One boasts only about things proper to boast about; whoever heard of the boast, “By this time yesterday I had given my parent-in-law the beating of his life.”? The Federal Government has constituted a National Refineries Task Force, headed by a former
finance minister and foremost economist, Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu.
The same man that was only last month tear-gassed by the police in Lagos. The government went ahead and appointed former boss of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu as Chairman of the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force. The same man who just months asked Jonathan to resign for being/running a corrupt government. As far back as 1978, during Obasanjo's first coming we called it Operation Feed Nigeria, Umaru Dikko headed a presidential committee on Rice during the Shagari era, and today we even have a task force on fertilizer - committee on the reorganization of police, committee on oil pollution, and a special review committee apparently reviewing something. There is the committee that audited contracts in Niger Delta, also local content committee.
There was a committee set up to probe the now re-arrested Boko Haram suspect. I recall a special committee to look at the rebrand Nigeria project. In the 1970's it was the Indigenization Decree, today, if we allow some states or the Federal government, they would privatize even the air that is indigenous to us as Nigerians. We have seen it all from the National Council of Privatization to BPE. We have seen the metamorphosis from ECN, NEPA, and PHCN, distribution companies, gas turbines and water turbines yet very little in movement. The energy problem still remains a big problem that defies solution. Then President Shagari, and his team simply called it 'austerity measure', Buhari/Idiagbon called theirs just 'essential commodities'.
IBB said SAP was the best as recommended by Brentwood blue-eyed economists. Obasanjo paid all the debts or most at least, on the advice of World Banker Ngozi Iweala. Sadly between when we started the aborted 7 point agenda and the recent transformation cum fresh breath government, we again owe as much as we paid off and were forgiven off. Rapidly we saw the likes of MAMSER, NOA, Rebrand Nigeria ala Frank Nweke, and Great People Great Nation ala Dora. We have been victims of PAP, NAPEP, NEEDS and SEEDS...today we are told it is SURE. In the last 30 years we have removed subsidy for virtually same reasons. Same story that we were tackling petroleum product trafficking. From coup plotters, mafians, kitchen cabinets to cabals...still combubarating.
We were witnesses of the then Lagos Administrator Buba Marwa's 'operation sweep' in Lagos. Today if it is not Operation yaki, it is operation thunder, rainbow, sunset, or desert, and all these excludes mass murder perpetuated by operations led by misguided elements in all sections of the country. From the Dele Giwa bomb, the ones during Abacha, to the knockouts that go off in Borno, Yobe, Kaduna, Kano, Abuja, Plateau...there seems no respite in sight. Citizens maimed and killed for no fault known to them. NADECO, SNG, CD, CLO, monitoring and fighting for democracy, human rights and elections. Yet all seems a combubaration. If its not AREWA, it is OPC or Afenifere, Ohaneze or MASSOB but still the ordinary man cannot make meaning out of the whole drama. Only NNPC has countless Presidential task forces on the oil sector, we have several advisory councils on almost all the existing ministries.
Waste remains the order of the day as both human and financial resources fly in allowances and logistics for duplicated functions. We are saddled with law keeping and investigating bodies that include the EFCC, ICPC, DSS, DMI, Police CID plus other special'mechetra' task forces and criminal bodies. The National Assembly has lost count of the numbers of probes. Its internet site which should provide such information even needs to be probed. All these probes, only probe certain pockets as the poor masses eyes probe in anticipation that succor may come their way to no avail. Not much has changed, rob with arms and be shot. Steal billions with the pen and be negligent in your duty at the top and you get a slap on the wrist, a national award and an appointment. Police reform, labour reforms.
Aviation sector reforms, Cassava, ofada rice and cement reforms. Banking reforms ala Soludo, ala Sanusi...a case of same difference. Whether its board, bureau, cabinet, commission, council, trustees, panel, agency, authority, audit, inquisition, probe, hearing, inquiry, and consultants. It’s all the same combubaration. Combubaration of Okigbo report and Oputa panel, the Lemu panel and the Niki Tobi panel, Judicial inquiry, commission or Presidential force, Legislative probe or summon, it is like the sketch of two characters who met on the street, homeless and jobless. The struggle at stake is how to make economic ends meet. To the point of the proverbial manner that will fall from heaven. With no help forthcoming for their situation they decide to waiting by the roadside until the good times will come.
As Don King says “the blackman fights from womb to tomb”. In Nigeria, we keep doing the same thing expecting a different result. We believe let us beat our in-laws, it will solve the problem. Combubaration means 'a combination of issues', of combination confusion and conflagration: the story of Nigeria, nobody wants to take responsibility for the failure of somebody, and somebody says it is nobody. As we move in a combubaration...where we want to go, our fate lies in our hands, only time will tell.
Prince Charles Dickson
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Though it does not answer a question that has nestled in the crook of ma breast for a long time-
How do we practically solve this mess?!
yees ! HOW !!