Nigeria vs Nigerians: Dramas for the next 90 days
What comes next now that the much anticipated 2023 election has passed and Nigeria has been experiencing some significant shift since then. A number of events that are currently in the works and others that Nigerians are still eagerly anticipating could have a positive or negative impact on us depending on whether they materialize or not. Often, we use the phrase “Pressure ti wa o,” which translates to “there is now pressure,” to describe the stressed atmosphere that exists in Nigeria.
The first drama Nigerians are waiting to watch is that of the inauguration of the next Nigerian president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria even though Bola Tinubu of the All Progressive Congress leads at the election. It is a no brainer that either Obi or Tinubu will win the case at the election tribunal. We all wait to see what the judges make of Obi’s case and the data purportedly obtained from the INEC server. Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party has previously declared that he is challenging the election process and not the outcome. While it is visible to the blind and audible to the deaf that a faulty process will build a faulty/questionable outcome, others still feels positive of the court giving a favourable judgment in favour of Peter Obi.
Also, series of protest has since been staged by political parties and organizations challenging the 2023 election results. Amongst such protest is the PDP protest at Abuja led by Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party. This is one election petition that will keep Nigerians glued to their seats as the drama unfolds. It will be a long drama because whoever loses at the tribunal is surely going on appeal and this case will definitely go to the Supreme Court where we wait anxiously to see who will lead the Supreme Court, which 7 justices will hear the matter and how the justices will rule.
Number 2 is the appointment of Ministers or failure to appoint Ministers soon after the swearing in of a new President or appointing Ministers that fail to instil public confidence. History has shown that delays in announcing a cabinet or the announcement of a lack lustre cabinet has dire consequences for the Nigerian investment climate and economy. So, we all wait to see when Ministers will be appointed by whoever is sworn in as President and the quality of people eventually selected for the A list positions.
Number 3 is the issues and factors that will produce the next Senate President. With election into the 109 seats in the Senate almost over, jostling for the Senate presidency and other principal offices has started. The Senator Ahmad Lawan-led 9th Senate will cease to exist on June 10 and the 10th Senate will be inaugurated on June 11, 2023 and Nigerians anticipate to see when the Senate President will be sworn in and the quality of people eventually selected for the position.
As gathered, the APC does not want a repeat of 2015 when the outgoing President of the Senate was the favoured candidate of the APC for the position of Senate President, and with a majority in the Senate, he was expected to carry the day, but with smartness and battle of wits that played out, he did not get it. On June 8 2015, the day the formal election for Senate President was to be held, while majority of APC senators, about 50, were waiting for President Muhammadu Buhari who had invited them to a meeting with him at the International Conference Centre, Senator Bukola Saraki and other Senators of the APC moved into the National Assembly complex, At the end of the day, 57 Senators loyal to Saraki, most of them PDP members, unanimously elected him after he was nominated by Senators Dino Melaye and Sani Yerima.
The lack of currency and the deactivation of the cashless policy, which have wreaked havoc on the economy of the country, are the fourth concern. It’s no longer news that Nigerians faced hardship prior to the 2023 general election due to a lack of new naira notes available in the nation after the Central Bank of Nigeria announced that the current currency —200, 500 and 1000 Naira notes would no longer be considered legal tender, even though the Supreme Court of Nigeria later ruled that the current currency should continue to be accepted until December 31, 2023. Despite these developments, both the new and the old naira notes have been rather hard to come by, making life for the Nigerian people more difficult. Nigerians await a better and conclusive intervention on this even as a new president is inaugurated for the nation.
Nigerians are keeping an eye and ear out for how these and other events may unfold over the next 90 days or longer. We need to cross our fingers that politicians won’t keep using our commonwealth as a pawn in their political games because there is so much at risk for all of us
Olomu is a law student at the Lagos State University.