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#Project-2023: Who can stop Atiku or Tinubu?

By Martins Oloja
10 April 2022   |   3:59 am
I love reading the ancient words of wisdom, which you can find bountifully in Ecclesiastes that will tell you the meaning of ‘vanity’ and some things we hold valuable but which in the end will lead to ‘vexation of spirit’.

I love reading the ancient words of wisdom, which you can find bountifully in Ecclesiastes that will tell you the meaning of ‘vanity’ and some things we hold valuable but which in the end will lead to ‘vexation of spirit’. The book tells you that, ‘in much wisdom is much grief’ and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow’ and all these lead to ‘vexation of spirit’, after all. This is what journalism is all about in Africa’s most populous nation Nigeria. The more you seek knowledge of what is happening, the more vexatious you become. I mean this has become a place where knowledge doesn’t confer any power or even advantage.

Where are we? Government through security and intelligence agencies are agonising while the terrorists are organising. Nigeria’s commander-in-chief isn’t chiefly commanding anymore while the enemies of state are daily taking captives and they are organising seamless receipt of their ransom even through the banks. Our banks aren’t agonising, they are organising remarkable bottom lines and the investors are smiling to the banks even with blood money from stolen crude sales and ransom. The Central Bank of Africa’s most significant country is in a hibernation mode as its head is being drafted into partisan politics, after all the electoral act doesn’t specifically provide for his resignation before people can campaign for him. Nigeria’s monetary policy can be suspended before the ruling party’s presidential election primary.

Nigeria’s police force isn’t complaining: it has been unofficially privatised, sorry commercialised. The commander-in-chief doesn’t need them for internal security, anymore. The soldiers who got N571 billion in 2022 budget for instance have been drafted to replace them to handle internal security. Only the insecure people are agonising. Police officers don’t need any subvention from the unorganised Abuja people. Our friends, the police have the people to exploit too on the numerous highways across the country. We are Nigeria: we have the vulnerable people, sorry the number to mobilise revenue for the underfunded force!

In a swashbuckling manner, the criminal gang we call terrorists are getting tired of smiling to the banks. They know the so-called powerful men in Abuja are only in office but not in power. The bloody scoundrels can strike in Niger state, the nearest boundary to Abuja without consequences. They can’t be afraid of the two former heads of state in Minna, the capital of the state. They can strike a train coach that takes off from the nation’s capital to the capital of the political North, Kaduna without caring a hoot about what can happen to them. The terrorists are confident that nothing will happen to them. They are well aware that the people who ask them to raid the farmland are the same people who would alert the farm owners. They know the country’s duty bearers who have sworn to provide security and welfare to the people have since dozed off. They know there are only politicians (who think about next elections) in the nation’s and most of the 36 state capitals and so there are no leaders (who should think about the next generation). The insurgents are now agonising and sending messages through their released captives that their problem now isn’t how to get money but how to spend what they have gathered. They are now saying they have had a covenant with the federal government they want to keep faith with the covenant, lest they waste the unlawful captives in their custody. The nation is bleeding under the crushing weight of energy crisis nurtured by hyperinflation. Despite the state of anomie, those who have responsibility for fiscal discipline are agonising over oil theft in the Niger Delta. A bank chief of Niger delta extraction who has just plunged into the uncharted deep-sea oil field is biting his fingers that he didn’t know the slow water on the oil field he bought from a departing oil firm doesn’t actually run deep in that upstream conundrum. The man who seeks to take young African entrepreneurs to glorious new heights is just putting up a fine face to cover up his agony. He has reported to the powerless powers in Abuja who told him to collaborate with the maritime security powers on strategy to deal with the powerful oil thieves that even the taciturn Pastor Enoch Adeboye is complaining about.

Who isn’t complaining now? Who is not blaming somebody? Even the chief executive and commander-in-chief of the federation is agonising over insecurity and inexplicable inflation. His deputy is sending signals to the people, don’t worry, I will join the fray ‘in a matter of days’ to rescue the sinking ship of our current authorities. The other week, Yahaya Bello, the only man who conquered the ‘Merchants of Covid-19’ threw his north-central political hat into the ring to raise Hope (for) 2023. It is a serious matter as some of M.K.O Abiola’s children are still at war over one of their own’s artistry in comparing their iconic father with Bello’s who has already declared that he would do what our Napoleon, PMB could not do to security. Rotimi Amaechi has come out of his shell to declare for president yesterday. He has moved on from the curious attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train tragedy over which he claimed the executive council of the federation failed the nation as the Council didn’t approve his N3 billion worth of contingency security contract that would have saved the nation of the disaster in Kaduna. We are waiting for him to declare that if he is elected into office in 2023, there will be no terrorist born of woman that can get near our train stations. Yes, he is the author and finisher of our railway stations that can’t be secured for now. The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike is complaining about even his party but he has declared his intention to take over from the man who made so many promises through Chatham House seven years ago – that corruption would be wiped out in a matter of days in his government even as he then promised to do away with unwieldy presidential fleet. Peter Obi too is on the march again, vaunting that he would not be a running mate to anyone again. We hear two former governors and followers of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Babatunde Raji Fashola and Akinwumi Ambode, and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi are poised to challenge Asiwaju Tinubu too. Expectedly, the longest serving presidential aspirant here, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki are warming up to fly the presidential flag of the opposition party, the PDP. It is clear too that Professor Kingsley Moghalu is ready to fly the flag of a party that is yet to be manifested. And here is another big fish, the President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina who is said to be waiting in the wing too. It is understood that a section of the political class is waiting to draft him as a ready-made president (already of the AfDB). In the same vein, some political juggernauts are seriously campaigning for the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele to resign and context the 2023 presidential election.

Yet Buhari who has barely a year to complete his wonderful tenure hasn’t been talking much about his likely successor beyond his declaration in a strange interview that he would not disclose his preference for security reasons. No doubt, more and more aspirants will declare and we will hear of fantastic rhetoric on how to fix Nigeria. I would like to know the whereabouts of the young ones who declared long ago that they were not too young to run.

Just as the Ecclesiastes declares: “everything is becoming ‘Meaningless! Meaningless!” The King James version in my head says all one can see around is “vanity upon vanity!” A new version says, politics and politicking for a new Nigeria many desire will be “utterly meaningless”

The oracle, yes, the teacher is saying to me, “everything is meaningless.”I am beginning to see some sense in what the Son of David says when he asks rhetorically: what do people gain from all their labours under the sun in Africa’s most populous nation? I am learning from the teacher that “Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever”. I am beginning to learn that the generation of politicians that has been ruling Nigeria since 1991-3 political concoction may still be in charge from 2023. I ask why this setback, sorry, recycling. I am told by Ecclesiastes: “The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises…

The political wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course…all streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full…To the place the streams come from, there they return again…” I ask again what these auguries mean. I am told:

“All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing.  What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.  Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. No one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them.

What I am seeing in the crystal ball before me is making me to ask these questions: despite all our strong editorials nurtured by robust investigative reports on political corruption and what the ruling party, the APC has made of Nigeria they took majestically from the PDP in 2015, can we get purpose driven and dynamic Movements like the #EndSARS – 2020 that can prevent either the PDP or APC from forming the next Government in Nigeria? In other words, can we ever find men and women who would have bigger chests than Atiku and Tinubu for #Project-2023? I mean, the next President of Nigeria is quite likely to emerge from either the APC or the PDP. Is there any likelihood that the APC will not field Tinubu? And if the CPC wing of the APC dribbles Tinubu out of the race, will anyone else be strong enough to stop power from remaining in the North in 2023? All told, who is strong enough in PDP to stop the artful politician from Jada, Atiku who was the father to the president’s son when he took a wife from Kano the other day? Where is the robust coalition from the South that can stop power from being retained in the North in 2023?