by Michael Orodare
The coast is becoming clearer, the mission has been fully set on motion, all the Nigerian political radar could read and detect is February 2015, as if that’s the only big thing happening in the nation in that year. As the clock goes tick-tock, countdown from every corner, permutation and re-alignment among members of the political class and the observers will never stop. Consultations, defections, decampment, merger and all manner of political nomenclature all in the quest for a new, broader and smaller platform will never cease till the last minute before the D-day.
We have been seeing the declarations, the defection dramas and we still look forward to more; the real politicking has started gathering momentum. It’s all about February 2015. Nigerians will decide again, of course we have been deciding in the past, but the 2015 decision seems to hold a special place in the heart of not only Nigerians, but also in the international community. The United States of America has predicted a break-up after 2015 but a political neophyte like me does not see that happening anyway.
Yes, the stake is high, there is anxiety and panic at every corner, the politicians are becoming jittery, and the opportunists and the ‘Judas’ are also oiling their machinery. It is no understatement to say no election has ever been over-hyped and polity overheated like this since the return to democracy in 1999.
Don’t be deceived no politician who truly understands the game of politics is ever so confident of 70% victory until the results have started trickling in. Though I’m not a politician, my experience of politicking has made me know that tables do turn a night before the election, at the polling units and even when the results are being compiled.
Some weeks ago I noted that the streets were politically dull and boring, with election and political activities only alive on the social media and the pages of newspaper.
Now, the streets are coming alive with campaign posters and we have started feeling the vibes, especially large gathering of crowds at campaign, declaration and support rallies, even if this does not translate into election victory, the fun is always worthwhile.
There is no gainsaying that the Presidential election is still the most important election we expect next year, but anyone close to the grassroots will agree with me that a lot still need to be done on voter’s education and orientation, the level of enlightenment among the ‘core’ voters is still very low. Voter education need to be taken beyond the radio and TV and the social media, for the sake of the ‘real’ voters who are the target audience of politicians. They have no facebook account which is perceived to be the commonest around here, many of them live in communities where power has been on sabbatical, and as such could not be thinking of owning a TV set. This onus of enlightenment rest mostly on the political parties as they are closer to the people more than the electoral umpire.
When I say the real voters, I’m not talking about the youngman who’s a bank worker, but the fishermen, the market men and women, the common men on the streets who will defy rain and harsh weather to stand for hours just to vote either voluntarily or by rice for vote.
Need we emphasize that most Nigerian youths will not participate in the election? Somebody like me may not vote on the election day, likewise many of our social media overlords who have been enlightening and preparing us for the 2015 polls, many of them have taken cover under an NGO as election observers and monitors.
Youth corps members as well as many practicing journalists will not vote. This has been the trend as many will be reporting from remote locations miles away from their registration unit.
Those who are not reporting are observing, those who are not observing are analysing on a live TV show dedicated for the election. While many will sit in the comfort of their room, tweeting and retweeting updates from those on the field.
A large population of the Nigerian youths eligible to vote (25-35) has been willingly or unwillingly disenfranchised, so I don’t expect too much contribution from that age-grade. Let them continue with the tweeting, while the politicians focus on the ‘real’ voters.
As long as the earth remaineth, there are some things that can never be taken away from an election, with or without the right voter’s orientation. They include rice for vote, cash for vote, voting by sentiments etc. voter education will not stop it, but only help enlighten the electorates not to accept such greek gifts. It will get to a level before the election where issue-based campaign will be jettisoned and all that will be left to campaign with will be sentiments. This is what most electorates carry to the polling units, and you can’t rule that out in the 2015 election, people will vote with sentiments, it is a mighty tool in the hands of politicians. Only sentiment could have made the Jews vote for the freedom of a Barabbas against Jesus. To the party that can use it to its advantage, good luck to them.
Security in 2015, for now I don’t see any security threat to the election from the south. It also seems to be under a manageable level in the North, with the Nigerian military continued victory over Boko Haram. I just hope and pray that God continue to give them victory over the sect, so as to sustain and improve on this success because we can’t afford to have an inconclusive election in 2015.
If any election will be inconclusive, it shouldn’t be the Presidential election. Aside from the herculean task of conducting the presidential election, declaring it inconclusive might spell doom. We can’t stand an inconclusive election at such a time as this when the polity has been overheated, and at a time we’ve been reminded that “the dangerous clouds are beginning to gather and the vultures are circling.”
No doubt the 2015 elections will spring up surprises, the ‘mighty’ will fall, and heroes will be made out of many obscure and unpopular candidates. I hope violence will be at zero level even in the least expected region – the North, where the country recorded a huge violence after the 2011 presidential election.
Till then, let’s keep our fingers crossed and continue with the countdown. Despite my fear and anxiety, I always enjoy the drama of politicking whenever I reminisce on the pre- and post-election events, hope you find it interesting too.
Michael Olanrewaju Orodare has worked in the Office of the Chief Press Secretary to the Ondo State Governor as a Media Assistant. He has garnered experience writing in the The Nation Newspaper working with the paper’s Sunday Desk. He leans towards the Labour Party. He blogs at www.michaelorodare.blogspot.com
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.