Campaigns In Troublous Times

by Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye

As I see the reports of the numerous rallies the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is addressing in several parts of the country, I am always forced to ask: what really is the PDP telling these people? Somebody should, please, help me, because, I have not attended any of their rallies, and sometimes, I am too sickened to read the boring, exasperating, empty and incoherent speeches the newspapers say they made at those rallies. There is nothing I hate like listening to or reading speeches, everyone knows, including the speaker himself, are full of lies and empty promises, and only meant to deceive the hearer, or show that the speaker thinks his listeners are a bunch of fools. In such an instance, the fellow just feels he needs to tell his hearers something, and so, he opens his mouth and vomits even what he himself does not believe.

Nigeria is facing the worst kind of energy crises at this very moment, and President Olusegun Obasanjo, the PDP Chief Campaigner, whose regime has dragged Nigerians through a most excruciating eight years of boundless decay, deterioration and unspeakable pain and hardship, is out there telling Nigerians to forgive the PDP for fielding some governors, whose performance in their states may even had brought some tiny bits of succour to the people unlike Obasanjo’s at the federal level, but whose only offence today is that they had decamped from the PDP.

In the nation today, under Obasanjo’s effective management, power supply has become the people’s greatest source pain and torment. People attempt to sleep in their houses in a pool of their own sweat, and wake up the next morning so tired and drained of strength, and probably nursing a headache, that the thought of being productive that day becomes a distant dream. Severe damage is being inflicting on several eardrums by the tormenting noise of different forms of generators, which conspire with the oppressive heat to make Nigerians have a juicy taste of hell here on earth.Nigeria is fast becoming a dangerous gas chamber because of the dangerous fumes the countless generators are emitting into the atmosphere. Many have already died as a result of the fumes they had inhaled and many more dying gradually as they inhale these killer fumes daily.

Business outfits are folding up due to the high cost of doing business in Nigeria, caused by the perennial energy crises, and this has greatly compounded the already terrible unemployment situation, and shot the prices of goods and services far beyond the reach of the ordinary man. Fuel scarcity is still very much with us. So, while the nation is plunged in thick, blinding, suffocating darkness because of the abysmal failure of NEPA/PHCN, despite the billions of naira the government claims it had poured into the power sector since 1999, those who have generators are not able to get the fuel needed to power them. Last Sunday’s night in Lagos here, because I needed some fuel to power my generator, I had to burn the little fuel I had in the car, to go very far from where I live, before I could find fuel to buy.

After nearly eight years of “great achievements” by the regime of the “Father Of Modern Nigeria”, the PDP Presidential Candidate, Mr. Umaru Yar’Adua, had to be flown to a German hospital for the treatment of catahrr, on the orders of the President, because, according to the president, they did not want to take chances. So, in essence, those other Nigerians who attend Nigerian hospitals are taking chances with their lives? Did you hear that? Also, Vice President Atiku Abubakar, had to go to the UK for a minor knee surgery. After eight years of wonder-working “reforms”, our rulersdo not trust our hospitals enough to patronize it. They know too well that these government-forsaken and dilapidated “hospitals” are nothing but high roads to the grave, and so, they would always jet out to well-managed climes to treat catahrr!

In a decent society, the PDP would not have even bothered to present any candidates for the coming elections, because no one would cast any votes for them, given that the bold signs of its eight years of resounding failure rudely stare everyone in the face. But this is a strange country where strange and bizarre things are normal, daily occurrences. Moreover, the “Largest Party In Africa”, headed by the “Father Of Modern Nigeria”, with its various fearsome garrison commanders, must have perfected its winning strategies in these “do-or-die” elections. The votes, we know, would not count, or else, what were some of Prof Maurice Iwu’s data-capture machines doing in the lair of Chief Lamidi Adedibu in Molete? And we are talking about the Adedibu case because they were discovered. What of the other ones that were not discovered? What is the guarantee that what would be declared at the polling stations would not have been earlier fed into the systems by well-appointed “foot soldiers” at the various joints of the less-prominent, but more savagely zealous and dare-devil “garrison commanders”? Common, a failed regime cannot be oozing out such confidence for nothing.

Maybe, the people are really listening to the PDP at those rallies, because, I am sure some tiny crumbs of the “national cake” do fall out on or before the days for those rallies. I have met some fellows in the villages, who, though over-stretched and shriveled by the harsh and punitive economic conditions, are still able to announce boldly to me that they are members of the PDP! And what is the source of their motivation? At least once in every three months, some crumpled five hundred naira note would fall to them when they attend those nocturnal party meetings in the house of the “local organizer”, plus some beer and cups of rice. And with that, they mortgage their future, and consign themselves to many more years of unspeakable suffering, slavery and impoverishment.

Nigeria! This is the only country I know where people would have no qualms hailing the very fellow who had brutally murdered their parents and made them sudden orphans, just because of what they hoped to get from the person at that particular point in time. Indeed, this is the only country I know where people would be eating and drinking poison with every relish, and yet wishing to live.

Many Nigerians would readily murder and bury their tomorrow, or cheer on the person doing that, only to wake up early the very next day to yearn and search for it. This is indeed a strange country inhabited by a strange people.

The man who before you yesterday had cursed the leaders for enslaving and impoverishing him will file behind those same leaders tomorrow should such failed leaders offer themselves for re-election, so long as the leaders concerned would be willing to part with some tiny bits of the billions of the commonwealth they had stolen. That is the Nigeria you and I have found ourselves in, and so, when you see many Nigerians thronging the rallies being addressed by those same people who are known to have stolen the nation blind, you can now understand what is driving them.

A nation whose larger population is stuck with this kind of mindset may never be saved. That’s the truth.

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