TIME TO GET BACK TO WORK

I believe the campaigns are over and the elections done. Yes, some elections will still be held in a couple of polling units in Abia, Imo and Taraba States were the governorship elections were declared inconclusive but by and large, we are done with the longest electioneering period in Nigeria's political history. Indeed for the first three and half months of this year, except in the political arena, not much work has been done else where. Many businesses and investment decisions were put on the pause mode as we all pondered where the elections would land us. When we add the loss from the low level of investment and productive activities in the economy to the impact of the fallen oil prices, it is reasonable to understand why the World Bank has down graded our growth prospects for 2015 to less than 5%. Therefore it is urgent that we return to work now.
 First, the campaigns must end. Those who have won elections must stop campaigning. The fact that they won, means that the constituents expect them to come in and improve things. It makes no sense reminding us any more how bad things are or who made them bad. Nigerians are tired of that and they rather will want to be given hope of the emergent future than painting pictures of the past. We must be magnanimous in victory. And all forms of propaganda must cease and the propaganda machinery dismantled. We are sick of Publicity and Media campaign officers assaulting our sensibilities with press releases or press conferences. The media focus must change to other important issues in the economy. Those who lost, must also follow the golden example of President Goodluck Jonathan and be sports-manly, knowing that it is not the end of the World. He has put his focus on ensuring a seamless transfer of power to the incoming President in the interest of the Country and its citizens. True, electoral rejection can be painful but Incoming President Muhammadu Buhari has proven that there can always be another day. If they have reservations or complaints, the contestation should now be taken to the tribunals and courts. Complaining to the Public, misinforming the electorate or issuing contentious press releases will not help as most Nigerians will prefer to be left alone to resume work and pursue their objectives for 2015.
   Second, the Media, being a key National Agenda setter, must try and steer us away from campaigns and elections and refocus on key economic and social issues. Whereas we will not want to gag the press, but it will be patriotic if we focused on issues that will unite the Nation than cause further divisions . Of course there will be postmortem reviews on the elections on why people won or lost and why some parties did better than others,but such discourse must be done with the objective of creating enlightenment than ridiculing any one or any party. The media must help to heal wounds and reunite the Nation and not to stoke further divisions.
  Third, the National Assembly must resume work in earnest. The 2015 budget can not wait for the incoming team as that may mean that we may not have a workable budget for this year. The impact of the Federal government budget on the National economy is enormous and we can not grope in the dark much longer. Governance is continuous and the incoming government can always send a supplementary  budget when the 8th National Assembly settles down. There are other critical bills which had gone through advanced legislative processes and must be put to bed before the end of term. Otherwise, such bills like the Petroleum Industry Bill( PIB) and the Railway bill may go back to the starting blocks and that can be very injurious to the good governance of our Nation.
  Fourth, the reason we have a civil service that is apolitic is that the government machinery must continue to run even in transitions. Ordinarily the tenure of civil servants is secure and many appointed positions have secured tenure. So this is not the time to freeze up government business because a new government is coming into power. For several weeks since the campaigns intensified, it was difficult to get any business done in the government offices but with elections over, work must resume. It is in the interest of our economy that things do not slow down so much. Yes, at the Federal level, this is is the first time in sixteen years that we have a change of President and ruling or governing party at the same time. But it is still the same Country which is owned by the same citizens. Neither has changed. So the civil and Public servants must not allow themselves to be paralyzed by fears of change.
  Fifth, Nigerians know how to jump into the wining train. They are adept at joining the winning camp. Right now everybody is sending congratulatory messages. That is fine. But everybody trying to pay a congratulatory or courtesy visit may overwhelm our new leaders. They need time to recover from the fatigue of the very long campaigns and then to begin to put their thoughts and plans together so they can hit the ground running on May 29th. So let's not clog them with this frenetic show of affection and goodwill. Our votes have already done so. I know that the objectives of some of these visits is to show our faces, tell stories of how we campaigned and fought for them (true or false),indicate our interests and drop our curriculum vitae(CV).That's normal I presume but let it not become a problem to our incoming leaders and disrupt their preparations for the new jobs we have hired them to do. I am sure many Nigerians can be gainfully employed in several other productive ventures and support our new leaders without necessarily getting government appointments. Let us know that it will not be possible to reward all persons who supported or voted for them with appointments or with any direct benefit. Our rewards will come from effective representation and good governance of our States and the Nation.
 Sixth and lastly, may I caution against opening 2019 campaigns now. It just won't be fair to our psyche and economic well being. We have been battered from all sides and need time to recover and recoup.Those who have eyes on 2019 can begin putting together their strategies together if they want and if they  must, but that must be done quietly and privately. We need to return to work and create the wealth that is required to pay some of the debts incurred in the just concluded elections, service the 'IOUs', redeem the promissory notes and rebuild the reserves before talking of 2019. I beg.
  Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR

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