An election campaign rally isn’t any different from, say, a cocktail party where one person is trying to woo another person they’re trying to end up in bed with.
The seeker (politician) hopes to get lucky with quippy icebreakers and cheesy one-liners that’ll convince the target (voters) that they’re the best thing that’s happened to Nigeria since Abacha’s death.
Since the goal of the game is to get in bed with the other party, promises are bound to be overabundant in this conversation. Some of these promises are reasonable, of course, but some promises make you cringe so hard and laugh out loud at the same time.
Here’s a compilation of some of the 2023 presidential election campaign promises that already look sus to us:
Al-Mustapha wants to live in Sambisa Forest
A man capable of staring Boko Haram into submission
General Sani Abacha’s former
hitman security aide, Hamza Al-Mustapha, is one of the candidates trying to move into Aso Rock in 2023. But he doesn’t plan to stay in the building much.
To defeat terrorists, Al-Mustapha has promised to live inside Sambisa Forest where Boko Haram fighters have waged a war against Nigerian citizens for over 13 years. He sha won’t live there 24/7, just on weekends and holidays.
The most laughable thing about Al-Mustapha’s promise is that the year is no longer 2014. The dynamic of insecurity in Nigeria has evolved past Sambisa Forest as a nerve centre. Someone needs to catch up with the times.
Sowore wants to convert Aso Rock into a hospital
At this point, Aso Rock has to observe 40 days of fasting and prayer because two candidates don’t have much love for it. Like Al-Mustapha, Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress (AAC) is also not too keen on staying at the presidential residence if he wins the 2023 election.
Sowore said at a campaign event the Aso Rock Villa is too big for any one person to live in and plans to convert it into a hospital for ordinary Nigerians.
While we wouldn’t scoff at campaign promises that promote healthcare, Sowore’s plan just comes off as a frivolous one primarily designed to make people cheer and nothing more. So, ha ha ha.
Kachikwu wants to cancel medical tourism
Dumebi Kachikwu wants to become president so he can make every political office holder in Nigeria face the same limitations as the average Nigerian. His plan as president is to launch a National Patriot Act that levels the playing field for everyone.
In his own words, “It’s a bill that would ensure that public servants cannot use the privileges they cannot provide for the common man.”
A President Kachikwu administration would block politicians from using private or foreign medical services or even generators or boreholes in their homes. He also plans to block them from sponsoring private or foreign education for their children.
It’s the kind of campaign promise that’s bound to prompt cheers at rallies but is useless in practice as we already found out with the failure of the bill to block politicians’ children from schooling abroad.
Adebayo wants to create 30 million jobs
The provision of jobs is one of the most common campaign promises politicians make anywhere in the world. Jobs are kind of important and promising to provide them for people is an easy way to get the crowd going at rallies.
However, there’s moderation to everything, but moderation isn’t a word in the vocabulary of Adewale Adebayo, the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
If elected president, he’s promised to provide 30 million jobs for Nigerians, but he’s been vague on the how he’s going to do it.
The last guy that promised to provide three million jobs annually took the unemployment rate from 8.2% to 33.3% in six years. So, forgive us for not jumping on the bandwagon of someone promising 10x more new jobs.
Tinubu wants millions of youths in the Armed Forces
Speaking of unemployment, Bola Tinubu’s master plan to solve that is to simply recruit millions of youths into the Armed Forces. He believes he’s killing two birds with one stone as this also supposedly takes care of insecurity. And because he’s a multitasker, he can extend the bag to agriculture by feeding these young recruits cassava, corn and yam every day. Where’s the balanced diet?
It all sounds like the sort of thing you’d hear at a secondary school debate competition but is a cornerstone of Tinubu’s campaign so far.