The country is once again tensed up with political activities as the general election is just a few days away. Attacks, mudslinging and outright propaganda have become rife in the polity. It is expected. It is peculiar with electioneering periods.
There have been accusations, counter accusations and strong language usage against political opponents, especially between the two main opposition parties, the All Progressives Congress, APC and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the country.
Only a couple of days ago, February 6th to be precise, Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai threw the entire country into haywire following his careless, reckless and self serving remark that foreigners who planned to intervene in the country’s election will return to their country in “body bags.” His words: “Those that are calling for anyone to come and intervene in Nigeria, we are waiting for the person that would come and intervene, they would go back in body bags. We are waiting for the person that will come and intervene. They will go back in body bags, because nobody will come to Nigeria and tell us how to run our country. We got that independence and we are trying to run our country as decently as possible and we know the history of those countries that are trying to teach us these things. We have read their history.”
These words are far from the patriotic spin given to it by the presidency which supported El-Rufai’s position as been in the national interest. This is a season of hysteria for many politicians and political parties seeking elective positions. Few will doubt that the actions of the ruling party has attracted intense scrutiny from the international community. This is largely because of the major opposition party and its presidential candidate, which had invited the world as general overseer for the forthcoming polls.
This has put the ruling party under severe pressure especially with daily reports of endorsements of the opposition candidate by critical segments of the Nigerian population. The comments of El-Rufai must be viewed from this prism. El-Rufai’s outburst is an attempt to defray the pressure and show that the ruling party would not be intimidated. But he arrogantly went to extreme, perhaps in his desperate desire to impress the president.
The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic, PDP, Uche Secondus, has equally violated the pact of the peace accord signed by his party with his inflammatory comments at campaign rallies. Secondus had said during the presidential rally of the PDP in Asaba on January 31 that: “Today by your mandate, we warn INEC and we believe that there are good people in INEC. We know that government is pressurising INEC to rig this election but if they rig this election, na war them they look for. So if they want peace, make them no rig the election because everybody is ready for this election.
“We also want to advise our security agencies and we know that they are good people, protecting lives and property, which is their primary responsibilities. We believe that they will obey our constitution and not break it like Mr. President that is breaking our constitution. They will obey the constitution and be neutral but if they don’t, if they join hands with INEC to rig the election, wetin them dey look for?”
That is also a reckless and desperate statement. There is no doubt the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar has a fairly good chance of defeating the incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari who has been adjudged as a personal failure; but it will be wrong and dangerous, as the chairman of the party has been saying that his party has won the election and to call for war if the results don’t match his expectation. It is desperate rhetorics, unsuitable for a major national party that has a fair chance of coming back to power.
The heating up of the Nigerian polity by the two irresponsible comments from El-Rufai and Uche Secondus have left much to be desired coming from people the country look up to as leaders in their respective rights. One wonders what they stand to gain if Nigeria goes up in flames as a result of their senseless vituperations, because it is known that their families will not be caught up in the event of any crisis.
The holy writ which says be slow to talk but quick to listen is not wrong and can never be wrong, as the consequences of reckless speech can only be imagined. Perhaps these two and others like them do not know that silence is always golden. If they were angry before talking, they’re other ways to express their anger instead of speaking out. It is a known fact that a man who can tame his tongue has solved half his problem. It would have been wise and very commendable if they had gotten control of their tongue. No doubts, their comments have sent wrong signals to the world about Nigeria, despite the fact that some international bodies like the European Union Election Observation Mission say the Kaduna governor’s comment won’t deter them from monitoring the coming polls.
The duo of El-Elrufai and Secondus had gotten more than they asked for because of their comments, as they have continued to trend for the wrong reason, after series of backlash from within and outside the country, losing regard and relevance.
Disclaimer: This article is entirely the opinion of the writer and does not represent the views of The Whistler.