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2023: Last chance to save Nigeria

By Luke Onyekakeyah
22 January 2023   |   3:46 am
Looking at the way things are going on in the run up to the 2023 general elections, it is abundantly clear that the 2023 general elections presents Nigeria with what could be the last chance, the last opportunity to save the country.

[FILE] A staff member of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) marks the thumb of a voter at a polling unit in Lagos on February 23, 2019. PHOTO: STEFAN HEUNIS / AFP

Looking at the way things are going on in the run up to the 2023 general elections, it is abundantly clear that the 2023 general elections presents Nigeria with what could be the last chance, the last opportunity to save the country. It is now or never, going by the precarious situation the country is facing. This consciousness should pervade the whole nation.

Unfortunately, the professional politicians who have contributed in making the country a laughing stock, obviously, don’t seem to have learnt any lesson from the failures of the past or the abhorable state of affairs in Nigeria. All the fears and apprehension about a possible collapse of a ruined country do not resonate among the rich ruling class. Can 2023 bring remedy?

There is nothing in the horizon to show that the worst among these people are bothered about Nigeria or interested in redeeming it. The politicians need to be reminded that they have to save this country now or else lose it. Consequently, given the awful state of affairs, the 2023 may be the last chance to save Nigeria from imminent collapse and disintegration.

Otherwise, as it were, we are back to square one. The cat and mouse race has reopened. The witch that cries and children start dying is at it again. It is as if to say the end of Nigeria is at hand, as all the political gladiators appear to be hell bent on capturing the presidency.

All the call for parties to zone the presidency to the South-East for equity, peace and justice is like pouring water on rock. All the talk about electing a credible individual who has what it takes to pull the country out of the quagmire does not seem to make any meaning. All that the powers that be want is to foist a president who would continue with the plunder and despoliation. To those with this mindless disposition, it doesn’t matter what becomes of the country. They are disguised enemies of the country.

Against the backdrop of what leadership entails, I note with sadness that leadership in Nigeria is a mockery. Ours is a concoction, a camouflage and sheer mimicry. Why, for instance, is politics in Nigeria a do-or-die affair? What are the politicians fighting for other than the wealth of the country? Is the abject state of affairs in Nigeria not an affront and indictment on the entire political system?

Looking at the large number of presidential contestants (18 on the whole), I am saddened that there is complete lack of vision or ideological framework upon which true leadership should be based in the country. It is baffling that someone who is dreaming to be Nigeria’s president would come out and whimsically say, “I am the most qualified to be president,” just like that, without anything attached; no thinking, no statement on any of the numerous issues – economic, social, political and otherwise plaguing the country. The way and manner of the campaigns of the old brigade are befuddling. There is simply no seriousness in what is going on. The critical task is to save Nigeria. A host of the contestants are just out to spoil the game for others.

Some of the so-called politicians are hell bent to fighting their real or perceived opponents to submission at all cost. That is where all the energy and resources are expended but not on critical thinking of how to redeem the country. The stronger force wears the weaker down and takes all. We have power mongers that have turned politics into warfare.

Truth is that there are just a handful of politicians who have shown commitment in serving the people. What is called achievement by the ruling class is a mere shadow of what Nigeria should be and what Nigerians should get as citizens of a rich country. We have been treated with half measures by successive administrations. That explains why there is pervasive poverty and social upheavals. We are retrogressing rather than making progress.

The debacle over who becomes president is based purely on greed for some. There is no concrete agenda to turn things around. That is why Nigerians have moved from one bad government to the worse. I would have loved to see politicians fight over ideological issues, over alternative approaches to governance and development. It would have served the people better if contenders to elective posts have alternative ways to bring succour to the suffering masses.

Every four years, jungle politics is reenacted over the same issues that plague the country – bad roads, poor education, poor healthcare, mass unemployment, epileptic power supply, etc. Ironically, rather than contend over how to improve on these issues, the contention is over the wealth of the country. The bone of contention is not over who has a better idea or how to improve the lot of the people but over money.

For instance, the N100 million announced by the ruling All Progressives Party (APC), for the purchase of the presidential nomination form was the dominant issue of discourse. That took the wind off the critical issues of human and economic development.

Why should politicians in the same party, who supposedly share the same ideology, fight each other? In decent societies, parties fight over ideologies. When a politician no longer subscribes to his party’s ideology, he resigns to identify with the party whose ideology he shares. But this rarely happens, as parties are built based on what ideals the members strongly subscribe to. But in Nigeria, politicians migrate from one party to the other in search of green pastures where more money is being shared.

For instance, within the past couple of months, some shameless politicians have started the random movement from one party to another. They have started moving from APC to PDP and vice versa. Even those who betrayed their party somewhere along the line are coming back. You then ask what was it that drove them away in the first place. And what new thing have they seen in the party that is attractive? There is nothing of such.

The task ahead is enormous. The 2023 presidential election would serve as a watershed in the checkered history of Nigeria. The mass discontent across the country demands a change of approach. With discontent in the east, west, north and south, politicians cannot afford to play the same old games that brought the country to this sordid state. The frightening situation should spur every politician to show patriotism if they really love this country. The country needs a president who is genuinely committed to turning the country around.