2023: Our Politicians Should Perish The Thought

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A country is not measured by the number of elections, but by the standard of living of its people

Less than six months into the current term of office, it is as if the campaigns for the 2023 general election have started in Nigeria, especially at the presidential and gubernatorial levels. Yet this is happening at a period majority of citizens fret reasonably over searing poverty and insecurity; and when those in power in the states and Abuja have barely put in place structures of governance. This needless campaigns, albeit surreptitiously, have become a source of distraction for those who ordinarily should be more concerned about tackling head-on the many social and economic problems besetting the nation.

It all started with the debate over which zone should take the presidency in both the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). And then there were insensate campaigns of a possible third term for the incumbent. What worries is that in all the cold calculations, there is nothing about the welfare of Nigerians or any attempt at addressing the problems of the day. It is lost on our politicians that a country is not measured by the number of elections it has held but by the standard of living of its people. Meanwhile, things taken for granted by relatively poorer countries are luxuries to us in Nigeria today. Many of the states are finding it difficult to meet basic obligations while millions of Nigerians can no longer sleep with their eyes closed.

A major problem in the country’s development process seems to be the simple fact that successive policymakers have not been futuristic enough. Being futuristic is about how to address the pressing challenges of the people, not cold calculations about who holds what positions. This lack of foresight has invariably led to the virtual collapse of the nation’s economic and social infrastructure. We are therefore of the strong opinion that for a nation as economically and socially challenged as ours, it is a classic case of work-avoidance that the main issue on the agenda of our public officials is the 2023 presidential and gubernatorial elections that are still more than three years away.

Nations, like individuals, have dreams. But there must be clear plans to achieve them. In the present context, the only plan for which our politicians engage most of their time is how to capture power essentially to advance personal goals. For instance, we are only a few weeks to the year 2020 yet all the dreams envisioned for our country more than three decades ago have become a mirage. That is because there was no real commitment to them. Practically all sectors of our national life are comatose.

If proper cognisance had been taken of population growth and the future demand for electricity, we would perhaps not be in the sorry state we find ourselves. If it had been properly envisaged that the volume of goods and persons to be transported around the nation would be so much, it would have long been appreciated that road transportation also would not be adequate. And perhaps rail transportation would not have been allowed to die, even though the current administration deserves commendation for the attention in that direction.

This lack of vision manifests in so many areas of the nation’s development. Not only is it visible in the area of urgent planning, it is also noticeable in the provision of water and electricity services, healthcare delivery and other social sectors. In education, there are clear indications that we are never prepared for the growth of the population. Classrooms, where they exist, are congested. This planlessness also manifests in the difficulty of secondary school leavers gaining admission into the universities.

Given the foregoing, our politicians must understand that democracy entails much more than periodic elections. It is about all the elements of constitutional life from the rule of law to minority rights to good governance. Elections are meant to promote the fulfillment of such important goals as economic development, human rights, social inclusion and welfare, etc. They are not supposed to be an end in themselves as they seem to be in Nigeria today.We therefore call on our leaders, at all levels, to concentrate on their jobs and forget about all the permutations about 2023.

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It is a classic case of work-avoidance that the main issue on the agenda of our public officials is the 2023 presidential and gubernatorial elections that are still more than three years away