The male chicken, seeking the consent of the hen for mating, ruffles his feathers and totters like a drunken dandy towards her, promising, ‘I will buy you clothes, I will supply all your needs; I promise’. But he never fulfils those promises except chasing away male rivals he sees come near the hen whilst pretending, in a repetitive clucking sound, to pick up morsels for her. His titbitting is a trick designed to have his way with the hen, after which he abandons her. Such is the case with Nigerian politicians who never fulfill their promises to the electorate.
Failure to keep promises has been part of humans since the Creation, dating back to Biblical times. The Biblical accounts given of the Israelites and the people of Judah in Malachi 2:11-17 and Exodus alone are revealing. But the Holy Bible tells us, ‘Better not to vow and not pay’ (Ecclesiastes 5:5). Politicians’ tendencies, just like every other person’s, for making false promises must have been influenced by the fact that God Himself was said to have lied and made false promises, as supported by the Bible. For instance, God told Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden that they would die ‘the day’ they ate the fruit of the tree. Fortunately, they did not die ‘the very day’ they ate it. Ironically, it was from the serpent that the truth was established. Nevertheless, God neither lies nor makes false promises.
The 2023 poll, which has kept politicians on their toes and got the adrenalin flowing, will be remarkable in the history of the Nigeria’s electoral system not only because contestants will disregard the Nigerian constitution but will also go to war in order to rule from the coveted Villa. The Buhari administration has seen thousands fall victim to crime and disease between 2015 and 2022 and there are hopes that the spartanism associated with the administration will end when the president leaves. However, the presidential candidate who says that ‘the Buhari regime is the best and he will start from where President Buhari stops’ is actually asking Nigerians to be prepared for more hardships as from May 2023. Politicians such as him don’t mean well for the electorate.
Whilst it is believable that President Buhari’s decision to relinquish power will offer ambitious Nigerians the opportunity to exercise their legal rights and ‘go to war’, it is difficult to vouch for those in the 2023 presidential race. It is advisable also to ignore their promises. Promises should be treated as sacred and failure to keep them can ruin a whole nation terribly. When you, as a public office holder, keep promises with the young and the old who sacrifice their time and energy for your cause, and you choose to break those promises upon achieving your objectives, you are directly demonstrating how unreliable you are. When you break promises, you are taken for granted and society finds you typically irresponsible.
Promises made by Nigerian politicians lack sincerity conditions. Their failure to restructure Nigeria has had a ding-dong effect on the East. The domino effect of their failure to create jobs, tame the dollar, reduce the prices of fuel and food items and stop the Boko Haram insurgencies is the insupportable pain it has brought people. Nigerians need sincere and merciful leaders. If Jesus Christ and His disciples are not readily available to rule Nigeria, and where other alternatives don’t work, realists such as Peter Obi, Oby Ezekwesili, Omosule James, Omoyele Sowore, Kingsley Moghalu, etc. should be given a chance.
With 2023 on mind, it is funny to see contestants letting out hot air aimed at throwing the electorate’s thinking cap out of kilter for the next few months. There are new promises, all of which are duplicitous and cut Jesus Christ and Allah to the quick: I will re-safeguard Nigeria with up-to-date technological innovation if I am elected president in 2023; I will rebuild Nigeria if I am elected; my presidency will make Nigeria one, end poverty and provide free education in Nigeria, if I am elected president in 2023; I am in for the presidential race in order to end insecurity and better the future of Nigerian children, etc. These are good things to promise a nation and its citizens, but frankly speaking, they are promises very impossible to keep in a society where the concepts of technology, security, free education, job opportunity, restoration, poverty eradication, etc. don’t exist.
Politicians’ promises are those same old clichés trotted out by successive governments. Rather than believing in them nowadays, I prefer promises like: ‘I will convert Nigeria’s properties to mine, misappropriate pensioners’ funds, milk the country dry and shut it down’ if I am elected president’, because experience has shown that when Nigerian politicians promise the electorate positive things, they do negative things when they come to power. Politics is not about stealing public funds and enriching oneself. Politics is not about swearing an oath that can’t be kept; it is not about making life unbearable for the ruled. Politics should be the opposite of all the negative things it is known for in Nigeria.
In conclusion, failed promises have become the bane of Nigeria; yet all hope is not lost for the masses, as there exist few politicians whose word one can still rely on. Who should occupy Aso Rock Villa in 2023 won’t be or by virtue of their political structure neither is it by wealth nor by being favourites of the new electoral law. Nigeria needs God; sincere and a new set of people (young or old) in the Villa in order for it to break that 61-year-old jinx and reclaim its lost glory. Alternatives other than these won’t work.
Sola wrote from Port Harcourt.