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.
Everywhere you look, someone is either set to “remarry” Buhari or is Artikulated.
What’s more, they are in the sweeping majority…drowning your voice even as you try to elucidate your viewpoint to make them see why you do not share their optimism about the two recycled heavyweights who have tasted power but haven’t made Nigeria better off in the process.
They are quick with the rebuttal—your arguments do not hold water. Just look around you—compare the immense popularity and clout that the vastly experienced veterans have to the pitiful naivety your starry-eyed, grammar-blowing political neophytes epitomise.
They know your candidates have sterling accomplishments; they are well-read, widely travelled professionals and can talk a good game. But that’s all there is to them. Their bristling good looks, oratory prowess and relative youth do not count for much in this clime.
In fact, their raw passion and persistence in running for the highest office in the land are seen as desperation in many quarters. “What effrontery, by the way! Why are these newbies not starting from the bottom? Why are they not vying for a seat at the House of Representatives or at the most, The Senate? I mean, these are members of PACT who couldn’t form a pact that will see one of them emerge as a consensus candidate while others give their unflinching to such a one.”
“They have no chance,” they reiterate.
Pitch your tent with one of the two major political parties so you do not waste your vote. Who knows, you might even come away with a healthier bank balance, a prospect that’s not even conceivable when you are in the “losing” corner.
The main opposition tells you what’s most important is kicking out the out-of-touch incumbent while the incumbent maintains they are the only ones capable of protecting the treasury and setting Nigeria on the path to recovery.
The septuagenarian gladiators are poised for what promises to be an electoral showdown in a couple weeks and your decision to keep faith with any of the newcomers is foolish.
They cannot win.
They will not win.
It remains to be seen whether they can even garner enough votes to secure a win in their polling unit.
At this point, you are just about despondent. You probably have subconsciously accepted that none of your preferred candidates can pull off the seemingly impossible, and you wonder if you really aren’t being foolish.
I am here to tell you to stay strong.
Vote whom you want to vote for.
Of course, there’s a huge probability that your candidate will not be the new Commander-in-Chief come May 2019, but you would have done yourself proud by participating in the elections. You would have ensured your voice was heard through your vote, regardless of the outcome.
And don’t let anyone intimidate you with talks of your candidate losing. More than 70 presidential aspirants are set to contest the forthcoming elections— only one of them will emerge the winner at the end of the day—so you see that narrative about you being on the losing side, even if true, applies to the supporters of at least 70 other candidates.
Dear Third Force Supporter, you are well within your rights to cast your votes solely based on your personal convictions. Yes, even if you are the only one queuing behind the ballot box of your choice. After all, a certain female politician had a lone delegate vote during her party primaries back in 2011.
Your one Permanent Voters Card has exactly the same power as that of the first citizen; that’s the beauty of democracy.
These are desperate times where equally desperate political jobbers will employ all within their arsenal to cajole, threaten, and pressure those who do not belong to their ilk to align with them.
The Atikulators will tell you Nigeria is headed for doom if Buhari is not sent packing to Daura and the Buharideens will point to their selective anticorruption war as a mark of progress from the days of active looting. If you are truly convinced, it’s allowed to sway to any of these sides.
However, if you remain unconvinced, do yourself and posterity the favour of standing for what you believe.
Stand by your own man or woman. Make that statement with your precious PVC.
Do it for you. Do it for conviction. Do it for Nigeria.
May the forces be with you.