Two parties, same record of poor governance

(Last Updated On: June 13, 2023) 
It might sound odd to say that, between 2010 and 2023, Nigeria did not experience significant progress in terms of socioeconomic development, responsible and accountable political leadership, steadfastness in upholding the rule of law in the conduct of national elections, improvement in national security, sustained commitment to the development of quality university education, marked improvement in the living conditions of citizens, and a substantial reduction in violent crimes. But, it is important to clarify that the rot in political leadership in Nigeria started much earlier than 2010. For now, my focus is on the period 2010 till 2023.

Between 2010 and 2015, Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) served as Nigeria’s President. In 2015, he was dumped by voters. There were reasons for that tragic and historic shift to the All Progressives Congress (APC). Prior to the election, the nation had drifted, the economy had weakened, quality higher education had depreciated, infrastructure had decayed, the decrepit public hospital system had worsened and law and order had deteriorated.
The message that emerged following that election was that everyone preferred to swim or drown with the relatively unknown APC. The mandate given to the APC to govern for the first time was unprecedented. It was based on that dubious philosophy of change on which Muhammadu Buhari and the APC leaders wooed voters. In the end, the stunt proved effective. The PDP was defeated both at the federal and state levels.
Many people believed in the profuse promises and propaganda mounted by the APC to transform the country. Voters felt that any political party and their presidential candidate was much better than living under the hardships instituted by the PDP. That was the national mood that saw the APC presidential candidate Buhari handed over the leadership baton in 2015, which he held on till the end of his first term in 2019. Buhari contested for re-election and was given the opportunity to govern for a second term.
After Buhari’s eight years in office, opinions remain divided whether Buhari was a blessing or a curse to the development of Nigeria, whether his administration was better or worse than the PDP government that Jonathan led for about six years, whether the standards of living of the people had improved or deteriorated under Buhari, whether the economy had progressed or collapsed, and whether the level of violent crimes and banditry had improved or worsened. These are just some of the benchmarks that Nigerians used to judge the performance of the APC over the past eight years.
The debate has persisted. Many people look back and shake their fingers as a mark of regret for empowering Jonathan and Buhari as presidents. Unfortunately for Nigeria and the Nigerian people, political opportunities knock but once, just as alarm bells forewarn of the dangers that lie ahead if voters granted a second term to a serving president who achieved nothing. History has a way of punishing people who ignore warnings and opt to commit gross errors of judgment during elections.
The history of Nigeria over the past 13 years of government by the PDP and the APC is a history of opportunities wasted, a history of massive corruption that further impoverished the Nigerian population, a history of double digit inflation, a history of joblessness that continues to haunt university and polytechnic graduates, a history of poor quality healthcare facilities and services, a history of decrepit infrastructure and dilapidated network of roads, a history of yearly budget padding and falsifying of figures that plunged people struggling for decent lifestyle into further destitution, and a history of life full of regrets. We deceive ourselves in Nigeria in many ways.
After experiencing two different governments led by two different political parties, it is now clear that Nigeria’s salvation or redemption will not come from the APC and the PDP that have a track record of crooked, dishonest, immoral, and fraudulent practices and processes they use to select their candidates during elections and their representatives in government.
Has anyone ever wondered why there has been no improvement in the welfare of Nigerian citizens despite voters changing their loyalty from the PDP to the APC, and from Jonathan to Buhari? Changing from one big party to another corrupt political behemoth is like replacing a faulty laundry machine with another malfunctioning washing machine. At the end of the washing cycle or tenure, you will get the same outcome.    
Unfortunately, errors made during national elections are like pieces of broken chinaware. They can never be mended. In politics, voters are given a chance to get their choices right or to live in agony for the term of the government they elected. That is what everyone experienced in the last 13 years and is likely to face in the next four or eight years.
Consider the following facts. In 2015, when Buhari defeated Jonathan in the presidential election, there was so much dancing in the streets and wild celebrations by citizens who felt the election had produced a liberator who would save Nigeria from enormous challenges. At that time, Buhari was regarded as the new kid on Nigeria’s political arena. He was portrayed as an incorruptible saviour who stepped in at the right moment to liberate the country.
Prior to the 2015 election, Nigeria’s political environment was dreadful. There was hunger all over the land. Corruption was prevalent. The economy was struggling against international and national challenges. Universities faced deplorable conditions, including lack of funds to sustain innovative teaching and quality research. Violent crimes such as abductions by militant groups and callous killings by Boko Haram insurgents were on the increase. In this reprehensible environment, crime and insecurity grew. 
At the same time, separatist groups and organisations exploded, demanding recognition, recompense, respect, and an opportunity to engage in dialogue with the government. In that atmosphere of instability, it was obvious that things would fall apart. And things truly fell apart for the PDP before, during, and after the 2015 general election.
But look where we are today, eight years after the massive support given to the APC and Buhari to try their hands in government. Against the background of the imperious government of the APC and the associated abuses and breakdown of law and order, including executive corruption that created the impression that Nigeria was a failed nation, it is not surprising that voters opted massively to go with the Labour Party during the February 25, 2023, presidential election. The outcome of that election is now being contested at the tribunal.
After Buhari’s lacklustre government that featured senior officials who deluded themselves and defrauded the nation, we are certainly no better today with the loquacious APC propagandists than we were under the Jonathan administration.
In hindsight, when people rejoiced openly and chanted songs to eulogise Buhari and the APC in 2015, they did not envisage the extraordinary hardships, corruption, and discrimination they would face under Buhari’s government. Eight years ago, Nigerians were primed for change. After eight years of hard life under Buhari, Nigerians are now swearing never again in their lifetime should the country make such a regrettable electoral error. 
All this goes to show that, between the PDP and the APC, Nigerians did not experience any noteworthy improvements in their socioeconomic conditions between 2010 and 2023, and even earlier. Experience has shown that the APC and the PDP lack the men and women of character, commitment, and integrity who can initiate policies that would transform the country and impact positively on the lives of ordinary people.
Thankfully, Buhari’s government has given us an opportunity to make a bold statement about our level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the situation in the country during Buhari’s era and during Jonathan’s presidency.
The post Two parties, same record of poor governance appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.


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