As politicians are warming up to the countdown to 2015 general elections in the country gathered momentum, political parties and their aspirants are lobbying their parties executives to win their hearts as to emerge flagbearers in 2015.
The big question begging for an answer is that how well these aspirants are known by their people at the grassroots.
Today, elections in Nigeria is beginning to reach a new crescendo and it is imperative to dissect the single most important factor that motivates electorates in deciding whom they cast their vote for. Glaringly, aside “stomach infrastructures” which many in some opinion believe it’s the closest to the grassroot, other factors such as competency, previous antecedents and party affiliations becomes less important. It is now glaring that people no longer vote for political parties but for a candidate that is suitable for the job and also a candidate that is attached to the people at the grassroot. Gone are the days when a city based politician will be coming to his people at the rural area to seek for their support whereas such candidate is not known at home or done any meaningful development that will be of beneficial to the people.
Despite we always failed to learn from other people mistake, the political parties should try as much as possible to learn from the two last elections in the country that is Ekiti and Osun states governors’ elections. In the case of Ekiti state, people voted for Ayo Fayose against the incumbent governor Kayode Fayemi as what it could be referred to as change by the people. The people discovered that the incumbent governor was not with the common man who has the majority of the votes decided to seek for a change and favour in the eyes of Ayo Fayose. To me not because of Ayo Fayose is from the PDP that made him to win but they see him as better alternative to the incumbent governor Kayode Fayemi.
In Osun state election, Rauf Aregbosola won Omisore as against the huge federal support given to him which was not able to deter the wishes of people as it was definitely triumph power of incumbency and federal might. For Fayemi, many opined that inspite of his glaring achievements in the state, there was still a huge disconnection with the common man at the grassroots while others prefer to agree that the heavy presence of armed security personnel alien to the people of Ekiti affected the turn out and whatever the reasons for loss, it appears that the opposition party has ginned some useful experience to propel them in future elections
Testament to that is the Victory recorded by the incumbent governor Rauf Aregbesola to the dismay of the ruling party. Expectedly, the tides turned and mistakes of the Fayemi loss were effectively corrected at the polls.
Security Intimidation, arrest of party stalwarts, molestation of citizens perceived to be in the opposition, the use of federal power to intimidate junior election officers and many others were endured and overcome by the APC this time around.
The political terrain in Nigeria has changed, gone are those days when Federal might will always triumph over the will of the people but now in Nigeria, if a candidate is not popular I bet you he or she will always loose elections and its only a leader that is close to the people that can know the problems the people are facing and also profer possible solutions to those problems.
It sounds so funny to me when some groups of politicians without any political structure claim they want to win an election, these sets of politicians has got nothing attached to the grass root, they can’t even win their wards not to talk of other elective positions.
As the political parties primaries are in top gear prior to the 2015 election in the country, the parties should not field any unpopular and not sellable candidate for any elective position or else, such party will definitely loss such position to the opposition party. The people have learnt from the past where “leaders chooses a candidate for the people and where their votes don’t normally count but today, the electorate determine who lead them.
The democratic processes of electing these citizens into positions of choice are not novel in Nigeria. The novelty in Nigerian electioneering processes, in the final conduct and in the outcome of the elections is the fierceness, intolerance, do or die inclination of politicians and to a large extent, the confusion and tension it creates. Since 1999, it can be comfortably argued that no general elections had been conducted without loss of lives, destruction of property and wild criticism from the citizenry, and even local and international election observers.
Nigeria is going to be once more tested by another bloodsucking entity called general elections. Is it possible to conduct free and fair general elections, the one that is not grossly marred by corruption? Is it possible that general elections would hold in Nigeria without a Nigerian killed? Yes, it is, at least if top politicians can practically display that the election of any of them is not worth the blood of any citizen of Nigeria; Yes, at least if money politics will be minimized in Nigeria politics; at least if the youths will not be held hostage by the politicians to do the dirty jobs of stuffing of ballot boxes, multiple thumb-printing and intimidation/killing of the oppositions in any stronghold of a party; at least if the opposition will be allowed to fully participate without hindrances; and at least if the INEC will not play the fiddle role in the electioneering and result declaration processes.
I believe that Nigeria is ripe for an intellectual revolution. I believe that Nigeria can do it right this time. I believe that it is time to take our destiny in our own hands. It is time, not only to say no to political thuggery, no to stereotyping our intellectual capacities, no to mismanagement/massive looting of our God-given fortunes, no to ethno-religious gangsterism, no to electoral corrupt practices – all of these that have become diehard in the mainstream of our political lives – it is also time to rejuvenate the spirits of Sir Tafawa Belewa, Dr. Nnmadi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Ahmadu Bello, and my own father Ajah Ogwu who was ever prayerful that one day faith and love would defeat evil and wickedness in his little world, nay Nigeria.