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Politics and partisanship: Making enemies

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It has become common these days, especially as campaigns for the 2023 general elections peak, for supporters of the various candidates to use all sorts of tactics to win support for their preferred choices. No place are the attacks more frequent than on social media, which is now the fastest means of information dissemination.

On different WhatsApp platforms, news and events are conjured and shared either in favour of, or against, candidates. I belong to some groups where Igbo and Yoruba dominate, and every day I wake up to read even the most stupid of posts.

One Yoruba guy posted that Igbo hate Bola Ahmed Tinubu and will never vote for him. He threatened that the Yoruba will deal with the Igbo who are taking advantage of Yoruba generosity in Lagos.

Another Igbo lady posted that Igbo should not vote for Bola Ahmed Tinubu because if he wins, he’d make his wife, Oluremi, President of the Senate.

Back and forth, the hatred goes, some in the most ridiculous manner possible.

To me, whether you’re ObiDient or BATified – new words for Peter Obi and Bola Tinubu by their supporters respectively – please note that threat to life is a criminal act. Everybody has got the inalienable right to choose who to support because this is democracy.

I won’t vote for your preferred candidate because you threatened to “deal” with me if I don’t. I won’t support your candidate because you keep sharing fake and silly posts. I will vote for that candidate who will pull our country back from the precipice.

The country is sinking by the day. The situation is worsened by the global crisis brought about by the Russia-Ukraine war. If our leaders had prepared for the rainy day, the crisis would have been curtailed and our pains ameliorated. But they didn’t. They keep looting, looting, looting. All of them. Don’t kid yourselves; all of them loot.

So, when next you abuse anybody for saying he’s not ObiDient or BATfied, know your limits.Everybody is angry. Everybody wants his candidate to win and lead, even if it just because it is his turn and not to pull the country out of the woods or because he does not give “shishi” and is seen to be not of the old block. In doing so, watch what you write, who you threaten.

The Igbo and the Yoruba do not hate themselves. What happens is rivalry. Some are very petty. Some are purely stupid. Some politicians, feeling they’re losing relevance, fan embers of hate to boost their ratings.

Some politicians hate so much, and they say things that heat up the system. Some have mental challenges and need to see a psychiatrist.

In the final analysis, politicians loot with so much impunity and regardless of tribe, religion. They give us crumbs and we fight for them. Just like we fight and kill for God, we also do so for politicians. When we are done, they’re still there sharing our commonwealth.

Get some sense. Politicians are not worth making enemies for.

A communications specialist, Chukwuelobe was a frontline newspaper editor and former media adviser to Anambra State Government

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