My name is Austin Oyibode Omos, the Editor of Emeraldng.com, one of the biggest online news platform resident in Asaba, Delta state capital. I have been in journalism practice since July 2008 when I joined THE POINTER Newspapers. Since then, I have not actually monitored primary elections as this year. Reason being that the role I was assigned in the media house did not give me opportunity to monitor primary election conducted by political in the state.
I was in THE POINTER for about seven years before I joined THE UNION Newspapers allegedly owned by embattled former minister of petroleum resources, Alison Madueke Deziani. When the paper folded up, I joined THE AUTHORITY owned by Ifeanyi Uba, owner of capital oil, headquartered in Abuja. Thereafter, I moved on to join the most visited online news platform in Nigeria, NAIJ.com, from June 2016 to June 2017, just for one year. During these periods, there was no election of any kind except, Edo, Anambra, Ekiti, Ondo, Osun and some others.
But now that I have set up Emeraldng.com, I have the privilege of monitoring primary elections and it is quite revealing. One can see how desperate politicians could go to get what they want whether crook, fraud, as far as they get what they intend. Their slogan has always been the end justifies the means. In that wise, they could employ whatever means to achieve their go. Anybody could die, anybody could be shortchanged, anybody’s right could be trampled upon, lies of any magnitude could be to be told to achieve any goal as far as it suits the whims and caprices of the liar, it does not matter.
A contestant could be murdered, it is no wrong. Native doctors and shrines are visited, it is perfectly okay. Delegate lists may be hidden from some aspirants, it is because they are not powerful or not connected to the powers that take great decisions. Results can be changed to favour a particular aspirant or candidate, it is part of the game and the person who is favoured by the stolen mandate will enjoy the office and the largesse attached to the office without feeling an inch that someone is offended.
Now from my monitoring of the 2018 primaries, I see the following:
- Nigerians are not interested in people with ideas that could help transform their environment but in people who could feed their stomach at the moment and the future could go to blazes. Hence, they look for people who have money to give them immediately and their consciences are easily sold on the altar of N5000, N10,000, even N2000. Women are ready to dance and sing praises of a failed politician but who could grease their palm with money for a single pot of soup. This is because the people are poor and anything that could give them immediate satisfaction is okay. This is highly regrettable.
- Nigerian politicians are ready to kill, maim and injure anybody to achieve their goal or win the office they want. Anybody can be eliminated, threatened to withdraw from the race as far as he is seen as an obstacle to their goal. Many have died in that form, some through assassins and their good dreams perish.
- Nigerian politicians do not have good plans for their people, they have sugarcoated language to brainwash their people but as soon as they ascend the offices they contend for, the people are abandoned to their fate. They amass wealth and tell the village woman that things are bad, there is recession and so there is no money. They manage to drop N5000 in their hands and a bag of rice, the village goes gaga with plenty thanks to the deceptive politicians.
- Powerful men in power use their offices to decide who should be elected whether the individual has good credentials, good records or good programmes, it is not important. The person must be imposed because he is ready to do the bidden of the godfather. The godfather can go all the way to block the way of the most credible person and let him die with his good dreams. This is one of the biggest challenges in the political system in Nigeria.
- For politicians to have their way, they must have godfathers. These are people who take decisions at the background. They do not project themselves but they push individuals into positions who must be extremely loyal to them. So, those who do not have powerful godfathers may have good ideas or contest election for donkey years but they cannot win election to any office. The masses may want the person but the powerful men will turn the table against him and the result goes of the election goes contrary to popular votes.
- In the states, governors and party leaders promised conducting elections with transparency and fair play but it does not work. They deceive the poor masses who count on their outward show but it is a game to deceive the people. In these primaries, promises of such were made but never worked out. They are deceptive strategies to make people believe they are transparent they are wolves in sheep clothing. In their secret covens, they hatch their game plan and tactically execute them.
- Winning elections is simply not with good ideas but possession of bags of money. Votes are bought and the voters’ minds are swayed. And because most of the voters are poor, they easily vote for the people that buy their minds. So, to go into politics, one must have money heavily or he has someone to sponsor him and he remains to that individual all through his political career. This is why some people are receiving salaries but they always say there is no money. The money is used to service their sponsors who receive the money at the background but they cannot cry out. The ordinary people cry for no salary payment but the money is being shared with godfathers and sponsors.
- There is no truth in politics. To be a politician, you must be ready to sell your soul to the devil and let truth be out of your mouth. Lies must be told to hoodwink the gullible people because they must win their minds. Yes, politicians are big time liars. People are promised things they can never do. These things make the people believe in them but they can never come to be.
- Most delegate lists are not displayed for the aspirants. The lists, at times, are displayed late, few hours to the primaries so as to scuttle the winning ability of some aspirants. However, the list is exposed to some while others are at times blocked from seeing the list.
- Again, I have also seen that elections are not won on the pages of newspapers. Many politicians discredit their opponents on the pages of newspapers but forget to do the necessary ground work to win the hearts of the people. While media work is good to reach the larger number of persons, it is necessary that the main people are reached behind the scenes.
- Again, you must be ready to gather daredevil thugs who have swallowed the devil and can carry out assignment, no matter how deadly it is. The assignment could mean silencing an opponent, snatching ballot papers, intimidating and coercing voters to cast their votes against their wish, visiting opponents at night at gunpoint and compelling them to step down or be sent to early graves, and in the process, many youths are sent to the land of the dead.
- No party, PDP, APC, SDP, or whatever, is better than the other. They all have ulterior motives. They are all out to buy the conscience of the ordinary man. They all carry guns, snatch ballot papers, hire thugs. They have no good plans for the people. They also do not have love for their party men, despite they call themselves family members for being members of the same political party.