EVEN in a virtual age, something is disturbing for democracy about the recent tenor and format of elections in Nigeria.
Off-season, as well as by-elections, are lacking the cut and thrusts, the contestation of ideas conventionally associated with the process.
For example, the recently concluded governorship in Ekiti State appeared to have focussed all of the theatres of operations on the activities of election day rather than vitally on the build up to the election itself.
It is telling that in the Ekiti State governorship election a leading candidate turned up for a live television debate organised by a national broadcaster towards the end. That (pardon the pun) speaks volumes.
With fifteen days to go the off-season governorship election is not exactly invigorating either. As with Ekiti it’s very much humdrum without any vigour in the selling of programs.
The opposition parties seeking to replace a sitting government in a state should be providing a compelling alternative. Sadly, they are not. This exposes the none ideologically inclined thrust of what is described as “politics” in Nigeria.
The definition is destructive. “Stomach Infrastructure” has replaced manifestoes. It implies that Election Day is the only social contract in a democracy. Without an all encompassing social contract binding to the participants, do not expect any meaningful ‘dividends of democracy’.
We once did better than this in previous republics with beneficial results. We should reinvent that period. It is to be hoped in that in the interest of a country at a critical juncture that the presidential will be a more serious affair. It had better be.