It is one of the maladies of our electoral system that government literally plummets and enters a phase of stagnation on the eve of every general election year. What is even sadder is the fact that government funds meant for the collective good become earmarked for electioneering purposes, all to the detriment of the Nigeria state. Yet, these are hardly the issues on the front burner of many Nigerians. We have come to accept this as norm and rather keep our gaze on more weightier issues like ‘Ebuka’s agbada to the BAAD event’ and the ‘reconciliation of Davido and Wizkid’ at the latter’s Yuletide concert. After all, these are the issues that will help us temporarily forget about our sorry state in what Trump called a ‘shithole.’
However, at no time has an impending general election attained more significance in the history of our fledgling democracy than now. The stakes are at an all-time high, the issues are sacrosanct, the national pain is excruciating and most importantly, there is the urgency of now. It is public opinion that the government of Muhammadu Buhari for all its promises pre-2015, have fallen short of our collective expectations. The change it promised was so widely chorused, chanted across ethnic lines and believed beyond religious sentiments. The disappointments have been pronounced and while there are small victories here and there, the verdict that doesn’t require a jury to be delivered is that the government have fallen short. Those with vivid memory will recollect that it was in a bid to salvage Nigeria from a similar dire position that the APC was birthed and widely supported. It goes without saying that for many at the time, it was a case of ‘anyone but PDP.’ A case of the lesser evil. But Nigerians know better now. For the politically discerning among us, it was obvious in 2015 that the APC were no saints. The creation of the party was underlined by a hunger to wrestle power and not to bestow change. Change was merely the carrot they dangled.
Make no mistakes about it, there is zero difference between the APC and the PDP. They all belong to the same ruling class of the old stock. Dubious men and women primarily motivated by self-interest, greed and chauvinistic tendencies. 2019 is decisive because Nigerians have seen both worlds and are now convinced that we were conned all the while. Even the good book admonishes us not to put old wine in new wineskins. Why? It will always taste the same. There is the clamour for a new political party, the so called ‘third force.’ The need for this force to challenge the ruling class is salient but we need a lot to make this happen. The current number of registered political party in Nigeria stands at 60+. It is an astonishing number. If the ruling class will be shown the red card in 2019, there will be need for synergies, forged by a common goal to see a new Nigeria emerge. We the people must also wake up from our delusions. The sharp divisions on social media along ethnic, political and tribal lines is at an all-time high. Every discussion now snowballs into an ethnic war. We hate people we have never met because they hold a contrary political ideology from us, or based on the part of Nigeria they come from. We are quick to brandish our Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa emblem. It must always be about that. But don't get it twisted. The only true division in this country is 'the rich' vs 'the poor.' When all is said and done, the rich will take care of themselves. The rich will always be fine while the rest break their heads because they have some data to burn.
Depending on who you read, the population of Nigeria hovers around 180 million people with half of that number being those in the ‘30 & below’ age bracket. It is a staggering population explosion of young people and we must make this count beyond the jokes, frills, venting and sentiments on social media. The youth apathy in mainstream politics must be strangled. Now.