NIGERIA is a forward-looking country. It is making progress that the impatience of Nigerians and their own concentration on the present (and mostly the past) becloud. The politicians are thinking of the future and making great plans about them.
These plans come under different guises. They could be constitutional amendments to extend tenure or the unnecessary debates about successions, most of them instigated at the instance of prospective beneficiaries, who pretend disinterest in the matter.
One of the simmering issues today is who becomes President of Nigeria in 2015. The same interests are woven around other offices down to councillors. To the average Nigeria who is under the cloud of security, suffers from daily pangs of hunger, does not have the resources to provide good education for his children and is probably out of work, 2015 is a far shot. To politicians, it is today. They have not finished a year of their current tenure, but their attention is on 2015.
The future for most politicians is more important than the present. It is therefore a little wonder that Nigeria seems static. The people’s expectations are by far different from the projects politicians want to sponsor. It is not that politicians are not busy working on the future of Nigeria; the major problem is that the future is built around the survival of these politicians.
Having discovered that not much happens outside government, and that with government they can corner all the resources, those who have attained power by elections or appointments are unwilling to leave. They cannot survive outside the comfort that government provides, which shields them from the harsh realities of being a Nigerian.
They haggle over the country, farming out portions of interests to themselves, their families, and a larger family of political associates. There is hardly anything left for the rest of the people.
If jobs are available, they go to the political families first. The same thing they do with scholarships. Those who Nigerians maintain at high costs are the ones denying them opportunities because they warehouse everything for themselves and their immediate constituency, as they humorously refer to their families and associates.
The concentration on succession leaves our politicians with no time for anything else. With more than three years left in their tenures, their scheming is all about which office they would occupy in 2015. Where does this leave others? What does this portend for the future greatness of Nigeria?
There is hardly anything wrong with having political ambitions. What is nauseating about all these is that the people entrusted with the constitutional responsibilities of catering for Nigerians, have elected to act solely for their own benefits. There are adequate constitutional processes to stop them, but with their war chest acquired through years of being in the public arena, they think they are unstoppable.
What choices are available to ordinary Nigerians? We must find a way of making our votes more powerful. As the politicians haggle over 2015, they are reminding the people that they can do more than watch the despoliation of their future with indifference.