Paradigm shift in 2023 presidential poll
The defeat of Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) at the recent presidential primary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to fly the flag as its standard bearer left many Nigerians across all strata devastated. The reason being that the Vice President has distinctively, spontaneously won the hearts of many people both in and outside his party, APC through responsiveness in the course of duty particularly in critical times. Legitimacy is a vital tool in leadership. Undeniably, during President Muhammadu Buhari’s foreign medical trips, Osinbajo, then as acting president satisfactorily took charge, delivered, and proved his worth.
After the 2015 general elections that many registered voters were handicapped, disenfranchised by the default registration, and couldn’t make it to their polling units mostly due to change of location, through a piece titled ‘INEC, Voters’ Card and Fundamental Rights (The Nation of 13th January, 2017; Nigerian Tribune of 14th January, 2017, and other newspapers), I pushed for INEC to consider periodic review of polling center prior to general elections to enable people that changed locality do update.
Responsibly, the umpire measured, credited the detailed ideas and by implementing it ahead of the 2023 poll, those disenfranchised in the previous elections due to relocation will vote this time owing to the ‘polling units transfer’ in force. The agency should continue to sustain the momentum. With the Electoral Act, 2022, the game has changed and those still trusting on electoral malpractices like before may wait forever.
Other contenders for the presidential seat are Atiku Abubakar – PDP; Peter Obi – Labour Party; Rabiu Kwakwanso – NNPP, and others. So far, only the standard bearer of the Labour Party, Obi has articulated how his prospective administration will tackle the present-day crises facing the country. His economic blueprint itemizes how to improve every region in the country from the northern region that has large expanse of fallow land, to the South particularly Lagos to become a livable megacity and down to other southern states. Of course, electorate need to know what to expect. Diverting attention can’t substitute it.
Thus, those yet to show clearly what to expect on the table which is the singular reason for the contest should do the needful. Leadership underscores value; capacity to provide succor to the people than glamour. Maybe, some still believe that it is business as usual.
Considering the prevalent crises in the country presently, there’s a need for a paradigm shift. The situation in the country demands a leader with proven capacity and knowhow in solving the teething challenges. Without a doubt, all the candidates are qualified by the enabling laws having attained the requisite age and minimum academic level. However, expediency is very important. Like in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 6:12 says ….’All things are lawful unto me but all things are not expedient for me’.
Relatively, all the candidates are legally qualified, but, considering the state of the nation, certainly, not all are fit. Thus, the 2023 poll is peculiar. It is a battle between public interest and personal interest. The nation needs a leader with capacity for radical innovations for economic growth. Those invoking ethnic sentiments seemingly forget that even Katsina State, home state of the incumbent, is not spared in the crises ravaging the country.
Suffice to say that this critical time is perilous to promote mediocrity at the expense of merit as no ethnic region in the country is spared from the prevalent socioeconomic crises. Electorate must use their power; permanent voters card (PVCs) judiciously against ineptocracy.
The nation must say ‘NO’ to visionless leadership. What should matter presently is the capacity to move the nation out of quandary and decay.
Indeed, Nigeria is collapsing speedily and demands a state of emergency through innovative leadership. These days, both the rich, poor, even pregnant women and infants are unsafe. Ditto to monarchs, clerics, security personnel. If it is not herdsmen-community’s clashes claiming lives, it will be abduction for ransom or killing for hostility, money-rituals or religious extremism. Same for highways and railways, the only affordable means for the majority. Staying at home is not safe, at worship centres and schools – the same. All these vices result from cumulative quack leadership over the years.
• Umegboro, ACIArb, a public affairs analyst and social advocate writes via email@example.com.