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THEWILL EDITORIAL: Politics Without Bitterness

Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State and his predecessor and Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola

The New Year is here and the stage is set for the commencement of full political activities ahead of the 2023 general election. Activities in the past year had been skeletal as political actors and interested aspirants in the various political offices were only testing the waters, with many intensifying their “consultations” to determine the suitable time to publicly declare their interest.

Without any iota of doubt, the year 2022 is very crucial and strategic as the process for yet another transition in our democratic experiment is set to kick off. The general belief among many Nigerians, however, based on previous experience, is that real governance might suffer greatly as real politicking, ahead of the big battle, begins in earnest.

The signs of what to expect in the coming months are already in the air, with the bickering and skirmishes across party lines. No political party is immune from intra-party crises and these are expected to even get worse with the commencement of full political activities ahead of the general election.

Preparation is already in top gear for the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States scheduled for this year as aspirants continue to jostle for relevance and contention ahead of the primaries to determine the candidates, who will fly the parties’ flags in the elections.

At the national level, conventions of the two leading political parties – the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – are still contentious with factions already emerging. The APC, for example, has been battling with factions, especially that which is threatening to overrun the party’s national secretariat ahead of the APC national convention.

The crisis rocking the Kano State chapter of the APC is already setting the governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, against his predecessor, Abubakar Shekarau, with the possibility of tearing the state apart. In Zamfara State, the destruction and mayhem unleashed on the venue of the congress of the state chapter of the PDP last month are some of the manifestations of the politics of bitterness being played not only in the state, but also in virtually all the states in the country.

In Osun State, the elders of the APC are still trying to intervene in the battle for supremacy and control of the state between factions loyal to Governor Gboyega Oyetola and the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbeshola, as the lingering crisis has the potential of affecting the chances of the ruling party in the forthcoming governorship election in the state.

The situation in Imo State is worse as it is, without doubt, the most violent state in the South-East. With Governor Hope Uzodinma coming down hard on the opposition, especially supporters of the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Rochas Okorocha, the people of the state are bearing the brunt as unknown gunmen continue to unleash unimaginable terror and mayhem on the state.

The recent display of brute force in the storming of an Anglican Church in the state during Sunday service in a bid to arrest Uche Nwosu, a former governorship aspirant, who is also Okorocha’s son-in law, is politics taken too far. The desecration of a worship centre by politicians to score political goals is highly condemnable.

These are just few examples of the situation across the states and even at the federal level where politics that is supposed to be for good causes and good governance is being played with bitterness by political actors, who derive pleasure in unnecessary grandstanding as they turn serious governance into propaganda.

THEWILL therefore calls for caution, especially in the coming months, as there is the  tendency for this ugly trend to escalate and even turn bloody with maiming and killings of political opponents as preparations for elections begin. Nigerians have had enough of violence, kidnappings and killings in the past few years and they do not want these to be compounded further with the coming elections.

We call on all political actors to call their supporters to order by guiding and counselling them on the appropriate behaviour and proper code of conduct during political campaigns and the elections proper. As the political parties are set to hold their national conventions from this month, we implore them to play the game by the rules and set good examples for Nigerians.

We hope that members of the ruling class will look back on their abysmal performances and disappointing show of shame over the past years to determine whether they have delivered, or not, on the promises they made to Nigerians when they were seeking their votes. It is not too late to seek forgiveness and make amends as we prepare for the next political dispensation. The New Year resolution for every politician in the country should be the resolve to eschew bitterness from politics and play politics for the good of the people.