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In the days preceding the 2015 general elections
2023 Across States Elections News Politics

2015, the turning point in Nigeria’s political followership

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In the days preceding the 2015 general elections, we saw a new kind of politics. It was bereft of every atom of democratic decorum. There was high level division of the populace along tribal and religious lines. From social media commentaries, posts and responses, you could feel the toxicity, malice and venom.

Offline at the party rallies, there was a palpable void in the campaigns. You could cut the nhate with a knife. Physical attacks were recorded, flashpoints of violence were identified, people were being lynched for having a different opinion from the jaundiced but trending opinions of the many.

Perhaps one of the most worrisome topics that Nigerians are running away from discussing is the diminishing ability to interrogate the personality of people who put themselves up for elections. Our people surprisingly are more concerned with mundane things like tribe, religion and region. They do not care about a person’s ability, capacity, mental state and so on.

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The consequence is the incompetence, inhuman wastage of resources, lawlessnesss and roguery we see in our governnance space today. It is filled with avoidable mediocrity and latent failures that leave you wondering if we are all not capable of thinking. 

This brings me to the assertion in some quarters that we, blacks, are congenitally incapable of making the right decisions. There are issues that baffle me about our people. We do not know the standards to expect in government. We have become so used to bad governance that we see roads, electricity and other cosmetic development as signs that ‘governor XYZ is trying’ as if they used their personal money to do the project.

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We name people Mr. project, Talk and Do, the Bridge Builder, and other ridiculous aliases. All these are signs of a decaying or a nonexistent political education. Where people are educated, basic functions of government include the provision of security, infrastructure, maintain a conducive environment for wealth creation and enable the rights of the people.

Until we come to this point, our so-called development is seen as cosmetic. We need stronger institutions rather than strong men who become demigods. They think of themselves as gods of men. Our people genuflect to them for our common resources. This should not be so.

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We have to start verifying people’s private accountability, character and other factors. No one should prevent people from scrutinizing the lives of their candidates. They are gunning for the top position in the land and not their family meeting heads. He is not going to be the president of only his supporters.

People should shun the herd behaviour of 2015 that brought us to this sorry pass. Be open minded enough to admit where your candidate went wrong. We have a nation together.

God bless Nigeria.

Alex Agbo is the head of research and policy at Africa Youth Growth Foundation, Abuja.

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