–By Austen AKHAGBEME:
Electioneering campaign seasons are always very interesting in Nigeria. It brings to the fore hitherto forgotten and harmless issues that have no direct bearing on the much needed extermination of the ageless cankerworm eating us from within. And I find this very disconcerting.
The hoopla, the frenzy and the many salvos fired at each other from the various political camps speak volumes of our collective mundanity and lack of a true understanding of the many issues bothering us as a nation.
How can a people ravaged by crass elite greed, predation and a debilitating state of insecurity suddenly forget so soon? This is evident in our awkward and awful choice to reduce electioneering campaigns to the mere throwing of meaningless tantrums and the frivolous and malicious background checks on aspirants to ascertain whether or not they came from Oragbiji in Osun state or northern Cameroun. And whether or not anyone is stingy or stinging with money.
Can we for once move aware from this low level of marketing or demarketing of the aspirants to a higher level of an issue-based campaign as it is done in saner climes? When are we going to dispassionately discuss the competence, capacity, conscientiousness, commitment and confidence of these aspirants to deliver on our collective dreams and aspirations as a nation in this dispensation?
We should be able to know in a no ambiguous term, each aspirant’s blueprint to stem the tide of insecurity on a short and long-term base and that of the near-comatose economy.
Issues of real development and dependency vis-a-vis our foreign policy thrust in line with the realities and roles in a fast-changing world should be on the front burner also.
What is the plan to stop our national currency from its present free-fall mode? How do we get our University students to go back to school and their Teachers smile again? When will the national grid be a pride of the nation and our refineries working and producing in optimal capacity?
Until and unless we begin to ask the aspirants and their teeming campaigners these all-important questions, we will not be seen to be different from the past that we so desire to change.