I went to Sun Newspapers last week in company of fellow citizens touched by the plight of missing Chibok girls. At the entrance, I saw two middle aged men bring a press release with the title “Contest or Go To Exile“. This is a threat to the President to ensure that he puts his name on the 2015 ballot.
How thankful should we be that our portion is not of those who are perpetually ‘youths’ even at 40 and are sweating in sun pressuring a candidate to run? I mean I will be 29 in the next few days and I am not into that fold of those who come with this beggarly attitude of waiting for the ‘transport fare’ of the politician. From NANS endorsing the President as Grand Commander of Students and to mothers screaming #BringBackJonathan2015, it is clear that we have a different kind of people in this space.
Just imagine that over 8,000 groups are rooting for the re-election of President Jonathan and also the Transformation Agenda of Nigeria have collected 1.6m signatures to convince the President to contest for 2015 polls. When you look at this demography, it is plain that they are mostly youths. These are young people, the present and our tomorrow. This is the new business in town as Stella Oduah was well rewarded after the Neighbour-to-Neighbour campaign. Ifeanyi Ubah is on the same path with TAN. Who knows if its an oil mining licence, ministerial appointment or chairmanship of a board? He will get something back from the public trough, the people pays for this.
Peer at critical mass that vote in elections and you can see them in National jerseys branded with TAN lighting up the stadium like a crusade. For a N5,000 payout, they won’t mind standing in the sun.
This is the new bane of our democracy – an unsophisticated electorate. We have electorate not pushing issue-based agenda but interested in the ethnic dynamics that a thieving elites has propounded. We have mothers who are not interested in asking questions about missing 219 girls but with double wrappers sit out and make mockery of a hashtag at the same venue where citizens demand for government to stand up to its responsibility. It comes with my recurring question. What is the value construct of most Nigerians?
With a country ridden with poverty, it is so easy to gather people into a square and put a price tag on them. These are the issues that make transparency and accountability difficult in this space. Everytime you raise a voice, an unschooled electorate thinks you are of the opposition. They feel you are waiting for your turn to ‘eat’ despite you not being hungry.
That’s why politicians find it easy to bring a sense of servitude to unschooled electorate. They are only responding to the demand factors that reeks of a cheap electorate. In the mind of a politician, this is what are I hear:
“Let those who gave us power, now worship us. We give them crumbs and ask them to chant our names. Lets break their voices to ask questions because they want to be like us”
The day we have our critical mass getting it that the elected official is a Public Servant, I mean every word SERVANT. That an elected official is hired to manage public resources and derives his legitimacy from the people, then we have changed the narrative. But will poverty, ethnicity and a perverse sense of dignity allow us? Those are the key factors that discount our progress. We can’t afford to dry our tears.