Help my Nerves…. It’s Election Period, again!By Tobi Idowu 

Noise, noise, and noise everywhere; no sounds picked. Or if you may, words, words, here, there, all around, no meanings grasped. Arhg, it is that time of the year when we’re suddenly caught in the slippery swamp of noisome cacophony that’s been normalized as election period. And believe me, it has always managed to catch us unaware, the ear-ripping and nerve-wrecking dins, even while we would expect it!  Yes, election period needs to stare us in the face. Electorate must feel, at least, once again, even while it’s all lie, special kingmakers in the affairs of the University of Ibadan Students’ Union – the failing narcissistic mother of all other Students’ Unions. This noise! But what’s all this madness without method!

This is my fourth dose of the UISU election drama. Like many in my category and, of course, some whose academic programmes must have injected more doses, I could be excused for being cynical. I’ve lost all those starry-eyed naivety since. I tell you what: freshmen, the fun starts and ends with the campaign period. You’ll be surprised at how clueless that brainy wordsmith that will dazzle and waltz your fancy will turn out after his mojo has stupefied you to catapult him into office. Take heed. Watch out. Aspirants, most of them, are actors than the thespians, they master the scripts so well – meanwhile, be sure most of the grandly beautiful manifestoes never had any contacts or connections in their brains, yes some brilliant chaps wrote them – so don’t be shocked, although you’ll be a little surprised at how fast the aspirants become so different from what his manifestoes profess once you elect him. Be sure, like the actor he is, he must act some other scripts written for the purpose of the office. So are our aspirants not different from Fela’s zombie? Decide that yourself from May.

I’ve veered off my thesis. Yes. My intention was and still is to address the needless pollution, offline and online, the lift-the-lid of election activities by UISU umpires has created. But you see irrational situation begs irrational approach. But, still, less of digression.

It should grate on any sensible person’s skin how our mobile phones have suddenly become a bin for depositing numerous worthless broadcast messages. No substance, no message. And few of the needless BC’s that come with some form of sense are spoilt by the hyper-frequency with which they are repeatedly posted on the various social media platforms one unfortunately finds oneself. Of course, aspirants must establish some form of presence in every space, even in our psychological spaces. But when this presence is all junk, no juice, it becomes sickening. Some BC’s are even made worse by the abundance of errors that make up the population of their letterings. Imagine that?

And one must now be grateful for the ingenuity of the measures drawn by the electoral umpires to prevent irrational sticking of campaign posters and the like this year. What a relieve! What could have played out, as it were in the past, would have shocked someone visiting from a sane community. I need not say much on how there will have been a crazy race to outdo one another by the stooges and mannequin-like supporters of the aspirants in raining of posters et al on every free and already occupied space. But you may never know, maybe the posters and other campaign paraphernalia are on their way.

What are surely in the offing and will soon sweep us all of our feet are the ping-ponging fights, mutual slurring and all sort of uneducated bickering on the University of Ibadan campus by its students because of election. Not cool, you see. And it must be disallowed from the contest this year. This kind of uncalled-for distraction sells us less as the premier aluta. 

There are better ways to channel those intoxicating competing spirits; something like brain-swelling debates and manifestoes that will have ripple effects that will affect the election. Not the charade of the past, please. Then the decibels of sound that UISU election generates will have consonance with everyone’s body system. 

Applying some level of rational methods to how campaigns are run, the messages that these campaigns will have and, more importantly respecting the intelligence of the consumers of these campaign messages will not only go a long way in radicalizing people’s perceptions about the annual Students’ Union election, but will also make people warm towards the affairs of the Union. Consequently more students’ participations will open up many credible frontiers and pools useful for the premier Union.

     

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