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WHAT A THIRD FORCE SHOULD DO

Elections are the most dangerous events in the world, in my opinion. It draws in the other structures of modern society namely -media, fashion, religion, entertainment and knowledge. Nothing in this world is as powerful as governments. The power of life and death resides in the hands of God, and then political leaders. The US President is so powerful and his office clout with immense power, he can destroy the world. Wealth and fame can not achieve the fits that political power has achieved in the world. "I am the state" King Louis the 14th once boasted. He ordered the most famous and most wealthy -"thither and from". Guys! If political power grants such access to that kind of phenomenon, the process that gives the tool to us is never easy or clean.

Nations differ from one another but values have standards especially in the 21st century. I do not expect human sacrifice in the 21st century. If it exists anywhere, it is a misnomer. So you, white or black, will be foolish to ascribe a full human stature to western dwellers while taking the the Nigerian situation as "peculiar to Nigeria" as I have often heard many people say. They think the values inherent in western countries such as respect for human life and dissidents is not too Nigerian. That bad character on display in the ways of Nigerian leaders can be tolerated. I often disagree with people who ascribe some obviously petty actions of Nigeria's leaders to cultural background. If the "culture" of the land grants power to the leader to view himself as right while the entire intelligentsia is wrong, that culture belongs to the dustbin. If the "culture" of a nation supports tyranny and public alienation, that culture belongs to the incinerator. Quite unfortunately, those reasons are responsible for Nigeria's non-modernisation and it sustains itself by continually feeding on the ignorance and narrow mindedness of a relevant majority of the electorates.

Proper elections may never be conducted in Nigeria. Here is why;

Most of the voters do not understand what it means to select a government. Not unlike it is in many non-third-world countries. The difference is that, Nigeria is worse. The people need infrastructure, water, clean air, electricity and proper education. Much of the progress the country has made in those basic needs are within the quarter of an inch. The railways are embarrassingly archaic compared to the recent advances made by the country's West African neighbour -Senegal which lacks the resources in the possession of Nigerian leaders. To add to the embarrassment, billions of dollars have been squandered by corrupt politicians while pretending to fix the infrastructural deficit. Embarrassing to young people who believe, against all odds, that Nigeria and its people deserve better.

Coupled with voters illiteracy which is anchored on ethno-religious sentiments and deliberate underdevelopment of education in the region -a form of sacrilage, Nigeria has a large number of under-age voters both from south and north. It is prevalent in the northern states of the country in multiple quantity such that it is impossible to determine whether animals do not register to vote as comedians have put it. That problem, evidently, became common during the period leading up to the 2015 general elections. It was a violent hurl against the incumbent Jonathan-led administration and the ruling People's Democratic Party which at that time had ruled the country for 16 years. During that time, Nigerians were confronted with unthinkable challenges stemming from its turbulent history and outdated cultural background.

Under-age voting and other hazardous actions (dangerous to Nigeria's political future) were tolerated by the disgruntled population of the north while the southern population evaded the question. A corp member reported that he, stubbornly, attempted to disenfranchise some of the obviously, under-age voters immediately he spotted them. He was warned by his wise boss not to go ahead with his plan. It was the duty of the electoral commission to have prevented them from registering in the first place. The Nigerian government has successfully changed the destiny of the politics of the country for worse. You and I will live to clean the mess.

The campaigns have brought back a viciously backward relationship between the electorates and the politicians.

Bribery spilled out of its tank to the streets. Voters were induced by politicians with money, petty gifts and cereal. Yes! Votes were bought with cereals. I have never heard of such a diminutive episode in any nation's political history. It is shocking. I thought all of those died with the chief thug of his era.

I was ashamed of many of the young people who fell prey to the enticing attraction of momentary short satisfaction. Many of them I respected to my bones and could vouch for them all the way. Young and vibrant, they held up the banner of hope and a promising future within Nigeria's politics. As student leaders, they fought hard for their colleagues and were almost dismissed from school. They were the heroes of their own time and they left great legacies. Today, however, their lack of visionary thinking and lack of confident refusal to be lured by power has pushed them into a long line of retreat. With their reputations smashed to pieces already and the ignominious defeat they incurred in their constituencies, they have a lifelong battle to fight. For now, their retreat is perpetual. Recovery is unclear.

Younger generations sold their own influence for the most basic of things. I don't blame them, life is hard. But it is harder when you are stupid. For young women and men who had the chance to be wise, for the first time in their lives and were not, I say it is a sad beginning to a well-deserved ending.

But what should we do?

The APC, as rightly pointed out by a former Vice Presidential candidate of CPC -one of the parties that joined the coalition that birthed the APC-, Pastor Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly, is "a party of thugs". Thug here refers to politicians with special talent in intimidating other people and who treats others violently and roughly. It seems Bakare knew, with evidence, what we knew not and can only suspect. Thuggery is what APC members and their leaders do.

The first sense we must have is to know this and see it in them. We are all up against a party that differs little from the Post-2003 People's Democratic Party (PDP). The PDP had a good beginning, however the APC does not. It has been a messed record since its founding. We must all be ready to battle thuggery with our sanity. APC is a party of people who wish to obliterate laughter.

The Third-Forcers are not movement people. They simply want to appear on the scene as "messiah". No, that's not true. Even though the campaign of some of the new numerous parties are transformative and issues-based, they are not patient enough to popularise their ideas. No revolution starts that way. A handful of minds must understand the ideas that is being pushed. The third-force is a third force only in name but not indeed. A force within this context must be united. All the young smaller parties must collapse into one strong group. Then we can talk about a third-force outside reverie and theory.

Third, there must be intense and unrelenting grassroot mobilisation. The streets must be sensitized adequately. Everywhere the APC has root, thither should the third-force send its troops.

Those are the traits that I have seen in small parties that became great.

The candidates for next election must mount stiff opposition against the ruling party. All the flaws of the incumbency must be drummed hard on the ears of the electorates. Don't you see what happens in the British Parliament? Alternatives must be visible. It will help democracy and development. Any "opposition" that only becomes opposition in the election year is just a joke. It is more dangerous to be silent in the face of anti-people policy when you have the machinery to do the work of the opposition.

Ojo, Aderemi is the President of the University of Ibadan Students Union (2017/18 session) can be reached via email ojderemi@gmail.com and his articles appear on his website platinumderemi.com
Follow him on twitter @oj_deremi or @platinum_deremi

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2 COMMENTS

Oladipo Kayode A.
Oladipo Kayode A. Sat March 23, 2019 at 8:55pm

I must say this write-up is one for the moment. However, since majority of electorates do not know their rights from their lefts and are seemingly tossed by the money of the already "established politicians". How do third-force parties, many of which do not have half the resources of these large parties, sway the minds of the hungry electorates?

Wilson Williams
Wilson Williams Fri June 14, 2019 at 9:46pm

Great Piece! Going forward from reaching out to the Grassroots with ferocious mobilization. And making an antagonist stance to the incumbent party. The third force needs to also vehemently use the media to rouse the attention of the international community. A lot of international observers who have interests in the nation whether Economically or Politically would not hesitate to strike alliance with a viable 'vehicle'. And such collaborations cannot be overlooked. Personally, I am very interested i working with the third force, not as a Sycophant, like we experienced from majority of the supporters from the last election;who refused to understand that it takes more than goodwill or intentions to win an election, especially in Nigeria.

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