Nigerian Politicians and Mudslinging

opinion

Whenever elections are approaching and candidates have emerged under whichever platforms that suited them or availed them the opportunity, what the electorate expect is to present their plans and policies which would better their lives in years to come.

Proposed projects, intended policies and progressive ideas should dominate discussions to guide the electorate on whom to pitch their tent with.

Alas! That is not the situation as mudslinging has found its way into the political setting and, you know, whatever is done outside the country is usually negatively executed in my dear country, Nigeria.

The 'pull him down syndrome' is what we see in today's electioneering campaigns. Instead of presenting themselves to the electorate, they sling mud at one another, painting another as the devil but themselves as saints.

Political mudslinging could summarily be seen as negative campaign that directly or indirectly accuses opposition candidates of wrongdoing or poor judgment. Mudslinging implies throwing mud at each other, and it is aptly named for the political tool of negative or smear campaigning.

Agreed the practice is not strange to politicking, but why taking it beyond limits even when some claims are usually not factual, objective and accurate? We can actually do away with it by presenting ourselves better to our supporters.

A party is taking down an opponent and the opponent is doing same, then when and how will the purpose of the campaigns be actualised? What the electorate are left with is to decide on whose devil's side they are. "We will do this", "These are our plans" et al have been replaced with "those people are this and that" all bad and many others.

Defamation of character and hate speech have been upheld as the only way to secure the seat of power. The ability to defame and paint your opponent and how best you call names is presumed the easiest way to victory.

They will keep on mud slinging against the opposition as their main aim is to occupy the coveted seat of power. They forget the saying that there is 'No permanent enemy in politics' and how soon tables can turn.

Events that unfolded in the 2019 general elections and happenings in Edo State presently summarise them all. Back in 2016, it was Godwin Obaseki for the All Progressives Congress and Osagie Ize-Iyamu for the Peoples Democratic Party with then Governor Adams Oshiomhole as an active player in the victory of the former in the election not devoid of mudslinging and name-calling by both main parties.

"He is a thief", "He is incompetent", "He has no credible certificate", "... EFCC is waiting for you" and many others not worth putting down flew around in the atmosphere.

Fast forward to 2020, in same state where the tables have turned and the same candidates have switched parties as flagbearers in forthcoming election. The big question on the minds of observers is what kind of water and brand of soap would the parties and their leaders and members use to cleanse the same persons they had thrown mud and dirt at few years back?

Who knows probably, the devil they painted to the people four years ago has become a saint overnight. The response to this would be known out when the campaign officially kick starts in preparation for the election in September.

Shotonwa Waheed is a journalist 

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