I can’t wait for the Nigerian Election to be over. The election definitely brought out a side of Nigerians that I didn’t quite appreciate existed. I also must apologise for referring to some APC supporters as voltrons – I am deeply sorry and I was wrong. The reaction to Kowa, its presidential candidate and how she ran her campaign by some supporters of APC, I have found quite unsavoury, condescending and unnecessary.
I understand some of their fears and the source of their frustration though as any relative success of Kowa probably weakens their chance of unseating the incumbent PDP. The fact that both they and Kowa want the same thing – unseating PDP – means very little to them.
For quite some time, Nigerians have protested against the godfatherism in politics, the effect of humongous political slush funds, the recycling of the same set of people in or around power, the incessant use of stomach infrastructure as voter inducement, corruption & mismanagement of collective resource, the permanent blurred line between public and private money. The eradication of all of the aforementioned, alongside the formulation and execution of policies that will improve our nation are what we’ve mostly yearned for. In Kowa’s presidential campaign and its candidate, most if not all of the things that we complain are rife in our politics were exactly what were absent. The saying goes, the proof is in the pudding.
Most wanted election debates, Prof Sonaiya made sure she participated in one. We don’t like godfatherism, they don’t like it either with no godfather in their party. We want women to be empowered, they selected a woman – not as a token but an evidently capable one. We want a government that will be judicious with our resources considering the austere times that lie ahead, they conducted their campaign with pragmatism and within their resources making very effective use of technology to reach as much people as they can, possibly in hope that word of mouth will come into play. Some people even referred to Kowa as unserious, mainly because they haven’t hosted the massive campaign rallies that PDP/APC have. We cannot want expensive rallies, glossy tv adverts, chart topping music jingles, various party paraphernalia etc and still want money to play a reduced role in our politics?
That your candidate failed to convince Kowa supporters to gain their votes, is your candidates fault not Kowa’s. The condescension is absolutely unnecessary.
The reaction to Kowa and Prof Sonaiya also confirms one more thing; that we are not ready for an unencumbered candidate. When Buhari tried to run as an unencumbered candidate with ANPP and CPC, Nigerians rejected him – soundly too. It seems we can’t divorce ourselves from “kingmakers”, as now that Buhari has embraced the “kingmakers”, he’s all of a sudden become the one that we need to move our nation forward. Apparently, and going by APC’s campaign, there was nothing wrong with Buhari when he was rejected in previous elections – he was not a religious or ethnic bigot and had good intentions when he conducted/benefitted from a coup. But the real difference in this campaign is that Buhari has given up – he’s accepted godfatherism otherwise the old Buhari would have been uncomfortable with the amount of money that has been spent on his current presidential campaign.
If anything the emergence of parties like Kowa is testament that our democracy is moving in the right direction however slowly and what Kowa should get from Nigerians is commendation, for an honest and diligent effort, with them being more known than they were in 2011. It is what we’ve wanted: ordinary Nigerians coming together in a party to discuss and agree how they want to be ruled without any sort of undue and overbearing influence or bigotry.
I am supportive and sympathetic to the candidacy of Prof Remi Sonaiya and I hope she does win on 28 March. More importantly I am pro Nigeria, so if the impressive Professor does not win, I most definitely hope President Jonathan and the PDP loses because I believe this is better for our democracy and that the President does not deserve to be rewarded with four more years. Further, being pro Nigeria makes me shudder at the thought of PDP being the main opposition party. We will need parties like Kowa to be stronger in the next parliament, we’ll also need them to remain unencumbered so deriding them now is not in our best interest.