• Friday, July 19, 2024
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Nigeria’s post-election trauma and mental health palaver

Nigeria’s post-election trauma and mental health palaver

The 2023 election is still ongoing. We will visit the court’s rooms with accusations and counteraccusations of election malpractices to conclude the election. All political parties have selected their legal team and are battle ready to lay claims to the electoral mandates. Whether a mandate is stolen or not, the courts will adjudge the case. This is a perfect time to be a known lawyer.

The elections are not without traumatic effects on the people. Nigerians are agitated and apprehensive over what will happen next in a country where a lot depends on government efficiency and inefficiency. Because of the election, let’s review possible behavioural episodes and mental health-related manifestations.

Many Nigerians will suffer from what I will term ‘governance phobia’. A phobia is an extreme fear or anxiety triggered by a particular situation. Our political elites’ poor and self-seeking performance over the years is strong enough to create anxiety over what will happen next.

The phobia of what the next administration will do to better the lives of an average Nigerian and to improve the safety, economic well-being and standard of living is a concern. The primary source of phobia in Nigerians is the failure of the government to fulfil the past electoral promises, especially in the last eight years. Nigerians are wondering if anything will change with the next government.

Many Nigerians are exercising secret phobias, which would manifest into different illnesses if not managed. Luckily, Nigerians and Africans generally have a high level of adversity quotient. We can endure complex emotional and mental trauma without breaking down easily like the non-black race.

Some Nigerians have placed their hope in one or more candidates that didn’t win the election. They may have their loss overturned into victory if the court decide so. However, those who have hoped to be favoured or dangerously expected a sudden change in the political class will now suffer from Election Post-traumatic stress disorder. This is more intense in the camps of the ‘Obedients’ and the ‘Atikulates’ whose principals are left with no options than to pay lawyers to prove their rejection in court.

Behind Peter Obi and Atiku are individuals traumatised by the election’s outcome. The source of their trauma is not just the belief that INEC did not use IREV but a disorder in overestimating the strengths of their candidates without cognisance to some specific nature of Nigeria’s politics. For example, the man that held people hostage, at Abuja airport in the name of the Obedient movement reflects the trauma of his disappointment and a delusional mood seeing reality differently from others.

The fact is simple, all states in Nigeria are not equal. Obi won 95% in Anambra but scored very low in Kaduna and the northern states. The two factors of religion and ethnicity don’t favour Peter, though he leveraged them. In the southwest, the state with the highest number of Muslims is Osun. He lost it to PDP.

Before the election, I deliberately refrain from arguing with people about the election. The church people, of which I am one, have taken their zealousness too far. Some show apparent symptoms of Psychosis in their argument for supporting Peter Obi. We need a change and a break from the political class who are now replacing themselves with their children.

I agree that Peter Obi is better in perceived character, though not the beautiful one. Still, the knowledge of Nigeria and the process of gradual national revolution will not allow some of us to be Psychotic. Those who understand Nigeria’s voting pattern, especially the role of the uneducated and idle majority in the north, will not be too optimistic about a change. It will come gradually.

Read also: 2023 Nigeria’s presidential election: Matters arising

Psychosis is defined as ‘the loss of contact with reality’ and may be referred to as a ‘psychotic episode’. The declaration of the Afenifere that the information reaching them confirms that Peter Obi won the election is simply a Psychotic manifestation of an old age delusional episode. No one won the election except the one declared by INEC. Others can upturn their failure into victory in the law courts.

For Afenifere, I see them as seeking relevance. Afenifere is no different from Miyatti Allah, whose pronunciation of the superiority of the herdsmen’s occupation of other people’s land is nothing but a ‘colomentality’ episode’ in a multicultural drama series.

Baba showed some level of old age drama that is not uncommon with Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCD). In OCD, people exhibit an extreme lack of flexibility. They are overly concerned with perfectionism and orderliness, especially in situations that are not in their favour.

And to Baba, who wants to remain relevant as an elder statesman and past president forever, the election trauma came because his preferred candidate didn’t win as declared by INEC. To call for an election to be cancelled in the middle of the race is a form of illogical thinking. The question is simple: will Atiku or Obi call for cancellation if they lead the race? In Nigeria, it is all about self-interest and not national interests.

As Nigerians, we need to be empathic with one another, especially during the various episodes of post-election trauma. You will notice a high level of depression, anxiety, and various strange episodes as consequences of the election. We should avoid degenerating the situation into violence, as any remediation outside the court process is an exhibition of extreme mental health madness. Therefore, show love, avoid illogical arguments and request the agitators wait for the court process’s outcome.

To the youth, my primary concerns, and constituents, please do not be pulled into violent demonstrations. If you are a mentor to any youth, please guide them appropriately.

On a different note, the race for the leadership of the National Assembly is on. Is it true that Orji Uzor Kalu said ’emilokan’ (meaning it is his turn) for the Senate Presidency? We want a decisive leader to lead the National Assembly, not leaders who cannot be principled.

During the APC presidential candidature race, the northern governors were decisive for power to move to the south. Orji wasn’t and was once quoted to have backed Lawan, claiming the president has the right to choose his successor.

We want a decisive man to lead the Senate, not someone who cannot stand for something but shift for everything. This is the time to make leaders account for their role in our society and kill the personal interest mentality. We must put Nigerians and Nigeria above any personal interest of the politicians.