You do not really know a man and what he is capable of until he is rich. No, you have little idea who a man is and what he is capable of until he has power. And no, he doesn’t have to be the wife of the number one citizen of the country who allegedly punishes a mischievous social media critic or the politician who reckons it’s beneath to mention the name of his opponent. He could be the fuel attendant manning the pump during a period of premium motor spirit scarcity or the security guy who denies you access to his boss because he perceives you to be arrogant.
During election seasons, emotions are known to run high. The jostling, the strategising…the rigmarole and tactical manoeuvres employed to upstage the opponent are geared towards one goal—to land the coveted position.
Electioneering campaigns also mean one thing: a couple of folks are going to emerge from obscurity to prominence, either as main actors or as appurtenances to the main stars.
It is a period that inevitably arrogates power to some individuals who hitherto did not have them. And if there’s one thing everyone seems to agree on about power, it is its propensity to intoxicate. However, there’s little anyone can do about it.
In the same way, classmates and childhood friends evolve to become different people in adulthood, some people must emerge as powerful forces, and when this happens, what’s left is to hope that somehow, they retain enough conscience to do right by the regular folks while keeping them accountable via constructive criticism.
One can make the argument that they can be voted out of power if they elect to renege on their promises but we all know how cumbersome that process is if it’s to happen by impeachment, and how we have to wait for at least four years if it’s to happen by way of elections.
It’s also instructive to admit that it’s more difficult to unseat an elected official than to vote them in.
The past few weeks have been tough for and on the majority. So much so that I have heard people say, and even I have muttered one too many times, “Let’s just get the elections over with so we can breathe.”
This prayer is a hope that somehow, things would go back to normal when a president eventually emerges. But anyone who has lived in Nigeria long enough knows that it is a nation that has superfluous gumption to consistently shock one. And so, while in one breath, we affirm that within the next week or two, we will not have to struggle to get cash anymore, in another, we reserve some cynicism for this outcome because we are reminded that we reside in a society that defies natural laws.
In essence, it is unwise to be in a state of limbo in anticipation of an outcome. There’s no denying that these aren’t the best of times, but we must live as best as we can regardless.
Think about it: irrespective of how the pendulum swings, a group of people are bound to have their expectations cut short. Then what? What happens if your candidate doesn’t emerge as president? Yes, you can activate your japa plans, but you’ll still have to deal with the day-to-day realities of existing in this geographical location before your plans come to fruition.
It’s also imperative to note that the emergence of one’s candidate as winner doesn’t translate to Eldorado or a state of uhuru. The last eight years have shown that the majority’s choice can be a poor one. And so, it is one thing for your candidate to trump others at the polls and hold office, and another for them to justify the confidence reposed in them by delivering on the job.
I think this is the scariest part.
Past governments have created the perception that they get a kick from the suffering of the Nigerians. The groans and wails of their employers only appear to propel them to institute more anti-people policies. Therefore, considering this antecedent, it’s far more logical to take on an outlook of scepticism with a sprinkle of hope.
Whatever happens, what’s important is to keep forging ahead. Scarce cash? Source the little you can get and adopt the cashless way of life.
Fuel queues and expensive transportation? Limit your commuting to the most important places and transact more via the phone and online channels. Dealing with an insensitive government? Do right by yourself and others by voting for someone you genuinely believe that improve the status quo.