By September 28, 2022 the curtain will be lifted for political parties and their presidential candidates to begin their electioneering campaign.
There would be noise all over the place. There would be noise pollution as every inch of the nation’s environment would be bombarded with campaign materials.
The television and radio and other electronic means of mass information would be bombarded with all manner of messages to woo voters.
There would be plenty lies, deceit, misinformation, character-assassination and propaganda.
Indeed, the 2023 general election is going to be different in more ways than one.
Nigeria has been battered, the economy is hurting, so much blood has been and is being spilled on a daily basis. Poverty is endemic. University students have been home for several months, members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are on strike and have not received salaries for months; insecurity is causing serious disruption all over the place.
Rather than the usual campaign of distributing rice, onions, tomatoes, Maggi and a few naira notes; T-shirts and fez-caps; this time around it must entre on critical issues of how to heal Nigeria from her variegated malaise.
It is not about grammar and fine articulation (which though are also governance) the campaign must be about how not to shut universities’ gates even for one day let alone one year as it is currently happening. It must be about how to rein in the worsening insecurity in the country that has overwhelmed the current government.
The campaign must be about how to remove the cloak of consumption nation and adorn that of production (producing) nation; from import-dependent to export-dependent; from being ‘fantastically corrupt’ to being corrupt-free.
It must be about issues and not inanities, not about pouring invectives on opponents and their supports. The campaign must be about how to unite Nigerians and not to exacerbate the ethnic and religious faultiness which have almost become a policy in the current government.
The campaign must not be about the length of the entourage of a presidential candidate and the Armanda of his/her exotic cars.
It must not be about high sounding “gbangban timtim” that accompanies a candidate. The retinue of praise signers, hangers-on and a large congregation of marabouts and necromancers. It must be about how a pregnant woman can have access to ante-natal session without breaking her head; it must be about how to make the nation’s primary, secondary and tertiary health institutions envisioned by those that created them.
It is about how to reduce, if not eradicate, the exodus of Nigerians abroad for greener pastures. It is about how to make the environment attractive again for foreign and local investors to have confidence in the country. The campaign must be about how to make public education attractive again to the Nigerian people.
It must be about how to restore the dignity of man in Nigeria, by making the lives of citizens matter. It is about how to make Nigeria a habitable place for every citizen; how to return to the good old days when Mr. Okonkwo lived in the remotest village in Kano State and felt at home; Audu live in the remotest village in Eboyi and feared nothing, and when Mr. Ajayi and his family live all their lives in Onitsha without molestation.
The peace that died as a result of the selfish activities of politicians must be restored, and they need to tell us how they will simply do that. It must not be about the myopic reasoning of “oh let me collect the N5000, N10,000 from them and eat; tomorrow will take care of itself.” No; a wise decision taken today takes cares of tomorrow. Decision determines destiny, we are told. We must not destroy our tomorrow because we want to satisfy today’s hunger. That would be disastrous.
We must always expect that, as it is always their nature, politicians will come again with all manner of sweet promises; but it behooves on the Nigerian electorate to sift between truths and lies. There are too many yardsticks to determine whether the promise of any candidate would be delivered.
Most times, the promises of many politicians can be likened to the sugar-coated promises of killers who go about hunting for young prostitutes. With their fair words they lure these women of easy virtue, and in some unfortunate cases, they kill them for ritual purposes.
That is how many politicians have been dealing with the masses. They will come with their sweet words to lure votes, and thereafter deal deadly blows on the hapless citizens. We all bear the bruises of their brutality!
Many will fall victims, and realise only when the head is off. Many Nigerians are today psychologically traumatised; their businesses wrecked and families destroyed because of their inability to process well before they pressed the ink on a wrong candidate on the ballot.
Many Nigerian students can tell better. The lecturers can attest to the fact that wrong electoral choice can kill their career. You can find out from many doctors and other health workers that had fled the country where their career was before they decided to “japa”.
These are the critical issues that Nigerians should insist on before they go to the poll in 2023. After we must have done our beat, we then commit every other thing in the hands of the Omniscient, the Monarch of Ages; the Potentate. It is well with Nigeria.