• Features
  • Updated: January 08, 2023

2023: Politics, Politicians, Voters And The Maim Game

Online and off it, supporters of different political parties in Nigeria are at loggerheads while their principals cement lasting relationships despite contrasting party lines.

Unlike other elections, the 2023 general elections open up long political enmity because there is more time before the polls.

Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa with the largest population and by extension, people within the voting age.

But the multiplicity of political parties has yet to translate into disunity among the ruling class in recent years.

Instead, it has spewed ambiguous relationships among the country’s ordinary voters. 

Dr Nwogbaga David in the Political Science department of Ebonyi State University, whose research work has been featured in the African Journal of Politics and Administrative Studies, among others, advised voters to desist from seeing politics as a game of enmity because political actors do not see it in such a way. 

“Those politicians that we see play their game with due sportsmanship while most political followers breed hostility and continued feud”, he said in an interaction with AllNews Nigeria’s politics desk.

The political scientist opined that turning supporters against one another is a political strategy employed by politicians to divide the emotions of voters, debase their powers and propel hostility among them to advance their wishes and political aspirations.

Richard Odusanya also said in his opinion article on October 17, 2022, titled “Political Psychology: Emotion, Sentiment And Strategy”, that the political class has engineered a structure that promotes disaffection among our citizens.

 “That some political actors have branded their supporters' owners of Nigeria is the real reason we are where we are today as a nation.

"Instead of sobriquet disposition and genuinely working towards a rejuvenated society and a new Nigeria of our dreams, they are the ones encouraging divisiveness and stoking religious sentiments”, he argued.

Violence has taken a new combative dimension

We used to have consistent dialogue at newspaper stands, motor parks and other public spaces. 

But 2023 and the maim game are taking a different, more violent model.

With the advent of Twitter spaces, political foot soldiers engage themselves for hours, spewing hatred and disaffection. 

Only on a few occasions do you have politicians in those circles.

It is mainly for their supporters who have turned the platform into an unlimited avenue to rain curses and jibes that are often above board.

Idris Wahab told AllNews Nigeria that he has gotten tired of the political Twitter spaces because he hardly gains anything from them except the spread of hatred.

“Maybe just once have we seen politicians come to these spaces, they won’t show up.

"Their supporters will come there and abuse themselves to the point of people building hostility among themselves.

"This is really unhelpful to our democracy”, he cautioned.
Politics in Nigeria has been an arrangement between friends.

The fate of Nigeria, Nigerians and their resources rests in the decisions made by friendly elites. 

Wale Babamade in Ondo State, who has been monitoring the spate of friendliness among the political class and hatred among their followers, explained to our correspondent that Nigerian voters need to know that the same people with different branding styles always rule them.

“Our political class always remain the same. They just change parties and cacauses and maintain ties with themselves to keep themselves close to the upper reaches of power.

"They don’t abuse themselves as we do. That’s why you hear them say Senator A is my brother and friend.

"But we, their supporters, they prepare us in a way that we are ever motivated to go after ourselves and plant hatred with our political opponents.

"We need to play politics as they play it too”, he charged.

Even though Nigerian politics is like a bad movie, always with the same characters that only change position and title, Dr Nwogbaga David suggested that Nigerians should not practice political apathy because they can only enjoy the dividends of democracy when they are part of the process.

“We should not breed enmity. We shouldn’t be far from the political class and not be too close to them because they understand how they play their games which we might not know.

"I advise all Nigerians that we should be civil in our political engagements because our political elites are always civil with themselves,” he appealed.

The truth should be immediate. It is high time Nigerians understood that the political class are inseparable friends in the soap opera of Nigerian politics.

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Yusuf Adua
Yusuf Adua

Yusuf Adua is an investigative journalist passionate about politics, solution-based reporting and f...

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