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Ethnic Profiling of Presidential Candidates Fraudulent, Dangerous

Tinubu, Peter Obi, Atiku

August 21, (THEWILL) – The 2023 general election is not an inter-ethnic power game. The power contest is between registered political parties with members and sympathisers across geo-ethnic and religious divides. I don’t know when Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo conducted a referendum to pick Tinubu, Atiku and Obi to represent them in the presidential election, respectively. None of these men’s political parties registered with INEC as ethnic parties. Why the fraudulent profiling of the three presidential candidates along ethnic lines?

The three candidates have ethnic identities by birth and geography, but before they were chosen to represent their parties, none of them pushed for ethnic nationalism, regionalism, resource control or raised the banner of any germaine topical interest of their ethnic groups. None of them earned, stole, looted or acquired their huge yet publicly disclosed wealth on behalf of their ethnic region. They are all rabid “gunpoint” nationalists by conducting publicly all this while.

Bola Tinubu completely ran away from the Yoruba Nation agenda led by Sunday Igboho and abandoned their political group’s more than 30 years battle cry for restructuring, ethnic determination/nationalism the moment Buhari and APC came to power.

Atiku Abubakar is a renowned soapbox ‘hush-hush’ nationalist. He has never carried the Fulani ethno-centrism openly on his head like Buhari and always shies away from taking a bold partisan position on Fulani interests. Although he may be a closet midnight defender of Fulani interests, he has never shown it.

Peter Obi is Igbo, but he has never openly supported the recurring agitation for the actualisation of Biafra and resource control. The Labour Party’s candidate has been distancing himself from the Indigenous People of Biafra, just like Tinubu has not lent his voice to the agitation for a Yoruba Nation. Atiku has never embraced Miyetti Allah and Buhari’s search for imaginary grazing routes or courted Fulani bandits and territorial fundamentalists as ethnic solidarity.

Since none of these candidates and others ever represented their ethnic interests but their personal, group, party and class interests, it would be foolish and fraudulent for their supporters, particularly their ethnic brothers, to project them as their representatives and campaign for them on that basis. It will be also dangerous for their opponents to profile them as ethnic irredentists and campaign against them on that basis. A united nation, if any at all, is lost in that process in the long run.

The first covenant between candidates and the electorate is their manifestos. None of these candidates for 2023 has campaigned on any popular ethnic agenda all this while.

It would amount to voluntary victimhood on the part of the electorate to assume without basis or candidate’s manifesto that he would vote for his choice because he is going to favour his ethnic interest. How? The unstated interest that is often ambiguous and opaque, which many citizens and voters cannot even define?

No reasonable voter assumes or goes into voluntary telepathy to decide his candidate on the basis of what his candidate did not promise to do. It is a sign of idiocy caused by undefined ethnic or tribal bigotry or even religious solidarity. Disappointment and regret awaits such citizens who go into voluntary victimhoto be scammed. The fact that educated people are also trapped in this kind of ethnic web for a better deal for their ethnic nationality makes it more ridiculous. They are gamblers with their fate.

Thank goodness, social media now reveals how yesterday’s breed of lousy nationalists are somersaulting into ethnicism for political and personal reasons. We also have former ethnic political warlords now becoming latter day nationalists for political reasons. All of them are a bunch of unprincipled human commodities available for political patronage. They were double faced duplicitous moralists, gunpoint nationalists yesterday and unrepentant tribalists today, and vice versa.

I am not against political parties founded on ethnic, religious, even gender principles. If that is permissible and it is what the people want, why not? But it is dangerous and deceptive to have political parties campaign with tribalism and later after the election, the winner starts to nationalism in government. That farce won’t appeal to many people. The fault lines will be wider.

What candidates do not say or campaign with should not be the basis for choosing a candidate to vote for because voters are not and should not be telepathic but factual.

What candidates promised to do they failed to do it when they get to power not to talk of what they didn’t promise but many funny voters think they would do.

Like some funny Yoruba voters think Tinubu will give them Yoruba Nation, many excited Igbo voters think Obi is for Biafra and some Hausa – Fulani would vote for Atiku because he would protect Fulani.

Well, dreams and nightmares are also part of our rights as human beings and such dreams are common during elections to massage the ego of these pro-capitalist anti-poor candidates who are still going to unleash the same harsh neo-liberal economic policies on the masses.

The most meaningful things to consider before voting candidates and parties are integrity, character, manifestos, vision, capacity, capability, educational background, and of course, health and physical ability to perform in office.

Public disclosure of assets and health status should be non-negotiable, even in the university when candidates are given admission or when people are employed in high profile corporate organisations, health status must be disclosed not to talk of the president of a nation or governor of a state. Most states indeed asked their workers for Covid-19 clearance certificates, same with corporate organizations. Even individual partners do genotype tests to avoid AS getting married to AS so as not to produce sickle cell children.

People elect leaders by their choices, not by God. So we must be ready for the good benefits or adverse consequences of our choices so that we don’t become kurukere kurukere prayer warriors after making bad choices.

Voters are not telepathists or clairvoyants; make your free choice on what you see, hear and believe and not what you think your candidate would do when he gets to office, if he wins. What politicians promised to do they failed to do not to talk of what they did not promise but you think they would do.

•Adeola Soetan is the National Coordinator of Democracy Vanguard