Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fractured Future

THE obsession dominating today is a distinguishing factor of Nigerian politics. The search for relevance today makes our elected officials to easily appropriate tomorrow now and forget the damaging implications.
Everything is about today’s leaders. If they happen on scanty thoughts on tomorrow that would make them appear relevant today, they latch to them with an uncommon zeal. Politics they understand is the only business in town. It pays hugely to hook to politics and maintain the grip in the do-or die prescription of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Calls for politicians to stop campaigns for 2011 and concentrate on the tenures have yielded no fruits. President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who admonished his party last month to stop campaigns for 2011 must have been speaking to himself. He has no converts.

There are some politicians whose politics centre on new tenures for incumbents, whether they are in the executive or legislature. They are usually those left out of any meaningful positions in government. They use these campaigns to engage the attention of elected officials and feather their own nests claiming they are never short of customers in Nigeria’s electoral system, where we mobilise votes, voters and electoral officials. These days they have made their way into government in various capacities.

Senate President David Bonaventure Mark appears angry too about the campaigns that are consuming time that would have been used for urgent national issues. He expressed his anger to some leaders of the North Central section of his party. According to him, the best form of campaign is the execution of projects that would benefit the people.

It is doubtful if anyone would listen to him. He should know how interested politicians are in showing their faces at public functions to advertise projects that only they know and understand.

It is a circus that sits well with our politics. With all the noise about accountability, the people know nothing about what their governments do, though there are frequent claims that these things are done in the common interest.

As corrupt politicians (add the directionless) increase in their numbers, with dwindling resources from oil and gas, it is clear that Nigeria’s future is in fractures. All the talks about diversifying the economy are just words. Corruption sees to it that oil revenue is mostly stolen with the remainder applied to projects that facilitate more corruption.

Mark should understand the mentality of his fellow politicians. Most of them have an empty past, live only for today, but must postpone any responsibility for today by asking for more time for their dreams of exhausting the public till.

Pretences that the future is important reflect in minimal investments in education, health, food, security, protection of the environment and sustainable interest in the youth. In Nigeria, words speak more than actions - our leaders relish words.

A country that abbreviates investments in drivers of the future is guaranteed no future, or at best a fractured one.