Two Years Of Change By Reuben Abati (On Back Page Of This Day Newspaper, Tuesday, June 6th)

“How is it going my brother? ”
“We just dey look. Two years and we thank God.”
“How was your May 29?”
“There was no celebration. We just siddon dey look.”
“But the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo addressed the nation.”
“I know. I know. But there was no programme in place for celebrating two years of the Buhari government. In the past, we used to have a week-long programme, with military parades, prayers here and there and then a national broadcast to remind the people of how democratic rule has been so fruitful and kind.”
“There was a national broadcast”
“I saw that. The Acting President spoke about optimism, building confidence, and reassuring the people. It was as if the country was mourning.”
“How do you expect them to celebrate when the Commander-in-Chief is out of the country?”
“But there is an Acting Commander-in-Chief”
“Are you sure Professor Osinbajo is actually an Acting Commander-in-Chief or a co-ordinator? There can only be one Commander-in-Chief at a time. There were two flags behind the Acting President, instead of four. His ADC is a policeman not a soldier. When he conducts council meetings, he doesn’t use the Commander-in-Chief’s seat.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes.”
“But what is your assessment? The cloud has settled, we can now think more clearly.”
“What I hear is that the position of the Federal Government is that it is too early to assess the Buhari government. Femi, our friend and brother says it would not be fair to assess an administration that has a four-year tenure after two years.”
“He is probably right. May be it is better to assess the administration in 10 years time.”
“What are you saying?”
“History has a way of offering better views. Nigerians are always impatient. They don’t appreciate the good vision that history offers.”
“History. History. When the administration reached 100 days, they said we could not assess it. They said it was too early. When they got to six months, they told us to wait. One-year anniversary, we were again told to exercise patience. It is now two years, and we are told any kind of assessment will be premature. How many years does it take to prepare the grounds for madness?
“By madness, I suppose you mean performance.”
“I assume you are educated.”
“Don’t insult me. I am not in government.”
“Then don’t sound like you are dumb, my friend.”
“I am not dumb. I am smart. After all, am I the person that said President Buhari does not owe Nigerians anything?”
“Someone said that?”
“Yes. One Presidential aide insisted that Nigerians should stop expecting this and that, because it is not the business of government.”
“I see. I see.”
“You keep saying I see, I see. Are you sure you don’t need to change your eye-glasses?”
“I have just remembered a story I read in which a group called SBM Intelligence reported that the Buhari administration has only achieved after 2 years, 4 per cent of its campaign promises since it assumed power.”
“SBM Intelligence. You better find out who owns it and who is behind it. What if SBM Intelligence is owned by the PDP or some marabouts who have upgraded their game?”
“They sounded professional to me.”
”I don’t know about that.”
“But what about Richard Quest, the CNN Correspondent who visited Nigeria recently? He also had something to say about our democracy.”
“What about him? “
“He reported that since the CNN visited Nigeria for the Presidential inauguration two years ago, the only achievement by the Nigerian government has been the repair of the Abuja airport runway.”
“He said that?”
“Yes”
“Well, what does Richard Quest actually know about Nigeria. He came here to eat jollof rice with Alhaji Lai Mohammed. Jollof rice has a way of inducing you to get carried away and when you get carried away, you say all kinds of things.”
“But can you really blame him?”
“No. I blame jollof rice. Why would he reduce everything to Abuja airport runway? This government in two years has reduced Boko Haram to nothing. This is the government that seized the very essence of Boko Haram and Ibrahim Shekau.”
“The very essence of Boko Haram? I am not aware that the Federal Government captured Shekau’s wife.”
“This government captured the Boko Haram flag and Shekau’s Quoran. That is a monumental achievement. What is Shekau without his flag and his Quoran? Richard Quest is talking. Not even his own country America can claim to have captured the ISIS flag. When Nigeria does something, let us say so. I beg.”
“I just hope they are not keeping that flag and the Quoran in the Villa.”
“They can keep them wherever they like. Once Shekau’s essence was captured, the girls were bound to come out. Over 100 of them did.”
“I know.”
“What I even want to suggest is that Sambisa Forest should be turned into a legacy site. Something like the establishment of the University of Sambisa Forest, for girls only, to help us remember the battle that was fought in that forest.”
“Sambisa is about 60, 000 sq. kms covering six states.”
“I don’t see how that is a problem. Sambisa can be converted from a theatre of agony into a major educational theatre, given the nature of its story.”
“I don’t get it.”
“We need to prove that Boko is not Haram.”
“You think that is why it is too early to assess, and that change begins with us, or that they owe us nothing?”
“Of course they owe us something. Whoever said they don’t is either high on something or stupid.”
“They owe us electricity, for example?”
“Yes”
“But the Senate says the government can’t give us electricity. That is a major problem for the economy.”
“Clearly, the Senate doesn’t fully understand how the economy has worked in the past two years.”
“How?”
“The economy has been diversified, I can tell you that for a fact.”
“I have been hearing that, government to government, over the years.”
“But there is something different, this time.”
“Hear. Hear.”
“For the first time in Nigerian history, we have just been reminded of how lucrative grass cutting can be. You can become an instant multi-millionaire by cutting grass.”
“Grass-cutting!”
“Yes. You can also become stupendously rich by rearing snakes”
“Snakes?”
“Yes. Persons in this government have shown us how to diversify sources of revenue, so it is not just diversification of the economy, the new model is about the diversification of revenue.”
“But they say government can’t pay salaries and that they intend to borrow?”
“Don’t worry. It’s because the new model is yet to take root. In ten years’ time when you review the administration, you’d understand better.”
“Ten years.”
“Yes. Nigerians should learn to be patient. That is how change begins with you.”
“This change is beginning to look strange.”
“If it is, then by now, you’d be dead. You have to be grateful.”
“How?”
“Many jobs are being created. In Benue state for example, the Governor has distributed wheel-barrows as dividends of democracy and as a means of alleviating poverty.”
“Wheel-barrows?…

(Read the complete text on The Back Page of This Day Newspaper, Today, Tuesday, June 6th)

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