Steve Obum Orajiaku
While some aspiring and existing politicians have slightly begun to roll out their drums in preparation for the next senatorial, gubernational and presidential elections in Nigeria, I deem it necessary, among other equally important national issues, to dwell on election affairs ahead of the national exercise in this article. Without doubt, the turn of election periods such as imminent in Nigeria usually presents itself as a “reckoning of your stewardship” moment for the serving politicians and a golden opportunity for the aspiring ones to prove their mettle. This is actually the concept the political debate which is held prior before every major election demonstrates.
Unfortunately, the value and weight of this crucial democratic practice is widely known to be deemphasized, short of being discouraged, even by the nation’s electoral umpire – the Independent National Election Commission, INEC. Other aspects of election activities that are necessarily undergone by participating individuals and political parties preceding voting day includes but not limited to; 1) the need for the aspirants to identify with a political party. 2) Taken that incontrovertible and abiding democratic principle – majority rule – one in which supreme power is held by the people under a free, credible and fair electoral system – the electorate must be duly registered. 3) Electioneering activities must be regulated and excesses curtailed by the relevant commission etc.
Certain tenets of democracy need be mentioned here as their violation by anyone usually spells disaster for any nation if not checkmated. These are the sovereignty of the people, respect for civil and political rights, mass literacy, the rule of law and good governance, majority rule and minority rights, free press and judiciary independence, social development and economic prosperity.
The perennial challenge confronting Nigeria is not the dearth of well-articulated speech makers or the lack of quality legislations properly reserved in the nations archives, never! It lies in the abject lack of the political will power to match words with actions. Political leaders are not as patriotic as they are expected, rather most of them have chosen to be ethnically biased, disposed to nepotism while the rest are guilty of filthy lucre, making merchandise of the nations patrimony to their selfish advantages. But if they can muster courage, turn away from their perilous ways, perhaps there will be hope for the country.
It is obviously not a matter of controversy that this passing political generation in Nigeria has woefully failed not just the country, but the posterity and soul of Nigeria. The wind of spontaneous revolution – so strong and mighty – must need flash them into oblivion, sooner than later. This is not my wish or threat but a declaration of natural law of karma. That universal law respects no colour, have no regard for religion, nor creed, nor gender, nor age or social affiliation. It applies to one and every irrespectively and impartially.
As the next general election is at our door steps, the electorate, particularly and politicians in general must beware. On the part of the people – the electorate, gullibility or what is rightly called the ‘selling of one’s birth right’ must be eschewed. In fact, one should mark and avoid such unscrupulous politicians who are infamously known to be buying votes with liquid cash and distribution of bags of rice and beans etc. But when you cannot completely achieve abstinence, you may take what in the first instance belongs to you, yet keep your conscience intact and vote according to your convictions on the ballot not bullet day. Violence of any sort before, during and post election, should not be once recorded.
Government should equally not be seen doing anything that can engender strife in the preparation for the election.
It is quite pathetic, but just as I picked my pen to commence this write-up, devastating news of ravaging and massive killings in three different local government areas in Plateau State is filtering in and already going viral on both the electronic and social media platforms. I predict that will be the front page news on most dailies on Monday 25/06/2018. That notwithstanding, if the past similar killings and the kid glove treatment to the perpetrators and the snail-speed reaction of the government in power is anything to go by, then I am not expecting any fantastic or rapid response whatsoever. Baring the closeness of election and the now sporadic electioneering splashes now taking place, I am sure the story will be different.
Every non-performing political figure, despite the position he or she is presently occupying in Nigeria, must be shown the exit door with ballot might come the next general election. By their fruits, you shall know such political redundant. They are habitually mighty in words but abysmal indeed. They grace our electronic media screens and full newspaper pages with phony completed projects and inflated sprinkling and mushroom works. They beg to be invited to public events and waste no time to advertise themselves even to the chagrin of the guests. The inconsequential achievements which they scarcely found time to make … the entire nation or state and economic activities are compelled to shut down on the day of the commissioning and opening ceremony.
They are certainly destitute of quality ideas – empty indeed, therefore they emit unnecessary and avoidable noise. They hire demagogues and speech makers with deafening amount of money to package and repackage them for presentation before the unsuspecting electorate during preparations for any election. They are not passionate about or interested in the aspiration and welfare of the people as much as they are seriously focused in selfish and parochial goals, and in many cases, satisfying their voracious financial aggrandizement. They are intolerant of constructive criticism especially coming from real or perceived opposition. They are ethnically prejudiced, disposed to nepotism, shallow in significant political procedures. Their political target usually supersedes that of the masses or nation at large. The plight of the generality of the people does not scratch the surface of their consciences.
In conclusion, however, hope must not be totally lost. The existing retired politicians who have vowed not to vacate partisan political spaces are all bereft of requisite ideas, remedies for the ills bedeviling the nation. The same insincere politicians have been on ground, before the Nigeria Biafra civil war and till date, for the worst are stiff-necked to disappear. As the upcoming general election becomes even more imminent, it cannot be argued that the younger vibrant generation, whose population indeed outnumbers that of senior citizens or aged ones, must grab the reins of political power and quickly salvage the nation, forthwith.
There are pitfalls or what is known as the banana peels that must be avoided even by the incoming agile youth politicians – greed for money, ethnic bias, power drunk and dictatorial tendency etc. Abstain from these and uphold patriotism, probity, equity, pursue national wellbeing and development, economic stability and dependence, technological advancement, democratic political progress, etc. This is the general expectation of many Nigerians.
Orajiaku writes via [email protected] gmail.com