Should Government Stop Working Because Of Election? By Zainab Adewale-Cole
It’s something we have become accustomed to in Nigeria, months before any election, the government stops in its strides and all energy is channeled towards the election. For 16 years, when PDP ruled Nigeria, unwritten bank holidays were awarded to civil servants and in some cases, contractors.
Government projects almost always came to a halt as everyone looked in the direction of the cookie jar. Its that time in every four years when Nigerians get to enjoy the largesse that has eluded them in the last three and a half years. It is the national cake and here’s an opportunity to stake a claim, who dares pass up on that.
But in the last few months, the script has been rewritten, the narrative is changed and so is the body language. The people who have mastered making big money once every four years have to town with their propaganda machinery and the expectation of response appears to be pissing them off.
Away from the shenanigans, let’s x-ray the government of the day and their reaction to the 2019 election. Like every beer parlour politics, some Nigerians have hammered the government for two things. First, for refusing to campaign like they had expected. These people generally expected the ruling campaign to begin massive campaign rallies across Nigeria, once the campaign season opened on 18 November but they were taken off guard when President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo continued their obligations to the people.
The VP have made two campaign stops, one in Abuja and the other in Lagos, but it was no more than door-to-door campaign. It cost him, his principal and their party, no dime. Yes, I mean no dime at all. While Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have embarked on three campaign rallies, the ruling party is acting like its unaware of the season we are in, the question is why should it bother.
The government pretty much believes that the work it has done in the last three and half years will speak for it at the polls, this is not to say they will not campaign at all. But what is most staggering the chatter that the government should stop working.
How can a responsible government stop work because election is around the corner? For example, many people especially the opposition have labelled TraderMoni a vote buying scheme because the Vice President is still embarking on monitoring and on the-site assessment of the scheme but they don’t see the ongoing construction of rail and roads as vote buying, they don’t see the bridges that are constructed as vote buying.
The truth is that Nigerians can’t tell the difference between a government dedicated to achieving its goals and the government that plays politics with everything including our livelihood. PDP insinuating that President Buhari not campaigning means he wants to rig the election is a big joke. It only exposes how PDP has operated over the years and how they expect others to behave.
I think Nigerians should open their minds and understand that no reasonable and responsible government will halt activities for its selfish gains. The government owes it to us to keep working until it hands over to a new government and wins a re-election. In any case, Babatunde Fashola has continued to boost electricity in Nigeria, not minding the forthcoming election.
Let’s hope this is the start of greater things to come for Nigeria.