Political will in Nigeria

Political will in Nigeria

If you have been following the  Nigerian press online or if you read local Nigerian papers like, The Nation, then you will know that there is a higher percentage of political commentary in their newspapers, much more than we’re used to in British papers. You may also have noticed some ‘unofficial’ campaigning for the presidential and parliamentary elections in February 2015, for example with a recent visit to the House of Commons by a Nigerian minister to talk about  educational initiatives, namely more secure schools; pushed on by Boko Haram and international reactions to the kidnapping of the Chibok girls? You can  also find more online now about a range of central government objectives for anti-corruption, improvements in educational provision and investments in defence or local security. However, it is much more difficult to read about those local improvements as made possible by executive governors with local budgets. Port Harcourt is a very good example, a town where any visitor can  so easily see there has been massive investment in building state of the art schools and health centres. The political will to deal with insecurity and human rights is quite obvious and tangible in Rivers State. Strange then that the governor of Rivers State Rotimi Amaechi is quite often reported badly.

Aside from government spin, should we also be wary of press restrictions in Nigeria? The Independent National Electoral Commission most recently published a statement about the use of the media in politics on the run up to the elections in February 2015 telling us that: “no effort should be spared by stakeholders in promoting civic enlightenment among the electorate and global best practices among the political elite”. It does however seem to be that there are very few  Nigerians (here is one at least) asking incisive questions about the political will to deal effectively with corruption and insecurity, never mind Nigeria’s ability to provide transparent elections. Perhaps we should pay more attention to international observers  like United Nations Development Program when they warn  us that  the Federal Government of Nigeria/ the President is not doing enough to fight corruption and insecurity in Nigeria and this will inevitably lead to a difficult election process in February 2015?

Martin Brown