Atiku, Tinubu, Obi et al; matters arising | Dailytrust

Atiku, Tinubu, Obi et al; matters arising

A former Vice President of Nigeria,  Atiku Abubakar
A former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar

Muhamadu Buhari must be one of the most relieved presidents in the world today, courtesy of the progress made so far by the country, with respect to the successful completion of presidential primaries by the various political parties; and in particular the two leading ones namely the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). That is even if he does not realise so for now, he will soon enough. If nothing else, the deafening blast of invectives (bad mouth) by the Nigerian public over the failings of his administration will no more focus on him exclusively, as there are fresh entrants on the stage to share the pain of the onslaught. From henceforth, while some accusing fingers may still be pointing at him for whatever shortcomings of his administration, the complement of presidential candidates delivered by the various political parties will also be targeted, based on what Nigerians expect from a successor to Buhari, but may be nursing reservations over whether such may be delivered by whosoever among them that succeeds. In fact, for daring to run for the office of the President, they are already being associated most unfairly, with the likelihood of failure in leadership ahead of incumbency. This is especially so as their matter is not helped by the processes through which some of them emerged as presidential hopefuls.

Yet there has to be a new government come May 29th 2023, with Buhari stepping out of office and be replaced as President by one of these presidential hopefuls. It is in that context therefore that the focus of public discourse should now expand beyond the good, and ugly sides of the Buhari administration to the task of cutting out the task a successor to him shall address himself to, pursuant to rescuing the country from its present dilenma. Nigeria is inexorably moving into the future, and where it lands depends on what endowments it musters at this time. This is why the forthcoming 2023 polls exercise remains a watershed in the fortunes of the country, as it offers a launch pad for taking Nigeria to the next level—that is putting the matter in political correctness.  

Meanwhile, lingering in the memory of many Nigerians are scenes of recent untoward tendencies which marked the presidential primary elections of the PDP and later the APC. Qualifying for specific mention are the play-out of cash-for-votes deals, conspiratorial last minute alignments by aspirants in the course of fostering their personal interests and general disappointment with which many Nigerians watched the rather serious activities that were turned into votes bazaars.  Willy nilly, the process has thrown up candidates and flag bearers of the various parties with Atiku Abubakar for the PDP, Bola Tinubu for the APC, Peter Obi for the Labour Party (LP), as the most promising prospects for the office, out of a wide field of contestants.

With their emergence as candidates in the forthcoming presidential election, the conversation should now shift to what is expected of them given the challenges facing the country and the urgency of a remediation dispensation.  Lessons of history teach that Nigeria’s electoral exercises always feature candidates that promise Eldorado during campaigns, but end up providing hellish leadership. Given the entrenched state of this tendency in the country’s body politik, it is not too early to contemplate the retention of such proclivities by leadership come 2023, except specific anticipatory and real time responses are deployed by the citizenry through institutions that are established to promote the public weal. 

For instance a rather disturbing development is the trending, unwelcome interpretation of the emergence of Atiku, Tinubu and Obi as representing the resurrection of three defunct regions of old being Northern, Western and Eastern Nigeria, simply because of their coincidental ethnic bases of Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo respectively. Given the prevailing course of political conversation by the elite across the country not a few Nigerians are tempting to still wallow in such a contemplation. Hardly can any witness or even victim of the present state of anomie in the country without a lion heart and extra dose of patriotism feel assure that the challenges facing the country today, are surmountable. Yet given a more proactive and redemptive mindset, the challenges are surmountable, with the country disposed to have a brighter future than the present.  

As has been canvassed severally in this column, Nigerians and the country, have either by design or error, progressed to a state where brainwaves that promote separatist tendencies are gradually been exposed as hollow indulgences and only end up delaying the consolidation of the country. Typically while there are Nigerians that want to opt out of the federation, there are also others that want to remain in it. Interestingly, both sides of the divide want a common goal which is the reign of good governance. The difference between them is that while one side thinks that good governance is impossible in the country, the other believes that it can be fostered with better arrangement.  

Incidentally, a major lesson from the recent presidential primaries teach that rather than ethnic bonds dictating the choice of candidates by voting delegates, it was a case of ‘bribe is thicker than blood’, as one writer aptly put it recently. Delegates simply voted for the highest bidder for their votes, not minding the consequences for their regional champions. Whoever doubts this angle simply needs to refer to the comments by some of the out-bidded and loser-aspirants, as well as what the beneficiary delegates did with the cash rain they benefitted from.

This is the Nigeria that must be transformed.

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