Before the curtains fall on 2015 polls
THE 2015 general elections are over, coming as it were with rich lessons – the contests on one hand marked by victory dances in some camps as winners look forward to the tasks ahead, while in the other camps, the vanquished literally nurse wounds. The drama, intrigues, tensions and uncertainty that enveloped the atmosphere are gradually dispersing as the country gets set for another four-year journey to 2019. The lessons are simple.
Never ruin people’s chances: The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a party which prided itself as Africa’s largest party, has ruled since the birth of democracy in 1999. Apparently, the 16-year-old leader has been used, misused and abused that the chances of some credible candidates under the party’s umbrella had been almost completely eroded.
Some candidates, who contested under the umbrella and lost, suffered defeat solely because of their political affiliation. There were audible comments like “he is a good candidate with a major disappointing ‘but’: his platform”. The people perceived and labelled the self-acclaimed Africa’s largest party as a wrong bus station to call for passengers owing to the national appeal and reputation they earned for themselves in close to two decades of their leadership.
Their leadership actions and in some other cases, inaction ruined the chances of most of their candidates in the just concluded elections. PDP has messed up so bad that they made it nearly impossible for their good candidates to win elections.
Be humble; tomorrow is uncertain: The Omnipotent being has a way of bringing humility the way of those who find it too cheap to add to their short list of moral values and virtues. On December 18, 2008 – barely nine years into Nigeria’s democratic rule, headed by the PDP, the then National Chairman presumptuously stated that the party will rule Nigeria for not 10, not 20 but for 60 years. Making such expression on borrowed breath with conviction was the height of contempt to the Supreme Being. Be humble; tomorrow is a decision and no one can take that decision away from God.
Mind your business: I’d like to state that I am a Christian by faith; although my name hints so, but it’s important for emphasis sake. The build-up to the 2015 general elections saw many clergymen, literally abandoning their original business (or calling), to dance in the mud of politics. They threw caution to the wind and made bold declarations as though they just got out of a board meeting with God whose universe they appeared to be shareholders/investors. There were spiritual endorsements, which eventually had no physical value or manifestations after March 28 and April 11, 2015. Some gambled with their integrity and suffered immeasurable losses along with their anointed candidates.
Importance of Teamwork: It’s difficult enough to successfully attack a single viper…imagine they are moving in groups? One of the most important lessons of 2015 elections is that the outcome was a product of building a formidable team, sharing a singular vision with team members, concentrating efforts and achieving a set goal. What the ACN, the ANPP and the CPC could not achieve in isolation became possible when they formed an alliance and eventually defeated a common enemy.
The outcome of the alliance of the parties vividly exemplifies the African proverb, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together’.
Patience, a virtue: Hasty decisions seldom favour one. This is a fact. There were individuals who played pivotal roles in the birth of the nation’s new ruling party. They paid their dues, suffered verbal attacks and all sorts of political jabs. They exercised patience for so long till they decided to move on.
Sometimes, you don’t know what is going to kill you until you try it; but then, it’s going to be too late. It may be safe and on point to add that these individuals scattered across the country fell at the edge of success owing to their lack of patience. So, sow and cultivate the seed of patience and reap bountifully.
Don’t push your ‘luck’: There are people among us who are lucky. What they struggle for, they get easily; what takes some years can take them days. Such people are no spirits, they are human too; they are full of luck. But even luck is exhaustible and can disappoint fast when pushed. It is an art of wisdom never to push one’s luck too far.
Sometimes by losing, you also win: Each time I try to convince myself that one sometimes wins by giving up, I am faced with the question ‘in what world do you leave the ring and declare victory?’ Well, maybe in the world where giving up is a sacrifice, a martyrdom of one’s ambition, where giving up is to prevent a nation from going up in flames and being consumed.
There seems to be a new trend of political opponents who lost out in elections to make congratulatory calls. This act was fashioned along the now-popular phone call of March 31, 2015 made by the outgoing President in conceding victory. It is no mistake to say that the singular act of the President saved Nigeria a lot of destruction, bloodshed, death and eventual fragmentation. He has been called the technical winner for saving the nation probable doom as aftermath of the general election.
•Onofua is a writer and public affairs analyst.