By Austen Akhagbeme

The UK human rights lawyer, Keir Starmer, did not appeal to many as a firebrand politician when the campaign for the just concluded UK general elections began six weeks ago. His ordinariness and humble background could not be compared with the elitist roots of his Conservative Party counterpart, Rishi Sunak.

He was most derided as dull and caricatured as a mere “Lefty London Lawyer”. But his tenacity as an opposition leader for four years and his managerial acumen have helped to drag his social democratic Party to the mainstream of politics again, with a historic election victory in 14 years.

Rishi Sunak, the defeated Tory Prime Minister and the first British-Asian to rise to that position equally made history, albeit a bad one. He led his Party to its worst defeat in its 190-year history, the reason Sunak will not be forgiven in a hurry by the Tories, especially with his election gambit.

Over a decade of disastrous leadership by the conservatives, was enough for the average voter to turn the tide against anything Tory.

This was aptly demonstrated by the loss of seats by many top conservative figures, including the former Prime Minister Liz Truss, who lost her seat to Labour. Even the seats previously held by top conservative figures and former Prime Ministers like David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson, were all swept away by this new tidal wave.

Even though one may argue that there are no moral, ideological or sociological grounds for comparison between the UK political system and that of Nigeria, certain thoughts need to be aired from the simple conduct of the elections to the people’s resolve for a change by changing the party in power.

The election which gave the Tories a bloody nose and its worst-ever defeat in over a century, was orchestrated by public anger over a scandalous, non-performing and haughty leadership of the conservatives that resulted in a stuttering economy, a wobbling public service and unclear policy thrust of the government of the day.

The Emergence, as it were, of the APC government in Nigeria was said to have been hinged on the supposed “cluelessness” of the PDP, despite its hollow ubiquity in the Nigerian political space for over a decade on one hand and the dwindling economy and poverty, on the other.

It is now obvious, just as it is, that changing political parties and their leadership in Nigeria does not amount to any change, whatsoever, in her economy or body polity. After all, the fluidity of the Nigerian ruling elite and their penchant for jumping from one political party to another may not give room for this.

Nevertheless, the simple and seamless conduct of the UK general elections painfully reminds us of the rancorous, controversial and violent conduct of our last general elections in Nigeria.

The declared result was “in tandem” with a measurable expectation of the people (who were very determined to throw away the Tories) by the opinion polls conducted before the election. Ours, in Nigeria, are not measurably predicted because they can always be swayed by the highest bidder. We still have a long way to go in Nigeria.

  • Austen Akhagbeme is a Columnist with Blank NEWS Online
News Reporter
Blank NEWS Online founding Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Albert Eruorhe Ograka, is a Graduate of Mass Communication. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).

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