When the APC government was elected they promised us “Change”, a lot of people did not bother to ask what type of change. All they hoped for was a complete turnaround. Some even had the mind that Nigeria would be turned into an Eldorado, a Canaanland flowing with milk and honey, another heaven on earth. They were full of hopes and expectations.
Except for some doubting Thomases like Mrs. Patience Jonathan who likened their “change” to what happens between conductors and passengers, particularly commuters of the popular Lagos Molue buses, sometimes with their emergency forced marriages, most people were upbeat, hopeful, and confident that another Messiah had arrived.
That was when some enthusiastic young men began to trek from Katsina to Abuja; from Lagos to Kano; from Calabar to Maiduguri, from Lokoja to Sokoto. from Enugu to Kaduna, etc., to celebrate the “change”.
After more than three and half years of their stewardship, we now do a post-mortem, an evaluation, to look back, to see the impact which their “change” has brought to us. Here are some samples.
*Before they came, our Naira was exchanging at N190 per $1. They promised us that they were going to make it at par with one United States dollar. We believed them. But today, our Naira is exchanging at N360 per $1. No doubt, this has affected the prices of every other goods and service in the country, both local and foreign.
*Before they came, we were buying one litre of petrol at N85. But they promised us that they would make petrol to sell at N40 per litre. Today, we buy one litre of petrol at N143.
*Before they came, one bag of rice was selling at N8,000, but today, we buy one bag of rice for N26,000.
*Before they came, one bag of cement was selling at N1,300. Today, one bag of cement sells at N2,500.
*Before they came, one bag of semovita was selling at N1,700. Today, one bag of semovita is bought at N2,800.
*Before they came, Bill Gates, the second richest man in the world, had hailed Nigeria’s primary health care services, in particular, the country’s fight against polio. Today, the same Bill Gates has described Nigeria as the “most dangerous place in the world to give birth”.
*Before they came, Nigeria had occupied 119.14 positions in the Transparency International’s ranking of corrupt countries in the world. Today, Nigeria’s corruption perception index has worsened, with the country occupying 148 positions in the ranking of most corrupt countries in the world, according to the latest release by the Transparently International. Yet, this is a regime that claims to be fighting corruption.
*Before they came, Nigeria was said to be the largest economy in Africa. Today, Nigeria’s has entered into recession and acclaim as residing the poorest people in the world.
*Before they came, civil servants and pensioners were not owed salaries and pension allowances. Today, many state governments are owing to their civil servants and pensioners up to 10 to 15 months arrears of salaries and pensions.
*Before they came, they promised us that they would end youth unemployment. Today, the unemployment situation in Nigeria has worsened. More than two million youths are unemployed, a time bomb waiting to explode.
*Before they came, they told us that they would defeat Boko Haram in six months. Today, Boko Haram has made Sambisa Forest and some towns in Borno State their permanent abode and they are still holding some Chibok and Dapchi girls.
*Before they came, Fulani Herdsmen were using sticks, bows, and arrows to herd their cattle. Today, Fulani Herdsmen are using AK 47 assault Rifles to herd their cattle, and in the process kill, maim and butcher innocent farmers and burn down their houses and farmlands.
*Before they came, Nigerians had implicit confidence in the electoral system. They trusted Professor Attahiru Jegga and his INEC to deliver the goods. Today, the majority of Nigerians are downcast. They have lost hope in the electoral process and passed a vote of no confidence in Professor Mahoomod Yakubu and his INEC team for betraying their aspirations.
*Before they came, rail services were operating from Enugu to Port Harcourt on daily basis. Today, rail services from Enugu to Port Harcourt have stopped running.
*Before they came, we used to travel from Enugu to Owerri in just one hour and 30 minutes. Today, we now make the trip in five or more hours because of bad roads. The same thing applies to travel from Enugu to Onitsha or Umuahia; Onitsha to Owerri or Aba, etc.
*Before they came, a lot of people still believed in Nigeria. Today, many of them have lost hope in the system. They now want the country to be restructured, if at all they would believe in it.
The list is endless. This is about a political party that had opened its mouth too wide; a political party that had promised us heaven on earth, but did little; a political party that raised its bar too high, but failed to live up to expectations.
Happy 58th Independence Anniversary.