By Chris Gyang
Numbers and figures play key and indispensable roles in the lives of mankind. That’s why Mathematics is one of the first subjects taught to kids in kindergarten.
Sometimes, you wonder how the world would have progressed without numbers, even though some of us who have not been able to grasp the secrets of Mathematics once wished that it should be done away with in school.
But, of course, without Maths, we would still be thinking that the moon revolves around the earth, the computer would not have been invented and man wouldn’t be planning to set foot on Mars today.
But once in a while, humanity inevitably gets caught up and becomes so obsessed with certain numbers that they appear to dominate their daily lives, even give us sleepless nights – consciously and unconsciously.
The current cliff hanger scenario presented by the US presidential election has presented humanity with such a unique dilemma. Whether we like it or not, the number 270 is disturbing governments, multinational corporations, stocks markets and ordinary citizens all over the world as President Trump and Joe Biden struggle to attain that mark in order to gain access to the most powerful political position on earth.
At the centre of this unfolding drama is the international media which has deployed record resources, analysts and sleepless nights to bring to the world details of this unfolding drama of figures: Which of the two would ultimately reach the 270 figure?
Small as it ordinarily appears, the number 270 is holding the whole world in suspense, on tenterhooks. This seemingly innocuous number is going to shape the destinies and lives of billions of people all over the world.
As I write, Biden has 253 electoral votes while President Trump is trailing behind with 213.
For me, this ‘war’ for the attainment of 270 electoral votes chiefly signifies two facts:
Numbers are indispensable to our lives as human beings, not less so in political calculations. The intrinsic and practical beauty of liberal democracy.
That the most powerful leader on earth – who has the most lethal nuclear weapons and resources at his beck and call would be fighting the political battle of his life with an opponent who doesn’t have such immense resources at his disposal should teach us that at the centre of democracy are the ordinary citizens.
The much sought after 270 electoral votes are in the hands of ordinary American citizens. What irony!
Whichever way the vote ultimately swings, these are the eternal lessons I’ll take away from the battle for 270.
I hope Nigerian politicians and voters realise this as we head to the 2023 general elections.
My random and humble thoughts about the number 270. (firstname.lastname@example.org)