While there are still a lot of things to desire in the Nigerian politics, it is worthwhile to note the growth it has witnessed for some time now. Politicians seem to have realized the strength of the electorates and are investing time and energy to convince them. What they have still failed to do is to clearly state some of the things they have in stock for us. Instead they spend a lot of time and energy castigating their opponents.
In this piece from allafrica.com, Nnedi Ogaziechi shares opinion on Imo state elections.
This year’s electioneering campaigns have moved from the hilarious, vacuous, and historical to the most expository about candidates and even the ordinary voter in the street. For almost the first time since 1999, politicians are beginning to realize that the voters matter.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) seems to have thrown in some items in the election agenda that have gotten the atmosphere somewhat positively well charged (we can only learn and improve on these experiences). For the first time in the nation’s electoral history, there are discussions about permanent voter cards (PVCs), card readers et al.
Again, from the campaigns, (at least by the two major parties, the APC and the PDP) media outings and discussions, personal and professional history and pedigree of various candidates are beginning to be put out there for voters to leverage on in making their decisions.
This is progress in a clime where hitherto both the citizens and politicians pretended as though those qualities do no matter. Now everyone has realized that a ‘tomorrow’ would always come and individuals are being prepared to take charge and make the right choices.
In the democracies we so admire in this part of the world, leadership at any level is a serious affair and ‘mob’ actions at campaign grounds are always separated from the real personality of the candidates. This is why questions are always asked about a candidate’s parentage, family, childhood, education and professional achievements etc.
There is no rocket science to why these are considered very important. Goodness or bad behaviour in human beings are often traceable to personal history either through the individual’s choices or ancestry. This is why in advanced democracies, indiscretionary behavioral choices like infidelity to a spouse can make a leader resign from a post or even yet to be nominated or candidates for elections to withdraw from election races. These societies do not necessarily look out for saints but they believe that leadership is a serious affair and must be entrusted in the hands of people who despite their human flaws are like Caesar’s wife, beyond reproach.
Most times, due to reasons of selfish and parochial political expediencies (that are almost always short-lived), political parties and citizens often make wrong choices of candidates. At the end of the day, there are sing songs about failed leaderships.
In the almost pathetic recent political history of the five South Eastern states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states, only Anambra and Enugu states seem to have exorcised themselves of the political demons that have seemingly held the zone hostage since 1999.
With a Peter Obi, Anambra has like the proverbial phoenix risen to reclaim the glory that would make the Ziks, the Okparas, the Akanu Ibiams and numerous other Ndigbo living or dead smile and gladly pour libations in gratitude. His successor, Obiano seem not ready to drop the baton given his achievements in the first year of his administration.
In Enugu state, Sullivan (no sobriquets please) as the ordinary people address him, has been an exemplary governor given testimonies from the citizens. One only hopes that his successor would not only keep the flag flying but keep it flying higher.
In Imo state, the political curve has been swinging up and down for a long time. Imo state has for long been one political hot bed since 1999. However, the ordinary citizens who have been observing the growth streaks in both Anambra and Enugu are desirous of a higher and faster leap to real development.
Besides former governor Sam Mbakwe whose legacies speak for his commitment and love for his people, one politician whose short stint at the Senate spoke volumes about the value of admirable pedigree in leadership is the late Ama Iwuagwu whose appearance on the political scene even though very short due to his untimely death re-defined the way politics ought to be played.
A former Harvard graduate that specialized in Public Policy and Developmental Economics, a former consultant to some Benton Woods institutions like the World Bank, an Ama was a breath of fresh air in Imo politics between 2003 and 2005 when he died. Suave, non-obtrusive and one hungry for development, his impact as a Senator that represented Owerri zone still lingers years after his death.