Manifesto is a political script/ document characterised by policies and programmes that give a clear direction on the objectives of a political aspirant as it affiliates to the ideology of political party under which auspices an aspirant flags off. It is an offshoot for defining a constituent ambitions of political hopefuls, party ideologies, e.t.c which indirectly serves as a scorecard for political aspirants as it mirrors the personality imagery, intellect and a personality appraisal instrument for evaluating the leadership qualities of a candidate.
Manifestos can be literary, visual, audio, largely dependent on the desired medium of communication, determined by frequency and reach.
It is a Democratic tandem in concordance with the political culture of Nigeria for aspirants to draft and present manifestoes as a political viable advertising tool with persuasive marketing techniques, geared towards vote mustering when vying for top notch political offices.
The feasibility of actualising the manifesto content is astronomically vested on the potency of the rhetorics inherent (statement of objectives) and the pragmatic implementation of content determined by the actors (aspirants) behind the script (manifesto).
Faulty choice of candidature which can be said to be accountable for the pathetic state of the Nigeria politics, is a function of fluid manifesto packages that lack sympathy for the plight of the masses. The toxic nature of party manifestos seem more of an ostensible perjury, a cold murder of vaunted preeminence of government safety net for the needy.
The manifesto gap precipitates the continued malnourished leadership and all appendages of mediocrity governance that the nation is confronted with after solid 58years of independence and 19years of Democratic reign. The manifesto is nothing but a script to be accentuated by political actors and in the Nigeria context, all that have been achieved from manifesto application are intrigues and suspense from our so called political Directors, producers (political parties and godfathers ), actors (aspirants) behind the scene(manifesto) simply because the politicians talk the work rather than work the talk.
The suspense however can be deduced from the political charade defined by the act of political manifesto coloration, a pervasion of a supposed potent political instrument (manifesto) to mean a projection of an embodiment of failure and political skirmishes. This is made more pronounced in the use of seasonal manifesto(every four years) to redefine the electorates into becoming political zombies who are brainwashed by the ostensible , mouth watery promises, deceptive antics of paying lip service. This is enabled by preying on the vulnerability state of the electorates, characterised by their impoverished state that beclouds their sense of reasoning. A notable example born out of this menace is the plaque of vote buying ravaging the Nigerian polity that plunges the voters to ticking a Yes in places where they are suppose to give a No for an answer.
One does not require a mercury bulb to detect the counterfeit state of party manifestos which are affirmatively non ideological based and propaganda infested which characterises the politicking strategy of aspirants and as such can be said to be accountable for the consistent failures of these seasoned politicians to deliver to expectations.
The most perturbing issue associated with manifesto integrity is that it has become a political ritual to anchor content on promises on infrastructure with less premium on economic transformation agenda embedded in Human Capital Development. It is appalling and ignominious to think that Nigerians applaud, embrace, over rate and concede to manifesto objectives hinged on infrastructural development with lineaments as road construction, building bridges, schools e.t.c. and to get matters aggravated, the so called political gladiators flood the social media with video clips that capture such infrastructural features as strategy for electioneering campaigns. This is laughable as no aspirant or serving government deserves an endorsement or applause for promises built largely on the premise of infrastructural development, as such projects are core government responsibilities, expected to be financed with tax payers money.
The trend of development has brought about a paradigm shift from emphasis on infrastructural development to Human Capacity Building (HCB) as rated by the Amnesty International , the foreign watchdog to Third World nations that thrive to achieve economic and political prosperity of great magnitude . The template thus for measuring the credibility and feasibility of a manifesto geared towards infusing innovation and adding flesh to the usual skeletal manifesto drafting and execution pattern, should be nailed on the scrutiny of the worrisome issues as addressed below:
*Flooding manifestos with heterogeneous agenda (policies and programmes): manifestoes trafficked by ambiguous and legions of expectations should not be taken to heart by the electorates. The reason not farfetched is that a four year rule (single term) is never considered enough for any government in Nigeria to actualise a single programme let alone a basket full of it. This trend explains better the rationale behind the second term initiative, excused on the premise that an unfinished business remains that only a call for tenure elongation can secure the actualisation of multiple objectives. The legend of the seeker of a second term politics the country is bedeviled with is a product of this political loophole. An example here is an aspirant trying to convince the masses that he can actualise a naira becoming a dollar in a single term, seems more of a Chimera because it interpretatively means Nigeria becoming the United States in four years. No economic formulae applied in this direction with the current state of the nation will produce a realistic outcome in this regard.
*Assessing the antecedents and precedents of the political actors(aspirants) behind the Scene(manifesto): The essence of scanning the aspirants is to unmask the integrity and leadership qualities to avoid “the promise and fail syndrome” that afflicts majority of the Nigerian politicians. To disallow the uncultured breed of politicians taking the centre stage of events , the scrutiny of their precedents is imperative due to the fact that the past is believed to be an extrapolation of the present and the future. This is necessary as manifestos can be drafted and designed by political nuisance to suit lobbying groups, party patrons at the expense of the poor masses. *paradigm shift from infrastructural development to Human capacity Building (HCB): in terms of HCB, political aspirants should be able to explicitly convince the electorates on defined modalities in achieving development which can be measured using two distinct indices: I) job creation (minimum wage and conducive working conditions). 2) Empowerment programmes to encourage entrepreneurship (A shift from the white collar job). *Timing: the lifespan of every proposed program encapsulated in a manifesto must have a defined time allocation for goal actualisation. For example an aspirant tells you he is to provide jobs, he should be able to provide answers to the 3WH questions I.e What to achieve, Why to achieve , When to achieve and How to achieve stated goals in order to guarantee accountability in the scheme of things.
*Non ideological based manifesto : most manifestoes fronted by political parties lack ingredients. Nigeria is confronted with manifestoes that capture the weaknesses of perceived political party rivals thus leading to cut throat competition and verbal war between contestants. This explains the simulacrum between party manifestos without any distinguishing factors encoded in exclusiveness and innovations. Buttressing this point is the emphasis of contestants on the highlighting of the weakness of opponents or an incumbent government without concentration on unveiling strategies on how to pragmatically surmount such identified lapses. *Guarantor Syndrome : obviously there are political godfathers who decide the fate of some political puppets (aspirants). Any political hopeful that seem subservient to political big wigs should not be trusted by Nigerians. The reason being that such a candidate’s manifesto will only possess an aesthetic value that lacks depth. No matter how captivating and enticing such a manifesto may sound in rhetorics, if allowed access to power, will undoubtedly exhibit some loyalist tendencies by bowing to the wishes of their heavy weight political Lord who decide what policies and programmes to indulge in by such puppets. This is evident in the issues of political rebelling, party migration, public coffer embezzlement thwarting the development process of the nation and also serves as a comeuppance to the electorates for making the wrong choice of candidature for failure to carry out a reality check on weighty political considerations of this kind.
*Egocentricism: this happens to be a blindfold to the choosing of rightful candidates. In this part of the world, we are still faced with this stiff taciturn perception of paper mail certification as a criterion for making the choice of candidates vying for electoral positions. This is a faulty approach as politics should not be considered a game of pedigree or plutocracy rather issues of performance rooted on the administrative competence of the aspirants and not the regular strategy of trumpet blowing and self accolade. The success formula behind any political structure is largely anchored on the right choice making of candidature by the electorates looking beyond the surface of party manifesto but concentrate on basic ingredients that justify the feasibility of such a political document.
In order to prevent a repeat of the continuous voting into power of egocentric and sordid representatives, the manifesto which serves as a selling point of aspirants should be holistically X-rayed to avoid the bubble bursting and consistent lamentation of the “I thy know Chorus” born from the transition of power from one set of political infidels to another.
Conclusively, it is worthy to state that Nigeria’s greatest malady is not limited to resource management gaps, rather faulty and regrettable choice making that gives political infidels access to the power house of governance. The political terrain seem very tensed with stiff neck competitions among contestants and as such the political consciousness of the electorates should be awakened by taking into cognisance the enumerated points, as an expo to the sagacity of manifestos especially with regards to the 2019 elections that stand as a deciding factor to the future of our great country Nigeria . This will in no doubt salvage the present day politics from total collapse. I implore all Nigerians of votable age to display a high sense of patriotism through participatory politics (voting) and being vigilant of some political actors (aspirants) that have come to act the script again(manifesto), leaving millions of Nigerians with so much suspense and intrigues of this every four year season film (elections) of which outcome can not be predetermined at this stage. Let’s not be caught unawares again and again.
By: Uwode Eseoghene Josephine