IN an interview last Sunday with one of the major national newspapers, Major-General Henry Ayoola (retd) probably spoke the mind of most Nigerians. The voice of the people, they say, is the voice of God.
Ayoola said: “Our politicians are not concerned about making the system work…. It is obvious that they are only concerned with how they are going to manipulate the system…They don’t want an efficient and effective system that will produce the choice of the people. What is happening shows the class of political elite we have.”
The General continued: “For them, it is not about fine-tuning the system to make it a more effective system; it is about how they can remain in power, and it is obvious to every Nigerian by now that we are not thinking of building a system that works for everybody.” Sadly, every word of this long quote is true.
As the 36 governors of Nigeria meet tomorrow to discuss pressing national issues, they should be worried and guided by the candid words above. Those who have conscience among them ought to be disturbed by most people’s estimation of Nigerian politicians.
The only way Nigerian politicians, including the governors, can change that negative perception is to sincerely begin to make decisions that will be seen to be in the interest of the people, for a better system that works for everybody.
We cannot say it enough that strong institutions such as independent and incorruptible executive, legislature, judiciary, armed forces, police, civil service, etc., are the drivers of functional democracies.
How can the country make any progress if innovations like electronic transmission of votes which have been identified as one of the instruments of free and fair election, is ignored and sabotaged by Nigerian politicians?
For some years, and especially in recent times, there have been sustained agitations that Nigerians should sit at a round table and discuss how to forge a new and workable Nigeria before the 2023 general elections, but our politicians have cunningly thwarted that noble aspiration of the people.
Now, 2023 is around the corner. The killings, kidnappings and all manners of evils are still the order of the day in Nigeria, but all our politicians can do is jostle for positions, as usual, hopefully to achieve their selfish ambitions through electoral frauds.
As the governors meet tomorrow, we must warn that Nigerians may have reached the end of their tethers and, therefore, can no longer endure any more pains inflicted on them by selfish politicians.
If nothing is done to ensure free and fair elections in 2023, there is no telling what the masses can do afterwards.
There have been instances in history where the army and police which politicians believed were theirs, had joined a people-originated revolution, and there were no hiding places for selfish politicians. A word, they say, is enough for the wise.