Democracy is a full-contact sport. And like any sport, it requires the proper preparation, practice, and fitting gear. It seems to me that not many parties and individuals in this election, are prepared for what lies ahead and the nuances of the game. A case in point is Oshiomhole’s appearance on Channels TV programme, “Politics today” on Wednesday, 30th day of November, 2022, where he spent about half an hour discussing his opponent rather than his candidate.
While I believe that free speech, the exchange of ideas are fundamental aspects of our democracy, but they require work, reform, and commitment to uphold them and it must be done with sincerity of purpose and with the aim to educate and inform the electorate. Oshiomhole is certainly not the sort of individual that can uphold these ideals and this is why it is very dangerous to have personalities like him dominate the media space. Instead, each time he is given the opportunity, he defecates verbally, spewing bile after bile, while exhibiting an uncanny, yet characteristic inability to speak the truth!
The other day on Arise TV, he also spent the whole programme talking about Peter Obi, the Labour Party candidate while yesterday he did the same thing, only that he chose a different opponent this time, Atiku Abubakar. The question political watchers are asking Oshiomhole after his most recent failed appearance on Channels TV is; why is he not talking about Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the APC candidate? Is Oshiomhole scared of engaging the media and indeed the electorate over Tinubu? Is he afraid to be quizzed on the accountability of their government and party, which he also served as a failed, ousted and disgraced National Chairman? Why are his likes not campaigning for Tinubu with the achievements of APC under President Buhari if they are confident of their performances for almost eight years now?
On a separate appearance on AriseTV a little while back, the disgraced ex-Chairman, ex-Governor said Tinubu cannot be blamed for the failures of Buhari. He made an important admission of Buhari’s failure but absolved his candidate who told the world that he is the power behind Buhari’s presidency of failure. That is a conundrum that only Oshiomhole can resolve. It would be hard for Oshiomhole to speak directly to performance, because how does he explain that they took over the fastest growing economy in Africa and the country that was projected as the 3rd fastest growing economy in the world behind China and Qatar in 2015 by CNN Business and turned it into the world poverty capital, where all major investments have now taken flight. How can he explain a security situation that was confined to the northeast region with a degraded Boko Haram to a situation where Nigerians now spend days in prayer houses before embarking on any journey for fear of being kidnapped on the bus or train? The country is literally on fire in the watchful eyes of APC and, if they had any modicum of shame, they should be in sackcloth and ashes, mourning what this country had become and not making boastful TV appearances.
In 2015, Nigeria was ranked 136th in transparency international corruption index, 136th in 2016; 148th in 2017; 144th in 2018; 146th in 2019, and 149th in 2020. If you take a critical look at the statistics, you would realize that APC kept dipping their hand further and further down into the treasury in the midst of all the alarm bells. It is no wonder that all the indices for measuring growth plummeted under APC. The CBN Governor just recently announced to the bewilderment of the world that they received zero kobo into the treasury since the beginning of 2022 as oil revenue. A ministry where Buhari is the minister of Petroleum and APC is in charge of the government. What shall we say about a party presiding over the highest level of unemployment and inflation we have ever witnessed in our nation’s chequered history.
It is little surprise therefore that APC is not campaigning with their performance. An awful record of serial failure. Not on TV, not on radio and not even at campaign rallies. They have decided to adopt an attack strategy. A strategy of both verbal and physical assaults. And with their litany of thugs and touts, it is their only tactic. Their modus operandi. When you listen carefully to all their spokespersons, they basically rehash the same thing. They seem visibly angry with all the viable candidates, for having the temerity to contest against Tinubu, their Lord, and now Nigeria’s grand comedian! They are wondering why we cannot understand that it is his turn to govern Nigeria. I really don’t want to be the bearer of bad news because I know how disheartening news of this nature can be
On the electoral front, Oshiomhole can’t deliver his State to Tinubu; neither can they win any state in the South South and South East regions. Tinubu’s failure will be a spectacular one. I urge Oshiomhole and his people to approach this campaign with humility because they would need loads of it when they are disgraced and embarrassed out of office by the informed Nigerian electorate.
Efe Igbinosa writes from Abuja