The Nigerian political climate is saturated and the clouds pregnant. The rains are precipitating in heavy drops, soon enough the torrents will flood the terrains, and a great deluge will be the accompanying signs. Streets and lanes are being adorned with beautiful emblem of political presence. The highways are now characterized with banners, flyers and posters of the smiling and waving gestures of politicians and their cronies. The pot is boiling beyond a hundred degrees and the political stew being brewed is almost ready.

From the theatrical debacle between Senator Dino Melaye and the Nigerian Police to the leaked audio tapes purportedly belonging to the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi. Not to mention the controversies  bedeviling the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the seasons are upon us. The game of thrones in Nigeria is officially open with its intrigue, blackmail, suspense and scheming. We do not need a seer to tell us that we are in for a no holds bar roller-coaster of an election this year.

However, before the average Nigerian gets swayed and tossed about by the political crosscurrents that have invaded our landscape, it is important that we took a fresh gulp of air into our lungs and allow our brains to function. If for just a moment we could think, we would remember that this is not the first time in an election year that there has been so much noise and activities.

This is not the first time that we have witnessed controversies surrounding the INEC chairman and his sworn loyalty. In the build up to the last elections, the then INEC chairman, Atahiru Jega was widely accused and believed to be a sworn loyalist of President Goodluck Jonathan, and if Jonathan hadn’t lost, he may not have been celebrated today as the chairman that presided over arguably the nation’s freest presidential elections. Unlike what the opposition may like you to believe, this is not the first time that there has been leaked audio tapes casting aspersions on the ruling party released by the opposition. Remember the alleged tapes belonging to then governor of Ekiti, Ayodele Fayose, in 2014?

At the end of the day, if only we could allow ourselves breathe and think, we would realize that it is just another elections year with its characteristic antics and theatrics. This will be a great help at changing the narratives, because it is only when we admit the truth that nothing is new or different yet that we can then get spurred to do it differently.

Our politicians will rather have us not think for ourselves, because they know that once we can think we would start making demands beyond the N10,000 per vote. So they would do everything within their powers to spread the scent of the fresh mints of the naira notes. And then simply instruct the locust beans trader to thumb on the party carrying either the umbrella or  broom emblem, depending on who gets to her first. That way the cycle continues, soldier goes out and soldier comes in and the barracks remain unchanged. Twenty years of uninterrupted stint of democracy and Nigeria is not any more different than it was prior; barracks have remained unchanged even though soldiers now dress in agbadas and kaftans.

A cursory look at the build up to the 2019 elections will tell you that nothing much has changed since 2015 and the elections before that. Same electioneering issues plague us today as they did then. The dark clouds covering our political space is yet to pass. The campaigns and rallies have been reduced to circuses, where classless banters are thrown about. While real issues keep staring us in the face, issues of poverty, death and hunger. Issues of terror, fear and hatred. Issues of unemployment, economic sabotage and national debts. Our politicians are busy dancing in the market square. The umbrella keeps accusing the broom’s inability to sweep the mess caused by the rain it helped create. And the broom looks at the umbrella and the rain with pointed fingers, forgetting there was a mess to sweep.

Before we allow ourselves join in on this blame party, we must be wary of them. They do not want us to demand accountability, probity and equity from them. They want us to just pick sides and forget our senses for this period, after all to them it is just another elections. It is possible, though difficult, for Nigerians to change the narratives and make this year mean more than just another elections year. But it begins first with majority of the electorate taking time aside the noise to breathe and think for a moment. Then we can say no to the established order.

We can insist on a government that is alive and responsive to issues. We can insist that these politicians addressed real issues during their circus gatherings. We can insist on leading a march that sensitizes the market women and motor park boys on the need to think beyond 2019 before thumbing away for a few thousands. We can insist on governments being accountable to the people. We can insist on the issues we want addressed as a Nation by our Representatives and Senators in the National Assembly. We can insist on a recall process within few months of any Representative or Senator that becomes more popular for anything other than what his job description permits.

Enough of having senators known for dancing with bad grammar or singing with bad drama. Enough of enduring the national embarrassments. We must insist on a government that will be attentive to the needs of the people that elected them into office. And if we do not get it right in 2019, no need to sweat much or bleed, there is 2023,  after all, it is just another elections.

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