News Analysis: To the Nearsighted Debaters!

News Analysis: To the Nearsighted Debaters!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018 5:06 pm

Buhari and Atiku


Olawale Olaleye

Campaigns officially took off on Sunday, according to INEC’s time-table and quite expectedly, the two leading political parties – the APC and the PDP – have since been strutting the turf with their policy documents already launched.

The ruling government is talking about taking Nigeria to the next level and the opposition is focused on making the system work again. Great! Isn’t it?

However, let me sound a note of warning pretty early. I’m not about to do a content-analysis of both documents, because I would think we could and in fact should all do so at our solitary moments and on the basis of the meat provided by each, make informed choices in 2019. That’s personal, methinks and I’d like to leave it like that.

However, I’d since followed some of the simmering debates as thrown up by supporters of both parties and their candidates and I’m indeed stunned at the quality of debates so far, especially those struggling to undo the Atiku Abubakar document.

To be honest, some of the views I’d so far read had only confirmed my long nursed fear that Nigeria’s sole problem is not with the kind of leadership she throws up but the followership she is endowed with, a majority of whom are quite unthinking.

Common sense (although not common) also presupposes that since the leaders rise from amongst the followers, it may be futile to expect stellar performance or a totally different disposition from someone, who is like you. Perhaps, in certain exceptional cases; it is however rare.

One of the issues currently catching my attention is the debate that Atiku promised a term of four years but has a programme that spans over six years. Isn’t that dumb for anyone to even throw up, much less seek the support of like-minds to embrace? What then happens to planning?

Why can’t we think beyond our political leanings? For crying out loud, it is called PLANNING. Our problem has always be ensconced in poor or lacking of planning. In fact, his six years projection, for me, is even short-sighted and that should have been the careful take of supporters of the ruling party.

Governments that did 25/30 years projection, did they plan to die in office? It is about a futuristic administration beating the path for others after it to follow in simple and rudimentary governance. Period! Please, let’s do intelligent engagement and not reduce serious issues to sheer frivolity.

Are these people saying all that the Buhari government promised since 2015 would be executed in eight years, conceding that he even won the election next year? Those who plotted Vision 2020 are not in office today and some are already plotting another 15/20 years, so, what’s the hue about his six years plan as against his one term of four years? It is even disappointing to plan for just six years, when the plan is to make the system work again.

Before we reduce this debate to ‘play-play’, let us rethink and purge ourselves of the habitual political sentimentalism. What is at stake is beyond reducing next year’s election to a mere circus show. The future of Nigeria is at stake and attached to it are the natural “follow come” challenges.

Please, enjoy the campaigns and the debates, but don’t trivialise them.

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