By Pat Uchendu
The 2023 election won’t be a tea party. It will rather be a cocktail party. And as we know, cocktail party guests hardly sit down because chairs are not provided. They move around, smiles playing on their lips as they interact while standing. That election will be where both the candidates (host) and guests (electorate) would interact on issues of mutual interest in hushed voices. The host certainly provides refreshments and entertainment (issue-based discussions) to suit guests. Then capacity will discuss eye-ball-to-eye-ball with capacity and usually friendships are made in such parties for mutual benefits! And you know what? ‘Agbado’ and yam never make the menu in cocktail parties.
For 2023, the candidates will trade issues for votes and those who think that presidency is their retirement pack will look for who to talk to when the guests start filling out to their homes. Like today, it is only Peter Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed that have been talking about the issues, both on TV and everywhere they go. We are taking notes.
And what is electoral capacity?
First, it is an understanding that the attitude of a multitude of the Nigerian electorate has drastically changed with the “we have to take back our country” and “we no dey give shishi mantras” as injected into our electoral lexicon, rightly engineered by the entry of Mr Peter Obi into the race. Those sentiments are remarkably reinforced by his Vice Presidential Candidate and the voices of Nigerians who are at their wits’ end with the terrible state Nigeria has found herself.
Capacity means talking practically about where the rain started beating us. It is also realistically talking about how to find shelter, or we get swept off by the floods of despair, very poor economy, disappearing ability to produce but the crazy crave for consumption. It is about not borrowing money only for productive and developmental applications. It is also about snakes and monkeys never to swallow money in billions anymore. It is about having the knowledge and engaging the appropriate instruments for salvaging our situation.
Most importantly, it is about a message that resonates with the youths, the electorate, the poor farmers whose yields are dwindling and their earnings valueless in the face of rising inflation. It is about the answer to the worries you and I sleep and wake up with daily, but pretending that all is well. Capacity is about knowing that all is not well and in helplessness we keep chorusing” it is well”. But there is capacity in Peter Obi/Datti Baba-Ahmed and we are also the capacity in our own individual rights, if the right thing is done. It is about possibility to dream and live the dream of a winning structure!
Uchendu writes for PO Express Media, POEM.