By Adebayo Abubakar
In Nigeria, the meaning of the term, governance varies, from one individual to another.
To some, governance is about, when they are involved in sharing in the “national cake”, (a euphemism for stealing public resources), even if it is at the detriment of public interest. Eating alone, today, what should be used to provide for millions of people in years to come.
There was a time in this kwara; the slogan among those enjoying “Good Governance” then was: “It’s Good Here” ; something very relative, in terms of individuals’ experiences and realities at the time.
Meanwhile, ideally, governance should have to do with, using public resources to provide utility service for the citizenry such that, life becomes more liveable, decent and meaningful.
But in the past, particularly, in Kwara State, the immediate past administration has reduced governance to handing out palliatives to the citizens, thus making “Stomach Infrastructure” an instrument of governance, which consequently elevated mendicancy to a way of life, enabled by the political elites.
Unfortunately, the current administration has not been able to do much to signal a radical departure from the past in no uncertain term; perhaps, due to lack of time (still under 2 years in office), paucity of funds, and a plethora of inherited obligations and problems, like, infrastructural deficit.
During the years of “stomach infrastructure”, poverty became so weaponised that, most of the masses now depend on the goodwill of those in charge to survive.
So the only thing Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has been able to do is to make it abundantly clear that it is not going to be business as usual; but “business unusual”, thus, weaning the masses of the dependency on government handouts; but no alternative, in term of socio-economic empowerment.
It would have been a tad easier, had Covid-19 pandemic not broken out.
The pandemic brought the global economy to its knees.
This led to a crash in price of crude oil and by implication, decline in government’s revenue, at all levels.
That has in a way, constituted a sort of handicap for the government to do much, in the area of delivering dividends of democracy, through governance in such a way that, it would lead to a systemic empowerment of the citizenry.
The above, perhaps, has been walking on all four, such that it engenders the kind of submission to the base instinct, we witnessed over the weekend.
The truth of the matter is that, you don’t just wean abruptly, a person who has been used to eating a particular diet, without some form reaction and resistance, especially, if you are unable to provide an acceptable alternative.
Meanwhile, there is a part of the body that, when a mosquito perches there, one just has to apply caution either, in killing, or driving, it away.
We lament the high level of unemployment every now and then, and some people think government alone can employ all of us.
It is hell NO!
No nation, in the history of humanity, has been able to fully absorb all its citizens in the civil/public service.
As a matter of fact, the fraction of the working population that the government can have in its employ is so infinitesimal that, it would be an understatement, to say that it is a drop in the ocean.
It is on this ground that the actions of looters, especially in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, who invaded private businesses, looting mindlessly, stands CONDEMNED.
You might have being aggrieved with the State Government’s alleged decision to hoard palliatives or relief materials, and justifiably so, and on the basis, break into the warehouses where they were being kept, for your own share of the “National Cake”; but what followed that; breaking into, and looting mindlessly, shopping Malls that belong to private businessmen, to say the least, is CRIMINAL.
The kind of madness I witnessed in the past couple of days, is not what a private investor would fail to pay attention to, when doing his SWOT analysis, as he prepares to make investment decisions.
This is a massive disservice to the local and national economies, as it does not take Foreign Direct Investors more than a second (at the click of a button) move their funds away from the country to a much safer investment destination.
I am fully in support of the law enforcement agents’ drive in apprehending and prosecuting the culpable.
We’re inadvertently, hurting the economy, and by implication, ourselves, without knowing it.
But that is the consequence,
when you have reduced the instrument of governance to, handing out,
cosmetic palliative packages to people you’re supposed give a means of livelihood.
Writes from Ilorin