Opinion: Dear politicians, we are not burnt offerings

 by Emmanuel Egobiambu

Fans cheer on the Nigerian team during their World Cup qualifier soccer match against Algeria in Ora..The power is in our hands to resist all appearances of political incitement by unscrupulous elements who seek to score cheap political goals because it would amount to an own goal if we succumb to their machinations

As political events heat up, it is expedient to note that the manner, in which some aspirants are going about it, leaves much to be desired. Recent reports in the media are suggesting that a violence-free general elections, is under treat. It was widely reported that buses belonging to the PDP, were burnt in Jos while APC’s state secretariats, was attacked in Rivers state; all by yet-to-be-identified persons.  These are just a few examples of the “do-or-die” nature of campaign going on it the country.  I begin to ask myself if it is the masses that they claim to represent that they are fighting for.

Now that the elections are at our doors, attention is shifting to the masses; those who have been abandoned to their fate. They are now the goose that lay the golden egg, sort after by all. To make matters worse, they have bought many souls who are now ready instruments of violence and heating up of the already-hot political atmosphere. Some who may not carry guns and cutlass have taken to different means to make their points even when the language used in such is nothing but insulting and lacks simple logic.

With the advent of the internet, this is now comes with little or no restrictions, unlike the mass media. Most Nigerians have turned political strategists and campaign managers, churning out all manner of facts; real and unreal.

Since most users of the internet and new/social media are the youths and thus since they form a large chunk of the voting population, are targeted by some irresponsible politicians to become their “political hallelujah boys”.

Every single minute that passes, one is exposed to one post or the other launching assault on perceived opponents. Words traded in such posts are laden with ethnic, religious and political bias. And the question that I ask myself is “how much have they paid them?” to carry the cross of the campaign on their shoulders even when most of the political elite care little or none about the welfare of the man on the street.

Just like a popular musician sang, “ANOTHER YEAR HAS COME AND THEY WANT MY VOTE ONCE MORE”, it is election year and political jobbers are here again.  My concern is the plight of the common man on the street that is often carried away, and incited by some power-starved politicians who want power by all means. These politicians can go any length to “use” people, notably the youths, to power their political life. But again, I ask myself if we have not yet learnt our lessons because it seems that we forget so fast what happen to us.

These same power hungry politicians’ lure people into carrying of arms, snatching of ballot boxes and other sundry acts in previous elections, only for the victims to live with the scars afterwards.  They buy guns for us so that they can get to where they want to go, but how many of their children are in the country, not to talk of doing such?

As Nigerians, especially youths, we must begin to ask ourselves if the so called politicians that we want to kill ourselves for, truly care for us. We have been deceived for long and thus we do not wish to continue doing same thing while those we think we are working for smile to the bank at the end of the day. Even if you share a different opinion from another, that does not warrant the shedding of blood. For how long can we continue to kill ourselves, hoping that it would be better some day? Must we slaughter ourselves while those we slaughter for, fly over us in jets to cool their head in the “tushest” of apartments abroad?

I know we want to take full part in the political process. It is our right but we must remember that where our rights end, other peoples’ own start from there. I am speaking mainly to the youths. Everyday, the pangs of unemployment, poor power supply, strikes and the likes, stare us in the face yet we want to kill, steal and destroy for them. We have been deceived for long and need to stand up and take the bull by the horn. Nigerian youths, this is the time to take our destiny in our hands! Why should we kill and cause chaos just because of some insincere political thieves, who masquerade as agents of hope and a better Nigeria?

We are the ones that can lead this country to the heights we so desire of it, not outsiders! If we must take the bull by the horn, then we should eschew violence from our conducts. This is a democratic setting and we must allow the free flow of opinions, irrespective of our stance. We are the future of this country, and if we are to land in the Promised Land that we are clamoring for, then violence is not the path!

The power is in our hands to resist all appearances of political incitement by unscrupulous elements who seek to score cheap political goals because it would amount to an own goal if we succumb to their machinations! We should be thinking of issue-based campaigns and not just sitting and watch them draw us back; incite us into fighting and then leave us to kill ourselves.

Although, I commend the signing of peace pact by the presidential candidates; being the major actors, before, during and after the elections, it is good to note that it should go beyond that because we have seen agreements broken in the past and this might not be different. The candidates must know that it is never a do-or-die affair. Nigerians, we must take our destiny in our hands, let us not allow some devils in the mode of angels to stir us into violence, because if we do, we would be the ones that would face the consequences! To those who think they can come again with their alluring and inciting words to push us into killing innocent souls, you would only succeed if we fail to learn our lessons from the past. The time is right for us to take this country to the next level. There is no need to kill your brother because he shares a different political point of view. Respect is earned and also reciprocal.
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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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