Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Matters miscellaneous BY KENNETH JUDE

Matters miscellaneous BY KENNETH JUDE

Events leading up to the 2015 general elections are most engaging  much as they are surprising. The various Political parties have commenced nation-wide campaigns to woo voters by selling their manifestoes while hoping that such junketing translates to success at the polls. At the federal level, it is a straight battle between President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and ex Head of State General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 14 election. Both parties have commenced moves to woo voters for the polls; though, this has not been without some skirmishes here and there. 

There have been reports of  violent clashes, burning of buses and bombing of offices by either party. While it may not be overly easy to have elections without recording some of these ugly undemocratic traits, it is a sad commentary on our fledgling democratic practice that we still conduct our affairs as if we are still in the stone age where things were done in core primitive ways. What the elites have failed to tell the masses is those programs they will implement and decisively execute to better the lots of the people. While some of them have told us that they will stop terrorism and bombing in the country as soon as they are voted into power, they have not deemed it fit to tell us how they will go about the whole process. This has led to worries among the populace that it may turn out to be another campaign gimmick meant to win the sympathy of the voting public as usual. Others have already bought the promise wholesale, concurring that the promise to end the scourge of Boko Haram is real, and nothing short of bare truth. While everyone is entitled to their opinion and belief system, yours truly is only advocating for issue-based campaigns where long-suffering Nigerians are told how the many shortcomings bedevilling the country will be tackled. 

That most of our roads are not motorable is surely not a good verdict on the acclaimed giant of Africa. Nature has blessed us immensely with all the needed implements and resources to fix these teething problems but we have dillydallied and foot dragged over all of these basic human necessities. Have these power-seekers mapped out a practicable blue print to reduce the alarming rate of unemployment in the country? Methinks this is one of the most cardinal areas they should focus on and work sincerely to work out modalities that will lead to our graduates being gainfully employed. Some of them have roamed the streets years after going through the four walls of the university without any end in sight. 

While unemployment is no license to engage in crime, for a truth, it nurtures it. When one has gone through the rigours of higher institution for four years or more, completes the mandatory one year service to fatherland, he/she expects to stroll into his/her dream job. Do we still live with the belief that most of our graduates are unemployable or half-baked? If so, who baked them and why are they unemployable? These are begging questions those angling to govern us should supply answers to if they sincerely mean well for the people. How do we stabilise our currency and prevent it from this constant oscillation between devaluation and free fall? These thorny issues should occupy the minds of these people and not the elementary resort to making derogatory comments on each other. 

This is the standard practice in sane climes. Or do we want to pretend we don’t watch them on TV?  Has it ever pricked our conscience to fortify our hospitals with the best facilities so that our people can get proper medical care when they need one? Does it make us happy that our leaders and children of the affluent hop into the next available flight en route overseas for a mere medical check-up while the have-nots are left to wallow under the weight of poor medical attention even as some other unfortunate ones give up the ghost due, most of the time, to lack of money to pay their bills after falling prey to a debilitating ailment? Do we know that majority of the people are poor and can’t afford the luxury of eating what their appetite want, let alone living in good homes or owning a car while a few are stupendously rich so much that they now stash their ill gotten wealth in foreign banks for fear of the unknown? Have we ever spared thoughts on how to correct these imbalances? What is the fate of the avalanche of graduates we churn out yearly from our higher institutions of learning? What can they really look up to in this country? That most of our medical doctors are working and living comfortably in foreign lands is no longer a news item. Are we satisfied with this brain drain? 

Does it add value to or diminish our reputation in the comity of nations? Are our leaders and those wanting to lead us making any efforts to correct all these anomalies? Or are they busy thinking of how to acquire more wealth, honour, respect, estate, power and other insatiable desires to the detriment of the people and country? When we fly abroad with striking regularity to seek medical attention, what hope do we give to over a million Nigerians striving day and night in the various medical fields to acquire knowledge where they hope to, after graduation, apply what they learnt for the benefit of Nigerians? When we urge Nigerians to think and channel their thoughts and energies towards entrepreneurship, do we also consider the stark reality that power supply is still an issue in the country and that without a steady supply of electricity, the goal of being a successful entrepreneur is slim if not dashed?  This is not even helped by the high cost of Petroleum Motor Spirit (fuel) that is daily draining the paltry savings of struggling Nigerians.  

Is the media playing it role as watchdogs of the society well without the tempting resort to sycophancy and pouring of undeserved encomiums on politicians even when they are seen to have failed in the mandate given them? Sadly, some journalists have poured mud on the field. Coming back home, some so called media men have totally abandoned their core duty of informing the citizens and pointing out ills in the society to rather kowtow to the whims of some politicians regardless of how they perform the assignment given them. Asides that, the usage and choice of words with which some of these guys employ to drive home their points leaves so much to be desired. Some of our comrades have failed the profession, at the risk of sounding immodest. 

I make bold to say that many who parade themselves today as journalists or something close to that do not deserve such nomenclature. While I lay no claim to perfection, I am only pointing out what is obvious in the practice of this noble profession especially in Akwa Ibom state. It is high time these guys upped the ante and sought ways to improve on the job rather than spend precious time misinforming the public with some hastily and shabbily crafted gibberish in the name of news story or column writing. Today, one is embarrassed both on the social media and most especially the print by what some journalists put up as news and all of that. 

That some of these guys do not know or are ignorant of where, when and how elementary punctuation marks should be applied is most unfortunate and really sad, indeed. Another disturbing culture is the misuse and misapplication of the past tense and presentence.  While I make no attempt to mock or disparage any of my colleagues, my worry lay in the fact that we are serving the public. Like food meant for important visitors that extra penny and effort is put down to put together a tasty and special delicacy, the media, as agents of information should also spare no efforts in ensuring that what they serve the public is not only accurate but presented in good and clear English. Doing this, will further reinforce the credibility the profession has always enjoyed. Dabbling into the area of objectivity, most of us have failed woefully in this regard. 

Today, you pick up a tabloid that is supposed to accommodate all shades of opinion yet what you are confronted with is sycophancy and one sided stories that are presented with alarming poor grammar and with a passion that borders on ignorance. As the general elections beckons, the media can do more by covering and reporting stories that will aid grow the nation and improve the standard of living. We can be reasonable with the way we pursue filthy lucre other than this brazen bastardisation of the fourth estate of the realm.

I digress.
The ideologies of most of our political parties create little or no room for the people. That is, if some of them have ideologies at all. Today, the ruling PDP have failed to display the basic rudimentary necessities of political party in a democratic setting. What with their abysmal primaries conducted across the federation last year to produce candidates for the February polls. We have been deceived for too long in this country. The falsehood has reached its zenith. The deceit has shocked even a day old baby. Where are we headed in this clime? What does the future hold for us? Any hope for the teeming and long suffering masses? We need a turnaround in our country. Our problem is deceitful leadership.  

Who will save us from their grip? We call for peace and justice at every fora yet we do the opposite. We know the outcome of elections even before the word go yet we gather people to stand in the sun for hours on end to cast their votes. We rig with every instrument available in the system yet we want God to help those we foist on the people lead them in the right direction. Can God be mocked? No way. He is alive and sees all the atrocities man is perpetrating in the world; and at the appointed time, truth will triumph over falsehood, good above evil and peace above wickedness and destruction. As we prepare for a new dispensation, let us allow our consciences to dictates for us, that is, if we want the majority of the people to have a feel of governance. 

Let’s join hands and insist on justice because injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We want leaders that will evenly spread development across board and not doing so with intent to bring pain to some communities or pay back some old injuries meted out to them. As we break all known rules of law and decency for the sake of worldly power, let us not forget that God has the final answer in all things. Man proposes but He disposes. Let His will and not that of any mortal be done in Nigeria and Akwa Ibom state. I rest my thumb!

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