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To Be Or Not To Be…?


Ifeoma Theodore 2By Ifeoma Theodore Jnr, E.

When Shakespeare penned this very notable quote in one of his famous plays, ‘Hamlet’, one can’t help but wonder if he knew it would be one of the most famous quotes in history.

To bring this quote back home, though the meaning might differ from the circumstances used, I would say, it aptly defines the political situation in our country. Everyone or almost everyone, is on edge as to who the next president of Nigeria will be. The incumbent, President Jonathan or the ex- military Head of state, General Buhari. Presently, the most famous people in Nigeria, hence the abbreviation of their names, GEJ and GMB respectively.

If we want to be honest with ourselves, the battle is not between these two men, rather its between two political parties, PDP with the umbrella to shield us from God knows what, and APC with the broom to sweep us to God knows where. There is a known adage that, when two elephants fight, it is the grass that will suffer. I’m sure we can identify who the elephant is, and who the grass is. When it comes to politics, the ‘grassroot’ comes in handy.

The chants of change is raining everywhere, and I guess if you’re with PDP, now is the time to pick up your umbrella to cover your being from the chants of ‘change’ falling like raindrops on the crown of your head. On the other hand, the broom will come in handy to sweep out from your doorsteps, the chants of ‘forward ever, backward never’, from PDP.

Almost everywhere in the south south, the chants are pouring heavily and when you curiously ask, “change from what?”, the general reply?” change from government”. Go figure. We’ve had a change of government from one dispensation to the other and yet, Nigerians need yet another change. Those who feel they have a more enlightened view in politics would say,”  we need electricity, we need jobs, we need better subsidy”, and to top it off,” this government is corrupt!”. This conclusion is said in a humph and an emphatic shake of the head.

Let’s move to the south east. The question comes up,” where are you marching to?”. The general reply, ” forward. We don’t want to go back to military regime with mufti. The clothes are the only change Nigerians will see, the person in the clothes remain unchanged!”. Of couse, this is also stated with an emphatic nod of the head.

To make it easier for everyone, lets not get emotional with our votes. Let statistics determine how you will vote. We pride ourselves to be one of the most educated and resourceful Africans, yet when it comes to how we can be a part of our nations history, we get emotional. Statistics should be the call card, the ace.
It’s simple, just compare how many jobs were created during Buhari’s regime to the number of jobs created during Jonathan’s regime. Did we have better investors then than we have now? How is Nigeria’s GDP now compared to then? Which party provided the best infrastructure for its state citizens.Before answering, kindly pick yourself up from the state you reside in, and visit two or three other states. Who fought corruption better, and would the same standard apply, or would a more lenient attitude towards corruption be applied with a promise that past leaders would be let off, while serving leaders in the new government dispensation be held liable for any form of corruption. I can hear you say, better this way than letting corrupt officials go scot free. Like Chico would say, hmmm… Then again, who will really fight insurgency better? Electricity is a menace in Nigeria. Can anybody tell me what government has brought in constant electricity. Kindly drop the name of such a person, because we need him back on that seat of power even without an umbrella or broom party. A bulb or florescent party can be formed and “let there be light” can chanted.

The jingles on the radio don’t help matters with humourous advertisements, each party trying to sell their candidate by berating the achievements or projections of the other party. Every form of attack is used and I begin to wonder if both parties were once in the military. The missiles can be compared to those flying around in Syria. I find myself literally cringing, at the same time laughing out loud in the confines of my car at the forms of enticement these parties use, not leaving out singing along with the jingles. It makes for good company when stuck in traffic. I wonder if the parties have thought of compiling a CD or releasing their jingles on youtube. They’d be surprised on how many hits they would get or sales they’d make from their CD’s. That would be another form of acquiring statistics. Though it might not be accurate if the parties buy up the CD’s to prove theirs’ is the most desired, and leave us with nothing to buy.

With the jingles come promises pilling up on each other. The promises are so overwhelming that I have to catch myself from drolling over my PVC, telling myself I know who I’m voting for,only to be brought back to earth when I remember, hey, wait a minute.. haven’t I heard of a state in the south east that a governor chosen by his people,his people promised free education for all, but no books. I guess he meant, the students won’t have to pay rent for classroom usuage. Free meals for every student, I hope that can fly because, honestly, way back when I was in primary school, and I believe things were quite good then, free meals in schools were a piper’s dream. We had ‘snacks’, like Samco juice and biscuits. Meals with meat? Police college, where art thou? You need to go back to school for better meals. Here’s your chance. Though I guess it’s better to raise our expectations, than be in a situation without expectations, right?

Men of God. Please, what we need from you at this time, is prayers. Leave prophesy or biblical blackmail out of this. This creates confusion and bias. If the candidates come for prayers, pray for them, bless them but, leave your congregation out of it. They came to the house of God to worship, not to be reminded of the slave trade of way back, when slaves were made to take their masters name, thereby erasing their identity. Their PVC is their identity. You can’t take that  away from them. Just as God has given us free mind to either follow Him or not, the church should do likewise. Afterall, the church is God’s house right? So, take a lead from the house owner.

The candidates media people, aka ‘the king’s horseman’. Let me thank you all for your trade by batter exchanges. Though belittling somewhat, it’s been quite enlightening. If all else fails, you will all erk out a good living as entertainers. Yet, men say women are petty. Candidates, reign in your horses. Phew, some of you at this rate might need a horse whip to put you in order (horse whip is meant literally as I don’t condone any form of abuse). I fear that you are about to take the job of street urchins. Now where would that leave them? More job creation, that is where. Barring your fangs, swords drawn. No one is joing your bloodshed this year. Life is too sweet.
Movie directors, script writers and actors, we are ever so ready for our chloroquin dose of Nollywood movies. Though, with being so involved this time around by lending your voices to your choice of political parties, I hope you give us movies that are more detailed with accurate information of the election. Spend enough time penning down detailed scripts that will be historical, not ‘Eze goes to school’ version, by which I mean, script that will only be comprehended by nursery school students.

Let’s all pause, and take a minute to decide who we really are rooting for. Forget you didn’t get that contract from this present government, or you’ve been promised by the opposition party. We are ever so ready to apportion blames to anybody but ourselves. Corruption, electricity, jobs etc is not the issue here. We ourselves are the issue. Our psyche needs to be addressed first and foremost for a better government to be in power. It starts with our psyche. When you are in Nigeria, you break road regulations, when you are outside Nigeria and opportuned to drive, you practically crawl. No littering your space, not to talk of the road. No jumping of queues, no form of misbehavior because, you want to be allowed back into their country. You create a purse for bribe from your take home pay, just incase you’re caught breaking any regulation, yet scream, “off with the heads of corrupt officials”. You scream change, yet can’t change your psyche. You want to move forward, yet have no definite sense of direction. Yes, it starts with our psyche. Apply what you’ve learnt over there back home, and others will follow. It’s not all about our government. Sometimes, it’s just you.
I think it’s time for women to seriously give running for presidency a try, not from a distance but, in the fore front. We will not vote come the next election if women are not prominent contestants. Countries like, Brazil, Liberia, Argentina, Germany(Chancellor), and Kosovo have done it, and very well at that. Do we women have so little faith in ourselves that we cannot come together and change the course of history? Well, not this generation of women, I can promise you.

So, back to Shakespeare.”To be GEJ or GMD or not to be GEJ or GMD, that is the question”.

(Ifeoma Theodore Jnr, E. is an author, speaker and awareness consultant-@IfeomaTJnrE)

Ifeoma Theodore Jnr, E.



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