Opinion: Did we make a mistake in the quest for change?

by Blessing Iyamadiken

We were fed up with the last administration, and all we wanted was someone different, a breath of fresh air. So when the current ruling party came out with the mantra of change, we Nigerians happily embraced it. But more than a year down this road we chose for ourselves, Nigerians are beginning to think we made a mistake.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane.

1999: We finally had democratic government after 16 years of military rule. General Abdusalami Abubakar, Nigeria’s 8th Military ruler handed over power to the then 62-year-old Olusegun Obasanjo on the 29th of May. It seemed like a re-birth of some sort. Many were skeptical that this democratic era was going to last long, but as the saying goes: “If hope is taken away from mankind, what then would be left of us?” So all Nigerians could do was hope. One good thing I can tell you his administration achieved was the clean up of the pharmaceutical industry; otherwise, we had a war against corruption that was fought only on paper. After an 8th year ruling period, and a rumored unsuccessful attempt at hinging a 3rd term, President Olusegun Obansanjo left the corridors of power handing over after a successful election, which speculators say was not free and fair, to Umaru Musa Yar’adua who died in 2010 without completing his first term.

Thereafter Goodluck Jonathan who was vice president succeeded him. And come 2011, Goodluck Jonathan would run again for presidency. By this time, Nigerians had already seen enough of the Peoples’ Democratic Party and were really not enthusiastic about voting. But Goodluck Jonathan drew a lot of sympathy from the public when he said “growing up, I had no shoes…” Nigerians sympathized with him, had pity on his poor background and before long, “Vote the man who had no shoes growing up” became the mantra. Now that I think back, I wonder, if we voted in President Jonathan because we thought he was going to provide shoes for us.

Goodluck came into power as the first president to ascend from deputy governor to governor to vice president and on to president. The first president to be social media savvy as he immediately started a Facebook account which was supposed to be a way of reaching out to the public, elections conducted under him were quite free and fair, he was very willing to declare his assets, and of course he had no shoes while growing up. These and many more led Nigerians to believe that he was indeed sent from God to lead us to the promised land.

But 4 years later, the state of our economy seemed to have worsened rather than improve. Our Naira seemed to continue taking a deep plunge against the dollar, corruption, unemployment was still on the rise, power worsened, and state of infrastructures depleted etc.

After 4 years of suffering and smiling under the Goodluck administration, it was time for the elections again, time for us to decide if we wanted him to continue ruling us or not. Then the “change” mantra came up by Buhari’s party All Progressives Congress (APC).

The APC had an edge because the then governor of Lagos state, Governor Babatunde Fashola had so changed Lagos and he quickly became the face of APC, like a beauty queen of some sorts. “Go to Lagos and see” became a popular slang as people started to say that if APC could do what they did in Lagos, imagine what they would do if given the chance to rule Nigeria. The two parties used every means possible in campaigning, from social media to word of mouth to slander of the other parties image.

“Change” was sung everywhere by almost everybody from the school children to market women to the corporate world.

Buhari was not just sent from heaven, his administration was going to be heaven itself. It was going to improve power, fight corruption, reduce unemployment rate, improve the Naira’s stance against the dollar, feed school children during lunch, pay unemployed youths and undergraduates stipend monthly, bring back the missing Chibok girls, among other things.

By and by Buhari won the election, and it took him a whopping 5 months to get his cabinet together. A cabinet which consists mainly of the faces we are used to. Has power improved? No! it hasn’t where I stay. I don’t know about your place though. By the way, I think Babatunde Fashola needs to be unburdened. The load seems too heavy for him! Is corruption being fought? In my opinion, yes, on paper. Has unemployment rate reduced? No! Have the youths started receiving their payments? No! Have they started feeding public school children? No! Have the chibok girls been found? No! Has the value of our currency improved? No! In fact it is getting worse, a dollar now costs about 400 naira. A bag of rice now costs more than 35000 naira. Cost of living has doubled while the standard of living has reduced triple fold. Are we waiting for a miracle? I think so!

But then it is important for us to note that we voted in Buhari because we were tired of being ruled by PDP, because we were disappointed in the Jonathan led administration, because we just wanted him to go. We wanted change in fact we craved it, but all for the wrong reasons.

So did we make a mistake in choosing Buhari out of all other candidates that could have offered real change? I think we already know the answer to that question.

Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

Comments (2)

  1. Comment:My fellow Writer let’s continue to change until we find the right person who will put smiles in the faces of common Nigerians.Change the Change 2019.

  2. Babanla Mistake

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