When the ruling party sold the `change` mantra to plethora of Nigerians on the eve of the 2015 presidential elections, like many Thomas, I was skeptical. My skepticism was not saturated in the misguided belief that change was not possible, but that there is a stark difference between campaign promises and delivery.
My doubt notwithstanding, I supported the stance of majority of Nigerians that a change in government was not only necessary, but imminent. The Jonathan led administration despite its best attempts, had finalized the sale of the glory of the Country and driven its economy into the drains. His government had simply failed to perform and deliver the dividends of democracy to the citizenry. As expected, the six years moribund administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan suffered an expected demise and the `change agents` became possessory occupiers of the Aso Villa.
As an unrepentant skeptic, I observed from afar with keen interest as the drama unfolded. I assimilated the crux of the manifestos of the All Progressive Congress with alertness and aggressiveness. I engaged in discussion with my colleagues, many of whom just wanted Jonathan out of power. I had out of curiosity followed the diverse rallies held across the country and was fortunate enough to be in attendance at the ones at the Teslim Balogun stadium in Lagos as well as the MKO Abiola stadium in Abeokuta. My mind raced with a speed that Usain Bolt would envy as I calculated the hefty amount it would cost to realize the proposals enunciated in the change manifestos by respective speakers who merely re-stated what the person before them had said – `Stipends for un-employed youths, allowance for the elderly in our societies, free food for our primary and nursery pupils, loans for brightest students to fulfill their educational aspirations, building of refineries, stability in the power sector, agricultural revamping and many more`. Specialist in political calculation saw the impending doom of the Jonathan led PDP and declared their allegiances for the change agents. Eventually, elections were held after an initial postponement by the government, and the rest as they say is history.
At first, jubilations rent the air. History has been made. Nigeria had experience the first true change of power since its nascent democracy returned in 1999. `Not only that, but also the no-nonsense-disciplinarian; Mohammadu Buhari has returned to the pinnacle of power. Orderliness would finally enslave our decaying ministries, agencies and departments of government`, corruption checkmated, our public office holders would be more diligent in the dispensation of their duties, efficiency and discipline would become the watchword of our police officers, the boots of our military would once again shine bright as it did in the 70`s and 80`s when they participated in peace keeping mission to keep international insurrections at bay in diverse African countries. Internal insurrections threatening the government would be effectively cancelled, Boko Haram would finally be dealt with, (it had once been argued that Jonathan`s lack of military training and strategies were the cause of the failure to have Boko Haram nibbled in the bud), and the `Chibok girls` would be found and returned to their families within the first 100 days of the newly inaugurated change government.
The first month saw a resemblance of stability in electricity, sanity in the law enforcement agencies and an unwavering hope in the mind of the ordinary citizen. Change had finally arrived. Nigerians were elated, especially the northerners in Lagos with whom I had interactions. I found myself paying less for stuffs like onions, ginger, tomatoes, leathers and beans all because I chanted the mantra `sai baba` to them. However, as time passed, people began to realize that the change promised would take time to manifest. Enthusiasm diminished as paralysis crept back into our polity. Few months passed, our girls had not been found, Boko Haram pushed beyond their erstwhile domain of Borno and Adamawa states and made their presence known in places like Kano, Jos and Kaduna. A supposed hunt began in the anti-corruption crusade of the change government. Price of crude oil crashed, exchange rate went up, workers salaries remained unpaid, ministries were without ministers, lawlessness returned to Lagos, executive disobedience to court orders became the norm of the day, our National Assembly cooked up their leaders like a badly cooked meal, erstwhile supporters and members of the Jonathan led administration suddenly realized that there was something inherently wrong with that administration and ported to APC. The change promises was changing. The bush-meat is now in pursuit of the hunter. (to be continued)
Oluwaseun O Ajaja, a Legal Practitioner writes from Lagos.