Yes, campaigns for the 2023 general elections have begun. A few days ago I happened to be on the road until 10 p.m. At one location, I saw a convoy of clean vehicles making their way through a very poor road to an undeveloped local community. I just laughed and said to those who were with me that politicians will find their way in all the ghettos if the problem is to get votes, but once they get what they want, they hate going that way to another campaign circle.

This cycle of deception and abandonment of basic responsibilities of good governance has continued to exist because campaigns are generally lacking in substance. All the job seekers do is stage a carnival, where they appear as performers of different types, sing and dance, and off they go. They are not put in the crucible as they are done elsewhere and they are not thoroughly questioned on what they intend to do when they take office. This is the essence of ensuring applicants provide a manifesto, which documents what they plan to do. People fight for it. Groups lead the population to demand action plans from political actors and to ensure that they obtain them. Some of the groups that should be at the forefront of getting people to push the right buttons to get the required results include the media and then all organized groups like professional bodies and faith-based organizations. We have seen some level of action along this path, but much more needs to be done, especially now that the campaigns have begun.

A few weeks ago, the lawyers started their annual national conference, which was held in Lagos. A very interesting aspect of the outing was the invitation to all presidential candidates to outline their plans for the country in case one of them is elected to power. The beauty of what they tried to do was excellent in two key areas. The first was the idea of ​​getting presidential candidates to say something big. Second, the decision to invite all parties, regardless of their perceived electoral strength. In this particular aspect, they set a record.

The media and many organizations do not think in this sense, we attack electoral credibility by ranking candidates and parties, forgetting that in each electoral contest, all candidates have an equal chance of emerging in the lead. Small parties may seem weak, but events can alter established permutations. It happened in Imo State in 2007, where Ikedi Ohakim left a ranking party to a party formed just six months before the election, got the governor’s ticket and won.

He succeeded because the incumbent governor was bypassed by unhealthy political interfaces that still characterize politics in our climate. The output of the Nigerian Bar Association was good, but the candidates did not have enough time. The lesson he learned is that those who intend to organize such events should henceforth set a day devoted solely to the hearing of candidates. Candidates should be encouraged to take notes because some aspirants who may not win may have very good programs that can be operated by a very serious and insightful leader. Groups should try these candidates immediately.

The media, mainly electronic platforms, have done very well so far. We could do more to get candidates talking. It’s surprising that the mainstream newspapers don’t have something resembling the “Interview of the Week” currently airing in any of them. Such an interview should include well-researched questions and follow-up. The insistence of media professionals that candidates focus more on the process of carrying out their plans is essential. They must map the areas as completely as possible and demand very precise answers.

The era of the “10 Points Agenda” should be abolished; the advice of Napoleon Hills will serve us here as useful lessons. Hills said, the vast majority of us agree that “nobody gets where they want to, which is great for dead hopes and hopeful wishes.” Great business is a function of massive energy expended, from speech to chops. Action begins with insisting on the availability of workable plans.

The issues hindering the development of our space are now clear to all. We have no other country. This position may seem harsh to those profiting from the current chaos, but it is the truth. Deborah, a supposed citizen of Nigeria was lynched by a supposed compatriot in her country, not in Chad or Burkina Faso. No one, not even the state government or the federal government, has spoken out on his behalf, and as you read this, no one has been arrested for lynching and then set on fire. She was killed for blasphemy. People who subscribe to a country bound by freedom will not act in this way against a fellow citizen.

We must ask ourselves questions about the national conference, we must form opinions on the restructurings and we must not delude ourselves to pass the devolution of the assignments of posts to the restructurings; They are not the same. On national unity, we should hear specific things the candidates intend to do. Ditto for insecurity, crude oil, rising prices at the pump, subsidies, food security, the agricultural value chain, the productive economy and the public enterprise. Do they intend to sell state enterprises or make them efficient? Taxation, housing, health, aviation and prospects for having a national carrier, maritime development, electricity supply and railway development, etc.

We expect to see real, in-depth interfaces with anyone running for office. A friend said that the media should be partners with the political class when things are going well, but when the situation is terrible, as it is now, the media should return to their role as watchdogs and demand accounts. I completely agree.

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