The almighty game of politics is played very well only by the manipulative and clever grey areas and loopholes of a system that are used as an advantage with the unsuspecting nationals of a country being played as pawns. The masters of this evolving new trend of politics are experts in feeding the frenzy of the public with sensationalism and a somewhat distortion of truths so long as it suits their purpose and ultimately their goals.
The Godfathers and followers of the opposition party, the APC have orchestrated an efficient informative machine that has been extremely successful in deceiving the Nigerian public that the upcoming, much anticipated Presidential election may go their way. This theory has blatantly not taken cognizance of the diversity and sentimental opinions that shape the Nigerian psyche. The human mind is such that even when confronted with hard evidence on an issue; we generally believe what we want to believe, making ourselves believe that, which we wish to believe.
Nigeria can almost be described as an onion, having many layers within its sphere; and for a country of an estimated 170 million people (by far the most populous in Africa); a conclusion of the people’s political will cannot be so simply deduced. For example, Lagos City will be the third largest Mega- City in the World according to the United Nations; therefore based on the statistics alone, a city like Lagos cannot be written off as having a uniform consensus on the political platform. The millions of potential voters in Lagos State do not have one preferred candidate, but several. Contrary to what the APC campaign team would fervently hope, it is by far not a cut and dry affair with the coming elections.
By using Lagos State as a case study; it would certainly be interesting to analyze the outcome of the upcoming Presidential elections; especially because of the belief that it is an APC stronghold. The CIA World Factbook in August of 2014, recorded Lagos State to have an estimated population of 11.223 million people. But in 2014, the Lagos State Government estimated its population as 17.5 million. Even though the population in Lagos are predominantly of the Yoruba Tribe; in a country with more than 250 ethnic groups; hundreds of other Nigerians of various ethnic origins have migrated and reside in Lagos.
The myth that this city is a thriving den of business and affluent successful people is just that, a myth; 66% of it’s population live in slums. Despite these facts, it remains the economic capital of Nigeria because of its many industrial factories, seaports and financial institutions. Of all the 36 States of Nigeria, Lagos has a history of being highly cosmopolitan and tolerant of religion. Indeed, a high number of Yorubas in Lagos have intermarried, a blend of Christians and Muslims prevalent in many families. But in recent times, Lagos indigenes have become more astutely politically and religiously aware of the shift in the relaxed view of tolerance of diversity to the sentimental loyalty towards their spiritual beliefs and ethnicity. This may have found its origins in the turbulent war against terror by the bloodthirsty sect Boko Haram; who even though are predominantly based in the North- Eastern part of Nigeria; have had a negative impact on all Nigerians both Christians and Muslims. The numerous bombings of Churches and Mosques in the past several years have left many Nigerians with a feeling of weary caution against both Christians and Muslims. This is rather unfortunate as on the agenda of Boko Haram are plans to divide Nigeria and to claim a portion of it as an Islamic Republic. The constant bombings, senseless killings and kidnap of innocent women and children have surely left a deep scar in the lives of many heartbroken Nigerians. A quick search of the interactive internet activity of some Nigerians will indicate how clearly divided Nigerians are on issues of religion and ethnicity. The constant bickering of Niger- Delta militants on the public forum about the crude oil belonging to “them”, has also facilitated in shaping the ideology that Nigerians are sadly divided.
For all the above reasons and much more, Nigerian voters do not appear as though they will be convinced to vote for the “change” that the APC are capitalizing and clamoring for. A victim of terrorism would find it understandably difficult to vote for the Presidential Candidate, the Retired General Muhammed Buhari, who is a Northern Muslim. Even those Christian Northern minorities and some from the Middle Belt area of Nigeria are highly skeptical about giving their votes to a believed to be sympathetic to Boko haram. Now the apparent religious bug seems to have been playing a part in Lagos politics as well. The fact that several of the past Governors of the State have been Muslims is an irony not lost on the voting public. It would be a tremendous hurdle for the APC to cross; the selling of a Northern Muslim on a Presidential ticket in a period when Nigeria is experiencing such dire issues of insecurities attributed to Muslim extremists. Indeed, it is strongly rumored that many church going Northerners would not caste their votes for the APC albeit from the North or South based on the caution of aiding to spread the tentacles of radicle Islam. The international headline news of journalists beheaded by terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al Queada (of whom are said to be affiliated with Boko Haram); have only FUELED suspicion and the embers of caution with Nigerian Christians. The silent but strong determination that it is safer to vote for a TOLERANT leader like president Goodluck JONATHAN cannot be ignored.
Rather cleverly though, the machinery behind the APC campaign have been successful in as far as deceiving the public that the wind of change has literally swept Nigerians off their feet. The truth of the matter though appears to be that the change Nigerians want are far more basic than most would assume. When security is improved, energy is readily available, good roads and public amenities available; as it is being aggressively pursued under JONATHAN, Nigeria would surely be better than a pretentious and self acclaimed righteous leader whose antecedents only promote hatred amongst our people.
The irony should not be lost that a great majority of the APC noise makers migrated from the same PDP Party they now ridicule and scorn. If we have the same candidates with tweaked mandates that stand for the same principles; what exactly does this “change” imply?
It is safe to say that the change the APC is basing their campaign on is non-existent and a cleverly woven and constructed myth. In just over a few weeks from now, the votes would be caste and history would have been made yet again in Nigeria. It is then that the sentiment of Nigerians would have been realized in black and white.
Surely, the unfolding events ahead of the elections Have clearly put the APC in danger of being too confident as not to take cognizance of the rising voices of those that want to vote for a government they know, rather than one they are completely unsure of.
The biggest trick the opposition APC ever pulled was forming a propaganda machine that makes believe that they were on the road to victory. Fortunately, NIGERIANS nay the electorate now know and have began to shift the grain from the chaff to wit; the PDP’s Presidential flag bearer Goodluck Ebele JONATHAN remains the preferred choice.
By Bitrus Kwaji ([email protected]