From Tony Osauzo, Benin
AS the campaigns for the September 10 election kick off, there are indications that the language employed in conveying messages, would be foul and intemperate.
This situation is likely to emanate from the camps of the two main parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), going by comments made by some speakers at the flag off campaign of the PDP last Monday and the reaction from General Charles Airhiavbere (rtd.), a chieftain of the APC to those comments .
Analysts argue that abusive and derogatory campaign language is not what Edo people are expecting from the various candidates in the election, rather, the people are looking forward to hearing how those seeking their votes intend, in practical terms to improve their condition of living.
Many believe that the electorate want to hear how the poor can send their children to school in a society where education has become a commodity for only the few rich; how the army of the unemployed would get jobs, how the people can have three meals a day and how their health needs can be met among others.
The governorship election, in the estimation of many, should not be regarded as war but a contest in which only one man can become governor at a time, at the mercy of the electorate. Critical observers are in agreement that the language of campaign required is persuasive, which is the ability of candidates to convince even those who do not like them, to vote for them and their party.
Many contend that gone are the days when candidates and their political parties hide under ethnic, religious and other primordial sentiments to stir up divisions among the people and use that to climb the ladder of leadership, leaving the people to fight themselves on issues they hardly understand or know anything about.
Expectedly, the Edo people demand issue-based campaigns, where matters affecting their lives should be the focal point and not how Mr A is a thief and Mr B is an angel.
The electorate simply want a change from the old order in line with what obtains in the civilised world.
The consensus among critical observers is that political rallies and campaigns are not ends in themselves but means to an end which means to win an election and form a government which at the end is expected to govern all the people of a state irrespective of political affiliation.
Many agree that electoral contest should be seen as a brotherly contest, where both the winner and the loser should embrace each other and work for the progress of their people.
But this is hardly so in our clime because many of those who seek public office do so for their selfish interests, hence, the do or die attitude and offensive language they employ while running for such positions.
The argument is that those who seek office solely for the purpose of service and the public good, will have no business employing tactics that will offend the people’s sensibilities characteristic of the nation’s political space and campaign rallies.
In many quarters, the thinking is that the Nigerian electorate, be they in Edo State or elsewhere, are daily getting sophisticated and know more than what the politicians and public office seekers ascribe to them. What it means is that they are now able to discern between who are campaigning for the sake of occupying office for their selfish interest and those who mean well for them.
It is in the light of the need for decorum that many advocate that the campaigns for the election should be based on issues and not insults on opponents.
It is not contestable that it is only when political parties focus on issues that the people will be properly educated and informed and on the basis of that, make informed choice of a governor that will take Edo State to the next level.