By Debbie Olujobi

Politics or gossip is not my cup of tea and I have enough sense to stay away from religion but lately I do feel that rising above dirt doesn’t make one clean and for a change would like to state the obvious to the leaders who don’t seem to have a clue what leadership means! An emerging democracy takes time and it is true that Nigeria is a young one but youth and craziness are not mutually exclusive.

Politicians the world over fight and at one point or the other blows have been traded in parliaments around the globe, so all the fighting is not the issue. The issue is the assumption that Nigerians are a nation of dummies who will continue to eat the rubbish the leaders seem determined to dish out, election after election.

We apparently have a ruling party, seeing how winning elections has become a do or die affair, they rule by whatever means necessary. Wouldn’t it be stating the obvious that it is no longer a democracy if one party always rules? I have reached a stage where hope in the Nigerian situation is fading fast. Scandal after scandal and the ruling party continues , the abuse of resources and public office is so endemic, it has seeped down the ladder to even the insignificants. If the ruling party was the only problem, then it would be just a question of a united front to boot them out. The major issue facing Nigeria is the entire ruling class, our political waters are muddy and filthy and no right thinking person wants to get in and swim. The only challengers to the ruling party are not suitable alternatives judging by their utterances and rants! Challenging status quo just to grab power when you don’t love Nigeria or Nigerians doesn’t make any other party a solution to our problems and that is just stating the obvious.

What exactly are the dividends of this democracy? It seems to me that getting re elected must mean that achievements in the first term are rewarded by a second term. For all the office holders jostling for a second term I ask for a manifesto, like other Nigerians, I am curios to know what value they plan to add to the lives of ordinary Nigerians! I am also demanding they show us the manifestos that got them elected initially and just how many of those promises they delivered the first time round. Lately I am convinced that Nigerian politicians hate Nigerians and I have two main reasons for saying this.

My first reason is our healthcare. There is a general breakdown in primary healthcare and the situation is so deplorable that the leaders we elected run to the utmost parts of the globe to get treated for any health issue rather than stay and be treated like the rest of us.Nigerian medical emergencies of the ruling classes are attended, in Germany, the USA or india. Is it not stating the obvious that equipping the hospitals is better for all of us if we place any value on Nigerian lives? Not too long ago, a Nigerian executive piloted a plane that crashed, he wasn’t the only casualty, he was of course air lifted abroad for treatment while other victims of same crash were left to languish here. If the healthcare here was good enough, why did the executive need flying out? Do Nigerian lives matter at all to these so called ruling class? How many times has the german chancellor gone to India for a transplant or any medical issue? We have the doctors, good and very competent but they are limited by the resources that are squandered on private planes and bullet proof cars!

My second reason is our educational system. How many of their children attend the public schools? The standard of education is so poor that nigerians have become education tourists! Different countries come here to woo the middle class to educate their children at a premium. Education is a necessary tool for development and sending our children out is not the solution to educating them, improving the lot of educators and providing the right infrastructure is. It has become a thing of pride to drop the name of Ivy League schools in conversations when the rich talk about their children when in fact they themselves graduated from University of lagos, University of Ibadan and other formally great institutions! Formally great because ageing infrastructure have been left to rot, lecturers are not adequately remunerated, and new ones are not being built to accommodate a booming population.

Our lawmakers busy themselves voting to legalise child marriages when they should be making it law that any public official needing medical attention must be treated in the state and even local government they represent or lead! They should follow that by another law that makes it compulsory for all children of public officials to attend the public schools in their state and locality. Lets not forget to make power generators also illegal for all of them; let them see what life is like for the common Nigerian they claim to represent. In the coming dispensation I would honestly like to see politicians who would swear to us to love Nigeria and Nigerians, who would drink of the bitter waters in health, education and standard of living. How can anyone solve the problems of Nigerians when they don’t face the challenges created by their corruption, ineptitude, indifference, incompetence and outright dislike of those of us they rule. Caring for Nigeria is the first step to restoring unity and kickstarting development, that is stating the obvious.


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