WITH the emergence of candidates of all the 91 registered political parties at all levels of electoral contest, the stage is set for the formal flag-off of the campaigns and other electioneering activities. This is a moment for all Nigerians who registered to vote to exercise utmost care and pay close attention to the messages that will soon start getting churned out for vote-catching purposes.
Politicians, being what they are, will employ all the tricks in the book to deceive the electorate. The age of the Social Media has given everyone direct access to free web platforms to disseminate and receive information. The opportunities to create real and false messages to sway the minds of the gullible masses are limitless. It is important that we alert the public to avoid falling prey to political dissemblers or what, in street parlance, we call “one chance” politicians.
Gone are the days when political parties deployed mudslinging propaganda to make themselves look good while depicting their opponents in unflattering colours. The main political parties – the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) – are almost like identical twins. Though the PDP is much older than the APC, a majority of the current leaders and members of the ruling party were once in the PDP. There is no good or bad political party, but there are good and bad leaders.
We have tested and tried them, and the electorate should be in a good position to choose from among them irrespective of their political parties. Except for a few among the candidates of the newly-registered parties, most of them have occupied high government offices or been high profile public figures. We know those who made promises and failed or proved incapable of fulfilling them. We know those who deceived us with false propaganda. We are now in a much better position to choose wisely and give our nation the opportunity to resume growth and development under a united Nigerian banner.
Just last week, the World Bank ranked Nigerian 152 out of 157 countries in the world’s Human Development Index (HDI). The HDI measures how a country is faring in terms of long and healthy life, the knowledge quotient and the standard of living among its citizens. This measures the quality of leadership and governance the citizens of a country enjoy, not just the quantum of economic growth or Goss Domestic Product (GDP) per capita.
We must search very carefully among the politicians that will be thronging the soapboxes in the coming months and choose the leaders who can rescue our country from the abyss of bad governance and backwardness. To achieve that, we must ignore false propaganda and put aside sentiments and primordial attachments.
We must seize this moment.