My fellow Nigerians, it is that time of the year when people indulge in rituals called new year resolutions. It is also that time when leaders give what they call New Year messages. It has also become a period when all kinds of messages are posted on the social media either extolling God our creator for the past year’s blessings or seeking His face for the New Year prosperity. For us at NAJICPA, (Nancy and Jennifer Ibe Center for Public Accountability) it is a period of ‘looking forward from behind’
Looking behind at 2012, we will all be in agreement that it is one of the most terrible years in our nation’s history. It is the year that we witnessed the greatest level of national self-inflicted violence on the citizenry. It is the year of the greatest sleazes and corruption cases in our nation’s history. It is the year of the greatest slaughter of innocent citizens in churches and communities. It is the year of the kidnap of the greatest number of Nigerian and foreign citizens in Nigeria and also the year of the payment of the highest ransom amounts for kidnappings. It is the year of the greatest unemployment figures among our youths as well as the year of the greatest number of violence against our youths. It is the year of the greatest and the most painful air disasters in the country as well as the year of the highest number of road accidents in the country.
We have heard of reports that say that corruption has gulped over 5 trillion naira of your money since this present administration. We have also seen from reports that public officials in hiring chattered aircrafts spent over 300 Billion Naira. We have also seen that it is the year of the acquisition of the highest number of private jets by both government and religious leaders. We have seen that it is the year of the highest level of poverty, hunger and death among underprivileged Nigerians yet we have witnessed unprecedentedly high yield revenue from petroleum resources and taxation.
It is the year of the highest level of prostitution among both unemployed and equally employed young women and older women. We have seen it is the year of the most bizarre financial scams running in the trillions of naira called fuel subsidy regime, SURE-P, stockbrokers bailouts, airline interventions, sovereign wealth fund, etc. It has turned out to be the year of fat salaries and allowances for leaders and public officers but only miserable and minimum wages for the followers.
It has been a year of the hapless masses queuing up for hours on end at filling stations while ‘maximum’ leaders constantly blare about in gun toting bullet proofed long ‘jeepy’ and menacing ‘sirened’ convoys paid for from the sweat and wealth of the ‘minimum’ citizens. It has been the year of the greatest robbery of pensions funds belonging to the common man that have worked for several years on non-livable wages and yet have all their pensions stolen.
We have seen leaders and public officers who in the face of hunger, violence, kidnappings, corruption, greed, stress, hopelessness etc. yet they tell us to go about our normal business and tell us to persevere.
Now looking forward to 2013 from 2012 that is now behind, will you continue to sit on the fence and hope for the grace of God to put food on your table, to give you employment, to give you good health care, to ensure safe skies and roads, to restore your stolen pension funds, to give good education to your family, to restore security in your lives, to give you access to dividends of democracy without begging for it, to hold your leaders accountable for their actions, to ensure livable wages and benefits etc.
We have springs and summer, we also have autumn and fall. Your destiny to survive as a people is in your hands. No one can save you but you. –