Nigeria is 50 and we are mere months away from the 2011 elections. In anticipation of the actual tedious voting itself here are ten things to look forward to.
1. Obama: He will appear on posters and be compared to candidates that he has never heard off. These people will also parade slogans about change that are variations of ‘yes we can’. (Note Obama can be substituted with Gandi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Jesus…George Clooney*)
2. Ankara: Because nothing says I’m going to vote for this guy, like his face all over my clothes. The campaign trail uniform of choice for all wannabe first ladies and their entourage. They will be well cut and highly fashionable except for the unseemly awkwardly placed face print. We will forgive them after we decide that the patterns are lovely and cut them out of ovation for our personal tailors to attempt recreation.
3. Jingles: Of the broken English variety. As we all know the lower classes vote based on the ads directed at them. Each ad will sing the praises of the candidates who are ‘for we people,’ ‘dey kam-pay,’ and ‘go save we country’. All accompanied by native drums, beads and shrieking. Be warned, you will find yourself singing along.
4. Songs: Not to be mistaken for jingles, which are shorter and catchier. With all the political tension in the air, up and coming artists will try and cash in on the power of song, to bring about change and skyrocket themselves into stardom. (it’s the equivalent of singing a football song that becomes the world cup anthem)
5. Rallies: aka parties for political parties. A huge turnout is guaranteed every time because Nigerians love free food. Mo gbo, Mo ya”
6. TV specials: Candidates will dust off their one achievement and put it on display. That school they built 20 years ago or that hospital they refurbished (under duress) as governor 5 years ago, that lone road that happens to reach their village (with a complimentary street named after them) and don’t forget that orphanage with the fat, grateful, chatty warden and the mute anorexic children. Whatever the case people must know. For those on the fence they will be won over by
7. Endless debates: Not about the issues but about the likelihood of free and fair elections.
8. Green, white and dare I say more green. Everything will be draped in patriotic green and white, all in the most random locations, on the most pointless things (yes I’m referring to the sea horse that appeared in the middle of Lagos during carnival)
9. Smear campaigns and bogus boasts, disguised as politics. I believe in divine ordinance, but it is not viable political argument.
10. Light: (Gotcha) I regret to predict the usual lack of light.