In 2015, a sizeable number of Nigerian politicians came together to form a mega party which was to be known as the All Progressive Congress (APC), which accomodated most of the then opposition political parties in their quest to upsit the then ruling party of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The leaders and supporters of the new party picked several loop holes in the manner after which the then PDP administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan ran the affairs of the nation, promising CHANGE, if voted into power.
Nigerians in their numbers were phenomenally enthused at the promise of an in-depth overhaul of the Nigerian polity as promised by the opposition APC, anchored on their presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, who many saw as the true symbol of change, voting massively for the party thereby.
However, almost two years after the APC came into office, Nigerians appear not to have witnessed the positive change they envisaged, perhaps not in the manner they imagined it.
It is this seeming lack lustre that jerked a foremost Nigerian entertainer, Innocent Idibia popularly known as 2Face into organising a protest march to be staged from the National Stadium on Monday 6th February 2016 in solidarity with the Nigerian masses.
The planned protest march according to 2Face, is predicated on a 10-point governmental lacuna:
According to the Constitution, ‘the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.’
To develop beyond oil, we have to invest in our human capital. Every child must have access to quality education. If our teachers are not paid, how will we raise the next generation to lead the country and run our businesses?
Health is wealth. People die daily from lack of basic, affordable health care. We can definitely do better.
Government needs to make it easier to generate power at the state and local government level so everything is not tied to the center. We need electricity to be productive. The cost of generating our own power is crippling.
Poor education plus a struggling economy means a lot of people are unemployed. Unemployed people are hungry and angry.
6) High cost of living
Food, transportation, medicine, everything is three times, four times more expensive but salaries haven’t increased.
7) Social Justice
According to the Constitution, ‘The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be a State based on the principles of democracy and social justice.’
There cannot be one set of rules for the poor and another set for the rich.
The best way to kill corruption is to increase transparency. Government finances and contracts must be open and available to all. Who got the money, to do what and by when?
9) Cost of government
Our governance is TOO expensive – federal, state, local – cars, housing, allowances. We must reduce the cost of maintaining our public officials
Our leaders are not patriotic, but seek after their own interest.
Since 2Face announced his intention to organise this protest march, his personality has come under intense attack by persons who are sympathetic to the course of President Buhari and the APC agenda.
Not a few commentators have questioned the morality of a man who has several Baby Mamas and hardly uses condom when sleeping with women in leading a protest march against the government.
If sexual probity is the yardstick for speaking the truth, Fela Anikulapo the iconic musical activist who married 27 wives and eventually died of HIV would not remain legendary in our minds, for the manner he confronted the government over time on issues relating to failure of governance.
Permit me to categorise the stratum of these criticisms and the quarters of their origination, as this will contour the ambience of my submission.
A GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL has the responsibility of supporting the government at all times and explain away its deficiencies.
A PARTY MEMBER has the responsibility of supporting the party loyally at all times and cover up its flaws.
A CITIZEN has the non-partisan responsibility of supporting good governance at all times, crying foul aloud, wherein he gets the converse per time.
Unfortunately, many Nigerians are oblivious of the Office Of The Citizen as a fundamental stratum of democracy with rights as enshrined in sections 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution as well as Article 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
The problems of Nigeria is hinged on two poles;
1. Selfish Leadership
2. Complacent Followership
Where the Citizens are complacent and rather fight each other on grounds of sentiments, rather than demand altruism from government, then the true change we seek may remain a wild goose chase.
Therefore, if you are a Citizen and you are neither a government official nor a member of the ruling APC and yet condemn 2Face over this proposed protest march, then you are one of the major problems of Nigeria!
Thomas-Wilson Ikubese is an Akure-based Medical Practitioner and a Social Commentator.