Misplaced priority, greed, killing infrastructure development— Ozekhome, Odumakin, Adeniran, others.
A Roman emperor at a time, the decadent and unpopular Nero alleged, played the fiddle while Rome burned.
This expression portrayed Nero as an ineffectual leader in a time of crisis. President Buhari One cannot say for sure if this cliché really happened but it has become a common figure of speech used to illustrate the lackadaisical attitude of leaders towards their people.
In Nigeria, the story is not different. Leaders often look the other way while the nation ‘burns’ or leave the serious matters bedeviling the nation to pay attention to less important things. The Nigerian landscape is littered with thousands of failed infrastructure projects, many of them costing the government billions of naira and denying the citizenry access to quality infrastructure which is critical for a decent standard of life.
With approximately 200 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and one of the most populous in the world. Nigeria faces significant challenges with the appalling state of its infrastructure, healthcare, education etc. These are coupled with poverty raving the people and the land.
From power supply and housing to roads and rail lines, and from irrigation systems and water pipelines to mobile and broadband networks, Nigeria’s infrastructure supply is grossly inadequate.
The return to democratic mode of governance in 1999 has done little to justify the hype that greeted the return to barracks by the military two decades ago.
For years, men in khaki held sway in the political administration of Africa’s biggest country, with zero checks and balances on their mode of operation. Piloting the affairs of the nation with decrees which granted them a near absolute authority, successive military administrations held on to power with little or no intent to return the nation to civil rule.
As a result, the nation’s resource endowment failed to translate into meaningful development as allegations of massive treasury looting trailed one administration after the other. And this was against the backdrop that the military actually struck in January 1966 with intent to weed out corruption, root and branch from the nations political and governance system.
By Dirisu Yakubu