The common man does not understand and comprehend fictitious figures and high-sounding words on the issue of economy. What he understands is what impacts positively on his table and pocket. Until we truly care for the common man, we are not serious yet as a nation.
Some days ago, I read about a beautiful and stunning story that succeeded in making me become sleepless when I was supposed to be embracing and romancing a sound sleep as a newly betrothed wife. How do I mean? I read about the Japan Railways that did run a train for only one passenger for over three years. The story has it that a high school girl would take the train from Kami-Shirataki station in the northernmost island of Hokkaido, Japan and the same train would drop her back school.
She was the only passenger to travel in the train and Japan Railways did make the decision to run the train only for her. Japan government was actually planning to shut the station down due to its remote location until they noticed it being boarded by a school girl on everyday basis, which was why they kept the train moving until she graduated. Japan Railways ensured that the train kept moving until she graduated. Japan Railways even rescheduled the train according to her timings. Three years after, the train was shut down permanently.
People were saluting the Japan government for keeping education as top priority and made a comment on “Facebook,” which showed the CCTV footage of what the girl in question said about her country, “why should I not want to die for a country like this when the government willingly did go the extra mile just for me?” This is the simple meaning of good governance—impacting positively on the street, farm and market. This is the only language the common man understands.
Not long, news broke out that Nigeria has come out of recession as a baby would come out of his mother. Those who play partisan politics as football—were jumping and jubilating, but true patriots were not moved one bit. Why? Because it is one thing for Nigeria to come out of recession, but it is another thing for recession to come out of Nigeria. Of what good is Nigeria coming out of recession when most of the States in Nigeria still cannot to pay the masses what is legitimately theirs? Of what good is Nigeria coming out of recession when there is still no hope for the common man? Of what good is Nigeria coming out of recession when the common man cannot access good health-care services? Of what good is Nigeria coming out of recession when the common man is vulnerable to insecurity? Of what good is Nigeria coming out of recession when the common man cannot feed himself at least thrice daily? Of what good is Nigeria coming out of recession when the price of food in the market has not come down one bit?
The common man does not understand the technicalities that surround Nigeria coming out of recession, but he would not need to be told when recession leaves Nigeria for the sea of forgetfulness. At that time, it would have impacted positively on him. About 17years ago, I lost a beloved sister of mine. What happened? She put to bed on the inside of a general hospital, but fifteen minutes after, she passed on, because the doctor who was supposed to be on duty had gone to his own private hospital. There are many people who daily die like this in Nigeria. They die needlessly and pointlessly. The only reason they die is because they are second-class citizens of Nigeria—who cannot afford world-class health care services in Germany, Saudi Arabia and United Kingdom. If you dangle the banana of Nigeria coming out of recession before them, they would look at you with the corner of their eyes.
There is a clear difference between Nigeria leaving recession and recession leaving Nigeria. It is easy to conjure some figures and declare that a nation has come out of recession, but it takes a lot of sincerity and creative hardwork to kick recession out of a nation. In the day of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Nigeria’s economy was adjudged to be the strongest on this continent, but it did not impact positively on the common man. It was only on paper and only partisan politicians—who were feeding from his political table did understand economic rebasing, but it was too hard for the common man to crack let alone swallow.
As I coast home today, each time I realize that a government is daily preaching the message of patriotism to the citizenry, it is an indication that such a government has failed. When citizens are sincerely being led and well taken care of, patriotism will take care of itself. Take for instance; you do not need to tell me to die for Nigeria. Treat me like a human being (Nigerians are not being treated as human beings yet) and watch if I would sacrifice for her or not.
Adeoye is a public analyst and author