With the 2023 general elections clattering towards Nigerians like a freight train gone off its tracks, previous experience exhorts Nigerians to expect outlandish promises, outrageous claims and the occasional crocodile tears by those who over the years have finetuned the art of selling Nigerians short and holding up false claim after false claim and lie after lie as they seek to sway the Nigerian voter.
The reason many people in Nigeria believe politics to be a pool of endless dirt is that in the pool of politics and politicians in Nigeria, all manner of prawns and pranksters are to be found. Over the years, the puddle they have made during elections has successfully cast Nigeria as a country where politics is dirty and elections a do or die affair.
In Nigeria, in the name of politics, people have lost life and limb. People have also watched in horror as their hard-earned reputation have been washed away by the gale of pervasive politics in Nigeria. After about four years, the time is here again when Nigerians are about to be led on a political song and dance by those who make a living out of hoodwinking Nigerians.
On Saturday September 17, 2022, while taking in the visit of a coalition of northern Christian women in his residence in Abuja, Hamza Al-Mustapha, the presidential candidate of the Action Alliance (AA) broke down in tears over the state of insecurity in Nigeria.
While lamenting the pervasive role religion and ethnicism currently play in the country, Al-Mustapha observed that there were people who were bent on destroying the country.
Some hard truths there but as is so often the case in Nigeria, words can only be as weighty as the moral authority of the one who wields them. Nigerians best remember Al-Mustapha for his time as the Chief Security Officer to Sani Abacha who forced himself on the country between 1993 to 1998, his iron fist sending many Nigerians to their early graves as well as stashing away billions of naira of Nigeria`s commonwealth in other countries. In many ways, Abacha laid the grounds for the corruption which continues to be the source of so many of Nigeria`s problems. That more than two decades after his death, money his theft took out of Nigeria are still being returned is testament to the gravity of the crimes he committed against the country.
To what extent then can someone who so closely worked with Abacha and was fingered as the brain behind some of the regime`s worst atrocities presume to lament Nigeria`s multifaceted problems? Shouldn’t Nigerians be wary of those who today act as if they have the interests of the country at heart when not so long ago, they let opportunities they had to put the country in a better stead go begging?
It figures. It is not surprising that as pivotal elections approach, whitewashing and image laundering are taking center stage. Just how many crocodiles, chameleons and hyenas will come up to Nigerians acting as though they are the best animals in the jungle that the Giant of Africa has become?
Nigerians must be especially ready to subject those who will come to them saying they can salvage the country to searing scrutiny. Those who come to Nigerians having supposedly cast off their considerable baggage must be made answer probing questions on their baggage.
In a time of great national need, Nigerians must be especially wary of the weasels who want to worm their way into Nigerian hearts only to bare their sharp teeth when they finally have what they want.
The chaotic leadership of the last seven years provides a coruscating cautionary tale.