NIGERIAN politicians are a strange breed. They believeÂ they are the smartest beings in existence which could explain their conduct. In 10 years of managing Nigeriaâ€™s vast resources, they have insisted on befuddling the issues. Politics have become all about power for individual interests that usually run against the common good.
Nothing is more important to politicians than laying their hands on power. They can give anything to be in power and once there, they would move against anyone or anything that suggests that power is transient.
Power is the air they breathe. Power gives them the opportunity to decide who have access to national resources in all its ramifications. With power, they can determine their successors â€” and more importantly, those who would not get near the corridors of power.
Election is time to get the peoplesâ€™ attention. Most politicians sound as if they never lived in these parts. They express shock at the decay members of their tribe have heaped on Nigeria. They pledge to redeem the situation, even if they contributed enormously to it.
Nigerians have to be careful as they choose their next leaders. Politicians, who promised to serve us, became our masters in record time and always had the guts to remind us that their privileged positions, from which they flutter our national chances, were divinely ordered: we risked the anger of the Almighty if we criticised them.
Statistics that indicate growth are often economic indices that fail to recognise the depreciating quality of the Nigerianâ€™s life. Billions of Naira expended on agriculture did not provide more food. Electricity is a stellar case of the extraordinary performance. After 10 years, hundreds of billions of Naira invested in electricity produces no electricity.
Water if available in the right quality, would abolish many of our illnesses. It remains scarce. The health system is comatose. Education, housing, roads, job creation, rural development and human rights are areas where growth has not been appreciable.
Across the country, from local to state governments, the story â€” except in very rare cases â€” is one of the nationâ€™s unprecedented generous receipts from oil sales, being frittered away in projects that have failed to improve the quality of peoplesâ€™ lives.
In some cases, the money was outrightly stolen and there are cases before some courts, depending on the suspects, or entirely ignored, again, depending on those involved. Nigerians have to be careful about elections and vote for credible candidates, who they believe would liberate this country from the shackles of those who have had the opportunity to lead, but failed to act on the peoplesâ€™ side.
Some of these leaders who disappointed the people, under the guise of some opaque agenda are desperate to continue their control of our people by proxy.
We can be more proactive by being part of processes that demand accountability from whoever has ever held positions that permitted him access to our common wealth.