There are those in Nigeria for whom politics is a career, an occupation, being basically and practically the only thing they know and do. Now, whether they do it well or not is a question that is up for debate because the reprehensible brand of politics that works so seamlessly in Nigeria would be found to be irredeemably odious in many other places. This is so because even here at home where it is widely accepted that politics is some sort of war where all is fair, many Nigerians think of politics as a dirty game.
Even before the brutal years of the Abacha dictatorship which gratefully gave way to a democracy that is proving remarkably resilient, Nigeria had tasted what poisonous politics could do. When the 1993 presidential election was inexplicably annulled, not a little bile went up and the stage was seemingly set even then for the kind of politics that is marked by acrimony and rancor.
Since Nigeria`s historic return to democracy in 1999, there have been six general elections. Next years elections would mark the seventh such cycle of general elections.
Things have steadily improved although a lot of work remains to be done to free the process from many hiccups, many of them unfortunately man-made. For it is human beings that buy and sell votes during elections for example.
As political parties in Nigeria, many of them sheltering some of Nigeria`s most unscrupulous elements, continue to prepare for the election, the task of the Independent National Electoral Commission has been growing increasingly harder.
The Commission long suspected as anything but impartial during elections in Nigeria is being dragged hither and thither by all manner of aspirants into political offices and their supporters.
With each day that breaks and dribbles to dawn, it is becoming even clearer just how harsh the level of scrutiny on the Independent National Electoral Commission and the courts is.
As usual, citing the fact that Nigeria`s constitution allows aggrieved parties access to court, all those who are aggrieved or perceive themselves to be aggrieved by the outcome of the primaries of their political parties have rushed to court and are rushing to court. Very few of them take into consideration the fact that their grievances are directly resulting from the failure of their own political parties to put their affairs in order.
For many of them, trenchant criticism of the Independent National Electoral Commission and the courts often without basis is already a favourite tactic which will only be refined as the elections draw closer. For these people, nothing is too sacred. The situation is expected to get worse after the 2023 general elections.
But restraint must be exercised both in words and in action. No matter how grim a picture anyone wants to paint, the fact that democracy in Nigeria has survived till this day means that the institutions that support democracy in Nigeria are growing ever stronger.
If these institutions are allowed to continue to thrive without the undue attention of mischief-makers and sore losers, it will only augur well for democracy in Nigeria.