Old-time values of empathy, kindness, compassion, and emotional intelligence still reign supreme as evidenced in the results of the 2020 US Presidential Elections, and it’s a huge relief. I couldn’t have dared to bet that Trump would lose. Scratch that. I expected Trump to win. I had been jolted by the outcome of the 2016 elections because I had been certain Hilary Clinton would take the day. As far as I was concerned, the odds were stacked against her rival. Donald Trump was supposed to be the long-shot candidate whose braggadocio and xenophobia irked Americans enough to shun him, let alone the allegations of sexual abuse and gross disregard for decorum. I thought these were more foreboding than the exaggerated sins of leaked emails. But I was wrong.
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The awakening is in effect. There’s a tidal wave of renaissance coursing through the socio-economic landscape of Nigeria right now, and those who are at the helm of affairs need to read the room for their own benefit. The #EndSARS protests brought many issues to the fore, one of which is the conduct of politicians and the role they continue to play in the precarious state of the nation. The days of docile youths who are only concerned about reality TV shows and the latest hip hop album belongs in the past and any public officer who desires to court the goodwill of the electorate will do well to accept the new status quo.
We allude to the existence of a category of people who are working overtime to ensure we never quite reach those heights we are capable of reaching. In our mind’s eye, they are relatives; the bad guys who don the toga of blood to inflict pain as only they know how. Everyone has “village people”. It’s a staple banter on the streets of social media. When things are not going well or gaining the required traction, we are quick to attribute it to the wiles of village people.
I watch a lot of Crime and Investigation. I have always found the motivation behind crime fascinating—how an individual goes from happy-go-lucky or the regular guy next door—to a criminal mastermind. I am even more drawn to the painstaking effort detectives apply in uncovering who this villain is.
19-year old Daniel Usman is dead. He was shot dead by gunmen while trying to exercise his civic duty. Daniel is only one of the many victims of the just concluded presidential elections. At the last count, about 37 people have been reported killed and many others, injured as an aftermath of the unrest in different parts of the country during the voting exercise. Even as I write this, there’s tension in Oshodi, a suburb of Lagos, as thugs look to disrupt normal trading activities; it leaves one wondering if we’ll ever get to the point where politics will be practised without rancour.
Dear Third Force Apologist,
How are you?
In particular, how are you holding up in the midst of all the electioneering shenanigans?
I know you probably feel overwhelmed these days.
Everywhere you turn, the odds appear to be stacked against your candidate.
And not just that, you are jeered and maligned for your “unreasonable choice”.
“Your political leanings make no sense. You are about to waste your vote and you know it. Your candidates have no political antecedents. They are hardly known beyond their neighbourhoods and are painfully lacking structure, yet, like a stubborn fly, you insist on following the corpse to its grave,” they say.
2019 is a year that many Nigerians await with baited breaths. It will be an election year, one that will determine the trajectory of the country for the next four years—whether it finally turns the significant corner that leads to sustained economic prosperity—or remains stuck in perpetual hopelessness. Nevertheless, one of the identifying factors that accompany every election season has featured once again: Shenanigans; political mischief amongst politicians, their cronies and (for lack of a better word), mentees.
The Ekiti Gubernatorial elections have come and gone, but the revelations that were made before, during and after the civil exercise should be a source of worry for any well-meaning Nigerian. The keenly contested race between Prof Olusola Eleka of the PDP and Dr Kayode Fayemi of the APC threw up many unwholesome practices that do not bode well for the electoral future of Nigeria. As early as the wee hours of election day, news already began to filter in about the massive vote-buying embarked upon by the two major political parties.
One is the Senate President of the most populous black nation in the world. The other is the current Prime Minister of the world’s sixth largest economy – The United Kingdom. Both are well read, seasoned politicians who had served in various capacities in government before attaining the (current) peak of their political careers. While Bukola Saraki was elected as the Senate President of Nigeria in 2015, David Cameron was re-elected as Prime Minister in the 2015 general elections in the UK. However, what the two men have in common at the moment is their indictment in the Panama Papers scandal which has earned them the unenviable tag of being two of the most controversial public officers in the world.
In a unanimous ruling that defied the business-as-usual characteristic that has been synonymous with many countries in the African continent, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa was ordered to pay back a part of the $15m he spent in renovating his Nkandla private residence by the supreme court. It came as a pleasant surprise to see a court rule against a sitting president (a clear indication of an independent judiciary), a plot that would have struck as unrealistic if it had been cast in an African movie.