A story was told about a political rally where politicians promised the people of a certain town that if they came to power, they would eradicate the mosquitoes responsible for the incidence of malaria in the town. To illustrate their point, the campaign team displayed posters showing the mosquitoes they were referring to.

But the people were not to be fooled; They knew their problems. Then, to the surprise of the politician, the people responded that they did not have that type of mosquito on the posters.

We return to those days once again, as our politicians, accompanied by their media strategists, are busy painting us pictures of an Eldorado that they will soon unleash upon us, once we hand them our mandate next month. In fact, election time has become the best time to live in Nigeria. At such a time as we are experiencing now, we are jolted from our poverty riddled psyche to glimpses of beauty that may be our destiny here in Nigeria.

This blame is not just on today’s politicians, some of whom may be somewhere close to where you are now, listing the various things they will do for their community, their local government, and even their state. They just carry on the tradition that has kept Nigeria where it is now.

This is the problem with our policy, which has been caught by those who tell us they mean well for us, when in fact they are at a different company. If politics or political economy is specifically the art of managing resources for the good of all, then something has gone wrong with the brand that has been practiced in Nigeria up to now. This type of politics in Nigeria focuses on politicians rather than the welfare of the people.

Otherwise, how come we only hear or know how great this country or part of it could be only when elections are right around the corner? They tell us about the problems that will solve us and how our lives, as Nigerians say, will never be the same again. They remind us that this land is blessed with all the resources that are needed to make it similar to any of the beautiful countries where the elite usually travel to enjoy life.

Ordinary Nigerians have always wondered aloud why Nigerian politicians, who have dominated the corridors of power, forget that the things they enjoy abroad can also be good for the masses at home. When they go to Dubai, London, New York and other beautiful places in the world, why do they think Nigerians back home are allergic to such good things and therefore shouldn’t enjoy them here? When you go to countries where electricity is available around the clock, why can’t you ask how those people did that, so we can replicate it here at home?

Nigerians are not allergic to traveling on good roads. So why is it almost impossible for us to have good roads in Nigeria? Or have we not seen enough examples of good roads that we cannot build here? Or that the technology that underpins the kind of infrastructure that exists there can’t be imported here? Or is it that the models to finance good roads, even with affordable budgets, do not exist?

In some ways, each election cycle in Nigeria is like a new beginning. It’s like the country has just started and then we have to talk about the rudimentary things, like the politicians whose campaign was to eradicate mosquitoes in that community.

As Robert Heilbroner has said in his book The Worldly Philosophers: “The secret of economic growth lies in the fact that each generation attacked Nature not only with its own energies and resources, but also with the patrimony of equipment accumulated by its ancestors. .

“And as that heritage grew, as each generation added its share of new knowledge, factories, tools, and techniques to the wealth of the past, human productivity increased with astonishing rapidity.”

But we don’t seem to experience that cumulative buildup of creative addition in the development of our economy. This explains why every four years, politicians dust off their rusty strategy papers prepared for them by professional consultants and take over the airwaves in the name of political campaigns. That is because here there is no continuity in the art of governing. Each group, each dispensation comes with its own plan, which most of the time is totally different from what the nation needs.

Imagine if a certain fraction of the campaign promises made to Nigerians have been faithfully implemented, be it in the health, power or energy sector, by any of the successive administrations. And that each administration added to what was built by the previous ones, and the following ones added their grain of sand. What do you think the state of this economy would be today?

The tragedy of Nigeria today is this duality that marks our politics. While they happily toss around their sweet-sounding agendas or manifestos, there is actually an unwritten or unseen version that is, in fact, the one that is penciled for implementation.

This explains the fact that, apart from one or two sectors, it is as if we are starting anew in 2023. Take the energy sector, for example, where we are still shamefully struggling to produce enough electricity for the people of Nigeria. This is despite all the billions of dollars that have sunk into that sector.

Why do we still have up to 20 million children out of school in a country that says that young people are the hope for the future? What kind of future will the children create outside of school and under the bridge? By not preparing this great army of ignorant and unskilled children, we are actually preparing ourselves for the kind of country they will create and rule.

That is part of our reality. Let’s take a snapshot of today’s Nigeria. In four years, let’s compare and see what would have changed. When that time comes, let’s hope that those who ask for our votes today will be proud to own the new realities.