Politicians and empty promises

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Ogbonnaya Akoma

In Nigeria (as in Arochukwu), one of the characteristic features of politicking and political activities is the making of promises during campaigns. The politicians who want to be elected into offices at the local, state and national levels of elections usually give the electorate one promise or the other should such politicians be elected into offices. These promises are usually aimed at convincing the voters to vote for such candidates.

Since 1999 the military handed over leadership of the country to civilians, Nigerians have been receiving various forms of political promises by those who want to occupy one political office or the other. If there is no public power supply in any pair of his or her constituency, then the concerned politician will capitalise on that and promise to bring light to the constituents. Ditto when the road is bad, untarred, or there is no pipe-borne water. Others will promise to build one industry or the other when elected into office while the rest will promise to empower people with motorcycles, keke and or create job opportunities for the youths and the unemployed. The list is usually endless.

This is the situation today in Nigeria. As the various political parties have elected their torch-bearers and those who fly their flags at the 2015 general election on 14 February, 2015 and 28 February too, these candidates have continued to make political promises again, most of which may not, as usual, be fulfilled as what obtained in 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011.

In those electioneering periods, many Nigerians were promised they would drive on good roads to their homes, drink portable water, and live in clean environment as their children would get qualitative education at public schools. Others were promised sound healthcare services at Government health institutions. The rest were promised prompt payment of gratuities and pensions on retirement from Civil Service. Yes; Nigerians were promised steady public power supply even as they would only pay for electricity they actually consumed at the end of the month and not estimated and fictitious bills dished out to them by the electricity distribution companies nationwide.

Today, less than thirty percent of those promises politicians made in the past have been kept. Today, many Nigerians do not have access roads to their towns as such roads are bad and dilapidated. The country has remained a filthy one with all the known communicable diseases present just as pubic health and educational institutions are now where the poor and their children attend while the politicians send their children abroad for their educational and health needs. Throughout the country, more than 80% of Nigerians still pay for electricity that is not supplied to them on monthly basis, just as nearly 70% of the roads (federal, state or local) have remained deplorable and impassable nationwide, including Arochukwu.

As those in political offices wallow in affluence and riches, sending their children, relatives and associates to foreign educational institutions, including those of other African countries whose nationals used to throng Nigeria in the past for every thing good, retired civil servants are denied of their gratuities and pensions, just as many of the serving ones are denied their monthly salaries and claims even as public health and educational institutions frequently remain under lock and key as these institutions are constantly riddled with one strike episode or the other.

In Nigeria today (as in Arochukwu), pipe-borne water has unofficially been listed as a luxury item only the rich should have, hence more Nigerians now resort to buying water from bore-hold owners as many others rely on wells, ponds and streams for their daily water supply as water boards exist and pump water to people only on pages of newspapers and during radio news bulletins throughout the country, forcing a columnist of one of the daily newspapers to conclude that ‘the more oil Nigeria produces and sells, the poorer the citizens become!’

So, as the 2015 general election is being concluded, politicians should be careful in ensuring that the promises they have made to their electorates are kept. They should restrain themselves from making empty promises they can not keep. They should realise that a promise is always a debt. It must be pointed out here that because of making empty and unrealisable promises, members of the public have since begun to regard Nigerian politicians as morbid liars, and persons of unquantifiable degree of unreliability and overly questionable characters.

In Arochukwu, the pipes laid by Mbakwe Administration between 1979 and 1983 should flow with water. Arochukwu-Ohafia road should be reconstructed for use by the people. The present Post Office built more than a century ago must be renovated now, ditto our library. Arochukwu township roads must be tarred now.

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