– Agboola Odunfa
ELECTIONEERING- The Campaign Gimmicks
“ Just the way a playboy will convince his ladies or a ponzi marketer will get their customers to subscribe is the same way electioneering process is being run worldwide. Just an example of motion without progress, words that do not equate action’’ – Agboism
Electioneering promises have never been known to tally with governance because promises made during campaigns don’t completely get fulfilled during governance. There is a story to sell and there is a story to deliver which is usually not the same in politics and some goods and services too.
As elections draw near, posters and billboards will adorn every strategic location, well packaged and sweetened messages to catch attention, foot soldiers that will include schemers/canvassers, lobbyists, negotiators, image launderers, buyers and of course thugs that will intimidate or silence all perceived threats even if they are close allies. The bigger players will bring in professionals from high places to manage electioneering campaigns to package the sweet story that touches the soul of a passionate voter.
During campaigns, politicians will promise to turn river to milk, water to oil and stone to bread just to win votes, imagine a councillorship aspirant promising to stabilize electricity or a council chairman promising to build bridges and houses for the masses if elected because most electorate are not aware of the role or too afraid to confront and ask how possible nor demand for fulfilment after the election.
These professionals research and study then advise parties and candidates the story to tell who, where, according to the level of needs, civilisation, poverty and political consciousness in a particular constituency. Furthermore, some professionals will research to the extent that they will get the promises of past governments so they do not repeat same story.
This is also a high sale season for the media, especially the press and bloggers who skew and spread the story of how the bad becomes the best we need. Armed robbers will be presented as domestic traders, secondary school dropouts will be presented as a Toronto University graduates, a disgraced civil servant shall become a patriot while a villager banished shall be presented as high chief. Its a pure campaign. Money, threats and deaths would have played a major role to silence those that may want to burst the packaged lies that could prevent victory in elections.
The campaign comes in various shades; some interesting, some gory, some peaceful, some violent, some good to hear and see, some distasteful. In and out of the expected and the unexpected, politicians are only concerned about securing the highest votes.
Political parties and candidates that participate in elections will stop at nothing to get the masses’ support on their side using every method available at their disposal. The politicians will comb all communities and streets just to get votes but will not return until another season (4 years) of electioneering.
Flashback to GEJ promises
THE SECOND NIGER BRIDGE:
Here were the exact words of President Jonathan when he was campaigning in 2011: “If I don’t deliver the Second Niger Bridge before the end of my tenure, I will leave this country and go and live somewhere else, because the failure cannot be justified”.
*GAS PROCESSING FACILITY IN DELTA STATE
Mr. Jonathan told the people of Delta State he would establish a-$3.5 billion Gas Processing Facility in Obiaruku, Delta State before the end of 2012 to create employment opportunities for the people of Delta State and adjoining states.
A-FOUR -YEAR DEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR THE NIGER DELTA:
President Jonathan is an Ijaw man and so when he promised during the 2011 electioneering campaign that he would establish a 4-year Development Master plan that would build roads and bridges and open up the inter land in the Niger Delta Area where he comes from, his people believed him.
FREE TRADE ZONE IN KOKO:
President Jonathan told the people of Koko in Delta State that he shared their plight during his electioneering campaign in Delta State. Koko is the unfortunate town in Delta State where toxic wastes were dumped over 20 years ago so when Mr. Jonathan told the Koko people he would establish a Free Trade Zone in their area to create job opportunities, they believed him.
COMPLETION OF ILESHA WATER SCHEME IN OSUN STATE:
Jonathan went to Osun State and at the palace of the Owa Obokun of Ijesha land, Oba Adekunle Aromolaran, the Paramount Ruler of Ijesha land, he assured the people he would use federal power and financial muscle to complete the town’s Water Scheme.
ILE-IFE-IJESHA WATER DAM:
In nearby Ile-Ife, Mr. Jonathan went to yet another revered royal father, the Oni of Ife and addressed the townsfolk that he would ensure the completion of the Ile-Ife and Ilesha Water Dam before the end of his first term.
WATER SCHEME FOR TARABA STATE:
Campaigning in Jalingo in 2011 as he criss-crossed Nigeria soliciting for votes, Jonathan promised adequate and uninterrupted water supply to the people of the state. Another lie!
MAKE PLATEAU STATE THE MINING CAPITAL OF NIGERIA:
At a campaign stop in Plateau State while soliciting for votes, President Jonathan assured the people of Plateau State that he would create job opportunities for them through the development of the mining potentials of the state.
Flashback to PMB promises
Initiate action to amend the Nigerian Constitution with a view to devolving powers, duties, and responsibilities to states in order to entrench true Federalism and the Federal spirit, amend the Constitution to remove immunity from prosecution for elected officers in criminal cases
Strengthen INEC to reduce, if possible, eliminate electoral malpractices in Nigerian’s political life
REFORM THE JUDICIARY
Reform and Strengthen the Justice System for efficient administration and dispensation of justice with the creation of special courts for accelerated hearing of corruption, drug trafficking, terrorism and similar cases of national importance;
Bring permanent peace and solution to the insurgency issues in the North-East; the Niger Delta; and other conflict prone states and areas such as Plateau, Benue, Bauchi, Borno, Abia, Taraba, Yobe, and Kaduna in order to engender national unity and social harmony.
Make our economy one of the fastest growing emerging economies in the world with a real GDP growth averaging at least 10-12% annually 4. As at 1999, Nigerian rate of unemployment stood at about 8%, today it is estimated from official statistics to be close to 30.
Create a Social Welfare Program of at least Five Thousand Naira (N5000) that will cater for the 25 million poorest and most vulnerable citizens upon the demonstration of children’s enrollment in school and evidence of immunization to help promote family stability.
Equate N1.00 to $1.00
Based on the promises above, you determine which was fulfilled and which satisfies your conscience on your last decision at the polls.
The people continue to hear what they should have or benefit from the government every season but never get it, we are good listeners and passionate believers that things will get better so we never bother to request for actualization of electoral promises from politicians. We sit, listen, accept and vote as usual or abstain as usual.
Many of us voters see politicians as messiah, gods or the dreaded so questioning promises or demanding fulfillment seem like a taboo or offense that may bring trouble to us, so we eat the pie they sell to us every season and leave it like that.
Business as usual cant remain the usual, if the change we need is important to us, if we are truly unsatisfied with the way things are, it’s about time we identify the responsibilities and limits of every public office holders and evaluate every candidates that may want to approach us for votes so we can counter their claims and question their past before we cast that vote which is a four year investment.
In every election, opportunities always represent itself to correct last season mistake but we never learn or show concern ant it leaves us with old terrible choices and sometimes worse, we don’t define or determine what we actually want.
Be the change you need, obtain your voter’s card and vote wisely, the time has come for you and high to correct the wrongs of our forefathers.
This is in our collective best interest.
Agboola Odunfa a social commentator writes from Lagos
NB: The article above in its entirety represents the opinion of the writer. As such, the Management of the Anchor Online is not liable and is not in any way encumbered by the article or the contents therein.