Understanding Nigerian political trick of fake it till you make it –

Unscrupulous politicians are on the March again with the intention to pull- the -wool over the eyes of the electorate, as the 2023 general elections rapidly approach, It may be recalled that in the run up to the 2015 elections in which the All Progressive Congress, APC upstaged then ruling party at the center, People Democratic Party, PDP, the expectations of Nigerians were raised, based on the fake promises made, even though the pledge givers knew that they could not be redeemed.

Hapless Nigerians were informed by politicians that Nigeria would be an Eldorado of sorts if their candidates and political party were given the mandate. And they had their way. But nearly eight (8) years after taking possession of the control of the levers of power in Aso Rock Villa and most of the governors mansions across the thirty six (36) states of the federation, if there is anything like hell on earth, that would be Nigeria.

The main culprits for the perfidious act of delivering far short of promises are members of the current ruling party, All Progressive Congress, APC, which is a convergence of multiple opposition parties-ACN, CPC, ANPP, and a faction of APGA and PDP that melted into one, in order to forge a common and formidable front to upstage then ruling party, PDP.

To achieve its mission, it may be recalled that the strategy of regaling Nigerians with lofty promises that are solutions to the malaise wracking the society at that point in time and which were attributed to then incumbent government, were promoted and marketed vigorously knowing that they would resonate with the masses.

And they did so by making up quotes and ascribing them to leaders of thought in our society such as the noble laureate professor Wole Soyinka and erudite scholar and pseudo politician, Professor Pat Utomi, to mention just two leading lights in Nigeria.

With a deluge of such false claims already filling up the media space lately ,the duo of Utomi and Soyinka have been issuing rebuttals as politicians ramp up activities towards 2023 general elections which commences with the election of the president and National Assembly members in February next year.

Before the confutation of what was attributed to the duo of Utomi and Soyinka, the emir of Kano and sultan of Sokoto, two highly respected monarchs have also had their names dragged into the political arena by desperate politicians that are by hook and crook trying to take undue advantage of the positive spinoffs from the good names of some credible Royalties via name dropping which amounts to using the name of our royal fathers to deceive the electorate.

There is also an international dimension to the ‘fake it till you make political trick’ that had become part of the political game since 2015, and gained currency in 2019,before its current threat of becoming entrenched in Nigeria’s political system, if measures are not taken to stymy it.

Christian Amanpour, A CNN anchor woman and Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla automobile brand have also had cause to disown bogus endorsements of candidate Peter Obi, ascribed to both of them.

While Elon Musk’s video got patched up to a voice extolling Obi and promising to do business with Nigeria if he wins, a fake interview appointment for Peter Obi With Amampour had also been circulated.

Although, APC was most guilty of ‘the fake it till you make it trick’ in 2015 and 2019, in the current dispensation, Peter Obi’s campaign, a.k.a OBIDIENT movement has so far been the main culprit.

That is probably because they seem to have commenced campaign online and are also engaging in fund raising internationally, ahead of the pack.
The numerous million man matches for Peter Obi that have been afoot across Nigeria ,ahead of all the other parties seems to me like campaign for the LP candidate.

Therefore ,the purpose of intervening via this article is for the electorate to understand the imminent mind games that is about to be unleashed on them by cunning demagogues with a view to bending the minds of voters to do their bidding in order to win the elections knowing fully well that the promises they were making would not be fulfilled as they have planned, ab initio to deny the promises after winning.

Hopefully, by revealing the tricks and sensitizing the electorate so that the unwary voters would identify such misinformation as scam and political trick, and at the same time nudge our law makers to incorporate ways to mitigate and sanction offenders in the proposed electoral offenses court or tribunal, is the goal of this essay.

And to be fair ,the Obi-Dients, which is a term that the very boisterous supporters of LP presidential candidate have branded themselves, are not the originators of ‘fake it till you make it’ political subterfuge.
Nevertheless, they are the leading offenders in the current dispensation.

Back in 2015, fantastic promises such as reducing naira/dollar exchange rate drastically to $1-N1, and a reversal of then prevailing high petrol pump price which was a major concern of majority of Nigerians as well as eliminating terrorism which was still at infancy, were at the core of the campaigns.
Owing to to the timeliness and aptness of the promises, they resonated with Nigerians.

Equally enchanting to Nigerians, was the promise to put an end to the epidemic of corruption in our country ,which was being waved as a red flag and the bane of our beloved Nigeria at that point in time.
And it was canvassed vigorously that graft would be drastically reduced, if not eliminated by candidate Mohammadu Buhari, if he was elected president and APC took over the reins of leadership at the centre.

It is needless pointing out that hapless Nigerian masses seeking rescue from the misery that had taken hold of them at that time, had no choice than to consider then main opposition party, APC as the rescue team in the manner that a messiah was divinely assigned to rescue lsrealites from their bondage in Egypt, as we have learnt from the narrative contained in the holy Bible.

And APC presidential candidate, Buhari was easily seen as the proverbial knight in a shining armor on a mission to save Nigeria.

With then candidate, now president Buhari’s unassailable reputation at that time ,as a no nonsense retired Army General who had zero tolerance for corruption, it was forgone conclusion that graft would be drastically reduced if not eliminated in our country under Buhari’s watch.

But contrary to the high expectations, after nearly 8 years of APC being Incharge of affairs in our beleaguered country, corruption of monumental proportions has currently assumed the dimension of an epidemic threatening to bankrupt our beloved country in the manner that Venezuelan and Sri Lanka have been run aground and their economies are currently comatose

Nothing illustrates how sunken Nigerian economy has become more than the fact that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN is struggling to retain enough funds in the treasury to sustain three months of import, even as government can hardly pay salaries of civil servants, except it borrows from banks.

Worst still, there is so much scarcity of foreign exchange now that it is being rationed, ostensibly with a view to screening out abusers from genuine users as demand has far outstripped supply, implying that our foreign exchange earning capacity as a country is in jeopardy.

With manufacturing being hobbled owing to inability of factory owners to source foreign exchange to import raw materials and other items required for producing essential commodities, shortages of basic necessities in our country may be imminent.
To me, the current misery unleashed on the masses, echoes the ignoble period of rationing of essential commodities such as rice, bread, milk sugar etc which was the hallmark of 1983-85 and consequences of leadership miasma.

God forbids that our country returns to that inglorious past.

Relying on his training as a military general that had previously reined in religious fanatics during the reign of president Shehu Shagari from 1979-1983,candidate Buhari was also marketed to Nigerians as possessing the antidote to the threat of insecurity driven by terrorists that had sprung up in the north leveraging the populism of religion that has degenerated into fanaticism before metastasizing into insurgency.

The level of insecurity in our country now is so dire that it suggests that our security architecture has been overwhelmed and therefore collapsed with rule of the mob, rather than rule of law reigning supreme, especially in the hinterlands.

The situation of insecurity is so severe and horrendous that most Nigerian roads can no longer be plied without the consequence of death of road users in the hands of the multiple gangs of outlaws that are slowly making out country look like gangster paradise.

Even the newly resuscitated railways could not serve as alternative means of transportation to the roads as patrons are also being kidnapped for ransom by the nefarious ambassadors who have now made criminality a very lucrative industry.

How about the pump price of petrol which was in 2015 selling at N87 when the incumbent government took over the affairs of our country, but the critically important commodity currently sells at N165 per liter which is a double fold increase.

Also the petrol subsidy that gulped about N650 billion naira in 2015,is today draining the treasury in excess of N4 trillion based on the estimate made by the defunct PAPPRA- petroleum import and sales agency and provisions made in 2022 national budget.

Also not immune to the litany of disappointing outcomes of promises made to Nigerians who were desperate for change is the naira to dollar exchange rate which is currently spiraling out of control.

In 2015 it was hovering between N160-200/$1.
But, after all the abracadabra by Godwin Emefiele led Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, including the banning of 41 items from being imported via funds sourced from the CBN , plus the prolonged shutting down of Nigerian borders with neighboring countries ,coupled with multiple financial interventions in various economic sectors running into trillions of naira, the value of the Naira has been drastically devalued in a period of less than eight (8) years, to the extent that Nigerian currency currently exchanges for a rate in the neighborhood of N700-705 to $1 in the parallel market compared to less than $1-N200 which the prevailing rate in 2015.

The situation has become so outrageously and ludicrously embarrassing and painful that the process of obtaining Basic Travel Allowance, BTA and Personal Travel Allowance from commercial banks and the CBN is so cumbersome now that countless Nigerians are getting stranded abroad for lack of ability to pay for services with their Nigerian credit or debit cards.

International airlines had threatened to shut down services to Nigeria because their funds had been trapped as they were unable to repatriate their sales proceeds until the central took some actions to remedy the highly embarrassing situation.

Why the CBN waited for our country to be embarrassed on the global scene by the airlines before it took action boggles the mind and it is a validation of the belief that the incumbent government only acts on impulse and does nothing except it is threatened.

With a huge chunk of the airlines funds still unreleased to them, nervousness has taken hold of most Nigerians who are traveling abroad not knowing if they would be stranded over there, if the airlines eventually carry out their threat of shutting down services if the balance of the payment remain unsettled.

All the doom and gloom that are bedeviling Nigeria and Nigerians have been catalogued above, so that the consequences of voting based on emotions rather than on verifiable facts would be stark to the electorates, and prompt or compel them to become more vigilant.

In our checkered political history, I can not recall Nigerians being in such economic dire straights, except during the 1967-70 civil war.

And the mess highlighted above have befallen Nigerians simply because when in 2015 the APC hired former USA president Barack Obama’s campaign strategist, Dan Axerold to dress up then candidate Buhari in borrowed robes and presenting his presidency as the panacea to our country’s socioeconomic malaise ,literally and practically, we swallowed the bait, hook-line and-sinker.

The masses were so hoodwinked by the fantasy that they failed to check out what is beneath the veneer by interrogating the ability and capacity of candidate Buhari to deliver democracy dividends such as alleviating poverty via provision of jobs, social and economic infrastructures such as schools, housing, water, electricity, roads, hospitals etc .

Although, it might not have been deliberate, as Buhari might have been overwhelmed by the existential realities which he did not envisage and which he lacks the ability and capacity to manage, which have hindered him from performing optimally, but it is our indiscretion and lack of due diligence in order to figure out the candidate that poses the skill set required to rescue our country and also patriotic enough to lift the critical mass of Nigerians out of the morals of poverty ,that has placed our country in the current sorry state that it finds itself in.

It is unacceptable to me, and l presume people of good conscience that by and large, the gullibility of Nigerians that was exploited in 2015, by politicians hell bent on state capture, is still being exploited via fantastic campaign promises made by unscrupulous politicians who are currently gearing up to literally rape the electorate one more time.

And l am urging Nigerian voters to make conscious efforts to peel off the veneer in the fantastic propositions in order to decipher the truth from the lies in the contents being bandied around so that they can see through the subterfuge.

The proposition above is critically important as our cherished country prepares for another circle of political party elections towards a change of guards in Aso Rock Villa seat of presidential power, and most of the thirty six (36) government mansions in Nigeria, including the National Assembly, NASS as well as the thirty six (36) state houses of assembly nation wide.

It is worrying to me that it appears as if the circumstances that were prevailing in 2015 are prevailing once again as they are being inundated by political actors with hifalutin ideas ,and Nigerians are about to take the bait and jump into the bandwagon and be taken for a ride one more time unless they learn to be more circumspect .

Put succinctly, I am encouraging Nigerians to ‘shine their eyes’ this time around and that translates to: Caveat Emptor or Buyer Beware in legalese.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x