The Sun News

Are 2019 office-seekers ready for first-time voters?

With general elections looming, there’s so much to thank our president for. One of such appreciation subheads covers the fact that everything the man has/hasn’t said or done since coming on in 2015 has tended to mobilise the masses pro and con. Very many of those looking to throng polling booths in 2019 would be voting for the first time ever. It might sound cynical, but that’s a massive testament to the efficacy of the Buhari magic -whatever that means!

Almost all reactions to last week’s serving of this column spoke to the quiet resolution by Nigerians to bury their political apathy once and for all next year. Take the case of Aidy, who will be a lawyer about the time of the elections. His terse emotion-laden 11-sentence whatsapp entry left me with no doubt that young people may just be our trump card, going forward. The ensuing paragraph embodies four of those Aidy lines that will resonate for a while.

‘Your views on how Nigerians shoot Nigeria in the foot vividly reflect the anxieties of sane Nigerians. Never before did I see the need to vote in any general election as I now do. 2019 offers a chance for liberation from the hegemony of myopic and parochial leadership. However, at this point, I am convinced that beyond analysing and theorising the failures of this government, we need to seek the face of God for the best alternative next year’.

As I alluded to earlier, Aidy is not alone. An alarming majority of Nigerians are anxious over 2019. Independent National Electoral Commission must prepare for the type of crowd never recorded. Early days yet, but the electoral umpire must now think both inside and outside the box to address fears of regional or tribal disenfranchisement.

No intending voter who comes out to register should be turned back, no matter what. No voter card should be hoarded or handed other than to the owner. Any piece of electoral nigerianism allowed in this build-up could backfire on Election Day. The authorities must realise that 2019 is a keg of gunpowder!

However, it is not only INEC that must be up and doing. The electorate must also come clean by eschewing the politics of money, hate, ethnicity, violence and sundry internecine stupidities; the bane of our leadership needs and aspirations. We must rescue Nigeria by collectively outsmarting the current bunch of political buccaneers. 2019 is our only immediate last chance.

For those seeking to run, their job is cut out for them. They should look beyond traditional strongholds such as party foot soldiers, market, student and allied cabals. The impending influx of fresh voters could be the deciding block votes in 2019. Yesterday was the best time to start locating and placating them.

Thankfully, they are not a demanding lot. All that’s required to have their support is proof and reassurance that the candidate of choice knows the destination as well as how to get there. The other very good thing about this set of voters is that they are the nemesis of those coconut heads who have nothing to offer and who had better forget 2019. God bless Nigeria!

Wike & Abe: redefining our hypocritical politics 

Not many people might have taken note of the positive energy gathering in Rivers state. Unfortunately, I don’t have all the details. Fortunately though, I don’t need them.

All I know is that Gov. Nyesom Wike and Sen. Magnus Abe, who now belong in separate parties, have decided to play the game differently. This came to the fore when the All-Progressives Congress senator invited the People’s Democratic Party governor to his thanksgiving service. In Nigeria, the eternal global headquarters of the politics of hate and hypocrisy, Party A member cannot and should not share a drink let alone a room with someone of party B; even if both share blood!

Nonsense! As I was saying, the use and dump, friends-despising and extra-arrogant leader of APC in Rivers state, Transport Minister Chibuike Amaechi, himself the immediate past PDP governor of the state, kept away from the thanksgiving for obvious reasons. A righteous politician like him dare not mix with lesser mortals who were once under him but now dream bigger.

Of course, because this is Nigeria, Gov. Wike’s presence was always going to cause Sen. Abe some blackmail here and there. I believed some of it myself, until last Friday when the latter came on television to explain his politics and side of the story. Sen. Abe ought to be the leader of his party in that state.

I did not and still do not agree though, with the superlatives he borrowed to robe President Muhammadu Buhari’s in-office performance hitherto, but what could he have said of own party leader? However, all through the interview, the man who represents Rivers South East senatorial district never patronised the governor. Meaning: the senator is not crossing over; at least not yet.

Crested in the Abe style and approach is a huge lesson for all politicians. Never alienate anyone because of divergence in affiliations and ambitions. Wike and Abe deserve praise and emulation the way their legendary sportsmanship has made mincemeat of not only their PDP and APC partisanship but also the deafening murmurs that Abe is eyeing Wike’s position in 2019!   

Arsenal: Applause, not boos

Even if his boys win the UEFA Europa League, calls for Arsene Wenger’s head on a platter would not stop. The ‘football dictator’ must know that by now.

Whatever, I commend -not condemn- Arsenal: an incredibly appreciative, yesterday-remembering and unique side. We’ve stuck with our coach in sickness and in health!


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March 2018
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