by Innocent Tochukwu Okoro
Elections are around the corner and suddenly every politician remembers that there are human beings domiciled in Nigeria. While they rode in imported Jeeps whose hydraulic systems made it impossible for them to notice that the roads on which Nigerians tread daily are dotted with potholes, they never cared. While their children studied abroad, they saw no need to address our education system but continue playing games with the education and destiny of our generation, interrupting our studies in the process. While they took incessant flights to developed countries for medical check-ups, they remained oblivious to the fact that our hospitals here are overcrowded, understaffed, underequipped, and in deplorable conditions. Since they have dedicated lines supplying electricity to their homes from whatever is left of our National grid and can acquire the recent technology of sound-proof generators, they ignore the fact that millions of families scramble in darkness. Since they are always immersed in a sea of security operatives, they intentionally refuse to realize that Nigerian deaths have assumed biblical proportions and the average Nigerian life is now worth less than a kobo. They only remember Nigerians in terms of election figures, figures that will elongate their stay in office and enable them continue the stockpile of our commonwealth in their respective personal Swiss accounts. In a few days, the General Elections would take place, and the gullible and greedy bastards would need all the votes they can amass in order to return to ‘business as usual’ and initiate a recycle till another General Elections. At various levels, these myopic and self-centered politicians prepare beforehand for success at the polls. In their preparation, they take drastic actions; they cease the salaries of hardworking Nigerians so that there will be enough money for ‘campaigns’, they spend money meant for projects in lobbying interest groups who can tip election results in their favor. During elections, they splash goodies on Nigerians who care to give them attention and promise to support them at the polls, and make romanticist promises. Nigerians have always known that their lives don’t matter, that institutions and agencies will always go on strike, that the promises of jobs, water, electricity, etc. will never end, and that their leaders are liars. And the Nigerian crowd? They are for sale, available to the highest bidder. Recently, the campaign teams of both ‘Saint Buhari’ and President Jonathan offered money to youths in their rallies. People are paid to show up at rallies and also paid to vote in a certain way, and together, we conspire with these monsters to plunder our destinies and those of our children’s children. Do we ever learn?
The biggest political contest is that between General Muhammadu Buhari and President Goodluck Jonathan. In the build up to the elections, Buhari has assumed the status of a saint. Even before his death, he has been canonized and beatified by the Nigerian masses who are generally dissatisfied with situations as they now stand. Buhari’s charm offensive is catching on with a vast majority of Nigerians, his recent smooth talking and costume wearing has acquired him a messianic status in the Nigerian political order of things. The fact that Buhari’s charm offensive sold to our ‘intellectuals’ shows that Nigeria is in trouble, I expected that our ‘intellectuals’, ‘freedom fighters’, ‘journalists’, and ‘rights activists’ would read Buhari’s gentility for what it truly is – a means to an end, the end being the presidency. Instead, they swallowed Buhari’s ‘subtlety tactic’ hook, line and sinker. The Buharists have given Buhari a status of immaculacy and impeccability, and that status has become widely accepted, Buhari himself is very careful not to lose that status and is sticking to the script. You wonder why he (Buhari) refused a Presidential debate (which a typical opposition would have looked forward to). It is simply because it is a ‘live show’ and his ‘script writers’ would not be there to direct his actions, in that situation, he would be forced to default to the ‘Real Buhari’, the sectional treasonable felon, the maker of inciting statements whose body language supports violence, a maximum dictator, and an executioner of journalists and peddlers of alternative opinion. But by according Buhari this undeserved messianic status, we further show that we are a nation without any sense of history, we prove that ‘doublethink’ can be applied on us with great success, and we make ourselves vulnerable to the lies of politicians whose interests have nothing to do with our welfare. We never asked for what skills Buhari would bring to bear in boosting the fortunes of a collapsing nation, or what his plans are in steering the ship of the Nigerian state on successful waters, instead we tried to prove that a President needs no education, what a shame?
But why is Buhari suddenly popular? Why is it that his attempts were previously not greeted with the same wide acceptance? It is because of Jonathan’s failures, cluelessness and inability to tackle the challenges Nigeria faces. Actually, President Jonathan is Buhari’s ‘Campaign manager at large’, as Jonathan’s public ratings plummet, Buhari’s popularity climbs. The security situation in Nigeria is the high point of this campaign, as daily bombs reduce the lives of Nigerians to those of mere rams in an abattoir during a ‘Sallah’ celebration, President Jonathan’s infamy rises to record proportions while the Buharists chant ‘Sai Buhari’. The rhetoric upon which President Jonathan’s election to the Presidency was based upon is that he represented a ‘breath of fresh air’, the people saw him as a savior and gave him their total support, but now, even his core supporters are fed up with his lack of performance. Jonathan has failed as President and should leave, however, General Muhammadu Buhari is not an alternative, no serious nation would think of having someone like Buhari be their President. We would have looked for a third option but it seems we are unprepared in identifying the actual problems of our nation and seeking the right solutions. If we vote Buhari come February 14, we would have taken one step forward and two steps backwards. I am almost sure that the elections would be accompanied by violence in which Nigerians would lose their lives, for what reasons? To what end? We must begin to think of ourselves and our collective destiny, we must identify our true enemies and seek true leaders who would lead us to paradise, and we must stop acting as if there are only two Nigerians. There are actually over one hundred and seventy million (that is if Boko Haram’s carnage has not reduced the figures significantly).
Innocent Tochukwu Okoro
Student, Department of Electronic Engineering, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
[email protected] , +2348163600660