By Satmak Dapar, Viewpoint Nigeria

Quite recently, almost all the Plateau state social media platforms have become inundated with campaigns for and against parties and candidates vying for chairmanship and councillorship positions in the forthcoming Local Government elections slated for February 2018. It would be recalled that the Plateau state Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) officially lifted the ban so campaigns, primaries and other political activities could start as a prelude to the bigger game in February. In this spirit, almost everything done nowadays on the Plateau has a direct relationship with the forthcoming LG polls. Primary elections within political parties have started and flag bearers are beginning to emerge. Example abound in Mangu Local Government where the People’s Democratic Party concluded its primary elections and Mr. Ayuba Gufwan the CEO of beautiful gates Foundation emerged. The coming weeks will also witness the emergence of other party flag bearers and massive explosion of campaigns. It is a known fact that consultations are ongoing, meetings are held, strategies are set, mobilizations have commenced at the grassroots level and critical planning is taking center stage. One thing that makes Local Government election unique is the fact that, it draws greater participation from the people because it is the nearest government to them. It is open and the franchise of the people is key in this regard.
It is no longer news that the PDP, APC, ADP and other emerging parties have started oiling their campaign machineries, dusting their files, clearing the table and setting all plans in motion in readiness to hold on to power or take over as the case maybe. How they are able to calculate effectively would matter a lot because politics is obviously a game of numbers. My position is simple, loud and clear. For a very long time, I make bold to say that we’ve always gotten it wrong as a people. Deeply wrong! This is because we are somewhat playing an old fashion kind of politics instead of a purpose-driven and issue-based politics. I read and hear people talking about the need to vote APC, PDP or ADP throughout the forthcoming election. Oh my goodness! This literally means that even if a party presents a bad, corrupt, brutal and visionless candidate, we don’t have an option than to vote for the person because we want our parties to be in power. How preposterous this sounds! Nigeria may take time to overcome its artificial problems because it’s obvious we are still not ready to move forward. How sad! Plateau state at this critical time is in dire need of leaders who have what it takes to make things right and better our lots. Party shouldn’t be an issue. What should matter the most and define our choice is the person’s blueprint, capacity, potentials, antecedents, political credentials, and the richness of his/her mission.

Nigeria’s political history is replete with rigging of elections, violence, misrepresentation of facts, mudslinging, dirty propaganda and the related. These things don’t tell good about us. As much as we can, we must avoid these retrogressive tendencies. It’s highly probable that attempts could be made by politicians and parties at the 11th hour to bribe PLASIEC officials in order to suppress the will of the people. This has always been the case from time immemorial no doubt, but believe me, this development is the greatest injury on democracy and the most brutal injustice in contemporary times. PLASIEC under the chairmanship of Mr. Ntung should just do the right thing and avoid integrity problem. If a candidate under any party (PDP, APC, ADP, APGA or others) genuinely win, such party should be given the mandate and let governance start in the interest of all. Governor Lalong must also genuinely congratulate and swear in the winners even if they are not in his party. That’s the beauty of democracy and we can’t afford to continuously repeat the mistake of the past.
I love Plateau state. God bless us all.

Satmak Dapar studies Master’s Degree in Communication and Media Studies at Cyprus International University. He can be reached via +905488204483 or