The Rise and Fall of the “Change” Mantra

By Ikenga Chronicles April 20, 2016

They came in trickles first, elements that toyed with the idea of a mega party to challenge the then ruling party, the PDP. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, General Muhammadu Buhari , and a few others… 


Then the merger talks between the then ACN and CPC began.

 
Then some major stakeholders in the PDP, which included seven Governors, who were at daggers- drawn with the National leadership of the party concluded the unholy alliance and a new party was born. 


Through a tortuous route, that culminated in the registration of the APC, the die was cast for a historic amalgamation of the most unlikely elements to ever sit around a political table in an accord of some sort.

 
The first of such agreements to come from the APC elements was a slogan to drive their campaign to wrest the power from the almost invincible PDP, the slogan the APC chose was “Change”

What is “Change”?


The APC got it wrong from day one with this concept as change in its management concept is quite different from the meaning the party gave to it and the meaning, Nigerians derived from it. What then is, “Change”?

In a broad concept, Change management is a systematic approach to dealing with change both from the perspective of an organization and the individual. It is a “now” thing, rather than an idea of a coming event.  It is a continuum. Change is everyday. 


The APC failed to realize this. The people also held tenaciously to their own idea of a coming change and the appeal of  “ Change” overrode the “Transformation” slogan of the PDP. 
The election was aptly decided on this APC’s promised change—the same change today that has now become a burden to the APC and a mirage to those who voted on the premise of a Change that never was

.

Buoyed by the seemingly over-subscribed acceptance of the change mantra, the APC simply drove in with some audacious and bold promises. They became more ostentatious, showy, pretentious, gaudy, almost theatrical, and began to throw around impossible figures of jobs to be created, energy contents, stipends to be paid to unemployed Nigerians and just about any other ornate ideas that pop up are added to the change slogan.

One year after the APC won the general elections, the change mantra has become their albatross. The slogan is no more as catchy as it used to be with Nigerians in a state of dejection and despair.

How did we get to this point?

It’s been a gradual process and I will try to explain how I think it all happened. I will like to warn that this article is not a comparative assessment of the two parties or a campaign platform for any. I’m well aware that Nigerians have their preferences and each party has its weaknesses and strengths, and I’m not trying to persuade anyone here to agree with the APC or the PDP. What I’m trying to explain is how and why I have come to the conclusion that the change mantra is what made the APC to win and may also likely make them to fail — even though of course it is just the first year out of their 4 year term:

Here’s how it happened:

When I saw the estimates the APC rolled off as part of their campaign promises, I knew that they would win, but then fail eventually. Figures not backed by any reasonable data–let alone any reasonable assumptions–were thrown about.

The Economic situation in which Nigeria was in in 2014 was glaring, even to the average man reading free newspapers under the bridges from Molete in Ibadan to Ojuelegba and Ikeja in Lagos, to Onitsha market in Anambra , to Folawiyo Bridgeton Kaduna. 


International oil prices had fallen as low as $58 per barrel of crude oil. On what then did APC’s plan to grow the Nigerian economy hinged on? How did they plan to generate 40,000 megawatts of electricity; pay N5, 000 stipend to unemployed Nigerians; build four petroleum refineries when an average refinery costs about $8  billion?

 
Not many voices were raised about the possibility of those promises made by the APC, but to some analyst, most of these promises, had been dismissed as “magical thinking” — or in more straightforward terms, “pulled out of electioneering rhetoric! ” There was no precedent for a sustained income and growth rate that high, commentators pointed out.


A few sustained voices asked the APC, how it would fund it’s change agenda, but such an explanation never happened —  and so the entire basis of APC’s promises was unprecedented assumption. You cannot base a radical re-imagination of the Nigerian economy on nothing, but the APC did just that.

The APC was not able to find a single Economist to weigh in positively on their campaign promises, which were mere false pretenses of a plan they had for Nigeria. So I concluded then, that the backbone of APC’s “plan” was founded on—functionally– a lie. I also came to the conclusion that the APC was less interested in actually accomplishing anything than they were in staging protests against PDP’s government where they could claim some kind of moral high ground. They were not interested in familiarizing themselves with the problems the PDP were battling and doing anything to actually achieve a better goal within the context of solving these problems, they were only fixated in winning the election.


In one year of being in power, the ruling party has not come close to managing the infrastructure they met let alone adding any capital projects to it. We are in the 6th month of a continued fuel scarcity; the exchange rate has practically doubled; cost of living is so high that inflation has reached the double digits of 12%. While all of these are happening, little is being done to enact actual progressive policies to improve people’s lives.

The only thing that has been achieved is to blame the PDP for everything. In rejecting their own fault in its inability to deliver the said change and improve the lives and well-being of Nigerians, APC is in clear and present danger of losing the people.  The APC as a party during electioneering, accomplished two deep goals: (i) They set themselves apart from the others, especially the PDP as the only one party that is allegedly “true” to their “values,” of “Progressivism”, thereby creating the myth that they are morally superior and incorruptible; and (ii) That they have a Presidential candidate, Mohammadu Buhari, who is a man of integrity and who is incorruptible — without which literally nothing could have distinguished them from the PDP or any other party.


However in its close to one year in power, the APC is yet to translate any of  these alleged “virtues” into workable advantage and Nigerians are seeing the same element, the same attitude, the same practices they voted against in the PDP re-enacting practically in the very way the APC handles almost every facet of governance — a testament to the reality of the supposed integrity of the APC members that have always been deemed suspect.

Attacking the PDP for supporting the payment of petroleum subsidy, even claiming such subsidy is fraud, while APC itself is now paying the subsidy but the fuel is not made available like the PDP did, is intellectually dishonest.


First, the APC omit that they themselves did not bother to verify the subsidy claims by the PDP. Second, APC keeps demanding that Nigerians should be patient and allow them time. 
I dare say that juxtaposed with the change mantra which came with a catalogue of promises, the time is already far spent. 


A year is just about all the time they need to get their acts together. So the blame games must  stop now, while they begin to effect real changes.

Write a comment

No Comments

No Comments Yet!

Let me tell You a sad story ! There are no comments yet, but You can be first one to comment this article.

Write a comment
View comments

Write a comment

<