2023 polls: Prospects, pretenders and clowns loading | Dailytrust

2023 polls: Prospects, pretenders and clowns loading

In line with Nigeria’s political tradition, early preparation for the 2023 general elections which is over one year away, has commenced in earnest, even with questions hanging over the substance and thrust of related conversations bothering on the future of the country. Ordinarily, a dispensation of general polls as is envisaged to run in 2023, is expected to avail the country a new beginning through a replacement of old hands who are out of sync with trending political realities, and the emergence of fresh political directions to move the country forward. However, with the ongoing turn of developments, Nigerians need to fast and pray hard enough, to ensure that the incoming dispensation in 2023, will not be a continuation of the present state of affairs or even worse. This contention is an unmistakable take-away from the ongoing political drama scenes, with respect to the build up to 2023 polls.

At least two pointers to the scary scenario remain the paucity of ideological depth as well as parochialism on one hand, and the emergence of a mixed multitude of actors comprising the prospective ones, the pretenders and the clowns. As things stand each actor’s enterprise defines the category in which he or she belongs.  Meanwhile, as questionable as the actors emerge, so the conversations and permutations remain off-target in respect of power shift, come 2023. 

For instance, against the gale of debilitating challenges facing the ordinary Nigerian and which have made life unbearable, the political elite is fixated on which regions or localities that should produce the juicy political office holders like the next president, state  governors and other so forth as the cases may be. For the purpose of clarification hardly have the burning issues of the day as are confronting the Nigerian masses dominate trending debates. Rather the political conversations are fixated on the old cavalier perceptions built around a pecking order that refuses to transform in order to allow for effective profiling of the country’s demographic diversity. 

As things stand this pecking order remains the unwritten code for driving the protocol for political ascendancy across the country. Gone out of the window therefore are all considerations for competence and track record.  Hardly is it considered what whoever has to occupy a political office in 2023 is bringing to the table even as the time for such interrogation is between now and the polls. For after the polls exercise and winners are established, the aspirants will discard their rags of mendicancy and transform into untouchable paper tigers. By then it will be too late to engage the typical political leader to reason with the constituents that elected him or her into office. 

This is why the Nigerian masses need to upgrade their vigilance in respect of monitoring the antics of the political elite which had denied them effective service, as well as  traction with respect to political development beyond the present state of affairs. As the conversations and alignments in respect of 2023 polls are loading, the debates are built around individuals and not issues. Most dominant in the parade of consideration is the issue of which part of the country – North or South will produce the next president. 

The sub argument is also on which sub-groups within the North and South will the ticket go to. Even the political parties especially the significant ones such as the ruling APC, main opposition PDP, APGA and others, are already sold out on this parochial agenda. 

Yet hardly is the region that produces the next president an issue that the quality of life for the ordinary citizen as much as the rising prices of basic food stuff.  The most visible and acute challenges to the Nigerian on the street include poverty, rising food prices, economic extension, insecurity, mass despair. 

That these issues are yet to dominate political discourse raises the fear that the 2023 election will be nothing better than business as usual, painful at such a doomsday scenario may be. And if circumstances are allowed to play according to some untoward pattern, Nigeria may be in for a worse political disputation than is presently playing out. 

In a world where upswings in the economic situation of a people are not achieved by mere wishes or a magic wand but by dedicated effort at boosting productivity in all ramifications, the country missed the boat a long time ago, and therefore cannot expect any magical respite from its woes. There has to be a return back to where the rain started beating us as a country. 

For instance, in the ruling APC, where its most visible presidential aspirant and prospect, is Bola Tinubu, his most significant claim to relevance in the presidential race is a pay-back deal as he was instrumental to installing the Muhamadu Buhari Presidency. No other criterion has so far mattered to justify his bid for the highest office in the land. Little wonder he has even been maintaining  a studied silence over the excesses of the Buhari administration. If the cliché of show me your friend and I tell you who you are, is anything to go by, what Nigeria will get from a Tinubu president, is as clear ad daylight. 

Among other aspirants from the South is Rotimi Amaechi, the current  Minister of Transportation.  Amaechi, if he is actually running may have to contend with a raging political downturn for him in his home state Rivers. Can he reasonably contest for the presidency without effective backing from his home base. For many Nigerians, ‘siddon look’ seems to be their response to his bid. 

On the PDP side, the long shadow of Atiku Abubakar still dominates any consideration of the party’s run for the Presidency, as he plods on with a sense of entitlement. Also likely to join the race in response to pressure from friendly forces is the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike. Interestingly, in his case he has been able to gather some significant mileage with his recent open challenge to the Federal Government over anomalies in the polity. At least two instances come to mind easily. The first is his effort at exposing the anomaly of the FG collecting VAT, a revenue source that rightfully belongs to state governments. The other is his alignment with other southern governors to ban open gazing of cattle in his state. Earlier than now, the utility of his political value was demonstrated during the re-election of Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki. How then will a Wike Presidency look, is already playing on the lips of not a few Nigerians.  

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