The Labour Party presidential candidate in the just-concluded presidential election, Peter Obi came a distant third in Ekiti State. But he and the executive governor of the state, Biodun Oyebanji, met at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja and embraced each other while supporters were planning violent protests on Twitter spaces.
For the record, the eventual winner of the election, Bola Tinubu won in all 16 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Ekiti State, and Ekiti was the first state to appear at the National Coallation Centre where the president-elect was declared.
Peter Obi of the Labour Party, with his 11,397 votes, could not even meet the 25 per cent requirement in the state.
Today at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja , I came across Mr. @PeterObi, the Labour Party's Candidate in the just concluded presidential election.
It was a brief but warm encounter as we exchanged pleasantries and wished each other well. pic.twitter.com/zIMD2sbAN3— Biodun Oyebanji (@biodunaoyebanji) March 20, 2023
We need to examine why politicians are stewards of peace while political supporters and social media users are agents of hatred to the point that a wife wishes her husband dead on social media because of politics.
Let’s face it; there is a destructive fire on the mountain that we should all try to quench.
This piece tries to point our ever-conscious readers to why we have this national problem.
Though not ideal, our political class thrives on anger and intolerance potential voters have for one another.
Some of them believe strongly that it is the anger that Nigerians nurture towards the opposition and their supporters that will make people vote for them.
As it played out in Lagos and many other states, the opposition appealed to the emotions of a section of the voters while the ruling party emotionally warned their supporters of the dangers of losing control.
But in retrospect, both camps are contemporaries at least and they continue to refer to themselves as “my darling brother” while ordinary Nigerians are out there inciting violence.
The challenge we should raise is that as political supporters attack themselves on the ground and on social media, what role did the political class play? They are in the airports embracing themselves.
When the government and the governed are aware and enlightened, the political class knows they (the people in a collective front) will ask critical and deep-rooted questions about their leadership.
But Nigerians’ enmity is playing to their advantage because it makes a comprehensive critique of the leadership strata difficult.
You won’t come to anyone for constructive dialogue after you have abused him and his family ties.
Since Nigerians are using the political seasons to burn bridges, politicians know that a disunited polity cannot bring them to account, and they love to see the people that way while they build friendly bridges.
Politicians have even carved an escape route for themselves.
They will say “no permanent friends or permanent enemies” in politics.
But they have successfully created permanent beasts in people.
As evident in the 2023 election cycle, more than ever, politicians have even wiped themselves so clean that they can support any party of their choice because politics is not about party but interest and common goals, according to them.
That is why Seyi Makinde in Oyo State (PDP) said he worked for the APC while Rotimi Amaechi (a two-term minister under the APC) reliably worked for the PDP in the presidential election.
So, with this, Nigeians can remain bitter enemies because of party differences, but politicians can remain partners in circumstances to foster their political ambitions.
Many Nigerians get too soaked in the emotion of politics and forget that there is more to life than the three months-plus windows of political campaigns.
The popular analogy “If anyone asks you to put your hands inside a burning fire, will you do so too” work perfectly here.
Regardless of the propaganda game of any politician to foster his ambition, it is unruly for any ordinary Nigerian to absorb the treachery hook, line, and sinker.
After all, we have the right to reject or accept the stimulus.
Since politicians (the major actors and beneficiaries of government) are not taking politics with their lives hanging, it is advisable that Nigerians also reduce their emotional involvement.
Nigerians are also advised to disengage from anyone, media enthusiasts, journalists, or social media influencers fanning the embers of tension heightening because “the politicians we are dying for are not dying for themselves.”
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