By abiodun KOMOLAFE
For those who have the gift of appreciating developmental strides, Muhammadu Buhari deserves a round of applause for doing so much within the so short a period he has spent as the incumbent Nigerian president. Going by what is visible to the naked eye, coupled with what the president’s reputation managers have put out for Nigerians to see, Buhari seems to have done so much for Nigerians, through Nigerians, and on behalf of Nigerians, so much so that only the Stone of Israel can thank him for being so deeply committed to the cause of Nigeria.
To start with, that the president created new ministries to handle some important sectors of Nigeria’s socio-political and economic landscape is commendable. However, the legitimate and fair question to ask is, before now, which ministries handled these newly-identified and assigned functions? In other words, are Nigerians that dumb and gullible as to accept a change in nomenclature and re-delegation of authorities and duties within the same bureaucracy as an innovation and or, achievement?
As a matter of fact, creating new ministries where the extant ones are not performing is tantamount to the embellishment of redundancy and direct duplication of corruption centres. We have had diverse civil service reforms in the past! What did we make of the lessons from those exercises and what has changed under Nigeria’s present situation? Since Yakubu Gowon left, other military regimes have come, always scratching the surface. Ibrahim Babangida expanded the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), added pomp and ceremony to them, make them look flashy and, perhaps, bogus without necessarily increasing their efficiency. And that’s exactly what we are currently witnessing under Buhari’s watchful eyes! The point is, instead of reinvigorating the failing ministries, why is the government splitting them, and giving them new names? How does that translate into an achievement?
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The basic principle, which is central to governance, is about the welfare of the people. If a set of rules is introduced to the society, it must not deviate from ensuring that lives and property of the people are protected and secured. Likewise therefore, if a government is creating ministries or parastatals, they have to be focused on the people, because if you create one million ministries and the effect cannot be felt by the people, you’ve gained nothing! How do we then justify the government’s ‘motion-induced-but-feasible-movement-disrupted’ venture? What exactly is the government’s game-plan in rolling out those purportedly bogus achievements? How does the employment of 774,000 Nigerians, a process that is yet to take-off, become an achievement? Who benefits from the diverse scenarios being projected as the anchor of innovations and achievements?
To be sure, assenting to a new Bill on Companies and Allied Matters may also appear reasonable, but only if the newly-couched content addresses existing oddities and encumbrances identified in the former Act. Again, what has changed since Mr. President assented to the Bill into law? Was it done purposely to bring sanity and efficiency into business practice and organisation in Nigeria? Was the Bill assented to because of the government’s love for the masses? Will the new law lower the cost of doing business in Nigeria? Will it attract new and foreign investors to the shores of the country? Considering the acute food insecurity profile of Nigeria, how, for God’s sake, does this initiative provide adequate security and bring food to the table of the common man?
Well, it is no longer news that currently, the churches are angry since Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020 came into existence. Regrettably, nothing is moving in Nigeria! While religion has lost its integrity steam, especially as the majority of those representing the Church of Christ today are now worse than wolves, the Federal Government, on the other hand, and to a large extent, is not right either in poke-nosing into the internal affairs of the Church.
In the considered opinion of yours sincerely, the matter on hand is between the Church and the State; it is not economic productivity where the issue of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) comes in. After all, the congregants willingly brought their money and donated it to the Church. Government’s attempt at coming in is like taxing the recipient of a gift. Put in strict terms, the Controller of what comes into the Church is God himself. Impliedly, those who discharge their functions faithfully as well as embezzlers of church funds are under His nest and He will deliver judgment, accordingly; and, at the appropriate time, too!
Let us get it right: the government has a right to enact its own laws. But the church is aloof because it doesn’t interfere in state affairs. For instance, if I decide to take my money to the church, that’s my personal business. But before I take my money to the church, it is the responsibility of the state to see to it that I pay tax, which I must have done. If, for whatever reasons, I evade tax like it is allegedly said of Donald Trump, the American president, then, it is the government’s problem for not ensuring that I carry out an essential part of my civic responsibility.
All said, it is a fact of life that the country cannot work until we decide to make it work! The question now is: are we willing to make Nigeria work? Currently, Nigeria is battling with hyper-inflation. So, how and on what items do workers spend their salaries? Yet, assenting to the CAMA Bill is adjudged an outlandish achievement. How soon will we move development in Nigeria away from “no longer where we were before” to ‘what to do to get us to where we ought to have been’? If a situation lingers more than expected, it kills all the initiatives and the people’s response becomes unresponsive.
Put differently, if we continue on our present path, it may not be long before Nigeria balloons into a state of badness and whatever remedy the government may possess at the time may no longer be situationally relevant as the people may no longer respond to government’s policies or initiatives. And, by the time Nigerians resort to self-help in protecting lives and property, America, in terms of gun violence business, may be a child’s play. ‘Arab Spring’ has shown us how a situation of that nature can serve as the beginning of rebellion. I hope we’d not get to that!
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!
*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State ([email protected]; 07087941459 – SMS only)
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