Being the sixth quadrennial elections since the end of military rule in 1999, the 2019 general elections are slated to be held on the 16th of February. So far, political gladiators and candidates have sold their party’s programmes with promises, religion and immediate efforts to persuade voters on why they and their party are best fit for the job. Till date, the questions on many lips are “What Will They Do Differently This Time?” We are not troubled, neither are we convinced that this would be a free and fair election, however we are most worried that nothing might change regardless of the promises here and there.
With the gap almost closing in, promises which will most likely not be kept are flying out from so many types of sizeable lips, either when shouting during a rally or blabbing on media stations and social media platforms in a bid to gain or resume powerful seats in a few weeks to come.
The declarations and assurances that one will do something or something will happen may sound soothing to the ears and hopeful to the soul, but I promise you, our grandfathers are familiar with such vows. The only difference in past times to this modern-day democracy was that it was spoken differently and expressed with little or no effort.
Still on the 2019 campaign pledges, below are some of the promises which were brought forward by the frontrunners of the 2019 presidential election. This article will summarise some of these assurances, however it is mainly focused on tackling why we are being promised the same things over and over again. Hence, why there is a repeat of the same pledges every four years without any acknowledgement of what has been done by previous administrations and at what point a new government is expected to continue with its plans of organising the country’s economy, instead of a four to eight years reorganisation.
On the federal level, incumbent president and All Progressive Congress (APC) presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari, although not popularly liked and has since been allegedly accused by majority for the present day suffering, promises if re-elected his administration would mainly overhaul the educational sector and create new jobs. With his new agenda titled “Next Level”, he says he has worked hard to fulfil his 2015 campaign promises of laying the foundations for a strong, stable and preposterous country. However onlookers are yet to understand the magnitude of what is meant by ‘strong, stable and prosperous foundations”. Are these foundations meant to last between four to eight years? and what laws is expected is keep this supposed fulfilled goals alive when he steps down from office.
Whereas, his main opponent Atiku Abubakar, a very active player in Nigerian politics, present day People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, a man who has once graced the second highest seat in the land and also one who is presumably accused for promoting the poverty rate in our country alongside his cohorts, promises to “Get Nigeria Working Again”. But my question is, “For how long?. With detailed methods of infrastructural development, job creation, human capital development and poverty eradication, Atiku plans to deliver this time around even if he has never been given a direct opportunity before. But my question yet again is, were these elements not what was promised by others administrations? Is his party saying that nothing tangible was done in the last four years or is this a case of continuing were the previous administration will stop if he was to be elected as president come 2019. Time will tell!
We are aware that these are the usual expected campaign slogans and pledges, promising factors that can shape the nation, but candidates can however speak another language which interprets continuity, consistency and clearer proof of attainment.
My concern and question here is, if truly they are kept - let us be optimistic here - are these promises meant for a four or eight year period? Is it a long or short-term goal? What is the lifespan of these expected vows?. If truly these are the plans our leaders have coined out for us, have precise laws been enacted and a designed plan, which is expected to assist successors to follow strict adherence to the blueprint meant for every state.
The idea of withholding payments meant to be paid to complete infrastructures just because it was commissioned by an outgoing government is one of the setbacks that has alienated our basic physical and organisational structure and facilities (building, roads, power supply, etc). The idea of scrapping foundations already laid by an outgoing administration to effectively rebuild a city, mainly for the purpose of corruption and favouritism is the glaring reason why the same promises made over twenty years ago are still what has been used as campaign slogans and meal tickets!
How many times have we been promised better health, education, employment and infrastructures. Nothing will be better if legislators do not amend laws meant to protect government-funded contracts already initiated for the purpose of improving lives. The constant change of government has not profited this nation till date. The stagnation witnessed and heavy burdens carried cannot be resolved within eight years. So therefore, there must be continuity and consistency if any of these promises are to reach its fruition of eliciting poverty from the masses.
If we had just one administration governing us till date, we will not be in this mess of a hole that we are constantly trying to climb out of. However, I support the idea of democracy but I do not support the idea of this small-medium business our outgoing leaders are observing. It is as though every administration so far is a small-medium business, set up within a four to eight years lifespan, then dissolved at the detriment of its workers and the society immediately new owners emerge.
This is not a Buhari problem and neither is it going to be an Atiku miracle. This is to say that not one man can change the faith of Nigeria, but a collective approach towards an already mapped out plan for incoming leaders to follow. Hence, finishing incomplete infrastructures, pushing for already mapped out reforms, adjusting frameworks that are ineffective, continuing proposed bills that are expected to make a huge difference and strengthening allies meant to defend and support us in times of difficulties.
God bless Nigeria.