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Friday, December 2, 2022

As 2023 Campaigns Kick Off

“MULTITUDES, multitudes in the valley of decision”. That is the situation in Nigeria at present. The choice of who to actively support as the 2023 elections edge in, is the discussion on the lips of many Nigerians. For the politicians and political parties, the question is ‘to be or not to be’. However, the expected ‘market’ for bargaining, haggling, sales and purchases of supports have been ‘opened’ by Independent Electoral Commission,  INEC as the ban on campaigns  lifted and the battle of the tongues has commenced.

        W E expect  that as the campaigns begin, the political tunes and dancing steps of both the office seekers and kingmakers are about to change drastically. Now that political parties have up to five months to ‘market’ their products, it is expected that they would put up good ‘advertisements’ that would ensure that the electorate  choose their representatives into the desired positions.

WE insist that the campaigns now should be issue-based, in contrast to the mudslinging, character assassination, threats to life, assault, batteries, and political assassinations that have characterised past campaigns of the nation’s democratic history. Before now, we have observed that certain political bigots and fanatics have chosen the path of physical and verbal attacks in order to sell their candidates. The social media is awash with many advertorials, music and videos to vilify perceived opponents of their anointed candidates.

WE encourage agences like Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation, NBC, Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, Security outfits, candidates and political parties to ensure that these immature and provocative forms of campaigns are stopped henceforth. Hence we align with the peace committee on the need for candidates and parties endorsement of a peace treaty for the purpose of all processes of the elections, starting with the campaign. Signing however would not be enough as erring party supporters, candidates and political parties should be adequately sanctioned for breaches observed in the build-up and aftermath of the election.

THE Hope  expects, as all peace loving and development seeking Nigerians would, that candidates and political parties would at this time present their parties manifestoes in black and white, duly signed and published for the whole world to see. These campaigns should not be a dancing jamboree, where much would be uttered and nothing would have been said. It is not a period of rhetoric, proverbs and jabs; but a season of intellectual reasoning, productive interaction, and provision of answers to critical questions and the presentation of practical programmes that would ultimately lead to the preferment of Nigeria and Nigerians amongst the comity of nations.

THEREFORE we expect to hear in clear terms how candidates and parties would address the issues of insecurity, poverty, incessant strikes, centrifugal forces, unemployment, religious intolerance, economic resurgence, fuel subsidy, inflation, acceptable constitutional amendments, and plethora challenges that make ‘things fall apart’, given that the ‘centre cannot hold’ and Nigerians are no longer ‘at ease’ because ‘mere anarchy’ has been loosened upon the nation.

AT  this time, Nigerians should be wary of those who lack depth, decorum, sincerity and loyalty to nation building. At this threshold, Nigerians should have been wise enough to know that those who offer material and monetary inducements for votes are wolves on devouring assignments, vultures set to feed on the carcass of the citizens and nation and without doubt looters in politician garb. Not only that, political parties ought also to be wary of emergent ‘political donors’ from the local and international ’emergency philanthropic donors’, as these would eventually come with conditions and demands that would cripple the nation and parties in the years to come.

WITH more than two decades of democratic rule, political parties ought to have developed transparent, efficient and acceptable means of raising party funds. It is therefore important that INEC, the Economic and Financial  Crime Commission,  EFCC  and other agencies ensure strict adherence to Electoral Laws guiding party financing and expenditure. Contraband funding must be traced, unearthed and punished if we are to have issue based electioneering campaigns for the 2023 elections. Therefore,  The Hope demands for transparency and accountability in the raising and expenditure of campaign funds by political parties and their candidates.

THE Hope observes that at this period, Nigerians need realistic hope as they seek to stay afloat in the nation’s sinking sands. Nigerians have over the years made sacrifices that had ensured steady flows into the gold digesting alimentary canals of corrupt office holders. In 2023, Nigerians seek for  true and honest leaders who  would ensure that politicians in power, and the nation under their watch, make sacrifices for the well-being of the people. Nigerians are hungry and thirsty for a leadership that would enable them to beat their chest anywhere in the world that ‘I am a Nigerian’. Any party or candidate that feels able to achieve this necessary feat, should come to the public sphere and engage in public debates that would convince us all, beyond all reasonable and unreasonable doubts, that truly the right person for the much  sought after seat, is here.

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