The All Progressive Congress (APC) came in like a tornado and torpedoed our resistance to change as they chanted an hypnotic political mantra: change. Change is one thing that humans generally have solid aversions for. Nigerians are the best enemies of change. Many of our wisecracking proverbs share this opinion. This nauseating feelings towards change, and its hydraheaded implications, birthed the maxim: the devil you know is better than the angel you don’t.

A typical Nigerian woman will remain in an abusive relationship, ironically hoping he changes, yet afraid of what change may bring if she took a walk to the next. A typical Nigerian will remain in a job that is no longer fulfilling, because he is afraid of what the other may bring. Or what lot he may pick, if he took a plunge into pursuing a life outside a steady 30 days make one pay. A typical Nigerian youth is afraid of facing the storm and riding contrary to the waves. He is afraid of changing his career path from a lawyer to a psychologist even though he knew law was a mistake. A typical Nigerian greatest strength is also his biggest weakness: the ‘e go better’ spirit.

This great spirit of hope makes us rise a thousand times after being knocked down. Yet it is this same spirit that stops us from trying something new, because we feel it could get better any moment from now. After all, we have invested so much into this and simply walking away to something new could be disastrous. So every little spark of change has witnessed massive oceans coming at it. For a change to succeed in getting midwived, it must come as a storm of fire, bearing its daggers and wearing feet of brass buried in clay. It must be battle ready.

The APC came with a storm of fire, bore mighty daggers that could easily penetrate even the thickest black skin of doubt, wore feet made from an alloy of the finest copper and zinc. Cladded in medieval Spartan war spirit, they went about shouting “Change” and against the normal typical everyday Nigerian story, Nigerians welcomed change. Nigeria was ready to try the new angel that bore brooms instead of shiny swords and wore white agbadas and they wore them long and razor sharp. The invisibility cloak of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was removed and their invincibility decimated, we saw that beneath the masquerade, there is a man that can hurt and bleed. We seized our destinies in our hands by the ballots, hoped and maybe prayed for the best, and then ushered in an era of change in 2015 general elections.

Three and a half years down the road, we are already on the highway to another elections year. However before we let ourselves go under hynoptic chants of empty political mantras, and swayed like debrises on seashores by the jingoism of political sycophantcy and acute parochialism. I am of the opinion that we took a pause. A pause to appraise the last three and a half years down the road of change. Was this the change we went to purchase at the ballots in 2015? Did we do fairly better in the era of change? Was this angel able, as he promised, with a swipe of his magical broom drive away all the nightmares and demons of the past? These are some of the questions to ask before we talk about moving to the next level.

Yes, the APC is no longer selling change to us. Whatever their reasons may be, no one truly knows, but the word for the season is ‘the next level.’ The next level: let’s talk about it. Now, as kids, many of us still do even as adults, we played computer and electronic games. One thing that is common to games is that each was always graduated in levels. Some obviously more levels than others, more complexities than others. However, to each game, a next level means an old level has been completed and a level of dexterity has been gained. The next level means a tougher ‘devil’ and tougher challenges. From games we understand that you just do not exit the game and go to the next level just because you got tired of the challenges of the present level. It does not work that way. You must pass the current level, mostly in bright colours, before you could activate the next level.

Each level usually has a clear goal or goals to be achieved, a set of missions to be completed within a limited amount of time and trials. Failure to do what needs to be done will mean you lose and got terminated from the system. You may try again but only at that level. You do not get to try again at the next level.

Now, the APC came into the game and had three clear missions to undertake within the four years period. They came into the play because Nigeria was in dire need of a saviour against the hydraheaded insecurity issues, poverty and multilevel economic crises, and corruption. The APC made these three missions the focal points right from campaigns and when it took the President approximately six months to constitute a working cabinet, it was excused. After all, one that wants to wage a war against Satan but be careful of who he enlists into his company. When he pushed the defence base closer to the Northeast where insurgency held sway we were impressed. However, three years and a half already, we are asking the questions.

The President no doubt may have genuine intentions of solving Nigerians three pronged problems. However the issues here aren’t about intentions, after all the road to hell is paved by good intentions, but competencies. The competencies of the teams he set up to manage these crises. The Inspector General of Police, for instance, how has he been able to deal with the farmers and herdsmen crisis? What did he do when the Benue killings happened? He simply went there on a day’s visit and without any forensic details he concluded his investigation that it was a mere communal clash. A communal clash between indigenes that cost the state over 73 persons. And when his boss, the President ordered him to relocate to the state and deal with issues frontally, did he obey? If he did not, why is he still the IG? Or is disobedience of direct orders not enough excuse to sack if not detain and prosecute?

The moment this administration took over, Nigeria was plunged into economic darkness and we grappled in the dark under the harsh realities of recession. Although arguments may be made that recession was an inevitable fate regardless of who governed from 2015. This is predictable from the massive dip of global oil prices and lack of saving intentions of the Jonathan’s administration. However, it is also noteworthy that the present administration did not give us the visible structures of how it was dealing with the issues. There were very little signs of proper economic approaches to deal with the steady rise in inflation, drop in naira valuation and poverty rise. The political will to stop the bleeding out was lost, maybe in communications or in effect, we cannot say for sure.

All that the average person in Nigeria is aware of is that many people lost their legitimate jobs and incomes between 2015 and now. All that the average person in Nigeria is aware of is that there is massive hunger in the land. We do not need any foreign document to tell us before we know that we had become the poverty capital of the globe. This was a nation that was opined to have the largest economy in Africa even ahead of South Africa before the change of 2015.

The average Nigerian has lived with the realities that Buhari is synonymous with hunger and poverty. It does not matter the figures released to show that Nigeria is out of recession and saving more and doing better than it was under PDP. All that the market women and street boys know is that they fed better under Jonathan’s. That a bag of rice under Jonathan was less than N7, 000. These are the real figures of the streets and not what is printed at the business corner of newspapers.

On the fight against corruption, the lawyers have a saying that he that must come to equity must come with clean hands. APC did not come with clean hands. The Buhari led administration hired the services of persons with questionable characters. Persons that have corruption bounties hanging out from their necks. The APC government seem to take the fight against corruption to those outside the camp. The general perceptions were that if you are a politician of questionable wealth and character, all you needed to do was join the APC and your sins will be washed away. This perception was helped whenjoy characters that were receiving inquest of corruption charges had their charges dropped upon joining the party. Also, once someone left the party, he was labeled corrupt and immediately has his files brought out. In this game, perception is everything, even though it may not be entirely correct, it is generally perceived that Buhari does not have the will to put his money where his mouth is.

So the PDP are riding these perceptions like a horse and are whipping up the emotions that there is hunger in the land; let us get Nigeria working again.
As if we have all forgotten so soon that they were the clogs in the wheels for sixteen years. As if we have forgotten that Atiku was part of the government that midwived many of the issues we are dealing with today. As if we are ignorant of the fact that the devil did not get born again but only changed his clothes.

The general appraisal of the change season is that it has failed to live up to its standards and has failed in its missions. Therefore, it does not have a locus standi to represent us at the next level.

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