POLITICIANS AND DEMOCRACY DIVIDEND
May 29, 1999 is just like yesterday but that is 11 core years gone by. On that day, Nigerians from all walks of lives trooped out enmasse in various states capital and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja beaming with smiles and optimism to witness the swearing-in of the elected political office holders. Beautiful, soul lifting and heart rending long political speeches were churned out and promises of better days ahead were made to the poor helpless electorates.
Nigerians kept high hopes in their newly elected officials, constantly reinforcing their hopes with the old clichÃ©, 'the worst civilian regime is better than the best military government.'
But today, 11 years after the return of democracy and that optimism, Nigerians seem to be singing a different new song. It has been disappointment, disenchantment and disillusionment.
Sunday Sun spoke to a couple of Nigerians who are actively interested in the way politicians have conducted themselves and their promises since May 29, 1999.
My assessment of Nigerian Politicians in the last eleven years is quite low. I make this evaluation on the premise of values. We can see the values of our politicians in the level of our under-development, the type of health systems we use, the quality of our roads, airports, railway system, courts, security system, matter of fact, everything we do.
When you visit someone who is well endowed with resources and he uses a dirty pit latrine, drives a dirty car, uses bad linen for his windows and his house in complete disarray, you will clearly know that the value of the owner of the house is quite low regarding cleanliness and class. This analogy aptly describes our political class; they determine and decide the quality of life they want for our country. What eventually comes out as services to the people is based on the values they will like to see.
Even if they go to Europe, America and Asia to admire and enjoy the beauty and efficiency of other societies, their values are quite low, as far as they cannot provide the resources to make our society at par with such values. They are just like the rich man who lives in the dirty house but goes to spend hours in the house of a friend who has expressed his value with class in his own home.
So what values can we ascribe to our politicians? Is it the daily scandals of involvement in embezzlement of funds meant to provide a better quality of life for our people? Is it the resistance to an electoral process that will make leaders more accountable to the people? Is it the parade of impunity abetted by courts? Is it the disregard for morality by marrying under-aged children? Is it the naked disregard for our presidency by telling inane lies before the whole world? Therefore, while I score the politicians very low, I am hopeful that we will turn the tide by our human agency, and recognize that with our resources we are living below our potentials mainly because our values are very low, and we need to embrace a new value system.
Their conduct leaves much to be desired. That is why I am calling on Goodluck Jonathan to call for a political summit to discuss the acceptable expectation that politicians must live up to. We are poorer today as a nation than we were 11 years ago and politicians are responsible for the situation. They have not been able to define the country's historic mission. Leaders must be able to define its country's historic mission in order to forge ahead o and that is what we lack in our leaders. Look at countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and other countries where their leaders have been able to define their country's mission and see the kind of progress they have made in every facet of human lives.
Nigeria has been lying prostrate instead of forging ahead. In summary, Nigeria has not made any progress in the last 11 years and politicians should be held responsible for that. One hopes that with the present electoral reform that Goodluck Jonathan is talking about, when implemented objectively will at least improve the lots of common man but for now, the past 11 years have been a waste.
The past 11 years have been that of disappointment from the people's expectation. Our politicians have behaved like pirates robbing people blind. Life has become terribly hard for the common man. Before 1999, Nigeria recorded 63 percent pass in WAEC but today we are recording 98 percent failure in NECO. Democracy in the last 11 years has been about the politicians and not the people. Politicians have increased poverty and the people are hopeless.
11 years ago, there was electricity but today there is no electricity anywhere; they have finished us as a country.