Of school certificate, mudslinging and stonings: Pattern of Nigerian electioneering

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FEMI FANI-KAYODE made the most of the hysteria. APC Presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, according to him, does not possess the minimum requirement to be a candidate in the upcoming elections. A furore was deliberately engineered around what must have been known to the PDP strategists to be a red herring, but one that was useful as a diversionary tactic.

It seemed that the PDP team could not run on the basis of the record in office of its candidate so a dirty tricks campaign has been very central to their tactics. Each new day seemed prepared for a more vicious campaign than the previous. When candidate Goodluck Jonathan speaks, there were not often many, if at all any, inspiring bites that could elevate his campaign.

It was often as if the campaign is bogged down in the murky waters that it engineered by itself. Unlike at any point in our recent history, the dirty tricks tactic has just not cut it with the Nigerian public. The scurrilous documentaries of recent days have taken the PDP campaign to new lows, clearly underlining how serious the crisis of confidence has become within the party and the campaign.
Then there have been the unacceptable stonings of the president’s campaign train in Katsina and Bauchi states.

Whoever was behind those irresponsible acts should not only be condemned but must be brought to book. No one should stone the Nigerian President’s campaign entourage or any other person’s for that matter, because they are exercising rights that Nigeria’s Constitution protects and which are central to the construction of democratic society. But it is very curious that these acts of irresponsibility have taken place in PDP-controlled states. So what is happening?

In Bauchi, there have been accusations and counter-accusations. Isa Yuguda, the governor, accused “Abuja politicians” from Bauchi, as being responsible; and the prominent ones are the National Chairman of the PDP, Adamu Muazu and FCT Minister, Bala Muhammed. Bala suffered the indignity of being pelted with pure water on live television, but would he have arranged to be so ridiculed at home?

In response to Yuguda’s accusation, Bala Muhammed fired back that the Bauchi Governor is actually a mole of the opposition APC, inside the PDP. In Bauchi, the allegation is that Isa Yuguda planted his cronies as the APC and PDP governorship candidates respectively, so head or tail, he wins. The scenario has been carefully engineered to ensure that whoever wins the election will not be interested in examining the more unwholesome happenings over the past eight years in the state, post May 2015.

There is no biting the fingers that fed, eh? In the meantime, what appeared to be an internecine fight within the PDP is becoming a source of tension within circles in the Niger Delta, who always wanted to find the opportunity to hang every Northerner! Asari Dokubo has threatened to “retaliate” for the attacks on the presidential campaign team in the North.

Election to remember

The campaign and lead to the 2015 elections will long be remembered for the way that different forms of media were exploited by all sides, to further their agenda. Social media has taken a life of its own in our country and the battles on the virtual spaces of social media have been so reflective of the deep divides in our country today. They are indicative of the importance of the coming elections amongst the Nigerian people.

The campaign strategists are slinging mud and in the process, no one seems able to remember that we had been promised “issues-based” campaigns. The issues got swamped under layers upon layers of mud that are slung in all directions. We are not any clearer about the plans to stem the looming economic meltdown that Nigeria faces, while we have not been presented with coherent perspectives about how to defeat the Boko Haram insurgency and the solutions to the underlining socio-economic issues which conditioned the emergence of the tendencies to insurgency and sundry rebellions across the country.

The political elite is far too busy trying to win power to really focus as seriously as these problems demand. This is electioneering in the Nigerian manner of doing things and because the people are far too driven to express their franchise to affect the process of governance, it is clearer each passing day that these will be the most defining elections in Nigerian history!.

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