On 2019 election campaigns

With the primary elections of Political parties almost over and done with, serious politicking is about to commence in earnest. Parties and their chosen candidates are about to march into the field to start campaigning and wooing the electorate to support and vote them into office. When the campaigns begin Nigerians would be looking and listening to the hundreds of candidates jostling for various offices, sell themselves and their manifestoes and agenda to them in the hope of winning their votes.
As we all know campaigns is a critical component of the electioneering process. The importance of it lies in the fact that it presents the electorate the golden opportunity to listen and assess those jostling for their mandate to be able to make informed choices.
From experience, the political class in Nigeria has always subverted the good intentions of political campaign. Ordinarily, campaigns are supposed to be platform for telling the electorate what they (politicians) would do for them when voted into power. Unfortunately, this has not been the case here. What have repeatedly been witnessed is a situation where politicians, driven by the desperation to win at all cost, have converted this time honoured culture into a hollow ritual of false and empty promises. The consequence of this abominable attitude no doubt is near total absence of good governance and delivery of democracy dividends to the people.
Like Nigerians are demanding today, we think it is high time this treachery and deceit stops. So,as 2019 campaigns get underway we are calling on parties and candidates to make it exclusively issues based. Nigerians are tired of deceptive campaigns which are hardly fulfilled after assumption of office. They are equally not comfortable again with resort to sentiments and emotions which are fed fat with our religious, ethnic and sectional differences.
What Nigerians are looking forward to are campaigns which would focus on issues like skyrocketing unemployment, the horrendous and pathetic level of power, disturbing insecurity and abysmal education standard among numerous other challenges. The electorate are gearing up to hear those seeking their mandate engage them and show them their practical and implementable roadmaps that provide extensive and realistic plans of how to confront and surmount these challenges.
It is our thinking that the high point of next year’s elections campaigns should be the presidential debate. Similarly, such should also be replicated in the thirty six states of the federation. Presidential debates have become an integral, if not defining moments of electioneering all over the world. As democracy in Nigeria can not afford not to be seen as not being compliant to this global best practice because of its far reaching contributions to throwing up competent and capable leaders. Like other countries do, the presidential debate should not be a one off thing, but rather a series of debates. Bringing those seeking mandates on to platform up to two or three times would not only enable Nigerian voters make informed choices but also would go a long way in reducing to the barest minimum chances of a candidate who is ill equipped but, had mother luck smiling on him on the day of the first appearance from carrying the day. Series of tests would definitely help the electorate choose the best hand to pilot the affairs of the nation.
Someone sometime ago painted a sorrowful picture of Nigeria’s standing today which to us condemns the country to get it right in 2019 or go down. According to him at Independence Nigeria was compared to Europe but soon such comparison could no longer be substantiated. Next we were paired with the Asians on the ground of similarity of histories of attaining nationhood. Soon after again, the Asians left us and joined Europe and America leaving the country with Africa. But, sadly Africa is today also leaving Nigeria behind.
It is so pathetic but this is the crossroads Nigeria and Nigerians are in now and which 2019 would show whether we are serious about coming out of it or going down completely.

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