The corn eaters and other comedy groups on the political stage looking for votes constantly remind me of the vacuity and lack of ideology in our politics.
I covered for NTA the campaigns of Chiefs Obafemi Awolowo, Olabisi Onabanjo (UPN) and Alhaji Sheu Shagari, Toye Coker (NPN). I was also practically involved in the presidential campaign of Chief Gani Fawehinmi. Honestly, I cannot remember when any of these popular candidates adopted comedy as their manifesto like many of our politricksters especially in the South do nowadays.
I didn’t see Jakande invade a bukateria like a pro tem madman to eat Ponmo or a Bola Ige who always emitted classic intellectualism to suddenly stop at Ekotedo or Beere barbing salon to cut his hair all sideshow for the cameras. When Ajasin moved to campaign ground with his aura of spartan lifestyle , the crowd cheered the man for his deep wisdom and integrity not because of money. Prof Ambrose Ali looked every inch an academic despite his foray into politics not like the many jejune bolekaja, corrupt and violent academic now on the political field of rough play.
Despite their limitations, at least the voters knew what their leaders were saying, what their promises and manifestoes were which they could simply relate with. Their supporters and many members of the public could easily recite manifestos of their preferred parties.
Before the era of “jeun soke” “te so jue” “gbe fun” “gbasi be” “ba n’mun” “see & buy” “dibo ko sebe” and other motorpark and hard drug induced campaign slogans, South-West used to be a political ground for constructive political engagement and decent slogans. Violence or money was not the main option of political engagement particularly in the real progressive camp.
The street, motor parks, bus stop, hard drug centres now define our politics and slogans, instead of politics defining street morals. Winning at all cost is the ultimate and that is mostly determined by balance of terror.
I cannot imagine a campaign committee presided by Awolowo, Jakande or Onabanjo and slogans like “Gbe fun” “Jeun Soke” or “Dibo ko sebe” will be adopted.
Nigeria is now a big motor park ruled by touts, political bandits, certificate forgers, drug barons, rapists, shameless public fund thieves and a mix of very low percent of quality.
Politicians with this type of political warriors, politics can never be defined by issues, values or substance. They can’t give what they don’t have. The drama will continue until the system is changed.