“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”- Nelson Mandela
My brother and his family visited Nigeria last month and they stayed for three weeks. He told me that the power supply has changed for the better. He was pleasantly surprised that there are longer days with power compared to the way it was in the past. He told me that the change was not just the power supply but in other aspects of peoples’ lives.
It will be naïve to say that everything is now fine and dandy. Far from it, but the shoots of change are beginning to take root. Change is not easy, and admittedly for years people had given up hope and dared to dream, some still doubt if the recent change is really for the better. It is understandable. The change in Nigeria has been long time coming and for many years, Nigerians had developed an attitude of futility and a well-worn saying that “only God can save Nigeria”.
Actually, God has nothing to do with it. The problem with Nigerians, has always been self-inflicted, therefore, it is Nigerians’ responsibility to clear up the mess. The obstacles to progress has always been in part; the level of denial, self-interest and lack of leadership. For so long, people revelled in mediocrity and chaos, it was the given, that is the way things are and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Sadly, the past leaders did not try enough to change the status quo. It was not in their best interest. After all, if there was stability and progress, majority of Nigerians will benefit and the quality of life for the average Nigerian will be transformed. Of course they did not want that! Anyway, I digress.
So, here we are at Buhari’s first 100 days at the helm since May 29, 2015 and what has he done? The facts speak for themselves; yes, prior to his administration the total power generated in the country was 3,155 megawatts and now is 4,032.2 megawatts and took six weeks into the Buhari presidency to change the previous administration’s promise. He has appointed new defence chiefs after sacking the heads of the army, navy and air force. He has tasked the new defence chiefs to redouble their efforts to quell the activities of the insurgency. The United States pledged $5 million to the fight against Boko Haram, and other material support. The G-7 also offers support and commitment to strengthen Nigeria’s efforts to quash the insurgency.
There is a better relationship and cooperation with its neighbours Chad, Cameroon and Niger. Buhari has ordered the release of $21m to facilitate and establish HQ for the forces closer to the epicentre of the insurgency. He is a strategist and is determined to fight Boko Haram. The army has been told to act within the law and abide by human rights convention. Discipline and moral integrity is returning to the armed forces.
Let’s us not forget that PMB was elected on an anti-corruption ticket and he pledged to fight corruption, and he should be held to that pledge. The Federal Government is planning to establish 37 of the Special Courts to try corruption related cases in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and the 36 states of the Federation. So, for those who have siphoned from the national purse, they are in for a rude awakening. There will be screening to identify fearless judges who would be responsible to preside on such cases.
President Buhari has approved the recruitment of 10,000 additional police officers and he has directed the Inspector-General of Police to trim the number of police attached to politicians and dignitaries, to redeploy the police men to their regular police duties.
Nigeria’s image has also improved overseas and neighbours and there are more countries who want to do business with Nigeria. Recently, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador Rangaian Ghanashyam, said that President Buhari’s on-going effort at fighting corruption would attract more foreign investments and it seems to attract foreign investments.
Ghanashyam said that PMB’s commitment to fighting corruption would not only attract more foreign investments but would also make Nigeria “stand on itself’ and that Nigeria, is now in safe hands because what President Buhari is doing would make more investors to come to Nigeria.
PMB has dismantled some of the management structures and ways that the Federal Government does business. Already he has announced plans to uncouple the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation which has long been a lightning rod for graft and corruption. The President has already done away with the previous management and put in place a highly recommended and renowned technocrat from Exxon Mobile, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu. There are indications that some agencies of government and civil service will be trimmed.
There is talk about a salary cut for our legislators, now that is in progress. PMB and his deputy did take a cut in salary so our honourable men and women have no excuse.
The President has brought in a new broom and a fiscal supremo, Godwin Emefiele, as the Central Bank Governor, who recently announced that the foreign reserves had risen by $2.89b in the first month of the Buhari administration.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has a new lease of life and is already at work apprehending the looters for those who helped themselves to the common wealth.
Change is good especially if it’s for the better. Change also, is contagious, and those that can’t feel it, is because they refuse to be part of the solution and they languish in the past where things did not work, chaos reign and fear has always been their currency of trade. Buhari is already assembling a team of highly skilled professionals that would help him to implement his promise of change. I remember several months ago, how people wish for a time like this because for those of us who knew, that period when things worked in Nigeria ,was a golden age. For those who are not yet convinced of change, that is because they have not contributed to the change and for them , I direct this Socrates ‘quote;” Let him that would move the world first move himself “.It is about time Nigerians focus on changing themselves to nation building.
500 days and counting -Chibok girls
Only those that feel it, they say, know it. It has been 500 long days and the relatives of over two hundred Chibok schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram, feel this pain intensely. For the relatives of these girls and their supporters, 500 days is a long time and they will not and cannot forget them. Nor should we. Although this administration has promised to bring the girls back, there has not been any sighting of these girls despite all the strategies of getting them out of the clutches of the insurgents. The fate of these girls remain unknown, we can only imagine what they are going through and the despair of their relatives. For the parents, their absence is a waking nightmare.
Shehu Garba, a presidential spokesperson, said there has been “intensified intelligence gathering and reconnaissance in a given location in the northeast”. All well and good, but about time there is some real result.
Obi Ezekwesili, the leader of Bring Back Our Girls campaign, believes that more needs to go into the search for the girls; “These girls must be found, these girls are somewhere on this planet, they didn’t become vapour and disappear”
We pray for the safe return of the girls and a closure to the incessant abduction of children, women and men by these marauders.