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Something to Ponder

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Author: By ERIC OSAGIE
Posted to the web: 7/8/2007 5:01:21 PM

A sad song plays in my heart as I write this piece. Indeed, there are so many things to be sad about in our dear country today. You can’t but be sad about NEPA which has reduced life to drudgery or the terrible state of motoring and the long, hellish queues at petrol stations all over the country. As I write this, across the road from my office, I can see the queue of hell with motorists wearing long faces in endless wait for fuel. And this is a country that is adjudged the 6th largest oil-producing nation.Indeed, no one, except, perhaps, a sadist, will be happy about the hunger and depression in the land despite the change of baton of leadership. Where there should be hope, people are walking about in hopelessness, resignation and frustration. After going through President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s inaugural speech, you expect the people to be injected with hope of a bright tomorrow or the vision of progress. But this hasn’t happened. There is cautious optimism. Nigerians are treading softly, not wanting to be taken for a ride the same way the ex-leader, President Olusegun Obasanjo did in 1999 when he promised to turn things around. But, instead, what got turned around was the fortunes of a clique of fortune seekers, a few of whom have since parceled and bought our country’s choice estates.So, you can’t blame Nigerians if they turn up their nostrils at the promises and pledges of President Yar’Adua. You can almost hear the loud ‘we have heard all these sanctimonious speeches before’. Of leaders promising to move heaven to earth, or turn our country to el dorado. When a people and a nation are like these, you don’t need any soothsayer or seer to tell you that we have, indeed, been traumatized by tragic years of misrule and insensitive leadership. Interpretation: Yar’Adua needs to roll his sleeves and act in the manner that will convince Nigerians that he’s got what it takes to move our country to the next level. That he isn’t just speaking grammar or saying words to calm our frayed nerves. Of course, he can only sit pretty or sleep with his two eyes shut after he has surmounted the critical obstacle at the Elections Petition Tribunal.However, Yar’Adua is not the kernel of this piece. I don’t know about you, but for me, I am sorely disturbed about the news coming from many states of the federation since new helmsmen took over the mantle of leadership. There are sad news of the tragic debt burden which the immediate past administrations have saddled their successors. From Akwa-Ibom to Edo; Plateau to Zamfara,Enugu, indeed, only very few states could be said to be free from the debt burden. Yet, when you critically examine the achievements of these ex-governors, the people are clearly unable to see for what the funds have been expendedYet, billions of naira had been appropriated in the past eight years. Not only were they wrongly or haphazardly utilized, the guys went ahead to amass huge debts for their successors. There is no point beating about the bush. The new administrations must move swiftly to ascertain genuine debts and phantom ones, and set in motion appropriate machinery to recover suspected misappropriated funds. Certainly, not all debts are genuine. Most were simply diverted and chopped. Judgment day ought to be now. But do the new helmsmen, many of them surrogates of the outgone administrations, have the balls to look into the dirty books of their predecessors? Big question, no doubt!

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