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2023: Why Nigeria should not miss Osinbajo

By  Magnus Unuakpor
16 May 2022   |   2:56 am
Today many Nigerians, especially our youths, are unhappy with the character and nature of our political leaders. They have expressed their frustration at the increasing unemployment


Today many Nigerians, especially our youths, are unhappy with the character and nature of our political leaders. They have expressed their frustration at the increasing unemployment, rising inflation and pervasive poverty.

They have come to the realization that politicians in the various political parties are not governed by high ideals, noble considerations and the public good. If anything, it is self-evident that many politicians are instead propelled by personal considerations, greed and selfish interests. One cannot but agree with the Oba of Benin, Ewuare 11, who recently declared concerning the behaviour of many politicians that “we have leaders who get to the office and enrich themselves and forget the electorate whereas, without the electorate, nobody can occupy any political office, especially elected office”.

This reality makes the forthcoming 2023 elections crucial, especially for the office of the president. There are close to 40 persons in all parties that have declared their interest to be Nigeria’s next president. As expected some are pretenders who just want to be “those who also ran”, while others are serious contenders. 

Among the aspirants is a certain 102-year- old Madam Nonye Josephine Ezeanyaeche, also known as ‘living legend’ or “Mama Africa.’ She is the founder of the ‘Voice for Senior Citizens of Nigeria’. I do not know her party yet.

The APC has no less than 17 as of last count. These include Yemi Osinbajo, Ken Nnamani, Tunde Bakare, Bola Tinubu, Kayode Fayemi, Emeka Nwajiuba, Chris Ngige, Rochas Okorocha, Dave Umahi, Rotimi Amaechi, Adams Oshiomhole, Godswill Akpabio, Yahaya Bello, Godwin Emefiele and Abubakar Badaru.

The PDP has no fewer than 17 aspirants. These include Atiku Abubakar, Bukola Saraki, Pius Anyim, Peter Obi, Bala Mohammed, Aminu Tambuwal, Nyesom Wike, Dele Momodu, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, Sam Ohabunwa, Udom Emmanuel, a female presidential aspirant, Olivia Tariela, Ayo Fayose, Charles Okwudili, Chikwendu Kalu and Cosmos Ndukwe. The African Democratic Congress has 2 aspirants. APGA, SDP, and the PRP also have aspirants. 

For party delegates in presidential party primaries who must make a choice from this lot, especially from the two main political parties (as they are the ones with clear structures to win the presidency), making a choice does present a challenge.

However, it is quite simple to make a good choice if party delegates who vote in party primaries and voters in the main elections are guided by a desire for Nigeria to be governed by a president who holds higher and steadier considerations than those of personal sympathy and private regard, especially with the awareness that youth nationwide are fed up with corrupt politicians whose god is greed and selfish aggrandizement to the detriment of the people. 

A cursory look at these aspirants points to one reality – most of them are driven by mere inordinate ambition for power for personal reasons. Quite a number of them have demonstrated inclinations to selfish aggrandizement, vain arrogance, hedonism, malignant narcissism, corruption and other negative tendencies in times past. The jury is out if we are, to be honest with ourselves. We can no longer pretend not to know them.

Most of them rapaciously raped local governments in their various states such that local governance lies prostrate nationwide. There is no local democracy and our local communities are havens of desperate poverty while these former and present governors who are clearly now overnight billionaires have millions if not billions to throw around seeking presidential crowns. 

Many of the characters prancing around seeking the presidential ticket now have not actually been sound politicians driven by the need to seek the common good.

So there is an urgent need to identify a man who in view of our present-day realities stands a chance to move the nation forward in the right direction. Some of the aspirants don’t have the necessary experience and networks required to achieve needed radical national transformation. 

It was Martin Van Buren, (1819) who said, “A man to be a sound politician and in any degree useful to his country must be governed by higher and steadier considerations than those of personal sympathy and private regard”. Putting Party or ethnocentrism considerations aside, this characteristic best describes the person of vice president Yemi Osibanjo.

He has humbly been giving his best in dedicated service over the years and Nigeria’s progress and development is his utmost motivation to run for the office of the president. 

The challenges we face as a country today are beyond partisan, regional or ethnic boundaries. The best prepared and most experienced hand with the right heart must be on deck come 2023. I clearly see that an Osinbajo presidency at this point in Nigeria portends a future of progress and development. I do believe that with Osinbajo, we can lay hold on to a better future! Unfortunately, there is no time, because the future is already here – the 21st century and its possibilities and demands are already living with us, with nations moving at the speed of innovation and creative governance; every citizen should ensure that the future of Nigeria is not worse than today. From his actions and speeches, Osibanjo is well prepared for the job of securing the nation and leading us into prosperity. Nigeria needs a capable leader who fears God; a man of truth who hates covetousness. We need a leader who will not pervert justice, show partiality and take bribes. We need a leader who will fight corruption with doggedness. Our next President should ensure that reforms and innovations that discourage and prevent corrupt practices are initiated and implemented. 

A lot has been written about Osinbajo’s brief tenure as Acting President in June 2016, January 2017, May 2017, and August 2018 when President Buhari was on medical leave. In this brief moment when he exercised full executive powers; Osinbajo took many decisive steps to enhance the quality of governance without appearing disloyal to his boss. 

Many Nigerians have seen a great and firm leader in Osinbajo. Osinbajo will manage our diversity with full attention to detail, continue to fight corruption and strengthen the war against crime, banditry, kidnapping and terrorism.

On his recent visit to Edo State, the VP said: “my purpose is to serve this country. When it comes to serving this country, it is the desire of my heart.” This is heartwarming. Osinbajo is the leader we must not miss in 2023!

Unuakpor, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Lokoja.