During the 2015 electioneering campaigns, Chief Tony Momoh was so confident that General Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC), would perform wonders if voted into office, that he gleefully told Nigerians that they should stone them if after two years they failed to implement their campaign promises.
“Stone us if we fail after two years”, he declared. He further said that the “APC will sign a contract with Nigerians. If we fail to tackle unemployment, insecurity and improve standard of living in 2015 – 2019, vote us out”.
Tony Momoh was the national chairman of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the platform under which Muhammadu Buhari had contested the Presidential election in 2011, and now one of the political parties that came together to form the All Progressives Congress (APC). So, he must have known Buhari very well as to stick his neck to ask Nigerians to stone them if Buhari and his government failed to perform in two years.
Tony Momoh, a veteran journalist, editor and former Nigeria’s Information Minister, now turned politician, was not the one whose words would be taken lightly. Being one of the vocal voices routing for Buhari during the 2015 campaign exercise, a lot of people believed in him.
Now, having waited patiently for the past two years and eight months (even though our President said that Nigerians are impatient), and things are getting worse, I want to say with all sense of responsibility, that I would be the first to cast the stone should I see Chief Tony Momoh. This is because Muhammadu Buhari and his party have failed Nigerians in all its ramifications.
Now let us look at the three areas which the APC said they should be assessed after four years if they are to be voted for in 2019 – unemployment, insecurity and improve standard of living.
There is nothing new the APC has done so far to create jobs. Thousands of Nigerian youths have continued to roam the streets without job and the APC government has no answer to it. When they begin to talk about N-Power that accommodates a handful of graduates for only two years, the programme has always been there. It is only a mere change of name. Jonathan called his own, Sure-P, and it was the same N30,000 monthly payment for two years, except they now tell us that their own will be different. That they are going to make it a permanent engagement, which will be excellent.
What other programme has the APC government introduced to curb the growing unemployment rate in the country in a sustainable manner? The other day, the National Bureau of Statistics told us that nine million people had lost their jobs in Nigeria in the last quarter of last year, while twenty-seven million people were unemployed since 2016.
Next, the APC government had told us that they have “decimated” Boko Haram. We believe them. But we still hear how Boko Haram has been killing people here and there in some parts of the North East. I hoped that all the Chibok Girls have been rescued and that Sambisa can now be freely accessed? That’s what they told us they would do when they were shopping for votes.
In any case, if Boko Haram is “decimated”, why ask for a whopping one billion dollars to fight the insurgents?
Did I hear Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shakau, in a video release the other day, boast about some recent exploits of his group? Did I hear somebody counter him, that it was a bundle of lies?
But if Boko Haram is defeated, how about the “Fulani herdsmen” that have become a menace and have become more dangerous than Boko Haram? In virtually every part of the middle belt and the southern states of the country, the Fulani herdsmen have been on rampage. They maim, rape, and kill people in their numbers, destroy their houses and farmlands. Perhaps, the number of Nigerians who lost their lives these past two and half years through various forms of criminal activities have surpassed any other record in history.
As for improve in standard of living, no Nigerian, will in all honesty testify that he had it so well these past two and half years. Is it in the high cost of basic food items, or in nonavailability of essential commodities, nonpayment of salaries and pensions to civil servants and retirees? Why was it that some Nigerians had decided to take their lives by either jumping into the lagoon, or tying ropes around their necks?
Things have been so difficult today in Nigeria, not necessarily because of the much hyped corruption of 16 years of PDP rule, but because we have scared investors, who went away with their money and refused to invest in the country. What do you expect when them to do when they hear our President travel outside the shores of the country to announce that Nigerians are “criminals, thieves and corrupt”? Some other person said that Nigerians are “fantastically corrupt”.
Of course, who would like to associate with a criminal, a thief, or a corrupt person? Nobody. That was why many investors pulled out of Nigeria and refused to invest in the country. Then, the Naira began a free fall against the US dollar. This led to high cost of goods and services and the current difficulties being experienced by many Nigerians. Sometimes, when you want to make some statements, you try to weigh their implications.
Did I hear a former national chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande, say that Nigeria is currently running a “military democracy”? Hummm. A new political jargon!
Except Chief Tony Momoh comes out now to counter us, we already have some stones in our hands ready to stone him if we are able to locate him.