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Nigeria’s fiery politics and 2023 election rambling

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[FILES] An electoral official looks at documents at the state headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)


Many elements concerning Nigeria’s future politics remain uncertain especially after President Muhammadu Buhari won his second term ticket in 2019 elections. The mussing from several quarters as to who succeeds President Buhari in 2023 elections is impossible to predict much as it is difficult to ignore. President Buhari recently joined the conversation about his successor by saying in a report credited to him that, he would stop desperate politicians from using his name to force themselves on Nigerians. His words, ”What I want to promise Nigerians is that I will work very hard on free and fair elections…all those that are going to succeed in National Assembly and the presidency, they better work hard because I will make sure, using the law enforcement agencies, that elections are free and fair…” The truth, they say will always prevail. Perhaps Buhari is indirectly telling Nigerians that some of those in the National Assembly got elected through rigging and he is bent to stop that reproach.

However, not minding that the election is still miles away most politicians are already doing the ‘dirty job’ by playing the role of a political hawk ahead of time. It is indeed disturbing just as it seems a bit odd to start agitating who or where the presidency should go come 2023 even when President Buhari’s second term has just barely started and politicians have begun political calculations for 2023 and unleash a political war of words. The implications of all this will result in a crushing division among Nigerians along ethnic, religious and tribal interpretation of democracy more than ever before.

This is because the old class divisions among politicians and by extension the people had already started to play out from comments and counter comment from every divide across the country. From what is playing out currently, if 2019 elections was a stiff contest between political parties, 2023 will be an intensifying regional competition for who will occupy Aso Rock Villa. Across the country patience seems to be waning as calls for attention and relevance among politicians are escalating as they make more direct remarks about what region should produce the president come 2023.

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The other day, Yerima Shettima, leader of Arewa youth consultative forum in an interview made a political calculation and posited that “…if Buhari finishes his second term and you add the one year of Yar’Adua you see that the North will have nine years, the South had fifteen years uninterrupted…” With such finger tip calculation, a political lame person will know that even if the 2023 presidency question is solved by a relatively gentleman agreement, the political mistrust will continue to cause rancour in the polity. However, Shettima is not done yet, while buttressing another point he revealed a mistrust being harboured in the political orbit of the North about the Southeast region. “…you cannot be threatening you want to break up the country while you expect us to give you power again, it is not possible. The Southeast must be serious, consult and lobby not by threatening others with Biafra.

The truth is that Southeast is not yet ready for the 2023 presidency, when they do, we will know. They should control Kanu because he is spoiling things for the Southeast…”. However, elder statesman Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu warned that the Northern agenda to continue to occupy the presidency by 2023 will create instability in the country. While speaking to a question, he said, “My feeling is that they know the truth…the presidency has stayed eight years in the north and by mutual agreement and by the consensus as agreed by politicians it will now come to the South…the Southwest has produced, South-South has produced and it is only the Southeast that has not produced. So by every law of justice and equity it should be that of the South East…”

There is no doubt that Nigeria’s politics is built around mistrust, hate and violence. This is because politicians across the geo-political divide in the country seems blindly disinclined to seek a middle ground and unite in order to build a formidable nation that all will cherish and enjoy. According to Stanley Izuogu, a political scientist in an interview, posited that “…why can’t they support the Igbo now? This is how to build a stable and peaceful country, you must be fair to all parts of the country. If you are not fair, then it means you have hidden agenda…if anybody wants Nigeria to be at peace, they should give the presidency to the Igbo”. Indeed, the best way to achieve peace, unity and development in the country is to be fair and just to all irrespective of tribe and tongue. Politicians and political leaders must have a clear picture about where they are driving the country to both politically and economically.

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There is need to open not only the political window but also loosen the economic barriers and allow opportunities in ways either big or small to enable the youth find a stepping stone to move up and be self sustained in whatever they chose to do. Many young Nigerians often think they were born into a tragedy called Nigeria because government past or present had no window of opportunities opened for them. Political leaders should understand that bringing more young people into the economic sector and into the political arena by opening opportunities and giving them the chance to help themselves to live a better life.

Nigeria is known to be so blessed with natural resources and fertile land. But the scale of the nation’s wealth below ground is matched only by the misery above it because the country is also “blessed” with abundant poor leadership who cannot think outside the box. Leaders, whose corruption and patronage politics hold back the nation’s infrastructural development and economic progress. The non oil private sector of the economy especially agriculture which was the economic power in the 1960’s has been jettisoned by not only the discovery of oil but by absurd political ideological policies from leaders.

The task facing politicians is intimidating this is because the greatest challenge facing Nigeria today is that of leadership. How many political leaders can put on a corrupt free jacket and thumb his or her chest and crow “I am not corrupt”? Nigeria needs a leader that the people can identify with and one that can inspire them to greater heights. It is indeed tough for Nigerians to understand how a political revolution of change that promised to end impunity, poverty and strengthen the economy has engaged itself in the opposite and driven citizens to a state of confusion.

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