The True Face of My Country

Timeline:  Three days to the 2011 presidential elections.

Fmr. Sen. Jonathan Zwingina appears on Nta’s the platform asserting that ‘PDP is still the most acceptable party in Nigeria…These elections are not a fight but a straight walk-over for our candidate…’

Timeline: Two days to the 2011 presidential elections

Rumors are rife that the ACN presidential candidate Mallam Nuhu Ribadu plans to step down for the CPC presidential candidate Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. The ACN national chairman Chief Bisi Akande announces that the rumor is false.

At first hearing, the former senator seems to be bragging about the PDP machinery and my egalitarian mind rebels against it. How dare he? Is he trying to say that the other parties can never win? After my righteous anger had cooled however, it was time to admit that, indeed, he had a solid point. This is based on only one assertion.

The average Nigerian is poor and illiterate.

This may seem like an exaggeration from the comforts of the cities that many people live but the truth is there are so many…indeed a greater number than we can ever imagine who live in conditions that most of us can never ever imagine.

This vast number is forgotten by civilization and remembered only once in four years – during elections. Contrary to what you might think, they have grown used to their lot and have accepted that things will not change in their lifetimes. These are the secret weapons of politicians. They are the ones who are packed like sardines for several hour trips to the state capitals to bulk up the crowds at political rallies on the promise of five hundred naira and a t-shirt.

These are the ones who bring out their underage children to be registered and to vote to bulk up the number of registered voters in their areas. These are the people who cannot afford to go to even barely-there schools and hire themselves out as jobbers for politicians. They are the ones who never watch the presidential debates or the jingles. They have no access to internet and some of them live in places where there is no network. They are the ones our country forgot and they are the secret force behind the people who win elections no matter what.

It is naive and silly for us to assume that a merger will break this trend of money politics. While we may have good intentions, until these ones are remembered, it is unlikely that we will ever move beyond the sphere of political victories driven by money. And it is also unlikely that most of these political parties – no matter how they merge – will give us a president.

I know this assertion may seem like I’ve given up. I’d like to hear your views on this. Thanks.


4 thoughts on “The True Face of My Country

  1. which may be true but i don’t think we are at that stage yet. and since it is obviously in some politicians’ interest to keep these people in this state, we might not be there for a long time. no?

  2. Well said. WE, the opposition & youth, have to reach out to the ‘grassroots’ to kick out PDP. Amuses me to watch ppl rant on FB & Twitter, bcos my Polling Unit is in a rural location and I know wassup.
    That being said, it gladdens me that ACN already understand this phenomenon (prolly cos many of them were ex-PDP members) and employed it to devastating effect in Ogun & Osun states

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