2019:As Campaigns Begin …


In line with the timetable announced by the Independent National Electoral Commis-sion (INEC), electioneering campaigns by the nation’s political parties formally kicked off last Sunday.
Without much ado, some frontline presidential candidates unveiled their policy plans to woo the electorate that had been inundated with several failed promises.
While the nation awaits other candidates to join the campaign fray, we urge politicians to tread with caution, especially in the way and manner they go about their campaigns.
Already, President Muhammadu Buhari has set the tone by advising politicians against setting the country ablaze with their unguarded utterances, saying, “we do not have any other country apart from Nigeria”.
Other eminent personalities within and outside Nigeria, including the international community have ceaselessly canvassed the need for free, fair and peaceful elections in 2019.
They have harped on the imperatives of politicians jettisoning hate speech, the use of violence and other vices that may undermine the smooth conduct of the 2019 general elections and cause mayhem in the country.
The Tide agrees no less. We expect all candidates to base their campaigns on issues and not to indulge in political mudslinging that would not do the country any good in the final analysis.
The beleaguered people of this country would want to see electioneering campaigns that are devoid of violence, rancour, bitter outpourings and religious and sectional interests.
We believe that the campaigns that just kicked off offer the political class and, indeed, the candidates the opportunity to sell themselves and their parties’ manifestoes to the electorate rather than throw mud at any opponent. What this means is that candidates are expected to be constructive and strictly address their minds to issues that can ameliorate the anguish of the masses of the nation, and maintain high level of decorum in their campaigns.
We recall that the 2015 peace accord reached by politicians played very important role in that year’s elections, notwithstanding the controversy that later trailed the exercise. We, therefore, welcome new efforts towards this end.
After all, the electioneering campaigns are all about power and leadership. And leadership, being a vehicle for the exercise of power, we expect the candidates to convince the country on how they can crystallise our purposes as a nation and work towards the accomplishment of those purposes.
In other words, candidates are expected to speedily address themselves to identifying the key problems of the nation, assessing their magnitudes and analysing them with a clear-minded, clear-head objectivity in such a manner that can convince the electorate that they are capable of adopting a long-term corporate approach towards their solution.
It is against this background that in the next few weeks, Nigerians would want to witness a vibrant and robust debate amongst candidates, especially on issues that touch on the economy, infrastructure, manpower development, health, education andsecurity, among others.
There is no gainsaying the fact that government in the world can enjoy the blessings of legitimacy and popular support while the economy is frail and recovery not in sight. Regrettably, politicians have been taciturn about how the economy can be turned around and the years of waste healed. It is helpful, therefore, that candidates put the issue on the campaigns as the times demand fresh insights instead of merely dressing up old remedies that appear to merely exacerbate the problem. A transparent campaign that would genuinely discuss the husbanding of our commonwealth for the benefit of all, we believe, is a prerequisite to strengthening our fledging democracy.