Every four years, Nigerians trudge to the ballot box, to select new leaders. As impending elections heat up the polity and ratchet up the politics, Nigerians experience a familiar wave of hypocrisy and cowardice.
Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999 heralded the return of elections. With a constitution in place and the military tucked away in their barracks, democratic elections, those unerring barometers of democracy, were making a comeback.
The comeback has been sustained, even if every election cycle has been a painful learning curve for Nigerians, and a deathly struggle for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In deed, the shenanigans that greeted the conduct of the 2023 elections, which were recently and unfortunately affirmed by the Supreme Court, lends credence to the fact that INEC is nowhere close to becoming the independent and impartial electoral umpire Nigerians dream of.
Politics is a firm fixture of life. It cuts across every sphere of human interaction and existence, such that all those who decide to ignore its delicacies do so at their peril.
Yet, to what extent should those who play politics overtly or tacitly commit themselves? To what extent should they engage the diplomacy that is a necessary feature of politics, while maintaining the distance that necessarily gives it depth and drive?
During the last election in Nigeria, the ruling All Progressives Congress, whose candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been controversially declared winner of the election, huffed and puffed all over the country.
Their unsightly exertions soon earned them admirers and critics alike.
The election has since come and gone with INEC displaying spectacular incompetence.
The matter has since gone through the whole compliment of courts in Nigeria and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has remained in his seat.
But there are those who have not remained in their places before the elections. They include journalists, citizen journalists, party members and supporters.
While change is the only constant thing in life, these people have not been forced to change. Many of them have willing shed their skins to switch sides and take up new positions.
Now, while there is nothing wrong with ambition or showing adaptability and flexibility, more than face is lost when one changes their view on a thing without sufficient reason, or worse still, for pecuniary purposes.
In politics, this easily passes off as a glaring lack of ideology.
This lack of ideology, or courage of conviction in what one believes, is what so many people have shown since President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was sworn in as President on May 29.
Some of those who hitherto had nothing good to say about the All Progressives Congress, and even about the President himself have since ditched their former camps to pitch their tents with him.
The question Is : what has changed. A hastily hazarded guess would say nothing but the allure of power and office, and stomach mechanics.
It appears that what was a parade of pretenders all along has now seized the earliest opportunity to pounce on what is available.
Among many Nigerians, there is an overwhelming feeling that many who shout themselves hoarse in calling for a better country are still in the business of losing their voices because they have not had the opportunity to eat the porridge of power and privilege.
Nigerians have different names for it, but stomach infrastructure generally approximates it. Nigerians use it to emphasize that for many people, at the end of the day, it is about what they get into their pockets.
This is a truly troubling portent of patriotism or a lack of it. When patriotism is reduced to the vagaries of bread and butter, no meaningful contribution can possibly be made.
Nigerians must learn how to make strategic sacrifices, the kind that build a country. Too many sellouts, hypocrites, and pretenders around do not simplify the task of nation-building.
It Is neither dignifying nor helpful that
Nigeria remains rooted to the spot despite prodigious promise, and mind-boggling human and natural resources.
Nigeria’s present situation should prompt a storm of questions over what is possible and what is acceptable. With a legion of turncoats and saboteurs, who are ready to sacrifice Nigeria for their personal interests, all those who truly love the country have to remain aware and alive to what is happening.