FEATURE ARTICLE

Clive AkinsolaSaturday, February 11, 2017
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WHAT PROTEST?

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ndoubtedly, there are hardships in the land and how we got to this point is a tale rich with intrigues, drama and lesson for most African countries. At best, it is well documented and common knowledge that these hardships do not emanate from the current administration. The main problem with the current wave of protest and protesters is that they are not well informed. This writer has always argued that most of our citizens do not understand the basic tenets of democracy and this has engendered the current situation. Charles Schwab said, "In life, you question everything". The same should be true when it comes to how our politics and common wealth is managed. For instance, if you ask majority of the protesters to name their local government chairmen or state legislator, you will be amazed that they would not be able to do so. If you probe further, and ask them when was the last time they contacted their Federal legislator or Senator who collect constituent allowances on their behalf but have no offices in the constituent, the answer is most likely to be "never". If you never engage your representative officials, how could you ask them to name a person they last employed that was based on merit?

Our people do not yet understand that democracy is participatory and they need to fully engage their representative officials both at local and federal level to ask pointed and incisive questions. Has any of the protesters ever asked what is being done or how have the people benefited from the constituent allowance handed out to the senators. If these monies were judiciously appropriated then it will go a long way to provide employment to the people at the constituent level.

Also, if the protester could ask their various governors why salaries are not being paid to the civil servants who constitute the bulk of the state employees? Are the Federal allocations and security votes not being paid by the Federal government? Lastly, let them ask the governors in the spirit of transparency to publish their books on how they have awarded major contracts to companies, they will un-earth the untoward and sharp practices of these so called leaders and how they have been resorting to adult prevarication to line their pockets. The devastation caused by their action is a man-made catastrophe, made possible only by decade of disregard for probity and accountability.

If the protesters are really interested in genuine protest, they should gather at Wike's office to ask him how he got N110m Naira to bribe INEC officials for bye-election re-run. They should gather at Fayose's office to ask how he came about the N1.2bn frozen by EFCC. They should congregate at Obanikoro's house to demand the release of their common patrimony. All these people are the ones holding the country to ransom because what belongs to the people is being pocketed by these unscrupulous elements. These people are our mortal enemies, gravest threat to our civility; they are the gruesome contagious cancer that's killing off our economic growth.

In our society, being a con has been normalized and we have failed as a people to check the nihilistic selfishness of these corrupters who are simply in keeping with their character which is antithesis to what decent people stand for. Who is going to protect us from these wicked people who freely strut about with their ill-gotten wealth that will continue to torment their souls? What this writer grapples with the most, is how the vilest of men are being celebrated and honored by our people, for example, it does not make any sense that Ibori, of all the common thieves in our society should be welcomed with such a fanfare. This vortex of lunacy shot through my body like a wild psychedelic drug and recovery is not even in sight.

All the aforementioned is not in any way excusing the current administration's need to re-jig their economic strategy in order to palliate the suffering of our people, because pain is one of our most universal experiences. It is just a way to highlight our societal ills and put things in perspective for rational minds to properly evaluate our situation. There is an urgent need to reengineer and directly challenge the status-quo in the battle for the future of our country. Needless to say that the current situation is a temporary hurdle, not a showstopper, hence the current administration has to provide enabling environment, discover new opportunities that will shore up our competitive advantage in a global economy. This administration has to work with men and women that are both thoughtful and passionate who are willing to put purpose before religious and ethnic sentiments. Information technology could spurn tens of thousands of jobs; we could be the next digitally equitable country of this generation if this administration is serious about turning things around, the writer works in this sphere and cognizant of all the intricacies.

Many people's stock had tanked, sales flattened, and innovation stalled because of lack of inclusiveness needed to propel the economy forward. The government should convene the economic gurus to devise an agenda of short and long term policies offering, to serve as the necessary inertia to the economy.

In addition to the above, let it not surprise anyone that the hawks and power grabbers have started to coalesce, they have started to sponsor people to make discordant noises in order for them to return to their loot-o-crazy, we should be seriously worried amid increasingly unhinged rhetoric from these group of people and their scorched-earth tactics to derail the current administration. The Lord rose against them once because of their plundering and the groaning of the needy and He will do it again.

I realize in this situation that my contribution may be but a tiny grain of sand, but clearly our problems are an enormous beach, our people need to ask the right questions, be engaged in order for us to own our tomorrow.

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