Saturday, February 7, 2015

My thoughts and expectations on the Upcoming Nigerian Elections

It's exactly one week to the general elections in Nigeria and one cannot ignore the discourse that has been stimulated by different interest groups in the days leading to the February 14 Presidential elections.

Before I continue, I'd say a warm happy new year to you if I haven't said so and if you are a Nigerian, you owe this beloved nation your vote.

Four years ago, I did a short interview on this blog and tried to feel the pulse of some passionate individuals who had one or two things to say about the elections. Today, the passion is even more and I must say like you may have heard from various quarters, it's too close to call. In 2011, we could say to a large extent that Goodluck Jonathan was going to win largely due to the power of incumbency and considering the fact that Boko Haram was not as pronounced as it is today. However, in 2015, it seems we have gone through many phases in Nigeria and I will not bore you with what you may already know or have heard in the media.

I have spoken to people and the discussion seems to be centered around the same ideas on the path of those supporting the two main opposition parties (i.e. APC and PDP). The APCites, chanting the change slogan, believe they have had enough of the PDP administration while the PDPites on the other hand can't seem to see anything APC may have to offer. As a result, it has mainly been a case of attack and defense while issue-based politics is a rather distant phenomenon.

But however, the case may be there are some realities we fail to acknowledge or may have become too familiar with such that we fail to see its importance and I'll mention a few. The list however is not exhaustive:

- The Power of your vote really counts. Get your PVC, forget the traffic or hot sun and bikonu, cast that vote of yours for the change you want to see (no pun intended).
- Beyond the elections, after either Goodluck or Buhari may have won and assumed power (since they are the 2 top contenders), we need to understand that magic won't happen. We need to take off the band aid we have had on for years, roll our sleeves and deal with our issues. No magic is going to happen after February 14, 2015. We still have a long way to go (the reason, if properly analysed is worthy of a Post Doctoral thesis topic).
- Pray. Ignore that urge to reply that Facebook post by someone saying something about your preferred candidate and just pray for Nigeria. Truth is, there are far more bigger and deeply entrenched problems than we can imagine and beer-parlour politics and Twitter activism can only go so far.
- Pray more. Need I say more.
- After praying, DO. We tend to talk a lot. Talk that leads nowhere. A bulk of the deciding votes come from the masses who are not lambasting each other on Facebook but can easily be bought with N200 recharge card vouchers. Their votes are as powerful as yours and you have no right to think less of them unless you face what they face on a daily basis. I am however in no way endorsing such acts.
Talk is cheap but action is much needed.

I expect that this election would stir up some interesting discussions around how we can move Education forward (it has to come first cos that's my passion), Power, Infrastructural development, Youth empowerment programs, tackle poverty and other pertinent issues.

May God bless Nigeria and may the best candidate win come February 14 2015.



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