The paradox of 2019 Nigeria General Elections: Abia State, A food for thought

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Eucharia Oti

Like every other thing that has a beginning, the Nigeria 2019, general elections, has come to an end. It all started with the flag off of electioneering campaigns; for about   91 registered political parties.  However, what I do not know is, whether all the registered political parties  whose logos appeared on the ballot papers campaigned for the elections.

Nevertheless, we witnessed vigorous campaigns from the camp of the incumbents at both the federal and state levels, to retain their positions, and even win more seats. The oppositions on their part, did not go to sleep, as they worked hard to wrestle power from the  incumbents.

Electioneering campaigns as I see it, is like a businessman marketing his product (s). A kind of advertisement; letting your customers know more about your product(s),in terms of quality, durability, affordability, etc. These serve as the core value of any  product. A Manufacturer does not go to sleep because he is sure of the quality of his product (s), he goes the extra mile by advertising the product to convince the consumers on why his product is a must buy.

Advertisement as we know play an important role in business promotion and growth. That is why a bad product, that is well advertised can penetrate into the market system before the unsuspecting consumers realises that it is sub standard. Immediately the consumers realises that the product is a deceit, you and I know the consequences. If the manufacturer of that product wants to retain its place in the market after a failed outing, he needs to work extra hard, first to mop up the remaining bad products still in circulation, and make sure that the new batch of his product meets the required standard. These, accompanied with a corresponding advert, may give the product a second chance in the market.

These were the scenario that played out during the just concluded nationwide campaigns that ushered in the elections.  Political parties worked very hard to market their candidates, and manifestos. However, contrary to the business  analysis  presented above, we witnessed most sub standard political  products, still in its sub standard form,advertised vigorously to the already suspecting consumers. There main objective was to confuse the poor consumers the more.

Poverty at all levels was strategically used as a bait to get the support of poor masses to continue to use the failed product. First, families who were owed several months salaries sold their PVCs at a flash of few wands of the Naira, at least to temporarily quench their hunger; thereby,  unconsciously, and consciously, selling their rights and freedom. They were brain washed to believe that their already imprisoned future will be better. They made them see the light coming their way as darkness because they were afraid of what they will become, if they loose. Secondly, because they were promised invisible things that will never be laced with threats, they had no choice than to sing the praise of their undoing.

The irony of it all is that, all the incumbent parties and their candidates believe that the key to Nigeria and Abia economic development is in the palm of their hands. All of them have answers and solutions to the many problems that have bedevilled Abia and Nigeria for many years; yet, Abia, and Nigeria has remained adrift for so long; under their watch and care.

I forgot to mention that, from the primaries, to the “Secondaries “, it remained a battle of the survival of the fittest.  The fittest here implies, all manner of hooks and crooks; including spilling of both innocent, and guilty blood.  If you do not fight hard, you lose hard. One question that we need to ask our politicians on another day is, why are they so desperately, desperate to serve? Should service be a do, or die affair? This is for another day.

Back to 2019 elections, during the campaigns, we witnessed all forms, and levels of vote buying, which is supposedly against the rule of the game. Though we were told that some of them, like “ The Trader Money’’ was not vote buying, but a federal government policy to assist the Nigeria trader, only time will tell.We also saw teachers who are owed  several months of arrears, given some millions of Naira to share. A good play of irony indeed.

Like the World Wrestling Championships  the rules of the game were neither observed, nor obeyed. We saw contestants who declaring themselves winners, some compelled the ‘referee’ to declare them winner, or receive a hard punch. We saw the next level of recklessness. We saw people passing examinations, even before the questions were set. We heard people, like the headmasters of old, wrote results, assign positions to opposition candidates, and danced home with the first position.

The apparatus that perfects these unscholarly excellence depended on the might each contestant was wielding. It dangled between the Federal, and State might. Experience showed that whoever wielded either of the might did not lose the election even when he actually lost.

Nigerians and some very unlucky states were turned into drama theatres as the exercise became stage plays.These well rehearsed dramas played out well with quiet interesting figuratives. Talking about figuratives, they are the billboard with which our regrets will be displayed in due time. Otherwise how can one explain the jubilation of poor pensioners, civil servants, and teachers, who are owed arrears that may have turned into bad debts; when the same man responsible for their misfortune was re-elected.

Osofisan in his play, Another Raft,where he updates a story of a nation adrift to the age of military coups d’etat, and also, an expansion of his focus to the overall fate of a black community, lost in the sea of history, says, “How easily the wounded forget their wounds”. This is a common tendency in the life of average Nigerian.We cry, and wail when we are wounded, but easily forgets the pains emanating from our wounds, immediately ephemeral magic wands are waved over our faces.

In Osofisan’s play, the focus was on the military coups d’etat; but I think what we are experiencing now is democracy coups d’etat. Unfortunately, as Osofisan says, “Our people are lost in the sea of history. No one seems to remember what happened yesterday, nor even feel the pains of what we a presently experiencing. This indeed, has reached the level of tufiakwa.

If someone decides to set an examination for himself, and mark it, the result is what you and I know already. While the student turned self examiner dances home for surprising himself, should the people he outwitted dance along with him? Do we really understand that, rejoicing with evil, is giving a total approval of it? Just thinking loud !

To the ordinary man on the streets of Abia or Nigeria, the campaign of any incumbent candidate should be the work he did in his first term. Where his work did not speak for him, nothing will .Our prayer should be, that may they be able to defend the results they jubilated for, in due time.

God Help Abia State God Help Nigeria

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Don Uzo Muotoh

Don Uzo Muotoh, civil and transportation engineer and businessman clocked 68 on the 4th of July. A native of Ndianiche Uno, Arondizuogu, Okpaita was educated ...