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Buhari & Atiku.

There's is a message-filled saying in Yoruba, my beautiful and rich language. It espouses thus: "The real thief isn't the individual, who physically stole from a place, but the one who took for safe-keeping, the stolen goods from the thief."

In less than 24 hours to the end of campaigns for the presidential and national assembly elections this Saturday, there is a last minute effort to push the monotonous narrative that a vote for the PDP and its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is a vote for a category of people, who have come together to plunder our common patrimony.

As instructive as that may sound, I began to probe the altruism in this rather ugly position. At what point did those on this side realise that those on the other side are a group of looters, who have been on the horizon for a long time, looting and raping Nigeria? 

Didn't they congregate in 2015, collectively raise money to bring in this government? At that point, they weren't thieves, because they were useful and indeed, delivered the saintly government of Mr. Muhammadu Buhari. 

Oh, lest I forget, APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, said recently that the only thing anyone needs to do to change that name-tag is to join the APC. But once you leave their party, you revert to status quo. So, who are the real thieves? The ones who go to steal or the ones, who welcome them with their stolen items, keep the spoils for them and declare them saints with alacrity? 

In other words, looter is a name-tag that changes with time and political affiliation, not necessarily one that is true to whatever accusation that is being levied against the so-called. Therefore, how are we supposed to assess people on the basis of a mercurial status, orchestrated only for political convenience or electioneering?

Gaslighting is hardly an effective tool of propaganda except in the community of fools. This election is not a debate between the devil and an angel, because everyone currently strutting the tough is a devil, a looter and a thief. What differs is their propensity for mischief and harm to one another, which informs the saying that even amongst thieves, there is honour. Some are honourable and true to type.  

It must be said, however, that this election is about capacity and the lack of it; it is about the ability to provide leadership and the inability to muster the requisite leadership skills to drive governance and its compplications; this election is about understanding what the issues are and able to sell them; this election is about the safety, unity and development of Nigeria and above all, this election is about sincere leaders and not pretenders, who are able to show empathy. 

In your last minute mobilisation drive, you can go on and gaslight your victims, there are several millions out there who would not be caught in this tawdry deceit. Integrity has changed nothing in four years but created a new set of looters. Integrity has done nothing in the last few years but entrenched nepotism. Integerity has achieved nothing but elevated mediocrity as well as fired up dishonesty, covered up in the robe of patriotism. 

Whilst the roles of a few individuals, who have distinguished themselves in this government, both in the delivery of their assignments and personal carriage cannot be downplayed, the question about their percentage and impact cannot equally be jettisoned. What you therefore make do with is the aggregate of good and bad. 

Sadly, what we have seen more in the last four years have been the examples of power and not the power of example. This is one distinguishing factor that would raise its shoulder and assert its place in the election of Saturday, which is clearly a straight fight between Buhari and Atiku. 

Much as the world seeks for Nigeria a more deserving leadership, it does really matter who wins the Saturday election. But what matters even more is that the voting public can see through the lies and deception on either sides and above all, that at the end of the day, the process is desirable in the estimation of every right-thinking person. 

Olawale Olaleye writes for ThisDay Newspapers.

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