EDITORIAL: Tales of A Government Which Never Takes Responsibility

Buhari, SERAP, Northern Elders

Every day, political dispensations around the world are saddled with the responsibility of meeting the unending expectations of the diverse communities of people which constitute a single, holistic, and organic geographical entity. This reality, in not so simple terms, stands quite at variance with popular opinions that the process of governance translates to a simple walk in the park, especially when the government has abundant material and non-material resources at its disposal.

Like many other countries in Africa, Nigeria, since attaining independence which empowered her to negotiate her own fate without the direct intrusion of European powers, has had to deal with endless domestic crises which has continued to threaten its corporate existence, and not even the concession of a civil war that claimed millions of lives has been sufficient to quell the nudge for further agitations by the generality of the Nigerian society.

Without a doubt, Nigeria’s abiding unholy matrimony with civil uprising has often stemmed from ethnic jingoism by its fragmented ethnicities who have felt aggrieved by an unyielding desire by certain ethnic segments to out-manouvre other tribal constituents in the grand scheme of things.

Also playing a crucial role in the unending civil unrest has been the menace of bad governance; a tapestry of Military and Civilian administrations that have been culpable of untold pervasive and institutional corruption, pushing an immensely endowed country like ours to becoming a common joke amongst the comity of nations.

Because successive administrations in Nigeria have been culpable of mind-boggling corruption, it has not been much of a surprise that these administrations have been fiercely criticized for failing to justify the resource and talent pool at their disposal; a pool which, without amplification could have placed the country on a much more respectable pedestal than the abysmal state it currently finds itself.

EDITORIAL: Tales of A Government Which Never Takes Responsibility
Lai Mohammed, Hon Minister of Information and Culture

It was a concatenation of Nigeria’s leadership crises which ushered in the present administration into power. They had promised change, and since PDP’s 16 year rule was not exactly crowned in gold, many had felt the prodding conviction to allow a new administration with a different persuasion take over the reins of power. Putting the country on track to economic prosperity was never going to be rocket science, but there was a great sense of expectation that, at the very least, the building blocks to this goal was going to be carved out.

Barely one year into power, Nigeria plunged into a recession, a staggering turn of events considering the fact that just two years before this economic crisis, a BBC report had confirmed Nigeria’s economy as the most boisterous in Africa as the the year 2014. The 2016 recession, as indexed by succeeding events, was the first real indicator that this government was not one to take responsibility for its failure, but was rather intensely committed to passing the buck of this failure on its predecessor.

As a matter of fact, not only did the government normalize playing the predecessor card with all its shortcomings, there was also the emerging tendency of measuring its performance against that of the previous one. As a result, the benchmark for good governance moved from its conventional quarters and became relative to what the previous government had achieved.

EDITORIAL: Tales of A Government Which Never Takes Responsibility
Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity

Within the last year, amid the serious challenge posed by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Nigeria has been faced with insecurity challenges like never before. From the unthinkable carnage and destruction being wreaked by Boko Haram in the Northeast, to the organized crimes being committed by bandits in the Northern region, to the criminal activities of Fulani herdsmen in the Southwest and Middlebelt, suffice it to say that the country has become a gold mine for criminals who continue to leverage on the weakness of the government to create unprecedented levels of panic and trepidation in the country.

But then, amid the endless streak of insecurity challenges bedevilling the country like never before, what we have seen more than any tangible effort by the government have been a litany of statements by the President’s numerous Spokespersons in defense of the government’s apparent ineptitude. It is actually no surprise that this Presidency has ended up having the most popular spokespersons since the administration is constantly being belaboured with the burden of having to produce statements to either defend its cluelessness or simply pass the buck to its predecessor.

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Admittedly, getting Nigeria working again was never going to translate to the waving of a wizard’s wand to flush the underbelly of the Nigerian society. It was always going to be a systematic process predicated upon honest efforts to change the familiar narrative; and, when checkered by failure, concede responsibility for such failures and re-design alternative measures eject the country from the doldrums and place her firmly on the launchpad to socio-political and socio-economic prosperity.

Garba Shehu
Garba Shehu, Senior Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity

Sadly, this has not been the case with this government. Rather, the Presidency, backed up by a Minister of Information whose sole legacy in his six years in office has been cooking up rebuttals for every backlash emanating from the government’s ineptitude, have earned a reputation for never taking responsibility for anything which goes askew under its watch.

While it would be utterly unreasonable to expect the government to tick every box with regard to good governance, what Nigerians expect, at the very least, is a government that owns up to its shortcomings; since it is in taking responsibility for one’s failures that one musters the inspiration to mend the broken shards and pledge towards a more auspicious future.


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Ronny Ikpoto
Edidiong-Ronny Ikpoto holds a First Class degree in Media Studies from the University of Calabar. He shares a healthy enthusiasm for journalism, social & literary criticism, and creative writing.