounds of monetary gains as obtainable now. One that will eliminate the current trend of our national assembly being a retirement ground for former governors with their bogus salaries and allowances as well as retirement packages running concurrently at the expense of millions of unemployed others and even the retired and aged civil servants often left unattended to. One in which the police would truly be a friend and not a foe, a society with guaranteed future for the teeming youths and where things work as expected by building strong institutions and not strong individuals.
For all these to come to pass, we need to first of all, deliberately re-examine the desireability of our coexistence as a people of one nation. At this age and time, no region must be forced into remaining in coexistence with the others. But, most likely an agreement to completely restructure the country into federating units may be soothing to dissatisfied regions. As a mark of interest to inject new blood into our polity, it is advocated that all who had held political positions in the past be eased out.
The idea of making political positions a near permanent thing should be discouraged, especially at the legislative arm. Even at the executive arm, siting heads must know that the constitutional rights to rerun for an office is not in absolute terms but premised upon the perceived satisfactory first outings by the electorates.
As everything that engineers positive changes comes at different times, it is only natural that people of genuine concerns and interests, without monetary motives be empowered to take charge of our governance. This is where it becomes very necessary and urgent to completely overhaul political office holders salaries, allowances and percusites. There should be some elements of servantship and genuine patriotism in political office patronages.
The legislative arm must be viewed as very critical towards ensuring democracy dividends. This arm must not be downplayed with. Only persons of conscionable characters should be allowed to ever ascend that arm because their activities either enlivens or strangulates that of the executives. Indeed our change must begin by reordering our political cum leadership perspectives.
Finally, the ongoing protests in the country that began with the #EndSARS calls and expanding to other societal concerns must be used as a starting point towards driving the changes desired for the rejigging of the society. DR Doyin’ Okupe’s advice on the protests is very well thought out. The government should immediately begin a holistic program to end all encumbrances to our national growth and development. These may be immediate, short term or long term. And, given the fierce and even worsening outlook of the protests, it would not be out of place to make certain pronouncents in line with the doctrine of necessity with minimal consultations with other arms of government, but with utmost exigencies too. Our long cry for reforms in the various institutions must begin now.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
*Clement Uwayah, a political activist and social crusader, writes from Warri, Delta State.