Optimistic Arithmetic

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As the festive season fades away, many folks I’ve spoken to have high hopes for 2019. There are expectations that this will be special. It is indeed possible that the optimistic energy will prevail and give us a year to be cheerful about. There are many tricky spots around the corner, however.

In the prosperous nations of the western world, we are still dealing with major challenges brought about by the rise of a voting tendency described as populism. Last time I checked, the orange faced baby timer is still in power in the USA. In the UK, the Brexit problem is dismally unresolved.

Meanwhile, in the land of my forbears, a Presidential election looms near. The range of options available to the Nigerian electorate is not encouraging. The two major contenders for the post do not inspire confidence, while the others who have good ideas don’t seem to understand deep down that democracy is a game of numbers (in various ways).

Some observers think it’s a promising sign that several intelligent and capable individuals are running small scale presidential campaigns in Nigeria. They suggest that the campaigning will give these aspirants the experience they need to eventually build strong bridges with large enough sections of the electorate. They also think some of the ideas floated in the campaigns will eventually resonate enough with voters for the larger parties to consider taking them on. There might be some prescience in this way of seeing things.

In my opinion, those small scale politicians and activists are more likely to register a strong presence at the polls if they join forces to form a new larger party that promises to introduce a new kind of politics to the electorate. What’s stopping them from joining forces at present? Could any of the reasons for this stalemate be ego driven?