The Problem With Our Politics, By Amaka Oduh


OPINION

This weekend I visited Virginia for a burial ceremony and met a well-established middle-aged Nigerian man. During the introduction, I mentioned I was into politics. I noticed that his tone of voice and demeanor changed, suddenly.

He said, “I hate Politics.” He went on about his disappointments with Nigerian politicians, described their politics as a playground for greedy and unpatriotic people. He told the story of how a renowned politician spent over 1.5m Naira in one night in a popular Enugu nightclub in his presence.

He firmly stated he did not want anything to do with politicians. I clearly understood his frustration(s).

The fact is that he is not alone; most Nigerians feel this way. The conduct of Nigerian politics, the debate and scrutinizing of individuals vying for office, has been so bastardized that the good ones now look the other way. I explained to him that when we get upset with politics, politicians rejoice. They want you to be disgusted enough that you turn your eyes the other way while they loot your National or State treasury.

How many of us would hire the people we vote into power to work in our private enterprises?

Yet we do this every 4 years for The Nigeria Enterprise. I chimed in. Most of us do not go out to vote because we are upset with the system or fear of insecurity intentionally created to distract us.

With lofty promises to their disciples, the wrong people get into public offices. Most times, the “rigging” part plays its role in amplifying it. The silence or absence of one good man can ruin the fortune of a whole village. Little by little, these compatriots begin to lower their guard and end up as paid thugs.
With their show of noise and apparent intimidation, their candidate will become President, Governor, or Legislator for everyone, whether you voted or not.

I told him politics is not the problem. The problem is the wrong politicians that we hire repeatedly.

Yes, The politicians want you to lose interest in Politics. They prefer a paid crowd that sings their praises. Ninety percent of politicians see their praise singers as people of no consequence, the people who did not vote as ignorant, and their opposition as sworn enemies.

Instead of asking our elected leaders for their development scorecards, we take refuge in clapping for them, and in collecting handouts which are a fraction of our stolen money, from them. And the circus goes on.

How could we keep doing the same thing every time and expect a different result?

Most of your federal allocation to State and Local Governments, go into their private pockets, yet we praise perpetrators of that crime.
The State IGR is underreported, and the excess feeds their already oversized bank accounts, yet we fight each other for a handshake from them.

Your State or Local Government infrastructure is in ruins, yet no one dares to complain. And no one bothers to explain.

Security fund which runs into billions of Naira with zero accountability required, goes into their private pockets. Yet, this was approved by your elected legislators.

They will not be interested in State projects or attracting investors or even sustaining already existing investments. Yet we give them the highest stamp of approval.

Another election is around the corner.
Wake up, my people!!! This time around, let us vote and vote wisely. This great nation belongs to all of us and we must treat it as our treasured investment.

All of us have a stake in the Nigeria project. For it to work, our votes must be on the right deck. Let us watch out for accountable, prudent, service-oriented leaders. So, the labors of our heroes past will not be in vain

Let us say: Enough is Enough! with our Voice and our Vote. Don’t hate politics; we need it to get leadership right. We need it to build a nation where peace and justice shall reign.
We need it to make Nigeria Great again.
God bless Nigeria and Nigerians.

Dr. Amaka Oduh, PDP aspirant for House of Representatives (Udi/Ezeagu Constituency) in 2022, writes from the USA.


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