THE INCREMENT OF THE POOR MAJORITY’S SUFFERINGS MUST STOP; GOVERNMENT MUST FULFILL ITS SOCIAL CONTRACT WITH PEOPLE.

‘Rationality ends where hunger begins’, so said Dr. M.E Kolagbodi, the present APC-led federal government needs to be told that without any equivocation.

 
The insensitiveness of the present government to the pains of the masses at this extremely harsh time is clearly unimportant to the government as the economic situation bites harder. This is what is manifesting in the; blame-shifting, denials of electoral pledges, flimsy excuses and attempts to rationalize irrationality. The ‘Nigerians voted for us to do the impossible’, ‘we are not magicians’ and the ‘I understand your pains’ utterances from the political class in the face of the reality of about over 100 million people wallowing in hunger, homelessness, unemployment and deprivation is defeatist and shameless.   
 
Inflation, recession, stagflation and all the jargons in the books cannot explain away the failure of government in playing the role it was instituted for. A government that tells the governed that it is helpless in handling what it was instituted to do is not only admitting failure, it is also demonstrating irresponsibility. Such a government is not worth its salt!
 
The task to rebuild our country is very daunting, no doubts about that, but the present regime knew this before it got to power. To continue to insult the collective intelligence of Nigerians with narratives that are apparently designed to disguise the lack of political will needed to abandon the ways of the old by the political class is totally provoking and unacceptable.
 
Yes, there is the dire need for Nigerians collectively to understand the background to the present so-called recession and the attendant sacrifices required of Nigeria and Nigerians to wade through the storm, but the present government’s excuses belie its so-called change agenda, to put it bluntly.
 
The poor majority continue to bear the brunt of government’s failure, and this in spite of their hitherto existing excruciating conditions of living. It is the poor majority that is being forced to sacrifice and to self-deny at these trying times even though the political class and public officials rollick in stupendous affluence and has not and apparently does not want to sacrifice anything in the bid to rebuild our country, Nigeria.
 
From taxing the over-taxed poor to the astronomical costs of existing, from lack of job opportunities to insecurity and absence of social welfare, it is the poor majority that is being forced to pay for the ineptitude in government and governance.  
 
The government appears to have adopted the attitude of ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’, to put it aptly! The truth is that the ‘we are helpless’ excuse, is a cracked record, that has been overplayed by government from the topmost level to lowest.
 
A government that pleads for understanding must demonstrate practically that it is also ready to sacrifice. For crying out loud the Presidential Fleet which the present regime promised to reduce the number of aircrafts that was being maintained by the former regime is still intact in spite of the humongous costs it takes to maintain them, yet it is the poor that must pay to maintain the fleet that has been argued to be the most expensive to maintain in Africa!
 
The government at the Federal, state and local levels have not paid workers for their legitimate earnings for months, in fact some have gone ahead to slash salaries of workers while the allowances, salaries and other remunerations of government officials remain in their intact humongous forms. In Nassarawa State, workers were killed by the state’s agents for demanding for their legitimate earnings.
 
This is in a country where the political class keeps convoys of expensive vehicles just to move an individual around; own choice properties all over the country and outside, where the political class’ dogs enjoy better humanism than the poor majority who are the real humans. This is the contradiction that stares at us so boldly in the face and that is what the apparently deceitful regime is pleading for poor to continue to cope with! The plea is insensitive, diabolic, illogical and unacceptable, we dare to say.
 
The people in government see the poor majority’s pains from their comfort zones therefore they prescribe very warped solutions that increase the poor’s sufferings while avoiding any form of sacrifice or pains on their part.
 
Nigerians in their majority have been sacrificing for their country on all plains, but it is unfair and wicked to continue to call for their ‘understanding’, patience etc. while the ruling class is not ready to sacrifice an iota of their unjustifiable affluence and undeserved comfort.
 
Coming to equity, takes coming with open hands, if Nigeria and Nigerians have to sacrifice to rebuild our country, let the sacrifice be collective. As a matter of fact the ruling class should sacrifice more, it takes wearing the shoes to know where it pinches!
 
A sensitive and responsible government should at this period be thinking of succour for the poor majority. Whether, it is recession, melt-down, inflation, stagflation or whatever, the government must assume its full responsibility as a government. No excuse is good enough when what is at hand is about existentialism. Nigeria is not the only country on the planet is passing to the capitalist-imposed economic hardship, but the other countries are not compounding the problems of the poor like is been done in this country.
 
America, Europe, Asia etc. have had and are still having their fair share of economic pains. They waded through their storms including 1929 depression and economic melt-down of 2009. It is not rocket science to salvage our country if political will is applied. It is time cut down the cost of governance; kill the avarice associated with those in power and deploy resources to the very basic needs of the vast majority. The environment for empowerment and self-realization must be created by government for the citizenry to enjoy their true humanism.
 
The communication tax; the outrageous bank taxes, the hike in tariff for electricity, the Value Added Tax, the impending increment in the prices of petroleum products targets and impact more the poor majority than the over-fed few members of the political class and elites. This is the equation that must be changed for government to wear a human face, but the sad reality is that, apparently this is the equation the present regime intends to maintain like the previous ones.
 
The recent report released by the United Nations paints a scary present and future for Nigeria, the reports is so damning that any responsible government will think and act to avoid the tragedy being foretold. According to the report, the country’s economy, the development and social indices in the country were below acceptable standards.
The report read, “Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa and the seventh most populous in the world. Her population will be approximately 200 million by 2019 and over 400 million by 2050, becoming one of the top five populous countries in the world. Nigeria is one of the poorest and most unequal countries in the world, with over 80 million or 64 per cent of her population living below poverty line.”
What else or what other index does the government need to see to realize the urgency of taking emergency steps now? Government must act with alacrity now; it must move away from giving unacceptable excuses by being creative, innovative and be objectively focused on putting the people’s interest before selfish and mundane interests. The jargons of economists and the deceit of the political class have clearly failed; finding succour to the pains of the poor majority must now be prioritized!
 
Debo Adeniran
Executive Chairman, CACOL
08037194969
September 6, 2016
 
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