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Betrayal of Trust And Its Negatives For The Nation — Africa Daily News

By Yusuf Alhaji Lawan 

"Trust is fragile, do not break it: once broken, it will never come back in its original shape." Invajy.

On an evening after coming back home from work, my primary one daughter presented a small sized paper to me and said Daddy, our Aunty asked me to give you. The paper reads: Dear Esteemed Parents, with reference to the ongoing measles campaign programme for children (9 months to 5 years), we seek your consent for your child to be vaccinated against measles on Friday 2nd December, 2022 in the school. Should your child be vaccinated? Yes or No.

I paused for a while, not thinking about the response to the document but pondering on how we got to this level as a nation. The mistrust has reached a climax that even important and crucial activities like this that ordinarily, parents should beg for, rush after or make payment on, are now being consulted before administration. The development refreshes my memory on COVID-19 and Polio vaccination which also became issues of serious concern that was and is generating arguments and heated debates between the proponents (Government and Stakeholders) and opponents (some citizens) and an appreciable number of the populace sitting on the fence raising more questions.

This may not be unconnected with past experiences of betrayal of trust by leaders to the led, directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously. The treachery is not limited to health related issues. However, it has affected almost all the spheres of life.

We were living witnesses in this country just few decades ago, the relationship between the leaders and the led was not sour. Government policies and programmes were accepted wholeheartedly. Citizens believe whatever comes from the government without thinking twice. Parents take their children to hospitals voluntarily for vaccination. Taxes and other legitimate levies were paid to district offices. Utility bills were settled without coercion or intimidation, some citizens even pay in advance. Genuine commitment and sincerity of intent were visible in the leaders. Then, how did we get here?

I was privileged to be part of an entourage that paid a visit to a serving state governor in July, 2021. In his introduction, the team leader, a Professor of repute (may Allah have mercy on his gentle soul) pointed out that Nigeria has all it needs to be great and compete favourably among nations. However, the only thing we lack is good leadership.

Good leadership begets good followership and vice versa. As a patriotic Nigerian who follows trending activities closely, I believe a larger percentage of the blame can be attributed to successive administrations. They are responsible for the citizens' mistrust on the government at all levels. Their actions, inactions and reactions have brought so much disappointment. Implementation of right policies, matching promises with fulfilments, words with actions are tug of war. Now, citizens doubt almost everything coming from authorities.

During the 1996 Meningitis epidemic, Pfizer Inc., an American Multinational Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Corporation headquartered on 42nd Street in Manhattan, New York City carried out a Trovafloxacin drug trial on innocent Nigerians in Kano which involved around 200 patients, led to the death of 11 children and deformities in dozens of others. The victims were in anxious need of healthcare to be cured, unfortunately they got the opposite. The 75-Million-Dollar settlement between Pfizer and Kano State Government as compensation is appreciated even though it cannot resurrect the dead nor heal the deformed or rebuild confidence in the government under whose watchful eyes such happened.

Suddenly, after the appointment of Col. Sambo Dasuki as National Security Adviser by President Goodluck Jonathan on 23rd June, 2012, Dasuki toured the most hit states by insurgency. In his preliminary address to pressmen during the tour, he assured Nigerians of an end to the menace of Boko Haram and other security challenges, insisting that he was not bragging but the end is in sight. Bombings, assassinations and wanton killings of innocents continued with impunity more than it used to be up to the end of the administration. This was similar in December, 2016 when Lt. Col. T. Y. Burutai (Rtd) claimed to have crushed the dreaded Boko Haram and cleared their enclaves. He presented Shekau's flag to President Buhari as a sign of victory. When killings ensued, he defended his submission that it was the last kicking of a dying horse. Shortly after, all these appeared deceptive and untrue. The security challenges remained till date in different forms.

During the 2015 electioneering campaign, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd.) was so emphatic about his campaign promises. He said apart from security, one major area he has much concern about is petroleum industry. He recounted his achievements in the industry as military Head of State and made it clear that all the existing Nigerian refineries would be fixed and new ones built. Eight years after, no single refinery works and none built. Premium Motor Spirit was N86.50 per litre as at 2015, today the product is sold officially at N179 to N195 per litre. As we speak, there is serious scarcity of the product all over the country that it is sold as high as N400 per litre in black market. This is the worst in the recent past. Sadly, no any reason given, no one takes responsibility and nothing is likely to happen afterwards.

President Umaru Musa 'Yar Adua (of blessed memory) awarded a contract for dredging of River Niger to pave way for additional seaport in Nigeria. Shortly after his demise, the project went into coma. During 2019 election campaign, President Buhari commissioned the Baro Seaport in Niger State. Up till today, no single ship has ever delivered goods 4 years after commissioning. 

These trends alongside numerous to mention have created so much musings that everything is doubtful. This sad reality has far reaching implications for us as a nation and pose threats and consequences for the coming generation. The few sincere leaders may find it difficult to be believed.

There could be good things packaged by governments for the citizens, the bitter experience of mistrust may deny them the opportunity to benefit from it. Now that campaign for 2023 General Election has commenced, what would the contestants promise the masses after series of failure and betrayal by predecessors? Can the electorates believe?

The task before the new crop of leaders at all levels is to have a paradigm shift and change the narration from negative to positive. There exist the need for collective effort of reorientation of the society for restoration of dignity of leadership through provision of quality service to Nigerians, to create a situation where everyone turns a new leaf for governments and citizens to work as partners in progress, work together towards attainment of mutual goal.

What Nigerians await to see is if positive change is likely to be obtained for rebuilding trust because a saying goes that Trust is a burden. Except this is done, otherwise, the future is gloomy.

Lawan, a stakeholder in the Nigeria Project and Public Affairs analyst, wrote from Hausawa Asibiti Ward, Potiskum Yobe State.

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