There is no doubt that political gladiators and party officials are busy strategising on how to win the next general elections, as visible in their campaigns, promotional posters, jingles, flyers, as well as the traditional and electronic billboards, all of which lend credence to this.
The posters don’t say much about the candidates, as the things we see in those posters are the names, political parties, the offices the candidates are vying for, and then the associates or supporters that sponsored the posters.
Some posters are so empty with no value addition to the candidates to the point that one would have wished such items were not made in the first place. For those that have manifestoes, of course, the political rallies would have been a very good avenue to know how the candidates will implement their plans.
For instance, how much funding will be required for each of the candidates’ new programs? What alternative projects will be traded off to execute the new ones being proposed? What approaches did some of these candidates employ to arrive at the new projects and how are they sure they are the best for their states, regions or constituencies?
What’s more, for those seeking re-election, how much of what they promised in their first tenure are accomplished and what prevented them from fulfilling their past promises?
Rather than do this, all the political parties are interested in is the number of people that attend their rallies. To them, this is the most important thing in a rally. This is really disturbing, after almost 20 years in the new political dispensation, and on a number of occasions, it has been established that tumultuous crowds at a rally do not translate to votes. First, apart from few party officials, no one can say for sure that everyone at the rally has a PVC. Second, there is no guaranty that all the people at a rally belong to the same political party. For these reasons, it will be difficult to have a positive correlation between the crowd at a rally and the eventual votes political parties will have during the election.
Another intriguing dimension is the collapse of podiums. Since the ban on political campaigns was lifted, a number of podiums had collapse leading to untimely deaths of party faithful.
In Kebbi, Ekiti, and other states, party faithful who thronged out to cheer their candidates to victory came back home injured, as a result of the lackadaisical attitudes of the party committee members in charge of the campaign rallies. If a party could not protect its members at a gathering of about 300,000 Nigerians, does that party have the competence to protect 180 million Nigerians?
Another issue that leaves party supporters with a bitter experience is the control of traffic before, during and immediately after campaigns. For state capitals that are not as densely populated as Kano City, Kaduna, Lagos, Ibadan, etc, this issue may not be much of a concern. But that is not the case in other states. After the campaign, the adjoining streets to the campaign venue become no man’s land. Disorderliness rules the day.
As the APC presidential candidate visits the nation’s commercial capital, Lagosians cannot afford to go through the harrowing experience that comes with uncontrolled traffic and crowd. As the fifth biggest economy in Africa, traffic jam in Lagos for a day costs Lagosians billions of naira in revenue. Lagosians will not listen to excuses if orderliness is not implemented around the campaign venue come this Saturday.