IT is possibly only in Nigerian elections that opponents and proponents of candidates proudly offer threats and counter threats as the only selling points of their candidates. We are seeing more threats as people jostle for relevance in the 2015 elections.
As always, attention is on the presidency. We have forgotten our local governments. We are not talking about our States. These centres of development, usually the strongest argument for their creation, are no longer expected to improve the lives of Nigerians.
The irony of true federalism is that those who fervently demand it make minimal efforts to strengthen governance at the local levels. The lower expectations from local governments and States have resulted in unfulfilled expectations in the past 14 years of civilian administrations.
Worries about who becomes president in 2015, to some, appear more important than what happens to the country. We are again seeing the damaging threats that preceded the 2011 elections. There were threats of the country being ungovernable if certain people did not win the elections.
Have we not witnessed mayhem that descended on Nigeria after the elections? Have we not seen how the crisis has continued? Are we not being told that the solution to the killings lie in the North having the presidency in 2015?
There are lessons on precedents which we must quickly learn from these incidents. Was it acceptable for people to threaten the country in 2011? Have the rules changed or are certain people permitted to threaten Nigeria while others are criminals if they do? The duplicity in treating issues creates precedents that make sanctions unjust and unjustifiable.
Nigeria must protect itself from these threats. The responsibility lies with the leaders, aspiring leaders and all those who have risen to such prominence that the public take them serious. Their words are capable of misleading their followers and causing more troubles.
Every Nigerian has a right to contend for power within the laws for the contest. Every Nigerian has rights to enter into legitimate alliances to access power; the constitutional provisions on freedom of association permit it. What we must avoid is being so consumed about leading Nigeria that we threaten to set the country on fire, if we cannot actualise the ambition.
We are a country guided by laws. Those who aspire to lead – and their supporters – must eschew threats in their ambitions. They should be telling Nigerians what qualifies them to lead the country and how their leadership would improve the lives of Nigerians.
They are better options to threatening more crises on a country that has been soaked in blood since 2010. Nigerians should not reward those who threaten its peace by electing them.