Shared and diverse definitions

Shared and diverse definitions

Those of us that are Facebook politicians have a different understanding of development and expectations from the people that really elect our leaders. While we speak high grammar on Human Development Index and the such, the people understand it totally different.

During the Oyo State governorship elections a market woman I asked of her choice for governor told me that her candidate was generous. I asked her how much he had ever given her personally. She kept quiet. I said given to her kids, a relation and so forth. Nada! She had personally never benefitted from the candidate. But she had heard stories of his generosity. That was her convincer.

Adedibu, Saraki the elder, Bola Ahmed Tinubu owe their legacy and mass appeal to this trait. You can explain from now to Golgotha that it is Abu's money that Abu is getting back, it does not bother them. You are not a politician if you can't solve their personal problems ranging from naming ceremonies to burials and weekend empowerment.

The book "Man of the People" by Achebe defines the space well.

Our quality of representation is directly linked to the quality and sophistication of the electorate. Yes, not peculiar to Nigeria. Ours, just has an ironic twist. Writing a manifesto is a waste of time. You need cash most of the time.

That partly explains the fight for constituency projects and the unity in the NASS against Fashola. The battle is survival. A senator is not judged by the voters on the quality of debates or committee outputs but what he/she "facilitated" to their zone. How many he gave transistor radios, school fees paid, boreholes sunk and jobs shared across.

So here we speak the "turenchi" and there they spend the cash. Baba and his cabinet are not popular with these guys. They have not allowed flow. We have senators in Abuja that do not own a house after two years. Never happened before.

What we must do is voter education. We must share stories that make them understand better what elected officials should do. We must interpret/translate for them a good evaluation criteria. We must tell them what performance really means. In a language they understand. We need to stop talking to ourselves.

Recall how Francis Arthur Nzeribe brought in stockfish then and clinched his senatorial seat in the old Imo state and the Fayose bread and kponmo in Ekiti, and N500 in Ilorin. Tells you the kind of work we have to do.

Until those expectations change, the quality elected will not. That is why a Senator will tell you an orgy in a dingy guest house at Asokoro is a private affair. Who voted him in for his morals?