Generational Failure & The Search For Middle-Class Economy – Umar Faruk Yakubu, Esq
The Nigerian state was said to be unfortunately lacking in directional and purposeful leadership. Since the return of democracy in 1999, virtually all presidents were heavily criticized for inefficiency, lack of purposeful efforts to turn around the lives of the citizenry, especially those at the lowest radder of the society. Just the way the fortunes of leadership has been dwindling, so is the quality of the followership. The average Nigerian will rather make excuses for a failure of a leader or celebrate his/her inefficiency if the (leader) president/governor comes from his/her tribe, ethnicity, religion or region as the case may be. The consequences have been dire and the fault lines of religious/tribal/political differences were always explored by our conscienceless leaders to maintain the status quo or at least distract the citizens from asking the relevant and right questions.
For example, there’s a systematic killings of ordinary Nigerians in the villages of Sokoto, Zamfara, Benue, Niger, Kaduna and Katsina states, but some people will rather look at the killings from the microscopic view of religion or tribe rather than looking at the genesis, deliberate consequences of stealing/siphoning public funds, leaders’ stupidly unwillingness to accept responsibility, the continuous failure of security architecture and the consequent deteriorating economic activities. These, are some of the problems that we should be calling out people in the position of authority to give answers to, alas, most of us failed in that responsibility and will rather approach issues from religion, tribal and political point of views.
Judging by today’s happening, it could be suggested that the Obasanjo’s administration had relatively done well in comparison to successive administrations (with the exception of the short-lived government of Mallam Umaru Musa Yar’adua: in whom we have seen deliberate efforts to bring succor to the lives of ordinary Nigerians and thereby pushed back the tide of insecurity) whom, I mean Obasanjo put deliberate efforts to create the middle class through awarding state contracts, privatization of state resources, strengthened systems such as PENCOM, NHIS, Anti-Corruption, Communication, policies on agriculture, etc. Though some of these developmental strides came with their peculiar challenges but Nigerians largely benefited and the middle class economy was created to consequently push back the tide of insecurity.
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ) had to some extent, advanced the maintenance of the middle class economy and initiated some policies such as Almajiri school programme, Treasury Single Account (TSA), revamp the train transportation system, and stabilizes the economy but it could be maintained that corruption was inhumanly supported with state apparatuses in that administration, be that as it may, the middle class was maintained and by extension supported the lowest rungs of the society.
The GEJ’s administration largely contended with Siamese-twins of corruption and insecurity, yet, the middle class economy was actively supported and thrives, which by extension strengthened the value of the Naira and relatively pushed back the tide of insecurity, though not in the states of Borno, Adamawa & Yobe in the North East.
It was on the strength of insecurity that the government of APC (change) came to being. It may be too early to call whether the APC government being led by President Muhammadu Buhari will live to the expectations of its promises, but ominous signs have indicated otherwise, especially if the government continues with the current trajectory.
On security, for example, of all the states of the North west no one can comfortably claim safety of his life and property especially those in the remotest villages. There’s persistent infighting and lack of coordination within the security apparatuses, the near absence of intelligence gathering, the abysmal performance by some state governments and the followership has consistently been docile and we look at national issues from the perspective of which economic benefits will accrue to us.
Though the APC government has in a way supported self-reliance through farming but let’s not be quick to conclude, we shall be with them in waiting, if Allah spare our lives to the end of the administration, to see whether the APC will ever fulfill its promises, prosper the economy for all Negerians and further push the tide against insecurity.