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Nigeria Decides 2019: Our Expedient Polity (1)

Sometimes I wonder what Nigerians really want from their leaders for us to have a polity as enviable as that of advanced democracies.

I also do ponder on what the motif of our leaders is most of the time. But more importantly, I find that most Nigerians do not even want too much from the government; after all, many are running their own government by themselves, providing their own roads, water, schools etc. It is not surprising that what most of the citizenry need is Good Governance. When there is an assurance of Good Governance, all other things will definitely fall in place.

What do Nigerians really want?

Nigerians do not necessarily want a despotic leader; they do not particularly want a slave master either. Most Nigerians are not looking for the local version of Lee Kwan Yew – the benevolent dictator who turned Singapore around. Yet you will find that Nigerians still cling to the hem of their abusive leaders like a bee desperately sticks to nectar.

The cult followership which President Buhari enjoyed and which he rode surprisingly into power with is gradually waning even as more of his adepts are beginning to realize that such blind followership holds little promise for them and the future of their progeny.

Particular example of this is evident with the juxtaposition between the political schools of thought of personalities such as Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, of the Kwankwasiyya Movement, and the Sai Buhari Movement, woven around the person of President Buhari. Both of these political movements are largely populated with loyalists from the Northern region and other parts of the country but which largely follow different political philosophies.

Rabiu Kwankwaso, for instance, is very popular in the North – from his time as a governor where many citizens of Kano benefited from a wild run of education. There were reports of state-sponsored scholarships and bursaries which allowed students travel overseas and within Nigeria on exchange programmes. It is only natural that beneficiaries of such public-driven but education-focused largesse are going to remain loyal to the person and principle of Kwankwaso for a very long time.

While loyalty for Buhari could be wider across Nigeria, the sparse distribution of his followers is a disadvantage of the cult-following he has modeled himself for. Links to Buhari’s perceived integrity in the previous offices he has held in Nigeria before becoming president even bears little impact and renders the effect on his followers to be lighter. When Buhari became president, given another opportunity which would reinforced his political philosophy or the lack of it, the socialist-leaning empowerment doctrine which he opted for has had little minor effect when compared to other dictators who were benevolent.

Varied beneficiaries…

Now, the pertinent question is, “Do beneficiaries of TraderMoni and Npower feel as grateful or impacted as the beneficiaries of Kwankwaso’s education drive to cast their votes accordingly?” It is largely doubtful that one-third of social intervention scheme beneficiaries such as the Npower and TraderMoni feel impacted enough to cast their vote for him on Saturday?

On Sunday, 10th February, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) held their mega rally in Kano, the day after the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) disappointing mega-rally in Lagos. The Kwankwassiya Movement gave the Atiku campaign the biggest boost and a needed momentum/optics so magnificent that President Buhari had to release a recorded broadcast through the State’s communication channels late Sunday night literally appealing humbly that Nigerians support him at the coming polls on Saturday, 16th February. The line has now been drawn. The Buhari camp evidently feels threatened by the rising support and popularity the Atiku camp is pulling from Nigeria’s strongest voting bloc – Kano – so much that it had to release an extra press release in the middle of hot campaign.

So we might want to ask again, “What do the people really want?” Do people just want a temporary reprieve from their condition in the form of handouts and stomach infrastructure? Or a slower but more long-lasting rescue from the throes of poverty?

These things, which impact the life of the citizenry directly, greatly determine followership in politics and the direction the people will eventually swing to with their vote.

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Macaddy Gad

Macaddy is mostly a farmer in the day who also dabbles into technology at night, in search of other cutting edge intersections. He's on Twitter @i_fix_you

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