The road to the Villa is very long, tortuous, expensive and exhausting. What is perhaps disturbing as political activities towards the 2023 general elections pick up steam is the conduct of many politicians and their followers.
The political gear has not been switched to campaign mode, yet the atmosphere is super-charged with accusations and counter-accusations by politicians who are ready to use all “ways and means” possible to occupy any public office.
These sets of politicians see ascension to public office at any level, as a do-or-die affair. If they are not getting positive vibes and reactions from their supporters and political party chieftains, they will simply state in plain language that “it is their turn.”
In our clime, most politicians do not have any bright ideas to persuade the electorate that they deserve their votes. Politicians need to be reminded that persuading the voters is the essence of political campaigns.
But during campaigns, politicians will use religion; or whip up tribal sentiments to pursue their political agendas.
In our clime, most politicians do not have any bright ideas to persuade the electorate that they deserve their votes. Politicians need to be reminded that persuading the voters is the essence of political campaigns
If these fail, some politicians will induce their supporters with food items. During elections some politicians will buy votes and if necessary, hire thugs to snatch ballot boxes. However, we have not seen supporters of any presidential candidate throw stones at political opponents this year.
In all, most politicians have succeeded in dividing families, friends and people of the same faith.
Politics, they say, is a game. Some pundits see politics as a drama. Some of us have watched recently on social media in disbelief the uninspiring viral video of members of the National Association of Seadogs dancing to a song about a presidential candidate’s health.
It appears this is an introduction to what we should expect in days ahead. The song, which was rendered in various tones – treble, alto, tenor and bass – by well-fed men was about a presidential candidate who despite his hands and legs shaking insisted on taking his turn at the Villa.
This video has been condemned by most Nigerians who are concerned that such a song referring to the physical weakness of an individual violates our cultural values. Who composed the offensive song and sponsored these chubby looking men is still not clear to many Nigerians.
Although, their march was peaceful in my view, we know that there is no smoke without fire. In fact, there is a proverbial expression which says that “when you see a cockroach dancing by the side of a road, the drummer is in a nearby bush.”
In as much as we do not support offensive songs during political campaigns, we should know the health conditions of those politicians who are aspiring to lead over 200 million people. Occupying the highest office in the country is very demanding.
Why? Any politician who is going to occupy such an exalted office must be of good health, sound mind and memory. Perhaps, that is why we need to confront all issues squarely and ask presidential and gubernatorial candidates whether their health status will permit them to cope with the enormous responsibilities of the office they aspire to occupy.
In fact, what is wrong in a presidential or gubernatorial candidate telling the citizens the truth about the state of his/her health? We do not want politicians who will outsource their constitutional responsibilities to anybody that is not known to the electorate.
The presidency, for instance, is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. It demands that the occupant of the office must be equal to the task. We want accountability and I must say, that Nigerians are tired of being governed by proxies.
Please, let us focus on the theme of this article which is about the need for politicians to generate bright ideas before the electorate. I admire most of our politicians, particularly those who are professionals for one thing; they are good at talking but most of them are hopeless at fulfilling their promises.
We are mindful that for a politician to translate words into action, he or she needs power. I mean political power. And in order to gain power, the politician must be ready, if necessary, to fight dirty. The motivation to fight dirty is greed.
That is when we see mud-slinging, tantrums and abusive languages from our politicians and their followers to damage the reputation of their opponents. Politicians use these methods as a diversionary tactic not to expose differences in policy positions but to insult opponents’ character.
If our politicians continue along this path by hurling mean-spirited and abusive epithets at each other, the only choice available to citizens is to classify this unacceptable behavior as a national tragedy and embarrassment considering the numerous social, economic and political challenges facing us today as a people.
The race to general elections in 2023 is a reminder that the biggest tragedy that has befallen Nigeria is the absence of bright ideas, collapse of good reason and critical analysis, brazen display of mediocrity and incompetence.
When political parties do not have any ideology, it implies that politicians in those parties contesting for elective offices will definitely not have any idea on how to move the nation forward.
When we look at the security, economic and religious bigotry as well as other national challenges, one may not be totally wrong to say that the country is at the brink of a precipice. Therefore, what is imperative is for us to have those who believe they possess what it takes to lead the country, come forward to sell their ideas to the electorate.
When will the politicians present ideas that matter? We want to hear about contemporary ideas which will shape direction of policy and implementation strategies in the years ahead. As Nigeria decides who takes the reign of office in 2023, let’s ask ourselves one simple question: What does not matter in our country today? Everything matters – removal of fuel subsidy, multiple foreign exchange rates, food insecurity.
Others are massive crude oil theft, revenue leakages and debt repayment, overpopulation, underemployment and unemployment of youths, unrestricted emigration into Nigeria from neighboring countries are some important issues that we must discuss. Debate on restructuring matters.
What about security? Security matters. In fact, insecurity poses serious threat to citizens and genuine businesses in Nigeria. What about health and education? They are important factors to measure human development. So, they all matter!
Lasting economic solutions are achieved when all the components of social life are brought into focus. A nation that refuses to strengthen its democratic institutions does so at its peril. Democratic institutions strengthen democracy, propagates good governance, ensures probity and accountability.
They are made strong by educated citizens who will evaluate all promises of politicians during campaigns by considering the nation’s culture, socio-economic history and society’s underlying values. Democracy works fine in societies where the citizens are educated and they are governed by the rule of law.
Sound ideas about security, economic, and political reforms must pass a truth-test, to ensure that they make rational sense at solving problems at local, state and federal levels.
It is not sufficient to promise citizens that two million jobs will be provided when electricity supply is epileptic with frequent grid collapse. It has been reported that in the past 12 years, Nigeria’s national grid system have suffered 222 partial or total collapse.
A promise to provide 2 million jobs should not be fulfilled by giving indigent families 10,000 Naira monthly for 3 months. We should discuss how the country will have assured industrial peace devoid of health workers and university teachers’ strike?
How are we going to ensure that salaries and pensions of workers and retirees are paid duly? Do we want state or community police? Yes, but will the state governors pay their salaries promptly? These are issues we want politicians to discuss during political campaigns.
Well, just like any conventional warfare, no society can win the war against hunger, poverty, insecurity, inflation and other socio-economic challenges without visionary leaders.
All things being equal, the probability of getting good leaders will be higher in a society where the people are relatively educated, well-mannered, and well-cultured than one peopled by rough and bad- mannered individuals.
Hence, the truism that nations get the leaders they deserve. Consequently, the quality of leaders that will emerge after 2023 general elections will be a mirror of followers who elected them into office.
So, if our politicians are shy of discussing bright ideas that would put the country on the path of development, the citizens including media organizations and civil society organizations should demand for bright ideas that matter. Thank you.