How I got into the emotional merry-go-round called Nigerian Politics

Written by
Written by

Deolu Akinyemi

The emotions flying around are normal, breakfast is being served, and it will go around; only a matter of time before everybody will be alright.

I was inducted into the voting in 1999, I was a little too young in 1993 to vote, but I was a little aware of what was happening. There are many things about that era that I cannot forget. I remember the adverts, remember the expectations, where I was when Abacha was announced dead, and the jubilation that filled the entire Awo hall of Obafemi Awolowo University Campus. We were not many students in school, but the joy was loud. I have a little history before 1999, but voting started for me in 1999. This year makes it my 7th time voting.

I wasn’t very emotional in 1990, 2003, or 2007, all I did in those elections was vote, nothing more. I wasn’t vested in any candidate. I hadn’t listened to anyone enough to develop faith in them. Where my emotional investment happened in 2011! What a year. That year is a year I put my cash, sweat, intelligence, and emotions on the ballot. I was all in. I traveled to every region of Nigeria with my own finance to push my candidates. I developed brochures, fliers, donation purses, etc. I led a team of young people; we did jingles, had a very active social media group, and did all we could for the ticket. I wasn’t promised anything, only that Nigeria would change and become the New Nigeria of our dreams. I listened long enough to form pristine impressions about the candidates.

After three flawed elections – 1999 heralding the Fourth Republic, 2003 and 2007, the last being the most discredited – the 2011 polls were critical for Nigeria’s fledgling democracy and overall political health. Alas, it was not, and it didn’t mean Nigeria would not move on. When the elections happened, and the results came out that we had lost, Nigeria was hot! We were going against the power of incumbency, and we felt rigged (the actual term is outrigged, as every party has its bad actors). A few from the international community said that our candidates actually won the election, but that was the story for the gods. My candidates lost the election and went to court to reclaim their mandate and ultimately lost. People were so hurt immediately after that over 800 people were killed in 3 days, and 65,000 people were displaced from their homes. The emotions were high and erupted, but Nigeria moved on!

Back in those days, even though my candidate was the Vice President aspirant, the profile of General Muhammadu Buhari as an anticorruption czar was strong. Just the same way people are signing praises of Peter Obi today and seeing nothing he can do wrong, our impression of Buhari back then was near angelic. I remember designing a brochure back then – “The Buhari we didn’t know”. In the Hausa community, Buhari was a folk hero. You mention his name, and 4-year-olds in Southern Nigeria who live in House-speaking communities will shout back – “Gaskiya Dokin Karfe” (meaning, truth is a metal horse, unstoppable). The legend of GMB has finally been demystified after two lackluster terms as president. Looking without bias at the Legacy of Peter Obi in Anambra, I’ll say he probably just dodged a bullet. At least now, he can join Obafemi Awolowo and M.K.O Abiola on the list of the best we never had.

In the meantime, let’s do away with hate, hate speech, and categorizing people. What exactly are we communicating to the next generation? That we can wake up 1 year to an election, separate ourselves from the party we have identified with for 16 years, and ride a mob to become President of the most populous black nation in the world? Is that how patience and long-term planning work? Or do you really think you are the only one praying to win? Do you think God adjudicates on letting my candidate win? Why not trust God enough to know that whatever He allows, he has a plan for? Trust God people, God cares for His people more than you, and everybody is His people, even those who don’t know it yet.

I believe it’s time for Nigeria’s turnaround, and everything is playing out in the end in line with His plan.

 

Kind Regards,

Adeolu Akinyemi.

 

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