Nigeria, politically and economically remain within the tenacious grip of a ruling class that have maintained and displayed the same ineptitude, maladministration, corruption, impunity and insensitiveness for decades resulting to the painful situation of existence of majority of Nigerians. A situation where the 1% rollick in affluence and control the commonwealth of the country while the 99% wallow in abject poverty and despair, in addition to unemployment; a health sector in doldrums, a neglected education sector topped with insecurity of lives and property.
The hardships that Nigerians are going through continues to be compounded by the neo-liberal dictates of the IMF/World Bank and that has made access to basic needs required for humane living impossible for the vast majority.
The government has not handled the issues of power, energy and infrastructure with the urgency and political will they require. Thus almost all vital sectors of the polity seem to be in comatose or serious crises. The queues at fueling stations across the country have become like a permanent feature in the country; increased tariffs for electricity even without supply and N50 tax on Bank transactions from 1000 naira and above have been imposed. The government has refused to fund education adequately; shunned Health and infrastructural development, failed to guarantee security of lives and property. All these have increased the sufferings of the impoverished immensely.
In cases where there are equipment, they are seldomly used because the equipment are either substandard or don’t have expertise to operate, not to talk of maintain them. While many of our so-called leaders patronize foreign health institutions to access basic health care, the teeming masses that cannot afford costs of private health care are left to suffer the jeopardy of perpetual illness or premature death due to lack of necessary infrastructures in the all-essential health sector.
On the other hand, many of the Nigerian roads are in bad shape. To put it mildly, the state of most of the nation’s highways today has become a serious embarrassment to the successive Nigerian regimes without reprieve in sight. It is not just that most of these roads are so impassable; it is also a disturbing fact that dangerous spots along many of them have also become convenient operating centers for highway robbers, who lay siege on unsuspecting motorists and other road users. This is aside the notorious fact that the poor state of these roads hampers economic activities as much as it costs Nigerians their lives and properties.
The government have budgeted humongous sums for Aso rock renovation, websites and a lot of frivolities while relegating the well-being and social welfare (the very reason why government is instituted in the first place) of the ordinary people to the background. Yet, this is a government that rode on the mantra of CHANGE to get elected. ‘Where is the change?” is the question on the lips of Nigerians presently?
In the Power sector under the Ministry of Works, Power and Housing superintended upon by Mr. Babatunde Fashola, former Governor of Lagos state; a hike in the tariff electricity has been imposed on Nigerians for services not rendered to them. This is flagrant and audacious corruption in a situation where the government is pontificating that it is against corruption and illegality.
Mr. Babatunde Fashola, should be told that the Ministry he superintends over is not meant for the kind of antics that he got away with in Lagos state, this is Nigeria, this is National and it is hugely above the microcosm that he evolved from.
We make bold to say with every sense of responsibility that it’s the PHCN, the DISCOs, NERC that owe Nigerians money and apologies for not rendering services that they received money for and continue to receive money for, albeit, forcefully. Therefore we reject this hike in electricity tariffs in totality, we demand that, power supply should be made available and accessible to all and a billing system that will be transparent, reasonable and commensurate to consumption. The DISCOs and NERC can take a cue from Telecommunication sector by providing meters; fixing the cobweb-like cables that dangle over the heads the people, mount poles etc. first, any other approach is like putting the ‘cart before the horse’ and therefore illegitimate and irrational!
Every Disco should be enforced to meter all its customers. The demand by the distribution companies for cost reflective tariff so as to remain in business should be placed side by side with effective service delivery, after which the issue of tariff increase can now come. Until we fix our power sector, all the talk about the industrial revolution plans and creating jobs/wealth for Nigerians, will just be mere talks and a waste of time. The power issue is overly dragging and by now ought to have been a thing of the past. All hands must be on deck to make sure Nigerians have stable power/electricity supply.
We therefore enjoin Nigerian masses to and rise and resist the demonic and unjustifiable hike in electricity tariffs. We must move against the ‘change’ we did not vote for, to protect our being, and the struggle for a humane society.
We support the on-going anti-corruption war as we recognize corruption as a bane that has permeated almost every aspect of polity as country, a cankerworm that is deeply embedded and must be excised. The drive must continue and this is regardless of the class, social, ethnic, political or religious status of individuals or groups involved. Impunity must end!
We support the Treasury Single Account, TSA as a method for reducing corruption; an initiative through which within six months operation, the Federal has been able to save about 2.2 trillion naira, an amount that is about half the budget for 2015; this huge sum of money would have ended up in private pockets without trace. It is our opinion that most of those opposed to the TSA initiative are those who were beneficiaries of the leakages that the TSA has been able to block.
Being a statement by the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) on the State of the Nation; Anti-Corruption Drive and Hike in Electricity Tariff on 16 March 2016 in Lagos, Nigeria.
Adeniran is the Executive Chairman, CACOL. He can be contacted on 08037194969, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.deboadeniran.com.
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