By Emman Jasa Gwatana


IF YOU KNOW HIM, FIERY FATHER MATHEW KUKAH is one clergyman who says it as it is. Hate him or like him he has remained to combine his ecclesiastical duties with political cleavages.
While Kukah shepherds his congregation he takes his time at all times to have an incursion into germane issues sorrounding Nigeria‘s political murky waters.
Luckily Kukah is not a lone ranger in his firm founded idealogy of politics without bitterness. The former Nigeria military leader, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar appeared to be his twin brother in his well founded idealogy. As it is, Nigerians today know that Father Matthew Kukah and General Abdulsalami Abubakar (Rtd) are twin brothers with an alliance for peaceful election at all times in Nigeria.
In 2015, the two men scanned the bitter rivalry between Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammed Buhari in the prelude to the presidential elections. In a bid to give peace a chance the two “wise” men formulated a peace pact document and asked all the Presidential candidates for the election to sign for peace to prevail in the general elections. Thank God peace prevailed after the 2015 Presidential election.
As the 2023 general elections draw closer, the duo has again ensured all the Presidential candidates of the various political parties signed a peace pact. Ordinarily one would have thought that since this is the second time the signing of the peace pact took place Nigerians would witness an issue based campaigns to political mudslinging among the Presidential and other candidates contesting the 2023 general elections.
No doubt the Campaigns for the 2023 general elections are already on top gear. What Nigerians are watching however is the level of compliance on the peace pact signed by all the political gladiators for the 2023 general elections. A survey of the political campaigns across the party divide has however put up a spanner on the wheel of peace for the 2023 general elections.
Interestingly the media world is also watching with keen interest the level of compliance on the peace pact accord signed recently by the Presidential candidates. Only recently, Rufai Yusuf, one of the ARISE television host openly rebuked the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic party (PDP), Emmanuel Okowa on his attack on Bola Ahmed Tinibu, the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party. An enranged Rufai told Okowa openly to concentrate on issue based campaigns and tell Nigerians what he would do for Nigerians if he wins his joint presidential ticket.
Okowa however is not the only one in the joint ticket Presidential election throwing jabs on their political opponents. Addressing party supporters and friends in his home recently, the APC Presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinibu said he no longer read things from the social media because his opponents have kept insulting hell of him. For men who have signed a peace pact for the 2023 general elections campaigns this shouldn’t be so.
Only recently the Presidential candidate of APC, Bola Ahmed Tinibu was said to have told a mammoth crowd on a campaign ground that the name of the Labour Party Presidential candidate, Peter Obi should not be mentioned wherever he is. He was also said to have claimed that the Labour Party Presidential candidate is not an issue. To the Labour Party Presidential candidate and his teeming followers the statement is so demeaning. The APC Presidential candidate was also said to have told his teeming followers in Lagos that the name of the deputy governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic party (PDP) in Lagos, Funke Akindele should not be mentioned wherever he is seated and that the mention of her name is an insult to him. Again the PDP Lagos deputy governorship candidate took the statement as an insult to his personality but took the issue with ease considering the Yoruba reverred culture of respect to the elderly people.
Of most villified Presidential candidate is Bola Ahmed Tinibu, the APC Presidential candidate. A lot of mean things are continually said against him by his political opponents. The issue of his age, academic qualification to the most demeaning issue of drug trafficking are all heaped on the personality of Bola Ahmed Tinibu. All these personal political arsenals are all geared towards disqualifying Bola Ahmed Tinibu from contesting the 2023 Presidential election. Ironically Tinibu appeared to be undettered in his Campaigns for the 2023 Presidential election
I think the missing link is that Nigeria politicians had over the years taken the Nigeria electorate for a ride. Even when the electoral laws in the country are so clear on the guidelines for campaigns, Nigeria politicians flout these laws with impunity and go scot free.
In the last two weeks, former Edo State governor, Adams Oshoihmole and the PDP Presidential Spokesperson, Dino Maleye have continued to trade tackle with each other on the status of both Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinibu and Atiku Abubakar.
The duo shamelessly engage the media world on the background of the Presidential candidates. Oshoihmole sees Atiku as a politician who cannot settle the internal crisis of PDP let alone that of the country. Melaye on the other sees nothing good in Tinibu describing him as a politician without true family background.
The exchange of banters on the media between Oshoihmole and Maleye went to the extreme. As a matter of fact it jettisoned issue based campaign which is an abberation to the campaign peace pact signed by all the Presidential candidates jostling for the 2023 general elections.
Looking at the Campaigns of all the contestants for the 2023 general elections it is difficult to pinpoint any of the campaigns that are issue based. Rather than concentrating on telling Nigerians on what the candidates intend to do for Nigerians if they win elections they are busy washing their dirty linen in the public. Perhaps it is part of campaigns, you may say but political decorum should however be the watch word.
Nigeria as a country is at the threshold of its political and economic evolution and expects contesting candidates for the 2023 general elections to come up with their long, short and medium frame work on their various manifestoes. What the electorates are witnessing at the moment is rhetorics padded as manifestoes. The matter is even worse when a look at the various political manifestoes branded on the Nigeria electorates are nothing but dusted manifestoes of yester years.
While the period for campaigns still extends to february next year one begin to ask if sanity could be restored among the candidates contesting the 2023 general elections in their campaigns. The Campaigns that are currently trending are more of personal attacks on each of the contesting candidates. These of course is not healthy on our evolving democracy.
While the Campaigns for the 2023 general elections are still ongoing, there is the dire need for the electoral umpire to keep vigil on the utterances of the contesting candidates. There should be a penalty on any contesting candidate who violates the electoral law on campaigns.
To the reverred Matthew Kukah and Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (Rtd), Nigeria remain grateful to you people for your patriotism. Both of you refused to watch the political decadence in our country. With patriotic zeal both of you have always stood up to say NO to political violence in our polity. To say the least both of you have written your names in gold.
And to the Nigeria electorates on all the political divide, it will do Nigeria good if we can from time to time call on our politicians to draw the line between issue based campaign and personal vandetta.
Issue based campaigns promote healthy political rivalry while on the other hand attack on each other promotes animosity and indepth hatred capable of throwing the country into an unnecessary turmoil which will not do good to our dear beloved country.
After over two decades of an uninterrupted back to back democratic elections, there is the dire need for our politicians to tow the part of peaceful campaigns.
Violence has no friend. Its casualties runs to lengths unenvisaged. This is the more reason contestants for the 2023 general elections must return to issue based campaigns instead of personal attacks. The labour of the duo of Father Matthew Kukah and Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar in putting up peaceful campaign platforms must not be in vain.
Nigerians deserve peace before, during and after the 2023 general election


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