Paradox of captured citizens, failed leadership

In 2015, Nigeria stood proudly poised for its competitive presidential election in 16 years. Expectations were high and a sense of accomplishment filled the air. Nigeria had, after all, moved smoothly from one civilian rule in 1999 under Olusegun Obasanjo to a semi – functioning democracy under Shehu Yardua / Goodluck Jonathan. However, Mohammadu Buhari’s election victory over Jonathan was a turning point for Nigeria and indeed, Africa. It was the first time an incumbent president lost at the polls, accepted the outcome, and peacefully gives up power.

This achievement brought Nigeria into limelight as a model for democratic process in the sub -region and a harbinger of hopeful political trends in the years to come. However, there are many political, social and economic issues along the pathway of Nigeria’s development and many of these issues affecting its overall well-being, essentially in the hands of the citizens are constantly being blurred by social media falsehood.

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It is time we had a genuine and sincere dialogue to explore how we can work together to address some of the most contending impediments to our national aspiration template and the 2019 general election provides an opportunity to redirect our thoughts and ideas on how to promote poverty reduction, education and its accessibility and indeed, religious tolerance.

Therefore, it would be beneficial as we continue into the 2019 general election, as citizens, to look at the individual candidates and the political party they represent with a view to setting an enduring agenda that would elicit reverred leadership.

Frankly, leadership is not only about winning elections. It is not about building coalitions of self-serving political warlords either. It is about building consensus, especially on difficult national issues. It is also about promoting compromises necessary for solving those complex problems

Going forward, there is a clear need to prioritise the issue of federalism and restructuring. Incorporating mandatory quotas for local government autonomy is one way to ensure that local’s representation in governance is increased.  There is also a need to revise election laws with regard to campaigning methods available to election candidates.

Indeed, one of the major failings in Nigeria’s political engineering is the peddling of falsehoods with a view to drawing attention to its key officers at the national levels and the total lack of respect for electorates in my view is tantamount to failing on issue- based politics and credible alternatives. Must we accept that just because politics is said to be dirty and politicians will always tell lies to sell their ideas and rig elections, therefore it is in order.

If our politicians openly and blatantly tell us lies, exaggerations and other falsehoods as part of their manipulation, should we allow such people to win elections and stay in government? We must begin to invoke all the provisions in the constitution to demand good and transparent governance at all levels irrespective of our sentiment.

It is about time Nigerians and indeed the electorates start demanding from politicians – political aspirants, their surrogates, functionaries and groups that at all times they must tell us the truth no matter how much it hurts or is unpleasant in the spirit of national development; and that we will hold them to account for their utterances, actions and inactions and the elections is the time to do needful.

Samuel Orovwuje,

Lagos.

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