-By Austen Akhagbeme:
Just a few days from now, the longest campaign period in recent time, before a general election, in Nigeria will commence.
It has always been a shorter period than it is now. This unprecedented latitude will help to differentiate the endurance level of the long-distance runner from that of the dash.
Tactics and ploys will be deployed wisely to ensure the sustainability of the campaign tempo and the consistency of her grip on the electorates by the various political parties.
Monies will be aggressively raised and ‘recklessly’ spent by the political parties all in a bid to outrun each other in terms of garnering support for the d-day. These are interesting times, indeed.
However, one thing that must not escape our curiosity is the content and kernel of the campaign. We must not allow it to be hinged on the mundane instead of the real issues bedevilling our polity.
Any electioneering campaign in Nigeria today that ignores our current level of disunity among ethnic groups, insecurity of life and property, power generation, oil production and theft, unemployment, Education and incessant teachers’ strikes, debt management and dependency and above all, inflation must not be taken seriously.
This is the reason we must all raise our antennas to pick the right signals from the multiplicity of promises that will be birthed by our desperate politicians such that we are always able to pin them down on the real issues instead of the mundane.
There will be the intrigue of affronts and the often manufactured truths and half-truths about the various leading candidates, no doubt. But we must not be deceived by such cannon fodder not to ask the pertinent question of capacity, temerity and strength of character, on the part of the aspirants to bring Nigeria out of the woods.
There will be a play and display of the ethnic cards and the attempt to deliberately manipulate our native affiliations and natural sentiments; yet, we must never forget to ask for assuring antecedents and reassuring hope hinged on past performances and not on the commonality or proximity of vernacular.
When push comes to shove, Faith-based chants of a common deity or Celestial deification will be dangled at your face by these daring politicians. Do not forget to listen to your spirit and make your choice based on what will be of benefit to a greater number than the many selfish religious nuances thrown at your face by those who are bent on getting your vote.
This is the season of truth; the time to vote for the truth and to be the change that you have always been looking for. Nigeria must be rescued this time around.
- Austen Akhagbeme is a Columnist with Blank NEWS Online