By EricJames Ochigbo
Abuja – Some Nigerians have urged politicians to fix ailing institutions and address economic hardship rather than engage in aspirations in the 2019 general elections.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that politicians in government must concentrate on evolving ways to make life better for Nigerians and not on elections.
They spoke at the backdrop of reported statement by Minister of Women Affairs and Social Devlopment, Aisha Alhassan, that she would support former Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, if he showed interest in the 2019 presidential race.
She had reportedly said that even if President Muhammadu Buhari decided to seek re-election, she would apologise to him and support Atiku who had been her “godfather.”
Her position sparked a bitter debate among the political class and in the ruling party, All Progressive Congress (APC), with many questioning her loyalty and calling for her sack.
In his reaction, Mr Jude Ilo, a member of Open Site Initiative for West Africa, said that Nigeria needed a political leadership that would make the country better for citizens.
He said that if that was done, Nigerians would stop hating and fighting each other in the name of religion and ethnic differences.
“Nigerians are discouraged, people are disenchanted, somehow we are at a verge of hopelessness because there is nothing to look up to; it is a nation in dear need of heroes.
“In an environment like ours where we have farmer/herder crisis, floods, erosion, hunger and poverty, every act of kindness and little show of empathy and responsiveness by those in authority would mean so much,” he said.
Ilo said that rather than discussing 2019 elections, it was an opportunity for every leader to standout and write his name in gold by responding positively to the issues of national development.
He said that there was complete leadership failure in the country, but insisted that there was need to support constituted authority, in spite of their failure, to make Nigeria a better place.
Ilo blamed majority of the crisis in the country on failure of governance, saying that people were taking out their disenchantment on their nearest neighbours.
He said that Nigerians needed explanations to the hunger in the land, bad roads, insecurity, poor health facilities and ailing education sector “and not who will contest the 2019 presidential elections’’.
On her part, a journalist, Ms Faith Nwadishi, said that the debate on the minister’s comment showed that people’s interests were not at the centre of politics.
She said that people were dying in so many crises, with lives being devastated by floods and other environmental hazards, but that nobody was talking about it.
“People have left their homes in Delta because of flood and nobody is talking about that; look at Benue and Kogi.
“Imagine what is happening in the US, in Houston and Texas, the hurricane, and see the response of government.
“But here, when it is time of elections, they go there and canvass for votes from the people but the welfare and interest of the people is not at the centre, it is unfortunate,” Nwadishi said.
She urged politicians to rethink, make policies that would give hope to the people rather than looking at the 2019 general elections that was still far off.
According to her, the people need access to proper sanitation and all other fundamental services to stay alive and vote in 2019. (NAN)