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The dilemma facing the poor as 2023 approaches, by Aliyu Dahiru Aliyu

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The exciting season of political clamour has returned. The drums have begun to beat, and politicians have begun to sell their personal interests in the name of national interests. Politicians have started to make noise, feeding people lies and promising the possible and the impossible. The game is an art of saying anything to get anything in the market of personal interests.

Abuja has also begun to become crowded with meetings here and there as politicians begin to haggle over the prices of crosstitudes, clerics, intellectuals and social media influencers. Except for the poor, who will experience the same cycle of disappointment, frustration, and hardships, the game is interesting.

Nigerian politicians are simply passing the baton of stupefying the poor among themselves. Life becomes unbearable for the poor at times as he falls from the frying pan to the fire. That is when he realises he has been duped. They promised him a monthly stipend, but he didn’t inquire as to where the money would come from.

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However, the poor is sometimes to blame because he received a stipend for the difficulties he would face over the next four years when he received 500 Naira as a price for his vote. He’s already sold his liberty, and he’ll have to reap what he sows. Some people will make the same mistake again in 2023, particularly young women and housewives who are unconcerned about political developments.

I sometimes excuse the poor, but not always. Politicians have already imprisoned him in the abyss of poverty. They pushed him to the rim of a deep pool and handed him a sharp knife. He must hold it if he is to save his own life. Nigerian politicians have created artificial means of making Nigerians hungry and angry. They then give them small amounts to cheer them up as they are about to die. Nothing but survival instincts work at that point.

I believe that the poor should learn to live in the darkness of difficulties until their eyes see the light of enjoyment. As Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” we should learn to train our souls in stoic ways. The entire moral of ethics is to learn to forget today’s pleasure in order to have a better one tomorrow. Unfortunately, few people are aware of or apply this ethical consideration in their daily lives. Some people are aware, but they do not heed the good advice given to them, similar to how smokers vividly read warnings on cigarette packets but continue to damage their lungs and die young.

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Nigerian democracy is plutocratic. It all comes down to who has the most money to be in government. It wasn’t designed for the poor. That is why I believe all of the philosophical arguments against the Nigerian system are somewhat acceptable. Should I even call it democracy? I believe the biggest proponents of the system among the philosophers never know there would be a system like the one in Naija.

There is another trouble if you have a foresight. Even if you see a danger coming, the majority of voters in distant villages who are unaware of what is going on in the government or are ignorant of better policies will drag you to hell for 1k. I sometimes fear democracy because it is such a perfect system that the majority drags innocent people into danger. Despite its flaws, it is still the best system because it goes along with people. Don’t think I’m thinking in black and white.

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Politicians in Nigeria have recognised the value of exploiting religious, ethnic, and regional sentiments to divide people in order to advance their own interests. In 2023, the clerics and experts you trust will be bought, and they will steer your opinions and voters to wherever the money is going. They’ll tell you it’s in your best interests, but they’re lying. Unfortunately, the majority of you will believe them, and we will go through another cycle of hell again.

Most of the social media influencers and experts you admire do not post for free. Many of them have sold their pens and clicks for money, so take their political advice with a pinch of salt. Interact with them and ask them questions. Allow them to explain why you should vote for their candidate and use critical thinking in your interactions. Some of you have a better sense of logic than they do. They are simply fortunate to have a large number of followers after establishing an echo chamber.

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