Let us grab a moment to thank the Almighty for one blessing we often take for granted, shall we? Perhaps because it happens so regularly and predictably, we tend to savour its many flavours without as much as showing the slightest appreciation. Shameful! As we presently find ourselves again in that season of full political bloom, I recommend that we seize this time to reflect, and recognise how much campaign rallies have done for us as a nation. And how miserable our lives would be without them.
For a couple of weeks, every four years, Nigerians are given a rare opportunity to roll with the political elites and overlords. Never mind that, at times, some take it too far by rolling on the floor as a show of loyalty… in essence making themselves roll models before their role models. Never mind that. This once-in-a-lifetime privilege — or a maximum of ten, considering our life expectancy rate — deserves to be seen for what it really is: a piece of good fortune. Jah be praised!
It is during campaign rallies that the gods and goddesses of politics descend from the cloudy skies of governance (and other serious stuff) to reunite with the poor masses. Again, it is at this blessed period we witness a get-together between the political rooftops and the political grassroots. As we all know, they hardly have time any other day as they are too busy building refineries, repairing roads, and fixing the country’s countless problems.
About two weeks ago, the Senate even had to adjourn its plenary over an inability to form a quorum. News had it that only nine lawmakers showed up to the chamber. Of course, we know where the other one hundred were: one campaign meeting, rally or the other — except Uncle Dino Melaye, who appears to still be under police custody.
This only goes to show how significant these rallies have become in our lives, transcending mere politics to the very core of what binds together the two tribes in the country: the have’s and the have not’s.
We should be particularly thankful during this electioneering season because of za kind of leader za Almighty has blessed us with. He is so busy shadowboxing corruption and pleading with America to return our money, that he forgets to connect with the people. Or even local media houses. Research in fact shows that President Buhari has spent more time in a plane than he has on the ground with the common people of Nigeria. Which is why we should thank the good Lord for blessing us with elections and the campaign rallies that conventionally come with them. If not for them, we might even still be speculating on whether our commander-in-chief still lives.
Baba has got so used to relating with foreigners that he felt if he could not take a campaign rally to ‘Niger’, he would at least bring ‘Niger’ to a campaign rally here in Nigeria.
Campaign rallies have, over the years, also been a source of free entertainment. ‘Free’ is an understatement even since you might even get paid (and also one or two souvenirs) for attending. At these events, we experience stand-up comedy from an usual set of humourists. Don’t get it wrong, it is not as if they do not humour us every other day; but during these rallies, our dear politicians take turns on a stage to treat us to unending amusement.
There is nothing the pot-bellied politician would not do to convince the commoner that he is part of his everyday realities. He would sing all kinds of songs, speak all kinds of tongues, pray in the name of all kinds of gods, and dance, in a most awkward manner, all kinds of moves — especially the latest in town. All this time, we the people, the spectators on these days and all others, get freely entertained.
The only catch is that, if you are not watching from a television screen, you are probably laughing your ass off as the Sun consistently flogs you like a drunk Eyo masquerade.
What have we not seen this year in the name of electoral campaigns? We have seen the president of Nigeria paid rare visits to the five-percenters of the SouthEast. We have seen Professor Osinbajo call Godswill Akpabio and Baba calling Abdullahi Ganduje the sweetest of names, deserved only by the Saints of old. We have seen a president risk his life, in a game of puppetry, to please God knows who. We have seen the vice president emerge from a helicopter crash like Steven Seagal, just because… you know… there’s unfinished business in the Next Level.
We have seen the governor of one of the world’s fastest growing cities attach himself to campaign trains, while his state’s budget gathers dust on his desk miles away. Oh! And we have seen politicians dance to the trending Ghanaian Malwedhe dance (also known as collapsing dance) — unintentionally we should add.
You have to admit that this level of political drama is worthy of a Netflix acquisition. And it comes only once every four years with the campaign period. So, dear friends, let us order for some popcorn and bottles of chilled kunu as we anticipate what the few days left to general elections have in stock. We might need some throat lozenges too to ease the aching as we roll in the aisles.
Happy elections in advance!