Breaking News

Getting the right focus for 2015

By Helen Ovbiagele

I have an ‘auntie’ who gets really upset whenever she hears/reads about the frantic moves the various political parties are making towards the 2015 elections.

“I can’t understand these people,” she fumed recently at the news that a mega political party was being formed to collectively challenge the major ruling party at the next general elections. “We’re still more than two years away from the 2015 elections, for God’s sake! We are yet to see any of the political parties perform creditably well in the states they control. Should how to win at the next elections be their priority now?

Shouldn’t they be more concerned about getting their governors to keep election promises, and perform well, before scheming to remain in power, or even want to grab more states? As for those parties which don’t have states yet, members should spend time really studying the problems on the ground, and proffering solutions for solving them, rather than fighting over who should stand, or, what political party to team up with so that they can taste power.

All these mudslinging and crossing of carpets are unhealthy distractions to good governance. As usual, we prefer chasing shadows than substance. Those in power spend so much time answering back their critics that they seem to have

very little qualitative time to concentrate on their job, perform well and uplift our li ves. Let us concentrate on the present with noticeable improvement in the lives of citizens, before we start the race for 2015.”

This is sound reasoning, but will our politicians listen? Do they even read the papers, watch/listen to the news, in order to find out what we the masses think of their performance? I don’t think so. I’m of the opinion that they listen only to what their minds tell them, and they refuse to see our country as it . really is.

When the world was applauding Nigeria for winning the 2013 African Nations Cup, a comment from a yahoo user on the Yahoo comment board on the issue was, ‘It’s a nation of scammers, cheats and dishonest people’. Well! Well! Is anyone concerned about this our international image which usually eclipses our good points?

Have our rulers over the years ever thought of what could have led a highly respected nation like ours to sink, so low as to be incl uded on the list of every bad thi·ng on earth, and thought of ways to eliminate/reduce the root cause which is usually greed and the ne’ed amass wealth and live big?

I can’t see any evidence of that; instead I see more decay in the system: which now makes some of those in high positions to dip their fingers in public money with impunity. Should we wonder why there’s increased criminal activities in the land?

Are we and our rulers concerned about this? Will things get better in the future?

I do like this idea of some political parties coming together to form a party, not because it would be the miracle that would save a nation from self-inflicted decadence, but because, in my view, having over forty political parties in our country doesn’t portray us as a serious nation with a responsible disposition.

What policies for saving our economy and improving the quality of the lives of our citizens can these parties have that would differ so much that we need this multitude of parties? Who can blame people who may think that the money political parties get from the central fund could be the motivation for having so many political parties?

Someone argued that it’s ope of the beauties of democracy. That’s doubtful, since the countries who are leaders in the practice of democracy don’t have such a huge number. Many of such countries, e.g. the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the United States, have at most, five political parties, and then they have independent candidates to stand for elections.

So, in our case, anything done to whittle down the parties to a manageable and responsible number, is very welcome. The major aim of any political party is to provide a conducive atmosphere in the country which would uplift the life of every citizen, irrespective of who and what the person is.

In short, ensure a bouyant economy, create jobs for the teeming jobless, adequate security of lives and property in all parts of the federation; provide good qualitative education, healthcare, housing, roads and transport services, clean environment, and working social services. Every political party worth its salt should have these on their manifestos. Having similar goal; means we can indeed have just three or four major parties to choose from in the country.

But the million dollar question is, will having several political parties come together under one umbrella bring the needed all-round relief we need in this country? It can, if its underlying aims are masses-centred and masses-friendly, and not just for the sole intention of grabbing power for itself, and becoming the ruling party.

A colleague is guarded about the benefits to the nation, and feels that it could lead to more endless wranglings among politicians as they try to wrest power from one another, and this could hold up actions we need to take to move the nation forward and gain international respect again.

Only God knows the future and where things would lead. However, those of us who are old enough to remember the era when Nigeria was held in high esteem in the whole of Africa, not for its oil wealth, but for its sound, devoted and dedicated statesmen who put their country first, can only pray that those God allows to be in charge of om country will resolve to exhibit those traits which made us great, and improve on the character and performance of those patriots.

One after the other, they died with broken hearts because, not only did a great Nation they envisaged not materialize, they actually saw it decaying. The present crop of politicians can redeem Nigeria’s image and put it back on the path of greatness, if they want to, and if the nation cooperates with them. That we can do, only if they show themselves honest people with focus and integrity.

I know it’s quite a struggle to decide not to steal public funds when others are doing so and living outrageous lives of opulence, but I’m sure there can still be some who would not want to soil their hands and names, and experience public disgrace.

It’s all a matter of choice and conscience.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.