Let Our Policies Be Consistent

Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. (Mrs.) Ipalibo Harry-Banigo (Right) receiving a portrait from the Chairman, Christian Medical and Dental Association CMDA of Nigeria, Rivers State Chapter, Prof. Kenneth Ordu (Left) and the Secretary, CMDA, Dr. Ovundah Nyeche, during a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt recently.

Every president, Governor or elected public officer always comes during campaigns with a box full of promises, but in reality most of these promises are either gimmicks, not well researched or it could be just general statements another person makes to get elected into office.
This is because you can hardly see coherent policies presented by them when they kick-start their administration as all what we get are inconsistencies in their execution of programmes or projects. Sometimes what we get are policy somersaults with different statements on just one single project by different spokesmen for the government. This is not just queer but has become the order of the day under this present federal government.
Between 2015 to 2018, every problem or challenge faced by the Buhari administration had been attributed to the previous administration or enemies, especially opposition parties.
Even the bad monetary policies that led to capital flight which resulted in the recession we experienced had different interpretations by various government officials.
But one thing still remains constant and that is the problem of selective amnesia on happenings within the country especially in the areas of policy execution or pronouncements by spokes- persons for government.
For example when the former Chief Justice was being harassed, the presidency said it was not aware of the plot to remove him, but events later proved that everything was orchestrated by people in the corridor of power, who were given the necessary go –ahead order to do the ground work.
Where this selective amnesia also reared its ugly head was in 2018 when the president was said to had directed the immediate past inspector general of police to relocate to Markurdi and take full charge of the fight against the herdsmen menace in Benue State which he refused to do. And what was the response. “I am not aware,” was the refrain the nation got as explanation.
This penchant for being not aware to some observers of the country’s development strides could be interpreted to either those at the helm of affairs are pretending or are just churning out policies which they are not sure will be widely accepted; but where this fails suddenly the symptom of amnesia comes in.
Half truth disinformation and total denial of reality are just the symptons that are in vogue now. At the height of the herdsmen rampage in the country, we were told that these killers were not Nigerians but foreigners, and when indigenes of the various communities wanted to retaliate, we got another song that they were Nigerians and even the army was said to have been giving them protection.
In 2019, another series of political drama unfolded called RUGA which the average Nigerian, who can read and write cannot see in the dictionary. Again, while the president said he was not aware of the project, monies were already earmarked for the project.
So the question is who is really in charge of this country? Is it a faceless group out to cause mischief or someone or group of people are out there playing games or toying with the unity of the country?
This question is vital because if the president’s spokesman in the person of Garba Shehu will be harping on Ruga and the office of the vice president, Professor Yomi Osinbajo, is saying another thing, who then is playing mischief with our collective commonwealth?
Whenever there is a discordant tune and verbal somersault in government policy, know that something is seriously wrong. No president should allow this to continue once a clear-cut policy is pronounced, no government official should give it a different interpretation unless we are led to believe that it is either, the president is not in full control of his government or he has a hidden agenda which is known to only a few previledged hangers-on.
Governance should not be likened to a football game where even in full glare of your screen you will see footballers who commit foul yet deny that they committed such offence. Even to a ten year old child, the person denying such offence is not only lying but looks funny and ridiculous.
To make matters even more hilarious, INEC, which announced the use of computerised card readers for the 2019 elections in 2018 suddenly discovered that it had no central server to record votes scored during the presidential election. So who are they fooling in this country?
Is lying and forget fullness now part of our culture? If it has become so let us make it a subject in our universities so that we can train future generations in the art of lying. Lying will be made so attractive that foreigners will come to Nigeria to under study our experts. People will also be discouraged to tell the truth.
I see a future where lying will be accepted if this present situation of selective amnesia is allowed to become a virus that affects only top government official. Religious leaders will also have less preaching to do as they will be helpless on the issue of morality and truthfulness.
It is rather sad that our emotions and sentiments have blinded us to the dangers coming our way. Any country where sentiment replaces sound intellectual reasoning is on the path to destruction. Why is it that people who call themselves fathers and mothers will continue to believe that they can govern Nigeria by lying and feel that other Nigerians are illiterates and uninformed?
Consistency and truthfulness have always been a driving force of any country’s development. When investors see that a government is not only consistent with its policies but its officials also don’t dance different dance-steps to one drumbeat then their confidence can be sustained and people will be ready to say Nigeria’s development policies are consistent.
Basically, people who rely on lies to sell a producer have inferiority complex and uses such device to step up their acts. So such devices can only be used as a cover up to what they never expected will come their way especially, their being elected or appointed into office.
Governance is all about trust and when that trust is gone, no matter what is done subsequently to remedy the mistakes or harm that must have been done to the nation’s psyche will take a long time to heal.
Nigeria is a multi-cultural society and no individual can have all the wisdom or solution to solve its diverse problems. So whenever a government makes a policy statement it should always strive to harness the views of experts and opinion leaders across the ethnic divide before making those policies or programmes public.
Yesterday was Onoghen, today it is “RUGA” or cattle colonies, what will it be tomorrow? Nigerians are watching as four more years of this administration will eventually come to an end. What then will be the legacies it will leave behind, will it be sufucation, information mishandling or just propaganda against its opponents? Only time will tell.


Tonye Ikiroma-Owiye