Hope, Fear and Deception: A Story of Nigerian Politics

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Franklin D Roosevelt once said, “We have always held to the hope, belief, and conviction that there is a better life. A better world beyond the horizon”. Then 8 years ago, I stumbled upon Proverbs 24: 21-22 and which reads, “Fear the lord my son, fear the king. Do not associate with those who always insist upon “CHANGE” because disaster will come to them suddenly. Who knows what misery both may bring?” and at that moment, I realized hope is the strongest gift mankind was given to see through hard times but desperation, can soon turn it into our weakness.

The All Progressive Congress can be said to be a party built on salesmanship and a perfect understanding of the importance of powerful and effective slogans, and have been used since 2015 to manipulate the masses.

“A slogan is a memorable motto or phrase used in a political, commercial, religious, and other context, as a repetitive expression of an idea”. Change! This slogan played on the frustration many Nigerians felt with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and their perceived failure to deliver on their promises.

By promising change, the APC was able to tap into our frustration and present themselves as the solution to the country’s problems, and with the slogan “Change”, our hope for a better Nigeria was fuelled, weaponized to defeat the Peoples Democratic Party and in all honesty, change we experienced.

Our decision to move forward from the PDP can be justified by the words of Rachel Wolchin, “If we are meant to stay in one place, then we’d have roots, instead of feet” but after 8 years, are we bold enough to say it is time to move again?

Time to once again be led in a “New Direction”?

The All Progressive Congress at the national level is not the only one that has used slogans to manipulate the masses.

In recent years, the phrase “New Direction” has become a popular political slogan in Nigeria, particularly in Kogi State, where it was used by Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello during his election campaign. Like the “Change” slogan, “New Direction” played on the hopes and aspirations of the people, promising a new path forward and a brighter future.

It’s almost 8 years since our journey in this new direction, and no one can boldly say we’ve been led right. Is it a case of the blind leading those with sight, or have we been sailing on the Pacific with a broken compass?

These are the questions we need to ask ourselves and not the governor because the time for accountability was in 2015 but rather, it is time for conscious awakening, a time to rediscover what lies within us, a self-reminder of what makes us who we are, time to stop wishing for a better Kogi, it is the time to start taking action to achieve our common goal.

The phrase “New Direction” may have sounded promising at the time, but the reality of Governor Bello’s leadership has been far from what was promised. Instead of a new path forward and a brighter future, Kogi State has faced a myriad of challenges and setbacks under his administration. From allegations of unpaid salaries to poor infrastructure, commercial development, and insecurity.

From what we’ve experienced the past 8 years under the “New Direction Government, is it clear the drivers need to be changed for Kogi State to truly move in a new direction or we exercise more patience and give the flower the governor is about to plant in the Lugard house, the chance to bloom?

In conclusion, what type of flower is the governor intending to plant? A rose or an Oleander?

– Balogun Ekundayo (jnr) wrote from Kogi state.

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