It was with high expectations that I had gone through details of the Abuja peace accord recently agreed by the political party leaders, mandating decent and civilized campaign conduct among the contestants, their agents and supporters.
I was not disappointed. It is a positive step in the direction of democracy, for which I must commend the efforts of those seasoned interventionists, Emeka Anyaoku and Kofi Annan. Adhered to with good will and sincerity, it should ensure a wholesome space for future elections, and pre-empt further violence. It might even come close to what the democratic ideal should be, as canvassed by others, including Governor Fashola a few years ago – a people’s fiests!
From personal interest however, I was disappointed that the communiqué makes no reference to the violence done to members of the electorate whose identities are stolen, abused and debased during this exercise. It is rapidly becoming commonplace to encounter totally fictitious statements, even entire interviews published and attributed to unsuspecting authorship. This criminal proceeding has even involved the cloning of media mastheads to which non-existent interviews are then attached. To render it in local parlance, this is political 419, and of the most despicable brand.
While it would be unjust to place direct responsibility on the contestants, one must stress that they also have a moral responsibility to denounce these dirty tricksters in the strongest terms, even in their own interest. The resentment inspired in victims of such cowardly conduct cannot but impact on their own political image. The media must also protect itself by taking necessary measures against such unprincipled confusionists. It is the democratic right of every citizen to know exactly who is saying what on issues that affect their political choices.
Let me thus seize the occasion of the Abuja accord to state categorically that I have never made a statement endorsing any presidential or governorship contestant. All such attributions are fabrications by faceless, often self-appointed agents of deception, and should be publicly pilloried. Whenever I choose to declare support for a candidate – as is my electoral right – I shall ensure that I deploy a medium that places my authorship beyond dispute. Internet habituees, Social Network etc are urged to be less gullible, and avoid becoming cheap conduits for the deception industry!
I take a less serious – indeed, near carnivalesque – view of the opportunistic, and sometimes de-contextualized use of genuine quotes from statements I have made in the past – that is a different matter entirely. As a non-pensioned writer however, and thus dependent on the proceeds of intellectual property, such users should expect to hear from my Literary Agents.
I join General Abdulsalami and others in hoping that 2015 prove a live-and-learn election year, not a do-or-die!