2019 is a year that many Nigerians await with baited breaths. It will be an election year, one that will determine the trajectory of the country for the next four years—whether it finally turns the significant corner that leads to sustained economic prosperity—or remains stuck in perpetual hopelessness. Nevertheless, one of the identifying factors that accompany every election season has featured once again: Shenanigans; political mischief amongst politicians, their cronies and (for lack of a better word), mentees.
These days, it’s almost impossible to log into any social media platform without happening upon some subliminal post or a full-blown declaration of war narrative against an opposing political party. Propaganda has kicked off and false news has taken center stage. The chief culprits of this infantile exhibition are loyalists of the two major political parties—the PDP and the APC. Day after day, they are engaged in a witless rigmarole that would have been hilarious if it wasn’t so exhausting.
The narrative these bickering lots hinge their nonsensical behaviour on is the passion and hunger to see Nigeria prosper. Like the rest of us, they swear they are weary from the battery the nation has received from subsequent administrations and are tired of lamenting, and have therefore taken it upon themselves to champion the cause for a better Nigeria. Hence, the resort to touting their candidates has the “messiah” Nigerians have been yearning for.
While supporters of the APC and PDP may be in the majority, there are pockets of people who have pitched their tent with the numerous smaller parties that have emerged. This category of supporters may not be as acerbic in their verbal onslaught and cyber-attacks as the “veterans,” but are certainly not entirely innocent in all the mischief going on. Again, the excuse is the “passion” to witness a better nation. They are quick to remind anyone who cares to listen that the underdog has what it takes to emancipate Nigeria from the clutches of the insatiable cabal who are bent on bringing the country to its knees.
People who can’t stop talking about politics and have gone ahead to adopt a candidate for the 2019 elections can be divided into two categories— on one hand, there are the few patriots who have a deep-seated love for their motherland and truly and genuinely seek the best for her. They support a presidential aspirant because they are convinced he is capable of turning the fortunes of the country around. They may be naïve or too plain stubborn to agree that their choice is highly disadvantaged in the grand scheme of things, but what’s important is that every thought or word they evince comes from an authentic place. They enumerate the qualities of their candidate consistently and display unalloyed loyalty them without necessarily getting on other people’s nerves or becoming a nuisance.
The second group are the ones who litter the treacherous streets of social media. I call them “Belly Hustlers” and the reason is not some indecipherable concept. They are belly hustlers because, at this time when the general elections loom so close, they are in a mad race to see how much they can gobble up. The goal is to cash in on the desperation of ambitious politicians who would do everything possible to emerge victorious at the 2019 polls. The reality that these thieving charlatans have been monumental failures in the past is not lost on them, but they have become inured to this and to the voice of reason neutrals represent. And so they get paid to try to convince the rest of us that their candidate (who has been nothing short of a disaster as a career politician) is the next best thing after Afang.
It’s still four months to the presidential elections and if you are anything like me, you would be wishing the whole process was over already. This is the time when every nuance, word or action is viewed from the skewed optics of the political prism. Friends will mutate to enemies, crime will be rife, the masses will be subjected to more hardship because government officials who should be serving the people will be busy politicking.
Between the Patriots and the Belly Hustlers, our heads will continually spin from accusations and counter-accusations as well as wave after wave of fake news. Caution will become an unknown word and betrayal will be the new normal as folks jostle for fickle relevance.
It’s not yet 2019 and I am tired already.