2023: Beyond the declaration of intent to govern — Tribune Editorial

Posted by News Express | 24 April 2022 | 551 times

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Nigeria is embroiled in yet another ritual of political ceremonies. It is the season of declaration of ambition. As is their wont, politicians have been filing out in their sartorial best, their tongues steeped in deceit, poised to hoodwink the people. Like the proverbial wine that gets better with age, they have perfected the art of chicanery, and are deadlier than they were during the previous seasons. Although the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is yet to lift the ban on campaigns for the 2023 general election, politicians resplendent in ‘agbada’ and ‘babanriga’ have been flying all over the country, soliciting for votes in the forthcoming primary elections of major political parties, and telling Nigerians that they are the best thing to happen to them in years. They want to be president, governor or senator, etc, ostensibly for some great reasons, the same reasons they gave when they campaigned last time, working the people into a frenzy.

The politicians are as usual making fabulous promises to the people; they will, if voted into office, turn stones to bread. They are that good. Of course, the electorate know that they are being thrown into a roller coaster of deceit, but they are still listening to them as if to suggest that they are capable of redemption. In virtually all the 36 states of the federation and even in Abuja, governance has been kept in abeyance, as the frenetic battle for political tickets take centre stage. Amidst the grinding poverty and want ravaging the population in ways never before felt or seen, except during the Civil War, the politicians organise lying festivals. They are welcomed at airports by men and women clad in vests of falsehood. And they wipe their brows and lie with ease, pretending to be patriots. What a bunch of depraved criminals!

Today, among other bad indices, unemployment, insecurity, declining purchasing power, hyperinflation and poverty of social infrastructure define the existence of Nigerians. Various multilateral agencies, in their yearly and quarterly reports, speak fearfully about the slide in the affairs of Nigeria, wondering how the people are able to cope. Yet, politicians, many of whom have robbed the country with maniacal consistency, are junketing from one place to the other as if all is well. Worse still, broken into their granules, the fresh promises reveal no concrete agenda to tackle the mess created by them over the years. As they hire aircraft on meaningless campaigns in the North, East and the West in the bid to preach themselves into office and rule the country once again, the plight of the masses worsens.

While politicians have the right to aspire to office, the people also reserve the right to scrutinise them; to sieve out the wheat from the chaff. Nigerian politics is full of chaff presented as wheat and it is in the people’s eagle-eyed rejection that redemption lies for the future. Nigerians should be wary of politicians’ antics. They should ask probing questions about their stewardship over the years and feel free to reject them outright. At a time like this, with the grueling situation they face in the hands of politicians, and with Nigeria only a whiff away from breaking point, economically and politically, Nigerians owe themselves the task of not repeating the mistakes of the last season that escalated their woes to the current absurd and lamentable level.

Nigerian politicians must be told that leadership is about making sacrifices. It is about passion for selfless service and value addition. It is also about integrity, empathy and vision. It is impossible for politicians who do not possess these virtues to start accumulating them now and Nigerians, who live with these politicians, must reject them with their sacks of money, and instead opt for committed, visionary and disciplined people with innovative and workable ideas. Yes, the people must survive to be able to vote. However, by now, Nigerians should be aware that if only they can go through the current pain stoically and choose conscientious leaders to lead them, the pain of today would become a thing of the past in no time. Voting corrupt and evil politicians into office again will only elongate the people’s pain.

Source: News Express

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