Enough Of The Vile And Bile
EVEN as melodramatic as election times are, there are often red lines never to be trampled for the sake of the health of the polity. This, tragically, appears meaningless to many Nigerian politicians. In a political climate where issues-based campaign has been wanting and power, a tool for the allocation of values, has transformed into a tool for primitive accumulation of resources without genuine productive output, thereby reifying politics as the only game in town and an all-comers affair, it is hardly surprising that this tragedy has befallen Nigeria. The language of campaigns has been obscene and the conduct of politicians has been unedifying. The result is a foul political climate seemingly populated by the dregs of the society and which can only yield poor outcomes in terms of personnel recruitment for leadership.
The death-wish advertisement placed in some national newspapers by Mr. Ayo Fayose, the Governor of Ekiti State as well as some self-styled organisations, speak to the intemperate and desperation of Nigerian politicians in their quest for power. This is a shame that not only stands condemned, such public display of irresponsibility should have no place and must stop. On January 18, some newspapers carried a death wish advert titled “Enough of State Burial”, signed by Fayose in which it was said that past presidents from the North-west of Nigeria died while in office and proceeded to asked rhetorically: “Will thou allow history to repeat itself? Enough of state burials, Nigerians vote wisely, vote Goodluck Jonathan, Northern presidency should wait till 2019”.
Similarly on January 19, another advertorial titled, “Sai Buhari!!What a Fatal Error!!” by Arewa Youth Alliance was signed by its national Coordinator, one Alhaji Abubakar Abdullahi. The advert, while affirming the determination of General Buhari to “chart a new course for our great nation” also stated that: “we are, however, filled with a deep sense of foreboding about the General’s state of health”. It continued: while we wish him excellent health and vigour as an uncle that we love and admire, the current state of his health is a cause of great concern to us. With an official age of 73 years and our fathers who are his mates well above 80 years, he is not ordinarily expected to be fit as a fiddle.” The mischief makers went to the extent of citing a medical report purportedly obtained from the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital to show that Buhari was allegedly diagnosed of prostate cancer. Good enough that the so-called report has been disclaimed as mere forgery by that institution.
Nevertheless, these unpalatable campaigns and insinuations about General Mohammadu Buhari, the All Progressive Congress (APC) Presidential flag-bearer, are unpalatable and unbecoming of a decent electoral campaign and amount to a sabotage of the democratic process. Expectedly, it has attracted condemnation from well-meaning Nigerians as well as rebuttals from the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to which Mr. Fayose belongs. A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, and an APC chieftain Rotimi Akeredolu appropriately described the advertorial as “base and uncouth”, unbefitting of anyone occupying the office of the governor of a state. However, the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, said that the advert was Fayose’s personal opinion to which he was entitled.
It must be stated in no ambiguous terms that many of the advertorials being published by both parties are clearly in bad taste. They constitute an assault on the psyche of Nigerians but Mr. Fayose’s stand out still as the worst of them all. His language was insensitive and obscene, appalling, and too crude to be associated with the exalted office of a governor. It sullies the image of those in leadership positions in Nigeria and casts aspersion on the image of the country before the international community. If truth must be said, since his election, Fayose has been embroiled in several controversies and appears to run his Ekiti State rather badly. It should simply change! For a man with a rare second chance, he ought to know better.
The advert is clearly unacceptable. Elections are not a matter of do-or-die affair as the politicians in these parts have made it to look. Whereas, it is not bad that campaign focuses on aspects of the life of a candidate but such must be done in a civilised manner even as. Nigerian politicians have largely avoided issues. At this point, it is important to call them to order. There is need for decorum as they have inclined to taking their campaign activities and utterances to ridiculous and vile extent, thereby undermining themselves.
It is important to remind Nigerian politicians who hardly draw lessons from history, that the kind of utterances being mouthed now were the sort that led to the Nigerian civil war. The electioneering campaigns must now be issues-based to enable Nigerians make informed choices of those to run this affairs. Enough of the vile stench and bile in politics.