FEW days from now, Nigerians will be going to the poll to elect President, National Assembly members, Governors and Members of State Houses of Assembly.
Since the Independent National Electoral  Commission, INEC released the time table for political activities last year, the various political parties and their candidates have been canvassing for support and jostling for votes from the electorates.
The campaigns have been intensed, especially the presidential campaign which seems to be mainly between the ruling Peoples Democratic Party PDP and the main opposition party, the All Progressives  Congress, APC.
However, the campaign by both parties have been characterized by use of offensive words, character assassination, violent attacks as evident in the various attacks on the PDP presidential campaign train in some states in the country. In Rivers State the APC campaign rally in Okrika was attacked with bomb killing  people including a  police officer and injuring several others. The campaign by the presidential candidates this time around is a mark departure from what is known in every democracy as political campaign. When the candidate of APC sneezes it becomes an issue for campaign by PDP  when the candidate of PDP slip, it becomes a campaign issue by APC, to the extent that the character of the presidential candidate of APC and PDP have become issue for debate in political circles. The sponsored protest by APC and PDP at Chartam House London did not only portray the country in bad light before the international communities, it also shows the lack of direction, purpose, commitment to the plight of the average Nigerian on the part of the politicians. The talks and politicking that surrounded the Chartam House event was quite diversionary and irrelevant.
To a very reasonable person or experts in Political Science, Public Administration and International Relations, the attitude being displayed by our politicians is a mockery of democracy and it amounts to foolery of Nigerians. The reason being that electioneering campaign is supposed to be issue based. It is a period when those seeking election into various political offices will have to tell the people what they will do for them in order to improve quality of life, and how they are going to do it when voted into office. It is not enough to simply talk of change or transformation without telling the people how you intend to do it. Nigerians have heard promises over and over again and this time around the are tired of hearing the same slogan of change or transformation. When a politician merely promise the people change or transformation without informing them of practical strategies for bringing about the desired change or transformation, it amounts to rhetoric and deceit.
Today, Nigerians are confronted with myriad of social and economic problems, for example, unemployment, corruption, lack of electricity, infrastructural decay, dwindling economy  inadequate refineries and high cost of petroleum products, low quality of  education, poor health facilities among several others. What is expected of our politicians jostling for power right now is for them to tell Nigerians the various steps or strategies they will use in ensuring constant electricity supply, provide employment for the millions of unemployed youths, diversify and improve the economy, reduce the cost of purchasing petroleum products and so on.
Over the years, successive administrations have tried, but failed to bring about improvement in the energy and power sectors. The same goes for unemployment. Instead of providing job, people are extorted and even made to die while struggling for job. The 2014 Immigration recruitment exercise is a case in point.
Instead of improving electricity supply, Nigerians are made to pay fixed charge of between Seven Hundred Naira and One Thousand Naira monthly in addition to the exorbitant estimated electricity bills sent to consumers on monthly basis irrespective of whether there was electricity supply or not.
Petroleum products scarcity has become the norm in a country that explores and refines petroleum products, and the people are made to purchase the products at a very high cost. For example, Kerosene which is officially fixed at Fifty Naira per litre is being sold all over the country for over One Hundred Naira per litre. It is either fuel scarcity today or fuel scarcity tomorrow with arbitrary price.
Without doubt, the reason why it has become difficult for successive government to overcome these problems confronting the nation and her people is corruption among the political class, the public servant, business men and other stakeholders. In other words, corruption remains the bane of Nigeria’s growth and development. The question is who will bail us out of this quagmire? Is it the leader who will not listen to the plight of the people or those who lack the political will to provide solutions to the identified problems? Is it the leader whose best has not been good enough for the nation and the people? Is it those who are operating a system that is no longer working as if it is working?
The United States of America is one of the advance democracy in the world and any time there is a presidential election in that country people all over the world watch with keen interest debates by the presidential candidates on how they are going to tackle problems of’ health, terrorism and insecurity, unemployment, education, agriculture and others. It usually forms the basis for their campaigns everywhere they go. People are free to ask questions especially from members of the press. The American people or press does not accept rhetorics or empty promises, they demand for pragmatic ideas that could make their country greater. Based on this, they continuously engage their politicians until there is hope in sight for the people. Otherwise, there is no victory for any candidate who cannot solve the Americans problem.
In the campaigns preceeding the 2015 general elections in Nigeria, the various candidates contesting at Federal or State levels have not done much to convince the electorates about their ability to fix the present bad social and economic situation in the country for the better.
They should realize that despite the situation, there is growing political awareness among the people. Politicians should know that they cannot continue to fool the people all the time. If they don’t change their ways now, a time will come when the people will rise up against them, and when that time comes it will be too late to make amend.
However, in these present circumstances of hopelessness, despondency and despair, some Nigerians are contemplating whether to vote or not. This has compelled some of them to sell their voter card to desperate politicians, while others have simply refused to collect their voter’s card. There is growing apathy among voters based on the disappointment of the past from politicians. According to one of them “looking around I see the same set of politicians who have failed us in the past still jostling for power in the different political parties and I said to myself, there is no need to vote”.
Nevertheless, we must not let the spirit of Naija in us to die, we must keep hope alive, perhaps one day God will answer the cry of Nigerians for a better leadership.
Desmond Agbama is the Chairman, Edo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists