IT is possibly only in Nigerian elections that opponents and proponents of candidates proudly offer threats and counter threats as the only selling points of their candidates. We see more threats as politicians jostle for relevance, ahead of elections.
Attention is usually on the presidency. We have forgotten our local governments, created as the base for nation-wide development. States, normally demanded as centres of development, no longer improve the lives of Nigerians.
The irony of true federalism is that those who fervently demand it make minimal efforts to strengthen governance at the local levels. The lower expectations from local governments and States have resulted in unfulfilled expectations in the past 14 years of civilian administrations.
Worries about who becomes president in 2015, to some, appear more important than what happens to the country. The damaging threats that preceded the 2011 elections are being re-issued. There were threats of the country being ungovernable if certain people did not win the elections.
Have we not witnessed mayhem that descended on Nigeria after the 2011 elections? The crisis has continued. Politicians are carrying on with their ambition, apparently unappreciative of the enormity of challenges the country faces. Life, for them is about elections.
There are lessons on precedents, which we must quickly learn from these incidents. Was it acceptable for people to threaten the country in 2011? Have the rules changed or are certain people permitted to threaten Nigeria while others are criminals if they do? The duplicity in treating issues creates precedents that make sanctions unjust and unjustifiable.
Nigeria must protect itself from these threats. The responsibility lies with the leaders, aspiring leaders and all those who have risen to such prominence that the public takes them serious. Their words are capable of misleading their followers and causing more troubles.
Every Nigerian has a right to contend for power within the laws for the contest. Every Nigerian has rights to enter into legitimate alliances to access power; the constitutional provisions on freedom of association permit it. What we must avoid is being so consumed about leading Nigeria that we threaten to set the country on fire, if we cannot actualise the ambition. Nigeria should be accorded more importance than our individual ambitions.
Laws guide our country. Those who aspire to lead – and their supporters – must eschew threats in their ambitions; they should promote law and order. They should be telling Nigerians what qualifies them to lead the country and how their leadership would improve lives of Nigerians.
They are better options to threatening more crises on a country that has been soaked in blood since 2010. Nigerians should not reward those who threaten its peace by electing them.