In a matter of days, precisely as from November 18, 2018, “Nigeria will be on the match again in search of Mr. President”. The airwaves, newspaper pages and the bill boards will be inundated with political campaign messages by political party aspirants for sundry positions in the forthcoming general election.
What should Nigerians expect as the themes of the campaigns ahead? Same of the same old stories of “how Mungo Park discovered River Niger” which is the repetitive theme of Nigeria’s political campaigns? Or will there be a paradigm shift?
Over the years, political campaigns have revolved around fight against corruption, building of roads, provision of water or as one critic put it “provision of light and electricity”?
The first republic campaigns dwelt on independence or self-governance with less to do with infrastructural development and provision of social amenities which were still moderate and in good condition. No sooner than Nigeria attained independence that the country was plunged into decay and decadence and general condition of bankruptcy, making infrastructure and social amenities freely provided by the colonial masters to become campaign issues.
It was Chief MKO Abiola that attempted a paradigm shift from poverty alleviation to poverty elimination when he came up with “farewell to poverty” as the integral theme of Hope ’93. According to political analysts, the themes of “Change” and “Transformation Agenda” of the last political campaign season were simply cosmetic. Issues of security and development were mere footnotes and only ended up politicized.
There are two schools of thought on what should be theme of the 2019 campaigns. There are those who believe that Nigeria has not outlived the teething issues of infrastructure and social amenities which need to be addressed.
But a good number of people are of the opinion that campaigns should look at fundamental issues of human security which is all encompassing.
“When we are focused on human security, you address conditions that make life unbearable for people. Human security addresses poverty, crime, unemployment internal security, health and a host of other conditions”, says a public affairs commentator.
He noted that “there is no such a stand-alone-theme as anti-corruption, insecurity or economy. All these are interlocked”.