Ahead of Nigeria’s 2023 general elections, politicians seeking elective offices have, as usual, started warming up to the electorate. Presidential aspirants from different political parties are already propagating their ideologies to the unsuspecting Nigerians.
Although political campaigns officially begin one-fifty days before the election (September 2022), aspirants are already trying to pitch their tents in the heart of some voters since politics is a game of the highest numbers.
This is to the extent of telling tales far from being true to sway voters. As not every word should be taken in good faith, be wary of the following lies that presidential aspirants might want to tell you.
1. Extravagant campaign pledges
Ensure to ignore every glamorous and grandiose campaign promise. These are just antics to help the politicians win the election. These unfulfilled promises are used to entice Nigerians as they easily resonate with their current state.
Buhari used this tactic during his 2015 and 2019 presidential campaigns. He employed this strategy both in his 2015 and 2019 presidential campaigns. He pledged to develop 40,000 megawatts of power, create three million jobs a year, stabilise the naira, increase the economy by 10%, and forbid government officials from seeking medical treatment abroad.
Despite being too good to be actualised, Nigerians voted for him because it resonated with their needs.
2. The promise of a good economy
Though having a good gross domestic product (GDP) and sufficient jobs in the society is a good idea, never believe any presidential aspirants that promise to do such within a year or more. Especially those that vow to get to a specific GDP percentage.
This is because it is not feasible. Private businesses dominate the Nigerian economy, while the government only controls a fraction of it.
In 2018, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said the country generates 90% of its GDP from the private sector. This means the public sector, the government parastatals, only contribute 10%, showing how flawed the promise is.
Despite the contribution of the privately-owned businesses, they are not functioning at their optimal level due to a lack of enabling environment.
Unless the government keys into this and creates an enabling environment, achieving any economic goal will be an uphill task.
3. Poverty eradication
Poverty is an old tactic that political aspirants have used to brainwash Nigerians. Typically, once elected into office, they treat the same voters like trash until another election cycle. Sadly, these voters will still praise them when they are handed stipends again.
Do not sell your birthright in exchange for a bowl of porridge.
The truth is that poverty cannot be hauled out of Nigeria overnight. So do not fall for the sweet talk. Instead, probe them to give a realistic plan of how they intend to combat poverty in the country.
Without a plan, the country cannot be economically developed. The poverty eradication milestone achieved by some countries such as China, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom was through feasible plans and efficient execution.
Hence, Nigerians should only listen to and understand the aspirants’ plan of how they intend to reduce the rate of poverty in the country. Otherwise, ignore whatever promise they put on a platter for you.
4. Solve the debt situation
The country is in a dire financial state – poor revenue generation, low growth, high inflation, and debt. This is an arduous task not for the faint at heart.
The country is in a state where only a sound financial policy can revive it, though it will take time and not a stroll in the park. In 2021, the federal government paid N4.22 trillion on debt servicing. This rose by 29.3% from the N3.27 trillion spent in 2020.
According to the Debt Management Office (DMO), Nigeria’s overall debt increased to $95.78 billion (N39.56 trillion) as of December 2021. This rose by $9.39 billion (N6.64 trillion) from the $86.39 billion (N32.92 trillion) reported in 2020.
With this debt and more, any aspirants who make light of this are fooling the country and Nigerians.
Nigeria ranks as one of the high-risk African countries. From Boko haram to herdsmen and police brutality. This led to the widespread ‘EndSars’ protests that resulted in the death of many young Nigerians.
Now that election is near, do not believe phrases such as ‘we will provide effective security for life and properties’. Instead, let them proffer solutions of how they intend to stop threats such as herders, banditry, kidnapping, oil vandalism, separatists, and jihadism. If not, Nigerians would have to bear another four years of misery.