Shifting the national Assembly poll from 2nd until 9th April 2011, is never Nigeria’s problem but the outcome of these elections remain crucial to the Nigerian people. Unlike the northern cabals who are up till this hour conspiring to have power by crooks or hooks, nobody is born to rule in Nigeria. As equality exists before the law, so it is before the seat of power. We are pinning their hopes that their plight and wishes are addressed by the next government regardless of where the 2011 elected Nigerian hail from. The people’s welfare must be the priority and the government should try to solve all the grouses. It is pointless to give money to build more and more temples. Most Nigerians are working in menial jobs abroad as there were no attractive job opportunities here except to be on the side of political thuggery, area boy or to play an errand in dirty-politics cauldron. We need a proper system implemented to ensure that our needs are made known.
Nigerians find it a cranky-nut to quit politics; Mr.Tonye Harry, Mr. Udenwa, Mr. Chris Ngige, Madam Kema. Chikwe, once a politician, always a politician, Mr.Shekauru, Mr.Christopher Alao-Akala, Gov. Saraki of Kwara State, Mr.Orji Uzo Kalu, Mr.Buhari , Mr. Na’abba , Mr. Chukwumerije whose constituency is a deserted zone , Mr.George Sekibo et al; do they quit politics to do what? Go back to village? What the man could not do in 50 years of his life, he has done in a decade in politics. Yah! In a decade he has built an empire that would take a person in different professionals 50years to build! They cannot do anything for the country; our problems won’t be solved in an election.
They make money for themselves and their unborn-generations at the nations’ stead; Proceeds of failed promises. There is a saying that “promises are like babies, there are easy to make but hard to deliver”. Political promises are even harder to deliver. By definition a promise is a commitment given by one party (the ‘promisor’) to another (the ‘promisee’) to carry out or refrain from carrying a specified act or acts.
Political promises also known as election promises is a vow made to the public by a politician who is trying to win an election. They have long been a central element of elections and remain so today. Election promises are also notable for often being broken once a politician is in office.
Elections promises in Nigeria are part of an election platform, but platforms also contain vague ideals and generalities as well as specific promises. They are an essential element in getting people to vote for a candidate. For example, a promise such as to cut taxes or to introduce new social programs may appeal to voters.
The restoration of local elections constitutes an important step forward in reviving democracy, improving the standard of governance and checking the scourge of corruption, excesses and mismanagement presently plaguing the urban population in Nigeria; The restoration of local elections lies clearly within the jurisdiction of the state government, as provided for by the Article 113(4) and Item 4, List II, Schedule 9 in the Federal Constitution. State governments, which have made election promises on reviving local elections, should take immediate steps to formulate state laws to such effect; The Federal Government should, at the same time, initiate consultations with the general public and hold negotiations with the state governments to formulate a comprehensive plan to have local elections that are clean, free, fair and representative.
We have to see who we can vote for, for congress and who we can vote for, and then we’ll see what change we can make from one community to another community. When a government comes to power through democratic means or otherwise, it obviously has certain priorities in its mind. However, priorities may change over time. For a democratically elected government; its priorities are chosen in line with its electoral promises. And it remains accountable to the electorates for its actions — good and bad. The electorates decide the fate of a government in general elections looking at its scorecard after a certain period.
In the case of Nigeria, it is another year to choose who rules us .There may be a long list of priorities for a government. But there are certain priorities pertaining to the basic necessities of the people and the economic development that need to be attended through meticulous planning and actions.
Looking at what is going around now in the country, one may wonder whether the incumbent government has been serious about setting its priorities so far as concise as the respect for the Nigeria constitution is observed. Unabated increase in the citizens right violation including provision of both essentials and not-so-essentials (not luxury items) .These callous actions have stirred serious resentment among the people who are otherwise very much appreciative of the government’s achievements in many areas, including law and order, control of terrorism, road communications, education and other social sectors.
The power situation is terrible with load-shedding, at times, reaching 1500 MW. All types of subscribers — domestic, industrial, commercial and agricultural — are paying a heavy price for, what can be described, the inability on the part of the government to include generation of enough power on the list of its priorities.
For instance, the cost of production of the export-oriented industries has gone up by about 30 per cent due to power shortage. The increase in the cost of production is attributed to the use of diesel-run power generators at the factory premises to keep the plants operational and meet the buyers’ deadlines. This is also true for other industrial and commercial operations. At least, for six to eight hours a day, the industrial and commercial subscribers have to depend on their own generators for power supply. This raises their cost of production and also of operation, which is passed on to the general consumers.
Nobody knows for sure the total capacity of the power generators that are now in use at industrial and commercial installations and the quantity of fuels those consume daily. About six years back, the generation capacity of captive power plants was estimated to be 600 megawatt (MW). By now that capacity might have tripled.
A section of the government leaders are now trying to give a lame excuse in support of the present power situation. They argue that the demand for power from the industrial users has grown several times more than the projections made earlier. By this argument they are also trying to convey the message that under the present government, investment has picked up in the industrial sector greatly. But the success in one area cannot or should not compensate for the failure in another area. The power ministry should have worked overtime to set up new power plants to meet the growing need for electricity. But unfortunately, the ministry could neither complete new independent power plants nor take necessary steps for the proper maintenance and overhauling of the existing ones in the public sector. But why did the power holding company in Nigeria (PHCN) ministry fail?
There were a lot of stories about move to complete power plants in both public and private sectors and also about their unnatural death. The country is now experiencing a severe power crisis, those responsible are spending most of their time in their National Assembly re-election bid . The report claimed that the minister-in charge did not take any interest in his office work since some top notches in the regime have been deciding everything about power sector. If the content of the story is true, it should be considered as yet another problem of having too many power pockets.
The origin of the problem relating to inadequate supply of gas is almost identical to that of power sector. There have been very inadequate steps to beef up supply from the
existing gas fields to the national grid. Rather, the administration spoiled valuable time by engaging itself in a debate over gas export. The net outcome of the indifference on the part of the energy and mineral resources division is that the power plants and industrial units are now starved of gas.
The price situation, no doubt, is a sore point for the incumbent government. The prices of most essentials have been increasing unabatedly for many months. The reason that the administration has been trying to sell is that the hike in the prices of petroleum fuel oils and other commodities in the international markets has contributed to the rise in the prices of essentials and non-essentials in the local markets. But this argument does not hold much water if the rate of inflation in Nigeria in recent months is compared with that of sub-Saharan nations. The current rate of inflation in Nigeria is estimated to be 7.0 per cent or more while the same in sub-Saharan nation is below 2.0 per cent in spite of the fact the fuel prices in sub-Saharan nation are much higher than that of Nigeria. In addition to the problems mentioned above, the persistent volatility in forex and money markets and downturn in share market do indicate something ominously wrong with the management of the state of affairs.
Just like yesterday; Nigerians, who have registered as voters for the April 2011 elections come out of the registration venues with high spirit,; those doing it for the first time, were very happy to have been able to thumb-print on the Direct Data Capture (DDC) Machine provided by the INEC, a number of them expressed enthusiasm as the exercise ends on Saturday, 5th February, 2011. From what I saw, it took me back to the 2007 election day that sound so dismay on my side; for the fact that at the polling centre I found mismatch between my voter serial number and identity number which gave me some trouble in casting my vote, it played an eye-opener this time. Nigerians who came to the polling centre at 7:30am that fateful day, waited for more than two hours to cast their vote owing to procedural flaws. A significant number of Efik speakers living in the Mbano and Iriebe camp did not enroll themselves in the voter list fearing that casting vote in Nigeria elections might lead to problems like losing dwellings in the slums, where we have been living for nearly four decades now.
I concentrated in areas under ward 8 constituency inside Oyigbo Local council of Rivers State, just to pick the prototype of the whole scenario. This place participants of our “February 2011” session of nigeria4betterrule forum took note .Just as eligible votes were paying to have their data key-in, but to no avail. Until a stage where a neighboring Gokana boss collaborated with unnamed Okoloma elder-statesman to convey eligible voters to an undisclosed zone to have them register and at the same time receive some token and refreshment. If the exercise were guided very well it could prove that exercising their franchise had proved they were Nigerians. The same incident wished to repeat itself on Saturday 2nd April, 2011 before the culprit met their waterloo; they were gunned down. What a gain-less death?
I am very happy. I feel proud too as I have obtained my voters’ card and thus proved I am a citizen of Nigeria,’ but the mystery remain unclear; does electing our politicians into office deserve pay-cheque? Some of us have not registered as voters for some reasons and I am sure it was simply a blunder. Many of us have integrated into Nigeria’s society while most others are languishing in about 70 refugee camps abroad. By obtaining voters card and casting my vote in April 2011; I have proved I am a citizen of Nigeria.
Also, the former seems to be consequent upon the latter. Political injustice mated by members of the political class in Nigeria needless to say, have become a common phenomenon these days despite widespread criticism and condemnation, and a series of rules against electoral violent and violations by the Law Court. According to participants of this month’s nigeria4betterrule forum; a number of electoral flaw cases by desperate politicians have topped 250 in the first two years or so of the Nigeria politics of aspiration to govern us. Regrettably, however, the government has far taken hardly any effective action to either translate its pre-election promise to stop manipulated votes or its post-election assertion that it would follow ‘zero tolerance’ policy against do-or-die politics may have, on the one hand, reinforced the sense of impunity among the politicians we have and, on the other, given rise to the impression among at least some people that it is all right to take the law in their owns, of which the increasing incidence of lynching could very well be a manifestation.
Grassroots-level party leaders might face people’s wrath should next general elections fail to yield international commendation. If this government failed to immediately control soaring prices of essential commodities and effectively address power crisis across Nigeria. The day Nigeria was celebrated its 50th independent anniversary; the country was undergoing a power load-shedding of around 1,000 megawatts. This shows how lagging our energy ministry faired .This crisis could have been avoided if the government handled the power sector professionally and allowed genuine bidders to build projects. But in the last four years, the power sector only saw dominance of politically biased decisions; as mouth-watering as independent power projects from the onset; and as abandonment as wooden off-cuts everywhere.
The people of Nigeria are not interested in ministerial speeches and campaign empty promises this time. The local-level leaders must remain critical of the ‘jumbo size’ cabinet; many cabinet members have already been isolated from their electors, for which the party might lose a large number constituencies in this year’s elections. Participants of nigeria4betterrule forum yesterday, underline certain government failures in making the intelligence agencies to convincingly identify the criminals behind the recent multiple bombing or smuggling of illegal arms, etc. They made the observations while they were speaking at the two-day nigeria4betterrule forum on pre-election 2011 matters.
To my own view; there is no point in making any attempts to justify the price hike of essential commodities by claiming that the purchasing power of the people has also increased and that the prices have increased in world market. The government should provide adequate subsidy to keep the prices of consumers’ goods within the reach of the masses, to convince us very well. The authority must find out and tell the people convincingly who were behind the election rigging in the country. The need for effectively addressing the election matters earlier before election date would save time, money and electoral tribunal case matters across the country. We have to face people’s wrath in the next elections because a large section of the rural people are serious victims of massive vote rigging.
The ruling party should not have gone for such a gigantic cabinet. Many ministers seem to have already been isolated from the constituency. Many of the ministers may lose their seats if they are not asked to restore contacts with their constituencies this time. Referring to the incidents of arms haul in Abuja and Jos bomb blasts , it is unfortunate that the investigators and intelligence agencies are yet to find any tangible clue to such those incidents. I on behalf of Nigerians challenge the Nigerian security outfit to make sure that disaster is recorded to minimal in the forth coming election from 9th April, 2011.
The grassroots leaders, however, praised the Jonathan’s administration for ‘successes’ in maintaining law and order, providing some essential commodities for lower prices through open market sales, providing social services under village rationing and VGF programs, providing a
dequate security and facilities , constructing rural roads, and increasing health facilities across the country. Some leaders criticized the media, especially the newspapers, for ‘negative coverage’ of the government and the ruling party but the truth lies on their ability to correct the wrongs as quick as possible.