No matter who wins, there will be plenty of economic and political issues to deal with. We need to focus on the future of the future and stop the distractions posed to serious reasoning and issues by the two leading candidates.
(Okay sir, we hear you. Since you have no time flight or time travel ability, you have no way of getting us past February 14, 2015 when a choice will be made that will determine the shape, nature, and complexion of this future of futures that you are so worried about. How about you let us deal with the future that is February 14 first? A choice will have to be made by Nigerians on that day. You are Nigerian. Make a choice or keep quiet and stop trying to teach people how to get to February 15 without passing through February 14. We know that there will be post-election struggles to take Nigeria back. We know that the damage done to that country over several decades is beyond what even an angel from heaven could repair in two tenures of office. We know that there is no magic wand. Nobody supporting any candidate is under the illusion that they have found a saint. Where you got the idea that you are teaching anybody anything that they don’t already know about the challenges ahead is beyond me. A decision has to be made on February 14. A choice must be made. If you have no liver for it, bros park well make we see front.)
APC and PDP are the same. They are two sides of the same coin. No difference. Same-Same.
(Okay sir, we hear you. Some of us have made that critique in the past. Sadly for you, the times are different now. What this moment requires is not for you, intellectual and public commentator, to imagine yourself a superior instrument of public reproach and recrimination. We do not need your reminders now. What we need is choice and the courage to stand by it. We agree that APC and PDP are same-same. So Oga, which exactly of these two same-sames are you saying should be in charge of Nigeria after May 29, 2015? No matter what you say, one of them will be in charge of Nigeria, abi? Remember, no amount of intellectual dithyrambism on your part will make this question go away. Run to Sokoto, run to Calabar, you will come back and meet this question waiting for you. If you lack the courage to make a choice or to go public with a choice you are insidiously endorsing from your fence, crawl to some whole to write about the weather in Nigeria and come out after February 14.)
None of the candidates satisfies me
(Okay sir, we hear you. But, Oga, your belle big o. There is Goodluck Jonathan, there is Mohammadu Buhari, there is Remi Sonaiya, there is Allagoa Chinedu, there is Ambrose Owuru, there is Ayeni Adedayo, there is Chekwas Okorie, there is Ganiyu Galadima, there is Godson Okoye, there is Mani Ahmad, there is Martin Onovo, there is Rufus Salawu, there is Sam Eke, there is Tunde Anifowose-Kelani. In short, there are fourteen Nigerians running for President in the forthcoming election. They represent fourteen political parties. Even if we accept your argument that APC and PDP are the same and that Goodluck Jonathan and Mohammadu Buhari are, in your logic, one and the same person, that makes it thirteen political parties and thirteen presidential candidates. You consumed thirteen different food items on a restaurant menu and you are still all over the public sphere grumbling that you are not satisfied. Your belle big o. Okay, how about allowing those of us who have made our choices and are satisfied with our choices to hear word until Angel Gabriel brings your own manna from heaven?)
We need an alternative to all the choices on the ground
(Okay sir, we hear you. Those are moving words. That is a rallying call. A clarion call. We need a third force. Unfortunately, you are sounding off here without studying the history of intellectual dissent in Nigeria; without studying the history of dissentient intellection all over the world. Whenever folks, especially intellectual hotheads, have canvassed a rejection of all extant options and preferred a third force, they have gone ahead to establish such a third force and to run it at great personal costs. Go and read Wole Soyinka’s last memoir, You Must Set Forth at Dawn. Pay attention to his description of his group’s dissatisfaction with all the options on the ground in Nigeria’s turbulent 1960s and how they went about forming a third force. Study the price they paid. Gani Fawehinmi’s NCP was a third force. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ernest Wambia dia Wamba is one of Africa’s foremost public intellectuals. He was a Professor at Harvard University. He also taught in other US Universities and the University of Dar es Salaam. In the struggle against Laurent Kabila, he traded academe for the trenches, dropped his pen, picked up an AK-47, and joined a third force. If you must dismiss every option on the ground; if you say there is no option within which you could conceivably work, albeit imperfectly and surrounded by imperfect and less bad alliances, if ideological fundamentalism and puritanism have boxed you into an option of total demission from the current political process in Nigeria, then, by all means, call for a third force. But, remember this, you cannot call for a third force while comfortable nestled on a fence and heehawing syrupy opinions that invariable favour the incumbent despite your protestations of neutrality. You must remember that Wole Soyinka, Gani Fawehinmi, Ernest Wambia dia Wamba did not wax lyrical about a third force from a fence. There is no history of fence sitting or perverse neutrality in moments requiring the taking of a firm position in the public careers of these men. They all took a position, formed a third force or worked with one, and paid a heavy price. If you cannot show us what you are doing about the third force you are screaming about, stop working for the perpetuation of incumbency by telling the people to do nothing on February 14, 2015.)
I have said this before and I will repeat it. The villain of 2011 was the Nigerian who voted for Jonathan but not PDP. The villain of 2015 will be the intellectual who sits astride a fence, one butt a little to the right, the other butt a little to the left, his butt crack spread over the fence, screaming that Nigerians should do nothing on February 14, 2015 because s/he has not found one of fourteen options worthy of engagement.
Every election has a deontology (look this up in the dictionary or ask my friend, Patrick Obahiagbon, what it means). Sadly for the fence sitter, the deontology of the election of February 14, 2015 is choice. A choice must be made. This deontology does not admit of neutralist sophistry. As for me and my household, we have settled unrepentantly and unapologetically for Mohammadu Buhari. If you have settled for Goodluck Jonathan or any of the other candidates, I salute you. That is the way to go. You have made a choice in an election whose deontology is firmly about choice. Defend your choice to the best of your ability. Do not listen to the powdery intellection of those saying that you should do nothing.
If you are an intellectual on the fence, remember that the average fence in Nigeria is studded with broken bottles with jagged edges…