Benue State And The Politics Of 2015

Ihembe Ayankaa Martin

I have been privileged to travel around few States in Nigeria. In the course of
these trips, the Social Scientist in me could not just allow me stop
eavesdropping on the quality of discussions among the electorate ahead of the
2015 elections. In the South West for instance, States like Lagos, Oyo, and
Ogun despite the presence of petty politics of rent seeking (which is difficult
to do away with in Nigeria), sensitive issues that revolve around development
and advancing a healthy society seemed to be accorded priority by a sizeable
number of the enlightened electorate and those seeking for mandate.

The North,
Middle Belt, and the South East (with few exceptions within these regions) have
always been behind when it comes to the kind of issues that occupy political discussions
during elections. Aspirants embark on dry campaigns with little or no
substance, while the teeming electorate concern themselves with the kind of
alliance they can forge that will profit them when the spoils is ready for
sharing. This is what I come across in most political discussions in Benue
State lately. We seem to forget that an enviable democratic environment that
delivers the central ideals of democracy does not come from above, neither is it
given willing by the politicians. The people ask for it as they make informed choices
through the ballot box. We the electorate in Benue seems to be less concern
about this despite the disappointments. We give the politicians enough latitude
to advance their objective.

Ihembe Ayankaa Martin
shallowness that attends the discussion about zoning in Benue State like most
State is nauseating. Those with influence who court elected government officials
to get contracts have already started courting relations of those aspirants to
clear the hurdles ahead of victory (I was not told, I witnessed it). On the
part of the aspirants, what you see is a picture of something very close to an
unproductive array of aspirants that are merely concern with the acquisition of
power with little knowledge of how to manage that power for the benefit of our
people. Most of them have done well for themselves by holding public office in
this administration. For how long can we continue in this direction and expect
changes? Is it not wise we up the ante in the build up to the election process
to see if some of these demagogues can meet up? Failure to do so will provide a
fertile environment for a fatal cocktail of bad governance in the next four
years. It is time we identified the mistakes that have been made and proceed on
how best we can reposition the State on the track that will unleashes rapid
economic development by the choices we make. Benue State has more than enough
for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.  
Benue State needs at the moment is a candidate who can come up with broad based
well-conceived policies whose ripple effects can touch the lives of our people
irrespective of tribe and political affiliations. This is the only way to
neutralize the tensions, divisions, and glaring political identities that dominate
political discussions in the State. It will pave way for the emergence of
broader based programmes that will help the government accomplish its goals.
idea of upping the ante for those who wish to govern Benue State and represent
us is encapsulated in a comprehensive Gubernatorial
Election Debate
proposal I drafted. This I strongly believe will deepen the
character of our democracy and also shape public opinion when the electorate
come to make choices during elections. After spirited attempts in trying to
raise funds for this project, I realised I was just a loner at my duty post of
trying to provide hope for the masses of our people. Those I was privileged to
discuss this project with extoled this idea but were interested in the
pecuniary benefit even when the money was not there to fund the idea.
Hamstringed by pecuniary constraint, moving forward become a problem and I
decided to shelve the idea. However, I still take solace in the fact that the
portal of good governance is never permanently shut provided some elements
within still yearn for it. The future belongs to those with hope, not those
with power and big financial chest who can afford to buy gullible minds. For
now, it might seem impossible for the good people of Benue to navigate through
this torrid challenge, but the truth is, amidst the gathering darkness in any
evil system, there are always saints in the shadows. Father in heaven help us
to identify that saint as we prepare to cast our votes next year, Amen.
Ihembe Martin
Wrote from Makurdi


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