IT IS COMING. THERE are already so many signs of its coming and they are unmistakable even to untrained eyes. The intrigues, the mischief, the duplicity, the greed, the betrayals, the disappointments, the bigotry and all that lead to the inevitable chaos which attends our elections; local, state and federal. As we have come to know over the years, the higher the stakes, the greater the chaos. It has become a   ritual that our being has not permitted us to avoid. It is sure to play out again in 2019, the important year of important elections.

Our disaster is waiting to happen again – the disaster of violent contests, of snatched ballot boxes, of women made widows and children fatherless on the altar of politics. Above all, the disaster of ‘electing’ men of suspicious character, suspect competence, certified rogues whose aspirations are founded on no greater motive than access to the inner corridors of graft. They seek their ride to power on conscience and votes bought and sold. And since they paid ‘premium’ price for their victory, their main purpose in office is to pay back loans obtained, to recoup expenses, and amass an arsenal of resources for the rainy day and for the next encounter. Theirs is the nation’s wealth to covert and to convert.

Our memory is elephantine in other matters, but very shallow when it comes to politics. We live and relive our agony without demonstrable regret. It is so sad that we never seem to remember, or we willingly forget, and those who should, do not remind us that we have been down these perilous paths before. And when true Men of God remind us, we desert their cathedrals and flock to the auditoriums of the masquerades of faith who foretell victories to the corrupt and success to the incompetent. These masquerades tell the convenient truth to their clients to the material benefit of both sides; they receive enhanced tithes and stupendous gifts, while their client receives the ‘anointment’ of the leader and the votes of the followers.

It is becoming clear that the important year 2019, as well as this year before it, is not going to be any different. Yes, the signs are already here, as can be seen in the buildup that has already started – do you say heightened- as it was never absent. From the local level where recent ward and local government congresses are being held amid the usual acrimony, it is as if we never learn from the scars of yore and the wounds of not long ago. In one case, voting materials disappeared from a state only to resurface in the federal capital in the private homes of those who assumed possession out of ‘necessity’. Party leaders and government leaders scurry to Abuja or to Daura in a bid to upholding favorable results or overturning unfavorable ones.

Gubernatorial Overlords, more humbly referred to as state governors, are deep in the trenches against Sectorial Commanders known as ministers, in a battle of who succeeds in the governor’s mansion. In one case, a governor who has refused to pay workers in his state is locked in battle with a minister who refused to pay his aides. At the last argument, one claims possession of a consensus list, while the other says his men are unopposed as they are the only ones with nomination forms. Both seem to have their hands firmly on the prize, one holding the cow by the horns; the other with the cow’s legs in tethers; strong men and brazen men.

In another part of the country, ORO is bent on his son-in-law taking over from him, not minding the opposition of major stakeholders in the party and in the state to such gubernatorial inbreeding. A tested warrior, the man whose physical weight is outmatched only by the fight in him is taking up his deputy, senators from his state and other stakeholders. He has time for all that as his battle with the Catholic Archbishop is currently enjoying a necessary ceasefire.

It is a different take in the state of the gari-frying, okada-riding governor. The apostle of stomach infrastructure anointed and then imposed his deputy as the party’s flagbearer. When other stakeholders revolted, primaries were held to ‘confirm’ the leader’s wish. Now prominent members of the party are abandoning the governor, his anointed deputy and the party altogether. The man remains undaunted in his confidence to deliver. The main opposition party which paraded a score and ten governorship aspirants initially failed to consummate a convention to the joy and public celebration of the apostle.  But they soon returned to nominate one of them – the only Catholic ever elected governor in the southwest, since Sir Michael Otedola of Lagos in 1992. The candidate is so far busy reaching out to his former rivals. However, the real challenge is set for July 14.

Things are far from being at ease in the state where a former chief of staff to the governor has been in a never ending ‘war’ with his former principal, now a minister. The former governor not only has his former chief of staff as a foe, he is also facing a rebellion within his own party leading to gun violence amid police and court involvement in the  ward elections and local government primaries. The political crisis in that state is as deep as the oil wells that enrich the state, and as vast as the Atlantic that flanks it.

Remember that these are still the primaries and local. Wonder what will happen when the stakes climb higher with actual elections and federal contests. It has only been a prelude to our disaster waiting to happen once again. In all of these, parties in government at the state level continue to win about at the rate of one hundred percent of local elections. Sitting governors continue to plot a second time and should they be constrained by term limits, they are eyeing the senate for a second or third LIP – Life in Power.


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