Okwufulueze Daniel|25 April 2017
Some very concerned Nigerians have compared the criminal actions of corrupt politicians to the actions of actors playing out a script in a seasonal movie. They have said the politicians are merely acting, happily dropping episodes of corruption and rascality to give us something to talk about.
I say: Let's air their episodes. Let's watch the episodes and talk about them.
Our experience as a nation confirms that criminal politicians are really scared of an informed and united Nigerian people so they actually wish very few Nigerians know what's going on. I will cite just one example —the 2015 general elections. Before the elections, the APC engaged in massive publicity of government actions, they used social media well to their advantage, keeping more people in the know about government misbehaviours. The result? Many PDP politicians saved face by dissociating themselves from the scandals APC kept revealing, some even left the PDP while some tore party cards and many Nigerians made informed choices at the polls than had ever happened in past elections, and the overconfident incumbent PDP government lost for the first time. Nigerians were so informed that even gifts from the PDP couldn't assuage the feelings of disappointment in the land. PDP hasn't recovered from the damage caused by that publicity.
Corrupt politicians always want to get reelected and to achieve that, they present not evidence of their achievements in office (as there's usually none) but gifts to buy the people's votes. The poverty in the land caused by their corrupt activities makes these gifts enticing. They thrive in the knowledge that the number of Nigerians that watch their episodes or seasonal movies and understand what's going on are still not big enough to challenge them or vote them out of office, so giving gifts is enough to get the votes.
Elections in Nigeria have progressed over the years. As the people’s awareness of the Nigerian political space increases, we have seen the participation of the electorate in choosing our leaders shift from passive to active from 1999 onwards. The elections are becoming a sort of judgment day for politicians that have played protagonists in the several episodes of criminality that have kept the people busy talking. Criminal politicians only hope the people that watched these episodes are few enough to not pose any danger to their reelection. The bigger the number of Nigerians that are kept in the know, the more they are threatened by the imminence of the elections. So I think the analogy between our politicians' actions and episodes of a seasonal movie is in order.
Let's keep the awareness growing, this is a good example of where knowledge is power. For knowing how we're governed, we can conscientiously determine those who govern us. So let's keep talking, writing, posting, tweeting, commenting, and sharing to the point that even the uneducated farmer who lives in the most remote of villages is aware of how he's being governed.
A well informed and united Nigerian population is the nightmare of criminal politicians.
We shall get ourselves aware so much that even gifts at the polls cannot redeem bad leaders from the consequences of their actions. We shall deny them re-election. We shall reclaim our land and Nigeria shall succeed and shine again however long it takes.
Writes from Calabar