By Chidi Anthony Opara, FIIM
Although the 2022/2023 Presidential election campaign in Nigeria have not officially opened, but from the pre-campaign activities and speeches of the major aspirants, a very discerning observer would have no problems concluding that the campaign would be bereft of detailed pragmatic ways to achieve the numerous beautiful promises.
Let me hasten to add here that the people are a major part of the problem. They don't listen very well to the aspirants and so do not ask the right(critical)questions. When they pretend to listen to their beloved aspirants, they are doing that to further their hysteric fixations on such aspirants. They clap in the most parts of their beloved aspirants speeches. When on the other hand they pretend to be listening to aspirants they are not beholden to, they are doing that only to find more grounds for harebrained disagreements.
Most Nigeria aspirants to high political offices, especially the Presidency, are very much aware of the shallowness of most of their supporters and so when they present their so called manifestoes, they don't make efforts to present detailed practicable programmes of action, because they know that most people, even the position chasing intellectuals, would not subject such programmes to critical appraisals.
How, for example, would an aspirant present a manifesto that promises to cut down on the cost of governance and save money for masses oriented Programmes without taking cognizance of the fact that the widest conduit through which public fund is wasted is in the federal bicameral and state legislatures? These legislatures approve the budgets and their members, irrespective of political party affiliation, would always unite to resist any attempt to cut down on their own budget no matter how bloated. Their resistance would always eventually result in budget bills not passed and the attendant denial of operational funding for government operations. A programme of action on the cutting down on cost of governance must therefore take cognizance of the waste in the federal bicameral and state legislatures, the statutory powers of the members, their attitude towards the cost of governance and way(s) to make them go with any policy on the cutting down on excessive government spending. A few weeks of retreat on the need to cut down on excessive government spending for the incoming members of the legislatures may suffice here.
What one hears all over the campaign space are the beautiful things that would be done when elected, no aspirant so far have said how possible situations that may make the actualization of those beautiful promises impossible in the context of our peculiar political terrain can be taken care of. In 2014/2015 for example, Buhari as Presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) promised to make naira to be at par with the dollar, the people as usual clapped. He did not give us any detailed practicable way(s) he would work to correct and strengthen our balance of trade at the very competitive international trade arena. The result of not asking aspirant Buhari critical questions then is that when he eventually became President, that beautiful promise was not fulfilled(was not meant to be fulfilled anyway).
There is every likelihood that the aforementioned Buhari scenerio would repeat itself post 2022/2023, except we resolve now to ask all aspirants critical questions in the oncoming campaign period.
(Opara is a Poet, Professional Fellow of Institute of Information Management, Africa, Online News Publisher and MIT Chief Data Officer Ambassador)