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Do We Vote For Development Or For Palliatives?

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Let me start by defining what palliative is. “A medicine or form of medical care that relieves symptoms without dealing with the cause of the condition.”

If you are 30yrs today, and politically active, and commenting on social media, that means in 1999, when democracy returned to Nigeria and when Nigeria adopted the Constitution of the 4th Republic, you were barely 5 years old. You didn’t know anything politically yet. If you are 35years today, that means you were 10 years old. You will have little or nothing to say first hand, about the Obasanjo and Donald Duke years in office.

Unfortunately for this demographic, for those who are active politically, they are more familiar with the word, “Palliatives” than the word “Development.” In fact, they confuse the latter for the former. For most of them, palliatives means the same thing with development. Anyone who dispenses palliatives is bringing development to the people. So when they vote, they don’t expect much. Once you can dispense some palliatives, the people will translate it to mean development, and they can even go to war for you.

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Consequently, instead of growing our generation and distribution of electricity to illuminate us, power businesses and factories, they are giving us palliatives, – supplying millions of solar street lights across the country. Yet electricity bills keep increasing amidst the darkness.

Instead of building and equipping hospitals and insuring our health, they are giving us palliatives. They have reduced it to three-days health outreaches in our villages. Yet charges in government hospitals keep rising while they get their own healthcare abroad or in private hospitals.

Instead of equipping schools, giving us years of expense paid and program scholarships, they are giving us palliatives. They have reduced it to parceling some few thousands in envelopes to distribute in open fields or wiring it to your account, and still call it scholarship, while sending their own children abroad or to private schools.

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Instead of deliberately building massive infrastructure, they are giving us transport palliatives. They are buying rickety foreign coaches, buses and refurbishing, buying keke and okada, to ride on aged roads and rails, while they are chauffeur driven in armored SUVs.

Instead of building ‘water works’ to purify and distribute pipe born water to homes, they are giving us palliatives. They are counting the number of boreholes they have dug.

Instead of building refineries to make fuel available, they are giving us palliatives. Sharing money and importing refined products and selling to us at whatever price they like.

Instead of creating the enabling environment for jobs and earning a living, they are giving palliatives. Sharing wrappers, rice and meat and drinks and condiments to a pauparized population. It’s now all about palliatives, palliatives, palliatives, and nothing but palliatives.

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But it was not always like this. The aging infrastructure in Lagos did not emerge from the Atlantic Ocean. It was built. Abuja was built. The Federal Secretariat, National Assembly Complex, Supreme Court, Airports, 3rd mainland bridge, Carter Bridge, Eko Bridge, the now decrepit general hospitals across the country, the military barracks and facilities, the first generation universities, the hydro dams, the now failed East West road and several others, were started and completed.

So why have we become so incapable of starting and completing so many things? Is our vote now for palliatives? Have we redefined the meaning of development or do we need to ask why our government has been reduced to palliatives instead of development? If you find the answer, you can share it with me.

Yours sincerely,
Citizen Agba Jalingo.

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