I Am Un-Sure About Nigeria
by Prince Charles Dickson
‘Its near impossible to wake a man pretending to be asleep, as it will be foolhardy for a dog not to bark, because the owner may mistake it for a goat and offer it to the gods as thanksgiving sacrifice’–Local proverb Within the week I came across the news item “SURE-P board spends N70bn on infrastructure in 6 months– Kolade”. He said “Although
we were inaugurated in February, we did not get the first release of funds to our committee until July.
So, this means that the first six months of the year had passed and the remaining six months of the year, we actually did work to the tune of over N70 billion. If we had N180 billion for the whole year and we spent N70 billion-plus in six months, you know that it means that we worked at the rate that we are supposed to work.”
Interestingly my admonishment this week is not so much about the Subsidy Reinvestment And Empowerment Programme (SURE) but a nation that is so un-SURE of its actions and inactions.
It is painful that one has to week in and out harp on the problems of a nation so great in potentials and yet offering little in deliverables.
Nigeria, I dare say and agree is big, despite the politics of census figures-relatively we are at least a 150million strong nation, whatever the spread we use. The reason for false figures being our feeding -bottle styled federalism. Having stated this fact, I am SURE that N70billion was spent in 6months according to Mazi Christopher Kolade.
Yet I am un-SURE how it was spent, I can’t understand how it has “mitigated the immediate impact of petroleum subsidy discontinuation on the population, particularly for the poor and vulnerable segments”.
I am SURE that on the contrary Nigerians have barely bought the commodity at the so-called regulated price and have at regular intervals suffered artificial disappearance of the same commodity and its allied products.
In the last few years our money has continually lost value and been on a free-fall but I am SURE it’s not exactly so bad that N70billion has become 70kobo or just N700. So how N70billion is spent in 6months without an “economic transformation through investment in critical infrastructure projects is what I am un-SURE of.
I am so SURE that in the last few years despite the best of efforts, from SAP to PAP, NEEDs to SEEDs, NAPEP to PEPSI (if such exist) government and its agents, leadership and politicians, civil servants and technocrats have failed to successfully develop a functional “national safety net programme that is better targeted at the poor and most vulnerable on a continuous basis”.
The talk of politics is the merger of ACN, CPC, ANPP, and part of APGA into the All Progressives Congress or Armoured Personnel Carrier APC, I am SURE it is a welcome development, but un-SURE how much it has to offer, given the composition of the dramatis personae. Already the matter of sharing a yet to be baked cake in terms of positions is in the boiler. So the question is what then is a SURE political permutation capable of steering the ship of leadership to the right path?
Almost a year gone now, we are SURE Femi gave the bribe, Farouk, and Emenalo were collectors but till date we remain un-SURE as to the exact end of all the grandstanding called trial of subsidy thieves.
I am un-SURE why pensioners are not paid but SURE that when N32bn of their fund is stolen and nothing happens to the suspects and thieves responsible, two things happen: 1. The pensioners continue to suffer and 2. New pension thieves recruited.
15years ago I was SURE we had problems, big ones for that matter, however I am un-SURE on how to relate it to 30 gunmen attacking a police station in Kano or the shooting of health workers.
I am so SURE and many would agree that prostitution is one of the oldest trades but I am un-SURE how N5bn will be used to rehabilitate them.
How we have repeatedly done same thing with different names with the hope of getting new results is something I am not SURE of –we express surprise at the police academy feeding anomaly because I am SURE many have forgotten that it is the same Police College, that a mad man reportedly told an AIG who asked if he was interested in attending “Am I mad?”.
I am un-SURE which is our major problem thieving leaders, docile populace or crooked followership, I am equally un-SURE if corruption tops the chart of our “things to tackle list” or it is ethnic parapoism, jingoism or nepotism. I am SURE religion without faith is a problem, neither do I doubt that part of our problem is mutual suspicion to a point of analyzing the ethnic composition of a national soccer team.
Yet I am SURE the same soccer team unites us, but we cannot play soccer every week that I know, however the unity it breathes we have refused to exploit.
I am so SURE of the millions of Muslim faithfuls running to the Massalachi for Jummat prayers, and equally certain about the millions that shout Hallelujah on Sunday. Still I find it intriguing that between Monday-Thursday I am un-SURE of those that commit all the killings, robberies, kidnap and more.
We are SURE when we fill forms that we are either Christians or Muslims but when we steal we are suddenly un-SURE or is it the reverse?
I am un-SURE of the motive of killing health workers or doctors, or attacking the revered Kano emir, can’t be SURE I know why those boys were killed in Alu and Cynthia was killed via facebook but it is Nigeria, suspects are paraded, sometimes charged, all is wishy-washy and be SURE it all goes away.
I end by stating that I am SURE that endless hope is better than a hopeless end but hope in certain terrains is a dangerous opium, better imagined than experienced. We find ourselves in a precarious state by virtue of our uncertain certain nature, we are not yet ready, if we ever will–only time will tell.
Prince Charles Dickson