VOICE OF LIBERTY: The Curse of Big Government; Government OF the People, not ON the People ~ Fiyinfoluwa Elegbede


I was recently stuck on the computer screen watching the Special Adviser to the Nigerian President on Research and Strategy, Mr. Douglas Oronto itemize the government’s development “Sure and Steady Transformation of Nigeria” agenda on a Sunrise Program of the Channels Television.

While Mr. Oronto’s ‘consensus’ and ‘imperative’ analysis arouses grammatical interest, of more attention is his attempt to justify the Government’s current self-acknowledged rating through the sectorial achievements.

If dreams or set goals were to be awarded on merit of their presentation, or of their change-effecting potential, then the objectives of this present Nigerian government deserve a national honour for their simplicity, objectiveness and seeming enticement.

Unfortunately however, like it has always played out, a lot more is easier said than done. From Agriculture to Aviation, Health, Education and Infrastructure… both past and present records of government efforts puts it way below the possibility of achieving these lofty aims. The keywords have always been an increasing government scope and size, underachievement and sadly, unapologetic requests for another shot at their failure.

The Government, according to Mr. Oronto, is determined at improving agricultural productivity in Nigeria, increase access to standardized Education, improve the conditions of Airports, work on sustainable healthcare and improve the level of infrastructure, citing the recent positive remarks on improvement in power supply by citizens all over the social media.

In a similar vein, but on a much earlier date, the Special Assistant to the Nigerian President on New Media, Mr. Reno Onokiri tweeted that “Activists in search of transparency may find it profitable to use the FOI Bill “graciously” signed law by President Jonathan (emphasis mine – ‘graciously’).

Mr. Oronto and Mr. Onokiri’s message to the people is simple. That the elected government is simply a gracious machinery, foisted ON the people it was meant to serve and protect. Hence, the sworn duty to protect and defend the people is replaced with favors within the corridors of power, and a sympathetic consideration for the people at the mercy of the whims and discretion of whoever holds power.

 The facts proving the government’s position as a babysitter on a blank check who delights in babysitting only the checks is apparent and vast. Regardless of how good promising a development blueprints are, or their potential for maximum results if put into place, a society without security is akin to a basket being filled with water.

It is time to quit drawing water into baskets as there can never be any meaningful socio-economic growth and development in an atmosphere riddled in insecurity and chaos. No matter how beautiful the picture of a country could be painted, and forced down the throat of gullible citizens using state propagandist machinery, “you can only succeed fooling all the people some of the time,” but surely as Abraham Lincoln maintains, “you cannot fool all of the people all the time.”

The gory picture of four young Nigerians being cold-bloodedly murdered in a conspired effort of an entire community requires no effort to shed tears. This barbarous act only resonates with the very attitude of the government towards the security of its own people. While lives and properties were continually being assaulted into extinction in parts of the country, the government is busy boosting security in the seat of power.

However, the national source of income was kept under lock and keys. While the prospect of realizing the $29.3 billion budget proposal by the Nigerian President for the 2013 fiscal year relies on the smooth operations of the nation’s heavily fortified oil industry, the attendant protective measures endowed to this industry in comparison to the growing level of insecurity on the country betrays the interest of the people in the government’s plans.

Of what merit is an oil-reliant budget to a country in chaos and people living in fear, if such budget is supposedly aimed at bettering the lives of the same people whose fears remains their trauma, and their security a hopeless wish?

The need of a nation, poised for growth and development is not a ‘gracious’ government, but a government constituted for the benefit of the people, by the people and FOR the people, to protect inalienable their rights to life, defend their liberties and secure their properties.



Fiyinfoluwa Elegbede is a member of the African Liberty Voice of Liberty Project

Governance in Nigeria has been a show of comedy in recent times