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The gulf between campaign and reality

If politricians could make a wish during campaign season, it would be that voters be blighted with partial amnesia. Every politrician you see wants his…

If politricians could make a wish during campaign season, it would be that voters be blighted with partial amnesia. Every politrician you see wants his good efforts to be remembered, including those pie-in-the-sky promises and that anything remotely unfavourable is forgotten. If those wishes were granted, every politrician would be elected because nobody would see them for who and what they really are. They’ll save on those gargantuan campaign budgets. Unfortunately, contrary to what government-controlled media would have us believe, life doesn’t stand still during the campaign season.

As we counted down to yesterday’s polls, life moved on; politricians were on their campaign train and the people gathered to see them. No interesting promises were made. Where no promises were made, nothing needed to be kept. The electorate had a chance to meet the applicants waiting to ruin them. But even that would change henceforth, the moment the winners are declared and the losers known. Tinted convoys and ready-to-kill security would make the winners invincible as they tear through the most intractable traffic.

All that door-to-door campaign bonding was good while it lasted. The patient listening to the problems of the people, explanations of what government has been doing and promises to do more gave the electorate their fifteen seconds of fame. The pictures taken remain eternal keepsakes. Every illusion of a lasting bond between the politrician and the public is as fake as a hundred Naira coin. That gentle politrician you received as your honoured guest the other day, you would see them no more until the next campaign season if they were eligible for re-election. Enjoy your politrician’s comet.

We need to puncture the balloon of optimism of those privileged to have those pictures hanging prominently in their sitting room before they die of self-importance. All those whose adire prints matched the big men at campaign rallies thinking they are equals need to smell the coffee -politricians do not wear their narcissism to work, they leave that to the lowlife supporters.

Life did not stop in the past couple of weeks. The National Bureau of Statistics would have you believe that the last quarter of the last year was better, but the reality check remains in the unchanging price of gari, tuwon masara and akpu at any nearby market. You would pay back in double for the borrowed campaign funds, including yesterday’s cash inducements.

Just a quick reminder that while you were drumming and dancing at the campaign venues, stock shares were rising if you own them. The politricians you travelled hundreds of miles to go see would take their oath of office over your dead body if it mattered. Your cemetery is their stepping-stone. The Americans you asked to go to hell would grant visas to these politricians and their children for earache while you rot in your little glorified clinic waiting for a miracle healing.

Who watched out for your welfare in Abeokuta while presidential bodyguards used themselves as human shield against unguarded missiles? Those boys would take bullets for their commander-in-chief. The big question is – would the commander-in-chief take a bullet for you? Chances are, he wouldn’t even know you died – ask those who have been arrested in the melee. They’ll probably rot in detention now that four commissioners would oversee polls in that state.

Did you know that the number of people that died in the Port Harcourt stampede rose to a dozen by the last count? Except the victims were your relatives, you probably missed the count. You probably missed the President’s condolence message to the families of the victims in Thursday’s national broadcast. No you didn’t! He did not send one. He was busy campaigning. Yesterday nearly didn’t happen in Zamfara because our justice minister tried to stop elections there when his party missed the golden opportunity to field candidates for next week’s polls.

In the weeks since we have shut down sense and sensibilities, our gallant soldiers have not stopped laying down their lives to keep entire swathes of the nation from being overrun by murderous insurgents. Politricians aren’t making endowments for those they left behind. No, they were busy accusing each other of sponsoring the insurgency. It did not stop the insurgents from attempting to overrun Madagali, Michika, Shuwa, Gulak, Baza, Malam Fatori, Kanan and Kanema among others. Staving off these attacks is not a tea party, it usually leaves human casualties, but you never heard any of the presidential candidates making gratitude a campaign issue.

Zamfara is a sad example of how much life is compared to being elected. In the midst of the daily killings in that state, the absentee governor offered to resign – only he did not. He threatened hell and brimstone if the polls did not hold. Senator Marafa’s sister died and was buried along with 15 other ‘nameless’ humans. Fourteen potential voters were gunned down in Batan Wanka. In Gusau, President Buhari asked supporters to eat to their fill for strength to fight if it came to that. The insurgents were listening because minutes after his convoy left; the villages along Unguwar Gyauro were attacked.

If that didn’t make the headlines, the attack on Governor Shettima made headlines because the governor escaped unhurt. Did you know that people died in that attack? The governor didn’t!

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