In general, politics is a topic I try to avoid and stay away from because…. Reasons! A lot of us do not have the ability to debate/converse objectively without it degenerating into insults and unnecessary pull-in(s); so I’d rather not. Usually.
However, this time, it’s actually impossible to avoid this topic. Everywhere you turn, you hear election talk. On social media, in church, standing on a queue waiting for a service, in a cab, with random strangers on the streets… it’s literally impossible to not get into it. Everything in Nigeria has been put on hold – meetings, business deals, jobs, you name it. Even stuff that have absolutely nothing to do with the elections.
E.g. You: Hi there. I just called to say hello and check how you’re doing, its been a while. Flaky Guy: Ya… you know…with these elections, ya know….
LMAO. Staaaawp eet!
As a Nigerian, especially one living at home, you can’t deny that the entire country is on the brink of something major. Even the air you breathe is heavy with anticipation and trepidation and I’m worried that come March 28th, depending on how the pendulum swings, things may get even more tense. *Not to be a messenger of doom or anything*
I remember when GEJ assumed office as President of Nigeria. Vividly! Like it were yesterday. Although I didn’t live at home in Nigeria at the time, the general feeling of hope and excitement couldn’t be missed. On Facebook [and social media in general], people changed their names to add a hyphenated “goodluck”, there were all kinds of status updates and bbm broadcasts about the importance of a name; about how GEJ has steadily moved through the ranks of his career and politics via sheer goodluck [per his name] and how we must think carefully with naming our children accordingly. Ha! Then slowly it started changing, I noticed that people started removing the “goodluck” hyphenated attaches from their names and the general narrative on the streets started changing; the boko haram menace being the final nail on the coffin.
As a man, he comes across as quiet/reserved and one who has very few words, doesn’t have the typical I-come-in-here-and-take-over-the-room type presence that most Nigerians have; he’s quite likeable too. As a president however, he comes across as inept, unprepared and lacking gumption. Initially, I made a lot of excuses for him citing his lack of experience and asking that we all be patient with him as he too was just learning on the job [especially taking into consideration the circumstances around how the office of the president became his]; and the daunting job of governing a country as unique as Nigeria. But those excuses ran out fast. Do I hate the man? Certainly not! Do I think he can do better? Absolutely! He is surrounded by bad people who give him bad advice and do not have this country’s best interests at heart; and while that’s sad, it comes a time when blaming everyone else but yourself loses its authenticity. Like, if someone is out to make me look bad and I let them succeed at every chance, then I am the problem with myself. No?
I mean, just look at yesterday’s news headline. The jokes just tell themselves really.
In a country with real pressing issues and people dying by their numbers daily, our government is concerned about women’s dressing, subliminally rationalizing/justifying rape and passing laws on people’s sexual orientation, but that’s an entirely different story for another day.
Also, the sudden flurry of effectiveness of the current administration barely weeks to the polls just scream suspect to me. I’m giving them a severe side eye because…. why now? It had to take facing the real possibility of losing the office to wake up? Suddenly Nigerian lives and issues matter? I smell a dead rat and it’s hella funky. This doesn’t help my natural tendencies with cynicism. AT ALL.
PS: Dear Madam Sarah, contrary to what you may think, rape is actually caused by rapists.
On the other hand, in stark contrast to living life as a Nigerian during GEJ’s tenure; all I know about Buhari’s tenure as president of Nigeria is based on stories, hearsay, and reading history documents. And this to me is the fundamental difference between both men. I think I know one better, I know his story, I am familiar with his government and choices, and the other one is a total enigma to me. One talks and I want to cry in frustration, the other talks and I want to hi-5 my television. Knowing one better means I may be more critical as I do have my facts straight, and knowing one less may mean I’m looking in through rose-tinted glasses and forming incomplete opinions based on half patched bits; and vice versa. The narrative on the streets per Buhari is that he’s a dictator and can be heavy handed, I don’t know. I know nothing about his leadership style. However, while the man invokes some confidence in my heart when he speaks but I can’t help but wonder why he has run and failed so many times; and why a solid government [as it’s been said about his tenure back in the 80s] could not mentor a worthy/younger candidate to take over and continue where he stopped. In general, this thing of recycling same ‘ol candidates rubs me the wrong way. A lot of people say he is a dictator and when I watch his interviews, I see traces of this come across in some of his responses, however, a case can also be made for a man who owns up to his past failures and makes no apologies/excuses for the past. HOWEVER, why does he refuse to show up for debates? This to me depicts bad sportsmanship and further reiterates some of the claims that he has some diva tendencies. In addition, I feel like the earlier postponement of voting dates may have set his candidacy back somewhat, in that, there are some people who were very certain in February about voting for Buhari but are now doing the two-step shuffle in March, thus, each time he refuses to show up for a debate, he passes up on the awesome opportunity to sell himself to people who are still straddling the fence about him. So while I’m definitely intrigued by this man, I don’t think I know him well enough.
A recurring theme with both camps is the totally unnecessary mud-slinging but I guess that’s just politics. This type of behavior I can expect from motor park touts but I’m usually very disappointed when I see it from supposedly educated people who should know and conduct themselves better. Can we stop? Criticism and/or praise is nobody’s birthright. I personally can like/dislike something but still see and point out the bad/good in it, my love/dislike for it doesn’t make me blind to objectivity and this is where a lot of us lose the plot. Your choice for a candidate is no saint and the opposition is not the devil; and vice versa. To some avid politics aficionados and connoisseurs, some of the points and questions raised in here may come across as basic and simplistic but I think that’s how people tend to respond when they don’t have answers – attack and debase. Don’t be like that.
I just returned from a trip from my home state and driving back through Nassarawa state into Abuja, there was heavy police/military presence and checkpoints every 3 minutes the entire trip and I’m not even exaggerating. A journey that usually takes 3-4 hours ended up being nearly 5 hours. I got into Abuja city and it was even worse, the turn leading into my street had and still has military checkpoints on both sides. I don’t know about you but with the boko haram menace and the general state of the nation, seeing heavily armed military presence on the streets doesn’t make me calm, instead, it makes me tense like are we at war? Why are there guns in my face when I’m just going down the road to buy chicken? It’s all very scary I must say, especially because some Nigerian security personnel are trigger happy. Bang! And it’s all over Jackie…. Next thing your face will be plastered every place as a “suspect’…Suspect of what? Buying chicken? I no dey ooooo
The average Nigerian has VERY strong opinions about everything and politics is no exception. However, whichever candidate/party you choose, I want you to remember this – NONE OF THESE PEOPLE ARE WORTH DYING FOR!!!!!!
- PDP vs APC = Six vs half a dozen, potato/poteto. Garbage in; garbage out! Therefore, if you really think any of these people will suddenly develop a conscience and do right by you as a citizen of Nigeria, you’re sadly mistaking and are setting yourself up for an epic dose of disappointment. It’s a catch 22 type situation and it comes down to choosing what you consider to be a lesser evil really.
- Having a nice comment about one candidate/party doesn’t automatically translate to an endorsement/support and neither does a valid criticism translate to bashing/denouncement.
- An apolitical/non-partisan stance allows for objectivity. In my opinion, none of these people deserve making enemies over. In my home, my brother & I have very different political views from my Mum and we all support different candidates but it doesn’t mean she’s not going to give me the money she promised me ha ha. My point? It doesn’t have to get messy.
- Choose as you are led for the reasons that matter to you and based on your experiences. March 28th no far again; but stay alive.
- Have an opinion, go out and perform your civic duty [vote] for your country and then come back home and sit your ass in one place. I’m saying!
Here are my survival tips for this election season: *Don’t say I never do nothing for you guys*
- Stay indoors. Stay at home. STAY IN YOUR HOUSE [or bae’s house] 😉
- Stock up on food & groceries. Hunger no dey look face. PS: If you and bae are planning a ‘stay-cation’, you better remember to also stock up on *ahem*, except of course you’re looking to invite me for naming ceremony by December then go on with your bad self. *Howls*
- Fill up your generator tank and buy extra fuel, you know you’ll need it. I noticed fuel scarcity had started again yesterday in the city of the Buj.
- Buy extra NEPA units. There’s never light nowadays but just humour yourself.
- Check that your DSTV/cable subscription is covered; it’ll suck if you can’t watch TV this weekend. PS: Did you know DSTV rates are increasing by April 1st? Take advantage of the last days of March.
- Download all your favorite shows. Entertain yourself AT HOME.
- Drinks? Sure! Stock up on your booze.
- Stay at home guys. Be safe.
But all these things cost money obviously; money which nobody has seen in recent times. Like where the hell is all the money in this damn city?
PS: This blog is exactly ONE MONTH OLD today. *applause*
I am so chuffed!!
When I started this journey, I had a lot of uncertainty in my heart because I wasn’t sure I had the discipline and dedication to do this plus I worried about losing my authenticity depending on the feedback as I’ve always wanted my blog to be 100% reflective of who I am. But I was worrying for nothing. You guys have been the best!! I feel no judgement, I haven’t gotten one left sided comment at all, I get tons of encouraging and supportive messages and comments, plenty feedback and it’s been an all-round amazing experience thus far.
Thank you to everyone who has ever clicked on/opened this page. Thank you to everyone who has ever shared the links to my posts. Thank you to everyone who keeps coming back. Thank you to everyone who has subscribed.
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Thank you guys!!
God bless Nigeria and May the best man win.