Just this time in about two years, the Nigerian voting populace – the biggest in Africa, would have concluded the 2023 general elections – ceteris paribus. The new numero uno citizen who would already be preparing to pilot the country’s affairs for a period of four years should, in all honesty, be aware that he/she is taking up one of the most daunting jobs in the history of modern mankind. So daunting a job that his sanity, if not periodically checked, may be rendered eternally incapacitated. My assertion is right because Nigeria’s reality is a sad one; a total departure from what is a norm. Nigeria is an abnormal geographical setting!
In spite of being aware of the hurdles accompanying the highly revered office, aspirants as usual, are exhibiting nonchalance. It must thus be emphasized that desperate situations like that of Nigeria require desperate attempts for solution. The personae of our next president must be a full embodiment of nationalism. Nigeria is collapsing on all fronts. With hope being dashed on daily basis, unease should lie the head that wants to wear the crown. Unfortunately, individuals who have started showing interest are the old faces we are used to. They are former administrators of Nigeria’s public treasury. Either good or bad memories that were left of them, they are coming back for a second leg.
The brand of democracy practised by Nigerian politics players is one that allows the ruling party to begin to strategize for the likely successor of the incumbent as soon as they are re-elected. Immediately after Buhari’s re-election in 2019, the ruling party, APC started its internal politicking by cutting the wings of some powerful interest groups within it. Oshiomhole, a political ally of Asiwaju Tinubu was the first to be humbled. It was a reaction to the insinuations that the ex-governor of Lagos was gunning to replace Buhari in 2023. Similar political machinations were employed to silence those who were perceived not to belong to a bloc or another. But unfortunately, for a party whose platform the incumbent president fails for protect the lives and property of the Nigerian people to be seen in such exhibition shows Nigerians are still far-cry from the much – needed national redemption.
To reiterate, aspirants will signify interest and as usual, Nigerians will be not shocked. Players from different industries would want to use the opportunity to test their popularity. Banks’ CEOs and directors would pick nomination forms and same would be done by technology and oil magnates. Close relatives as well as political sons and daughters of erstwhile politicians would also attempt using the names of their benefactors to their advantage.
One unforgettable lesson Nigerians seemed to have learnt about an aspirant’s contesting for the post of the President is the age of whoever is vying. The complexities of every nation’s problems differ from one another. The youthfulness of Emmanuel Macron, the French president should not be the same criterion for selecting the leader of over 200 million (more than three-quarter of them are illiterate and ignorant) people. A country of over 250 distinct ethnic nationalities (where each region agitates for one interest or another) must never make the mistake of having an old man take the lead. A person’s will and intention is one thing, his might is another. Nigeria’s 2023 president must be young, healthy and cosmopolitan.
Every regime that has been witnessed in Nigeria since the beginning of the 3rd republic made some individuals more influential than the others – both explicitly and impliedly. This very minute group of individuals is casually known as cabal or cabals, and they are not peculiar to Nigerian political environment. They are the closest ministers or aides to any head of state. While they can influence any administration positively because a leader tends to trust their judgment/opinion on public issues and act on them, they can as well be the clog in the wheels of progress of that country. Nigeria is not an exception. The cabals we deal with are both ‘’the seen and unseen’’ ones. The 2023 Nigerian president must be ready to either whittle down their influence or do away with them and their gimmicks. This is at a great cost, though.
If there is anything whoever takes up the mantle of leadership in 2023 should have to come to terms with, it surely should not be Nigerians’ docility in reacting to public issues which they have hitherto, been taken for granted. Social media which should naturally be a good government tool in connecting to the people seems to have been hijacked to work against the government. The #EndSARS protest last October removed some veils from the people and exposed them to so many areas which the Nigerian government have failed tests of sincerity and responsibility. It confirmed the fact that the citizenry have the capacity to effect desired change whenever they so desire. Kidnapping, arson and banditry that are enveloping the nooks and crannies of the country are offshoots of the well-organised protests in 2020. The protesters succeeded because government failed to be proactive and were slow in their conflict resolutions.
The spirit of nationalism across every part of the country has so declined that it will take someone who is nationalistic in words and deeds to keep the retrogression in check. He must be ready to show the Nzeribes in Anambra that his votes are as important as those of the Yakubus who live in Sokoto. He must let the Ades who hail from Ekiti know that whatever happens to the image of Nigeria through his behaviors and actions, he will first be adjudged as a Nigerian before Yoruba.