By Bayo Fasunwon
Come September, the frenzy and tempers would rise, as various politicians would roll out their drums to seek for ‘passengers’ into their political Parties. Drums, rather than policies, programmes and decisions. They are aware that many Nigerians are peripheral in their thinking and sensual in their pursuits. Therefore, the easier way to get their supports would include the quest for the inclusion of popular musicians and Nollywood faces in the manifesto train as they journeyed from one State to the other. The lure of music seems an irresistible magnet of the youths at party rallies. It would therefore remain valid to say that the reward of the artistes has arrived.
So, rather than discuss issues that may put parties on their toes, energies would be exhausted on lewd shows such as the Big Brother Naija, entertainment gossips and of course football. These, political parties would exploit and dancing shall replace accountable statements. Passengers? The truth is that majority of the electorate in Nigeria are mostly passengers. They get on board during elections and disembark immediately after the season. Many are not card-carrying members of any political parties. In most cases, only power seeking rich, the poor hopeful few and less educated are card-carrying members of most parties in Nigeria. Even when political parties were urging many Nigerians to register as party members; those who yielded was less than desired.
Many have asked about the best candidate to receive their votes in 2023. The inquiry goes a long way to show that many electorate have not developed their discernment abilities to choose by themselves. As would be seen on social media and other platforms, many Nigerians are like reeds blown by every wind of doctrine. It would not be surprising for a voter whose mind is made up for Party A at the election booth to eventually vote for Party B.
This indecision has fuelled the demand and supply chain of vote buying in Nigeria. The truth is that if there were no demand for vote buyers, there would be no supply from vote sellers. The truth is that political parties understand the ‘infidelity’ of the electorate, hence the thriving prostitution of their rights. As it is now, all we see on the internet is the silence of contestants and the insulting vituperations of supporters who may not even vote on the day of elections. Unfortunately, many Nigerians who could not endure the ‘hardship’ of this nation, and flirted with other nations, have stayed in self induced exile and are dictating to the faithful Nigerians on whom to cast their votes for.
It is more amazing that Nigerians are fixated on the trio of Atiku, Tinubu, and Obi, forgetting that there are other contestants who are able, virile, young, and visionary. Even the youths are silent about their contemporaries who are submitting themselves for the arduous task of nation building. Could it be that these young aspirants are too casual and silent about their ambitions or have been swallowed by the cacophony of the overwhelming supporters of those who have ‘structures’? Nigerians are multitudes in the valley of decisions. The way forward is the deliberate interrogation of the parties and candidates in order to unveil their true intentions for Nigeria and Nigerians. Many are however skeptical of the sincerity of parties and politicians as manifestoes have not changed since 1979. Manifestoes are however, contracts which electorate can decide to accede to or refuse. The publication of the manifestoes would help the electorate make up their minds and expectations.
However, a note of warning must be stated early enough. Nigerians are electoral heartbeats pulsate at the mention of the Presidential position. Therefore, like fans of different football clubs, it is either being Atikulated, Batted or Obidience that rule the airwaves. What many fail to understand is that the President is the head of the Executive arm of government, who only carries out the laws made by the Parliament. Therefore, when the law is bad, like the current Constitution of the Federal Republic portends, the Executive can only make the best of a failing situation.
When a President for example, decides to spend monies outside the passed budget, an impeachable offence has been committed. When a President also refuses to execute a given law, the Court can order a performance, and impeachment notice can be issued. Therefore, if lawmakers are daft, disaster looms. The various cries for restructuring and true federalism are actually not the call of the President, but the Legislature.
One has observed that while Nigerians have been fixated on the number one position, the voters’ turnout for legislative positions at the Federal and State levels have been low. Most Nigerians are less concerned about who represents them at law making houses. If able, reasonable, competent, and self-directed people occupy the legislative positions, those in the executive arm of government would be forced to perform their duties to the citizens.
Various treaties, loans, and appointments that have pushed the nation into bankruptcy are the outcomes of the negligence and ignorance of Legislators. At the national level, most Legislators have been found to love their pockets than the nation and the people they represent. In the first place, they were wrong choices, made by inspirited and lackadaisical electorate. Mostly at the state level, rubber stamp personalities occupy the sensitive positions of law making. So, sooner than expected, they are pocketed by ‘benevolent’ executives, and those who love the people more than the corrupt executives find themselves suspended and even removed from the hallowed chambers,
In order to deliver this nation from the precarious situation she is, there is a need to focus more on the persons and parties that would occupy the hallowed chambers. Change comes from policy change, as the change of environment comes from a change of mind, and a change of mind is the product of change of thought. The major thinkers for any nation are the lawmakers.
Therefore, Nigerians owe the nation a duty to (s) elect right thinking people into the hallowed Chambers. If incorruptible Nigerians occupy the other arms of government, we may care less about who becomes the President, for we can be sure that a less performing President can be called to order by reasonable Legislators and effective judiciary.
While we pray to God for men that Nigeria demands now, every Nigerian must open their eyes, investigate, and vote for the right set of people into our hallowed chambers. While the President needs the vote from all the geo-political zones of the nation, that of Legislators are not like that. In fact, while people who had never heard of a Presidential candidate can actually call for such, Legislators are mostly known in their wards, and legislative districts. Therefore, electorate actually know the quality of people they are to vote for.
At the level of the legislators, it is important that we vote for character, strength, intelligence, integrity, and development. If we miss the right set of people in the hallowed chambers, then even if a saint becomes the President, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces would still fail Nigerians.
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