I usually avoid attacking the government of the day because I do believe that the problem and the solution do not lie with them. Yes, the problems of an incompetent government rest with us the people who vote not on quality but on ethnic or religious sentiments, and also because very few of our best qualified citizens put themselves forward.
But if we desire to build a developed Nigeria, we must address the issue surrounding our expectations of our government. Like previous governments, this present one is very corrupt, lawless, self-centred, lacks courage and can’t deliver on the change we desperately desire.
Not even the appointment of competent hands or some good policies and projects can deliver the change we need. After all, other administrations had competent people and undertook some good programmes (this includes the IBB and Abacha administrations).
Yet, we have gotten carried away with the personalities in government and ignored the true dividends of democracy.
Because of our low expectation we say:
‘This Government is Trying’: Considering the depth of our crisis, we do not need a government that is trying but a government that is making significant impact. I have always viewed this ‘trying’ as a negative word, which connotates someone making some effort but not their best.
No wonder why our government doesn’t work hard enough for us because we are easily satisfied.
‘The problem didn’t start with this government’: We agree but before they came into office, they knew the long list of problems we face and rather than add to it, we seek that they drastically reduce it.
Incidentally, a courageous and innovative government can implement solutions that can address multiple problems at the same time.
‘We can’t criticise government for previous governments’ mess’: The moment a government takes over the reins of governance, they must take ownership of the problems facing the nation. Without being responsible for the mess, they are unable to generate and implement solutions.
Our focus should not be on the past or the future but on the present government. They should cut out the excuses and confront the mess with courage and well thought out solutions.
‘This government is better than the last one’: We are not holding a best government competition but seek dividends of democracy – freedom of speech, freedom of movement & association, qualitative education and healthcare, law and order, security of lives and properties, infrastructural development, honest, transparent and courageous policies & implementations, etc.
Citizens should evaluate government based on these and focus on the tenure of their mandate and the resources in their hands.
Our lowered expectation continues to keep the door wide open for incompetent citizens who become accidental positional leaders (being in government without a long and deep desire for elective office) and who are also self-focused rather than nation-focused.
But more than these two factors, we lack a citizenry with high levels of expectation of government at all levels that will make only those with a heart for service commit to the process and when in office, they will be constantly analysed and criticised to draw out their best resources.
The solution to nation-building remains the participation of a critical mass of nation-focused citizens in political, economic & social governance.
So, rather than tolerate an incompetent government or constantly criticise them, you and I are needed to get active in the process – elective office, political party membership and organising, regular demand of accountability, protest letters and marches, attend legislative sessions and town hall meetings, etc.
Before then, we must study, practice and teach the nation-building core values to ensure we start and stay with the nation-focused mindset for the long haul.
Demand more from government