In one of his many columns in the back page of New Telegraph, erudite journalist, Ike Abonyi, wrote: “it will be safer for Nigerians to lower their expectation from President Buhari’s regime. Anything his administration couldn’t achieve before 2021, may not be achieved again by it since 2022 will be spent scheming on how to win 2023 general elections.”
As a political pundit of urbanite experience, Ike’s prophecy two years ago has come to pass. As early as the dusk of last year, Governor Yahaya Bello’s campaign posters had littered every sightworthy spot from Lokoja to Abuja. This is a man who still has fresh in his hand, a valid mandate of Kogi people as a governor. Yet he allowed himself the distraction that goes with presidential campaigns. It opened the doorway to the usual hysteriac frenzy that accompanies every penultimate year to general elections. APC national leader and former Lagos governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s insatiable quest to rule Nigeria barely waited for the New Year to arrive before he left his Bourdillon mansion to declare his interest to President Muhammadu Buhari at Aso Villa.
But unknown to him, as a huge political figure, he was setting a bad precedence, and no sooner had he left Aso Rock than Governor Dave Umahi of Egbonyi state arrived the palace high-shouldered to libate the same sheriff for the same purpose. Predictably, the torrents could have continued if not that Sen. Orji Uzo Kalu pitied our collective sensibility and restrained himself from toeing that path.
Now, the big questions: who makes the president, the people or incumbent president?
Our democracy, once described as ‘nascent,’ has outgrown all yardsticks of nascency. At 18, every human being is a mature adult by Nigerian constitution; therefore, at 23, it can be inferred without exaggeration that Nigeria’s democracy has attained adulthood. So, it is repudiating to see our politicians each time adorning the cloak of incipiency as they pursue their inordinate ambitions along power corridors.
Some critics are beginning to see one of the reasons why voter apathy still persists at each election cycle. Since politicians choose to prioritize the incumbent president over and above the people, then the masses will see align with those who prefer to stay away from polling units on election days instead of ‘wasting’ their times queing to vote for those who placed no premium on their sacrifices. And that’s how desperate politicians indirectly fan the embers of obduracy against active participation and voting among the masses.
Think of the recent Anambra guber election that produced Prof Soludo. A paltry fraction of two hundred and nineteen thousand five hundred and eighteen persons (219,518) less than 10% of registered voters went out to vote. The chorused verse was: “votes don’t count” and that the politicians know how to scheme their way into INEC result sheet.
Will you blame them?
They have had enough of these obstinate inglorious profiteers.
However, just before you think that I am making undue excuses for the nauseating voter apathy that had pervaded our electoral ecosystem over two decades now, read our previous discourse in this space via: https://www.thenews-chronicle.com/ahead-of-2023-the-masses-and-perennial-voter-apathy/?amp=1
But our big guns seeking elective offices should jettison all avoidable knocks against the patriotic enthusiasm of the masses on electoral franchise.
Every discerning mind knows that series of undisclosed elitist consultations do go on among/between public office seekers and their sponsors to seek their blessings prior to public declaration of interests. But such subterranean confabulations were to be discreetly staged to avoid public backlash. That has been how our pre-election years faired since 1999.
What we are witnessing in this pre-Buhari oust era is an abnegation of this ethics of partisan politicking. It unfortunately offends the sensibility of average voter, because legitimate electoral mandate that validly puts any one into Nigeria’s public offices resides in the people and not the president. Seeking open validation from him first before soliciting the consent of the people (both within the party and without) is preposterous. It’s akin to climbing a ladder from the top.
Deliberately heating up the polity over humongous appetite to satiate one’s selfish drive to rule Nigeria is a stark show of disrespect to our nation.
May daylight spare us!