Even the blind now know that the change promised to unsuspecting Nigerians by Mr. Muhammadu Buhari and the broom-wielding All Progressives Congress in 2015 was change for the worse. The past seven years of the All Progressives Congress have been spent in searing flames.
If from 1999 to 2015 Nigerians used to quietly sip the dregs of deprivation and depredation while being inundated with stories of outrageous corruption, from 2015 to present when nothing has changed on the menu diseases imposed on Nigerians, they now also have to eat with their hearts in their mouths. This is a fallout from the brutal insecurity that is sweeping the country like a hurricane, disrupting many lives.
In these difficult times, Nigerian democracy has somehow survived and even miraculously sprouted new shoots that provide Nigerians with options they could only dream of when military uniforms cast grotesque shadows on the national flag of Nigeria.
The conduct of free and fair elections in Nigeria, long considered the crown jewel of democracy, continued to witness incremental change even as the INEC continued to show the growing tendency to cast off its nauseating allegiance. to the powers that be while pledging loyalty to the Nigerian people.
But perhaps, more than anything, what has grown by leaps and bounds in Nigeria since 1999 is the political consciousness of the ordinary Nigerian who, more than anyone else, has borne witness to how deleterious bad governance has been.
There was a time when Nigerian arms folded in apathy only stretched out to reach out hands that received rice, wrappers and paltry sums in exchange for votes. Today, the growth of the Nigerian voter is such that bombarded by the putrefying winds of bad governance, he now knows how to reject outright the sums peddled or receive them only by carefully checking that his conscience remains free from any label of price. During the November 6, 2021 elections in Anambra State last year, a woman who rejected peanuts offered for her votes showed Nigerians how to keep political stoats at bay.
The Federation’s Service Chief, Ms. Folashade Yemi-Esan, recently warned Nigerian civil servants to stay away from partisan politics. Citing the legal opinion of the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, the HoS reminded officials that involvement in partisan politics was against the rules of civil service. According to the HoS, the Supreme Court in the INEC v. Musa case did not say that civil servants could engage in partisan politics. It is certainly a curious position to take.
What political training do civil servants receive in the country? To what extent are they encouraged to participate in the country’s political processes? With everything going on in the country now, isn’t it an illusion for anyone to convince themselves that neutrality is an option?
Nigeria has come to a point where participation in politics should be brought up at every opportunity. If the prevailing mindset is that politics is a dirty game, it’s because many people choose to sit on the sidelines and do nothing to experience things for themselves. It is because people are not participating enough, it is precisely because people are not vigilant enough, that the charlatans and clowns who perpetuate bad governance continue to rule Nigerian politics.
Although awareness has been growing for a number of years now, much more needs to be done. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom and with the 2023 election very close, sitting on the fence will be like posing as a sitting duck.