WHEN people say politics is the only serious business in Nigeria, they are stating the obvious. Oil and gas may be providing the resources that fuel the economy, but nobody talks about the sector with the futuristic focus Nigerian leaders bring to politics.
Nigeria has become one huge election circle. If the politicians are not talking about who succeeds who in 2015, they are engaging in raising tension within their parties as they jostle for relevance in 2019 and anything in-between. All these heat up the polity, impeding clarity in thinking about Nigeria’s enormous challenges.
Nigerian politics lives permanently in the future. There is no room for the present and the past is considered too distant to deserve further concern. Barely a year after the elections, without a discernable direction for the country since then, the talks are already about elections, though we are three years to the next polls. The more such talks gain currency, the more people tend to forget that politics should be about harnessing resources to serve the people better.
Electricity supply will get no serious attention; where those who should bother about decimating impact of poor electricity supply have buried their interests in the next elections. They invest mainly in ventures that would secure their political future or provide the resources to do so.
Mass failure in school examinations, security, job creation, climate change and the future of the country, are asides only to be discussed if they can win elections. Gaining power, holding power, and being in the position to decide who gets what – and who does not get anything – have become the essences of our politics.
They reflect in the increasing desperation of politicians to get into office whether by election or by appointment. They are also evident in the determination of those in power to deny others access to political offices even if they are from the same political party or the same ethnic roots.
Political power has degenerated to an end in itself. Those who are not in office do everything to get in; while those in office apply all ploys to remain there. In a world of fast-paced changes, countries that fail to organise themselves stand no chance of meaningful participation in defining their relevance in the future of humanity.
We appeal to politicians to see the larger picture of leadership which is more than striving to occupy positions. Leadership is about sacrifice, about service and providing direction for the people.
Our country direly needs leaders – at all levels – who understand the pains poor leadership has imposed on Nigerians and are ready to reverse the trend of being in office for its own sake.