Date Published: 05/26/09
Yar’Adua’s Government is in a Coma
by Abdallah Sha’aibu Mailafia
A coma can be difficult to understand, especially because people sometimes jokingly use the words coma and comatose (which means in a coma or coma-like state) to describe people who aren't paying attention or who are drowsy or sleeping. But a coma is a serious condition that has nothing to do with sleep.
Someone who is in a coma is unconscious and will not respond to voices, other sounds, or any sort of activity going on nearby. The person is still alive, but the brain is functioning at its lowest stage of alertness. You can't shake and wake up someone who is in a coma like you can someone who has just fallen asleep.
In the medical parlance, coma is a state of extreme unresponsiveness, in which an individual exhibits no voluntary movement or behaviour. Furthermore, in a deep coma, even painful stimuli (actions which, when performed on a healthy individual, result in reactions) are unable to affect any response, and normal reflexes may be lost. Nigerian government under President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua cannot be said to be different from the above situation as at today.
I often tend to disagree with those who tag Yar’Adua’s government as ‘go slow’ i.e. moving at snail speed. In the same vein, I won’t agree with those who say the government is dead. We actually have a functional government in place. All the beautifications of a government are intact. Therefore, the government cannot be said to be physically dead. But technically, one won’t be far from the truth if the government is pronounced dead.
Before I am crucified for this harsh verdict, I want the substance at stake to be central in our collective judgment. Is the Yar’Adua’s government delivering on its electoral promises? Are things working the way they should be? Who is in charge? Everyone will agree with me that a flock of sheep without a shepherd is like a human body without a soul. The present regime does not have a soul. Verdict number two.
On assumption of office, President Yar’Adua meekly accepted that the process that produced him as president was marred with irregularities and he promised to address the anomalies as soon as he settled down to work. This led to the formation of the Uwais Electoral Review Committee. Unfortunately, the lofty recommendations of the Committee which can guarantee a free and fair election have been jettisoned by Yar’Adua and his men. This has called his sincerity into question.
The only opportunity Yar’Adua had to prove to the world that he meant every word of his promise was thrown to the dogs either. The Ekiti rerun election witnessed rigging in a manner that the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti did not imagine when he composed his song on the 1979 election. The election was rigged in a manner that dwarfs the atrocities of the 2007 general election. Ten thousand policemen were drafted to police an election in part of a State. One then wonders how many policemen Yar’Adua will need to police the 2011 general election.
The rule of law which has been the mantra of the present administration ended up being a delusion. We have not witnessed a strict application of the law. The law only applies when the people on the wrong side of life are affected. The thieving governors of yester-years are ministers, advisers and members of the kitchen cabinet of President Yar’Adua today. The war against corruption only existed on the pages of newspapers. All the noise about Harlliburton scandal will soon come to an end just like the Siemens scandal. Hardly does a day pass by without one case of corruption rearing its ugly head. It is a season of harvest for corruption.
Even if we are to assess the government on its own parameters, i.e. the 7 Point Agenda, it cannot obtain a pass mark. Niger Delta/Security: There is war in the Niger Delta. This is not a sign of success. The government has not done enough to convince the people in the area that it has the wherewithal to address the injustice of the past, even though the problem is not entirely that of the government. The Ministry of Niger Delta created by the regime is another avenue to settle political associates. Food Security: What concrete measure has the government taken so far to ensure food sufficiency in the nearest future? Is the importation of rice the surest way to avert the looming food crises? Power and Energy: We still don’t have regular power supply in my area. I do not know about you. Mere promise of 6000MW by the end of this year cannot transform into electricity. Wealth Creation: Which wealth has the PDP led government created? Rather, they have impoverished us the more. Transport Sector, Land Reforms and Education are all at their lowest ebb.
Yar’Adua’s apologists are always quick to remind us that it is too early to judge the government. After all, this mess has been created by previous regimes decades ago, they will argue. Can’t Yar’Adua adopt the Fashola wonder? In just two years, Gov. Fash has turned Lagos into small London. In just 100 days, Obama’s work is being seen in US. When a government has vision and the will to work, three months is just enough for results to be seen. Yar’Adua’s government has no vision to transform Nigeria into the dreams of her founding fathers.
On this note, I absolutely agree with Dr Onukaba Ojo, a writer and a public affairs commentator, who wrote from Kenya sometimes ago and opined that Yar’Adua should retire to his home State in 2011 when his tenure expires instead of seeking for a second term. Those who earnestly love this man should tell him to go home in 2011 to manage his fragile health. Methinks that is better for him and his family. Enough of this trash!
Abdallah Sha’aibu Mailafia
No 8A, Tudun Wada Street