BusinessDay

Nigerians want politicians to shun deceit ahead of campaigns

As candidates for various political offices, particularly those running for president, prepare for the commencement of the electioneering campaign, Nigerians have advised them to avoid promising lies and deceiving the citizens.

They have also been advised to eschew propaganda but to focus only on things they have the capacity to deliver on, if elected.

The advice was given by some citizens who spoke with our correspondents Tuesday, in Abuja, Lagos and Benin City.

They recalled that politicians have the penchant to tell lies and employ deception in order to get votes from the people.

Some of them said that such were the case in 2015 and 2019 when citizens were promised a better country; they however, alleged that the great promises upon which votes were cast, have remained unfulfilled over seven years after.

Georgina Dakpokpo, an Abuja-based lawyer and political activist, said: “Politicians world over are generally known to be deceptive, making empty promises, but there are exceptions to the general rule. Politicians in this country have taken that to a higher level. They make promises without knowing what the people need. They just make promises and say what they think the people will want to hear and at the end of the day they don’t do anything at all because they don’t have intention of doing anything. They promised to make a dollar equal to one naira but it appears it is going to be N1000 to a dollar at the end of the current year.”

Dakpokpo said that the enlightened youth population that are now in the nation’s electoral process could change the dynamics this time around, and could also make politicians to be more circumspect.

“In 2023, we are going to have a voting populace that is more critical than the previous one. The voting population is now dominated by the youth. This is 21st century, they are going to research what you are saying, and they are educated and enlightened. So, my advice to politicians is that they should not think it is going to be business as usual,” he said.

Moses Onodua, a public affairs analyst who spoke with our correspondent in Benin City, Edo State, urged eligible voters to be on the lookout for “candidates and their bag of lies,” stressing that campaigns in the past were filled with falsehoods.

He said: “The present government, during their various campaigns, gave so much hope and expectations to Nigerians and at the end of the day, there is nothing to show. Their campaigns were based on lies and empty promises. They could not even fulfill just one of their numerous promises and eight years have been wasted.

“This time around, the electorate must look before they leap. We must look at the pedigree of each candidate: what they did in the past in the various offices they have previously occupied. This should form the basis of our choice and not oratory skills or eloquence of speech. Who has done well in the area of the economy, security, and infrastructural development, among others, should be what every voter should interrogate.”

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Kayode Salako, chairman of Labour Party in Lagos State, said that what Nigerians want to hear now are things that offer solution to the country’s problems.

He said: “People are tired of rhetoric, blame game and personality attacks. When this politicians talk, diverting attention from the main issue, it gets Nigerians more upset. In the 2023 general election, Nigerian have decided to vote only for candidates that will deal with the issues and can solve the nation’s many problems.

“I can tell you that people are now wiser. INEC should be free; must be allowed to do their work. They should not short change expectations of Nigerians. With the new Electoral Act we are assured that vote would count in 2023.”

Ernest Ereke, an Abuja-based academic and public affairs analyst, said: “I think Nigerians are generally tired of usual bogus and then empty promises that politicians make during campaigns. Because, at this point Nigerians want somebody who can tell them how he or she will improve their lives, how he or she will improve the economy, security, education. Nigerians are going through a lot at the moment, security wise, economic wise and generally. Almost every sector in Nigeria is troubled.

“What we need are policies and programmes that are well-informed. Policies and programmes that are practicable, not bogus and empty promises. So, I don’t think Nigerians themselves would want to hear people who will come with the usual promises of transforming Nigeria to Eldorado within a short while. They should look at issues in the country and based on issues and challenges in the country, draw up their policies and programmes that they will be selling to the people.

“So, I will advise politicians as we gear up to the campaign to first of all put on their thinking caps, do studies and researches, commission studies so that they will be able to have a practical grasp of what Nigerians are going through, of what the country needs and therefore, will be able to proffer plausible solutions. My advice is they should make promises that are realistic and pragmatic.”

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