Nigerian Politicians And Mudslinging By Shotonwa Waheed

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Whenever elections are approaching and candidates have emerged under whichever platforms suit them or avail them opportunity, what the electorates expect of them is to present their plans and policies which would better their lives in years to come. Proposed projects, intended policies and planned ideas and counter ideas should dominate the discussion sphere for the electorates to decide whom they pitch their tents with.

Alas! That is not the situation as mudslinging has found it way to the political setting and know whatever is done outside the country is usually negatively executed in excess 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 electorates, they sling mud at one another, painting another as a devil and themselves as saints.

Political mudslinging could summarily be seen as negative campaigning 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 been taken beyond limit even when some claims are usually not factual, objective and accurate? Or when we can actually do away with it by presenting yourself better to your 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 electorates 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 “they are this and that” and many others.

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

They kept on slinging the mud on the opposition since their primary aim is to occupy the eyed seat of power forgetting their usual saying of ‘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 summarises all. Back in 2016, it was Godwin Obaseki for the All Progreessive Congress and Osagie Ize-Iyamu for the People’s Democratic Party with then Governor Adams Oshiomole as an active player in the victory of 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 statements not worth putting in books were flying round 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 mind of observers is what kind of water and brand of soap would the parties and their leaders and members used to cleanse the same persons they had thrown mud and dirt at years back?

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

Shotonwa Waheed is a journalist and can be reached via shotonwa.waheed@gmail.com

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