Reflection on the elections

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After the silence of the weekend, it feels like the world of those who have an interest in Nigeria has suddenly moved from freeze frame into motion again. For those who don’t know, there were Presidential elections. It seems like a final result has been announced. Tempers are running high, because identity politics is still a big thing in Africa’s most populous nation.

Neither of the leading contenders was to my personal taste, so I don’t have a vested interest in the result. It is only natural that folks will engage with this sort of activity in ways that make sense to them. Nigeria hasn’t reached a point where the voters can honestly say they are interested in policies. The political parties don’t appear to stand for opposing ideologies. Politicians cross frequently from one leading party to the other.

This time around, some new personalities emerged who spoke of breaking the mould. Several of them are technocrats who have distinguished themselves in their careers. What they didn’t understand was that they were more likely to make an impact on the scene if they combined their energies, to communicate with the electorate about the actual process of politics and what the election season could possibly be about.

So they all got lost in the high stakes emotions of the elections. One or two young celebrities were able to register a significant presence in a few polling units, but the rest of the smaller parties were eventually swept away when the two big juggernauts swung into action.

Hopefully, those independent candidates will learn from the experience and start investing in building bridges with each other, to form a larger party that can eventually take on the big boys and girls. The best time to begin is now.