The Ika Weekly opinion polls on the aspirants for the National and State Assemblies have come and gone. Those who are familiar with opinion polls in advanced countries will agree with me that the results of the Ika Weekly opinion polls were largely manipulated by some aspirants or their agents. Be it as it may, Ika people should remain grateful to Ika Weekly Newspapers for their innovation in creating political awareness for the populace. I hope there will be great improvement in our future local opinion polls.
Well, as stated above, the opinion polls have come and gone and we are now facing the real and all-important polls – the party primary and general elections. Aspirants who apparently did well in the opinion polls should not sit back to fan themselves believing that they are already home and dry. There is still a lot of work to do and very many rivers to cross.
One good thing that the current electioneering campaigns have brought is the change of the style of approaching the electorate. There could still be one or two aspirants who believe and hope that their far-away godfathers who will issue order from above will put them there. It is encouraging to note that over 80% of the aspirants have come to realise that, this time around, their fate is in their hands. That is why they are out there, advertising, marketing and selling themselves and their manifestos to the electorate. This is a big shift from the usual practice of just paying homage to, and reaching a deal with a few godfathers and waiting for the result to be written, irrespective of the outcome of the actual ballots cast. Contenders now know that they should reach out, step aside or wait to be cast away. This wind of change was brought about by two powerful forces moving in the same direction, namely – One Man/woman, One Vote Fever that is currently catching everybody and the civilised approach by aspirants from the Diaspora.
These Diaspora aspirants are really living up to their names because they are westernising our political activities by being more open and transparent in their dealings with the people. They are breaking the barriers/borders hitherto erected by the erstwhile godfathers and they are rubbing minds and hands with the common man/woman who had been taken for granted in the past. By receiving some basic necessities of life or hearing directly from aspirants, some plans that are likely to make some positive impacts on their lives, these grass-rooters are knowingly or unknowingly entering into bonds with some of these aspirants. These agreements of hearts and minds will come into effect on polling days when the grass-rooters see the photos of their soul-mates on the ballot boxes. This is the time that those aspirants who stayed away from the "common" voter, will discover the saying that "out of sight is out of mind" to be very true.
In the current dispensation, one of the most visible Diaspora aspirants who is bringing about this wind of change is Dr. (Mrs) Isioma Okobah, a House of Representatives aspirant. Dr. (Mrs.) Isioma Okobah seems to speak and act from the heart. I am not referring to the quantum or value of what she is providing for the needy because all fingers are not equal. What impresses me about her is her humility, not minding her resourcefulness and philanthropy. Dr. (Mrs) Okobah mingles with the needy as if she is one of them and provides what she has for them because she is passionate about them and convinced that they are in need and not because she feels that her getting elected depends solely on what she gives out. Some people or aspirants are more endowed than Dr. Mrs. Okobah but they may not know how to give to the needy. They rather give to those who already have, from whom they will get more recognition. To Dr. (Mrs.) Isioma Okobah, I say, go ahead because you are on the right track. Your activities may be causing some ripples in some quarters and attracting some negative comments about you. I am sure that the prayers of the people you are putting smiles on their faces will not only see you through in your aspiration but will also make God reward you more abundantly.
I know that many readers of this write-up will jump into the conclusion that I must have been paid a large sum of money to single out Dr. (Mrs.) Isioma Okobah for recognition. Some people will say that I may be in Dr. Okobah’s campaign organisation. It is too far from that but I understand these feelings because we are at an age and in an environment where people will not speak the truth or vote for a candidate unless they are paid good money.
I want to quickly point out that Dr. (Mrs.) Isioma Okobah is not the only aspirant on the right track. Almost all the aspirants (including home-based ones) are now doing well in their campaigns. Dr. (Mrs.) Okobah is just a shining star that others are following. Home-based politicians should accommodate our brothers and sisters from the Diaspora and learn from them so that our people can benefit from their exposure in the Western World where true democracy is practised. If we do not welcome and accept our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora, how do we affect technology transfer to Nigeria? How do we build our own cars, aeroplanes, computers etc or do we want to remain a country of importers of finished goods? We appreciate the billions of Dollars remitted to us annually by our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora that enables us to improve our lots. We should also welcome them with their hard currency and their improved talents to help us develop this country. If we shut them out and continue to practise the same politics of rigging and godfatherism, Nigeria will never experience true democracy. People in the Diaspora and home-based are brothers and sisters. If we learn from each other, compete with each other, the winners will be Nigeria and Nigerians.
I WILL END THIS PIECE BY ASKING EVERYBODY TO "SHINE THEIR EYES" ON ALL THE ASPIRANTS – DIASPORA OR HOME-BASED AND VOTE WHAT YOUR MIND TELLS YOU. REMEMBER ONE MAN, ONE VOTE; ONE WOMAN, ONE VOTE; ONE YOUTH, ONE VOTE AND PROTECT YOUR VOTES BY STAYING IN YOUR POLLING STATION UNTIL THE VOTES ARE COUNTED AND RESULTS ANNOUNCED.