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Political office holders Nigerians would want in 2023

Politics in  the  unfolding  political  dispensation  is  about the rich, the powerful and the elite. The ordinary citizenry, especially  the  downtrodden  have  little  or  no …

Politics in  the  unfolding  political  dispensation  is  about the rich, the powerful and the elite. The ordinary citizenry, especially  the  downtrodden  have  little  or  no  say  in  the determination  of  the  future  in  most  parts  of  the  country.  Politics, like the economy, is the exclusive preserve of the rich and the  powerful.  Also,  those  to  be  heard  are  only  those who  can  muscle  their  way  to  public  office  and  those  who want to perpetuate themselves in political office even though they  have  not  performed  well  enough.

This  is  the  snag  of the current politics. Politics despite the pronouncement of the current leadership  and  many  patriotic  leaders  remains  the exclusive preserve of the elite and money bags. The  implication  of  this form  of  politics  is  the  majority  of  people  are  alienated  and marginalised  in  decision  making  and  benefitting  from  the dividends  of  participatory  democracy.  Also,  there  is  the preoccupation  of  those  who  are  desperate  to  capture political  power  at  all  cost because  it  grants them  access to public funds.

Although many among the political elite will not agree that  some  of  them  have  not  touched  the  lives  of  the common man, many have not taken the cue from President Muhammadu Buhari and  the federal government  that have positively impacted the  lives of the  ordinary citizenry. Despite the claims of some  political leaders,  many in some states have not touched the lives of people. The consequence is, many communities across the country have not benefited from any form of infrastructural development,  standard hospitals and habitable  places  of  living.  Many  communities  are  still wallowing  in  abject  poverty.  The other source of pervasive disaffection is poverty, as the  result  of  insecurity,  mismanagement  and  political incompetence  in  many  parts  of  the  country.

As previously observed, the  insurgency  that  erupted  in  parts  of  the country  in  the  last  one  decade,  coupled  with  the  spate  of armed  banditry  and  kidnapping  in  almost  all  parts  of  the country,  has  undermined  agriculture  and  small  scale  trade. These cumulatively have worsened the plight of the poor and the average Nigerian. Without doubt, these will have serious implications for politics, especially the forthcoming elections.

The  other  challenge  to  the  forthcoming  elections  is  the monetizing  of  election.  What  this  means  is  that the most competent and credible will not win.  People will generally only vote for individuals and political parties that would restore peace and normalcy  in  most  parts  of  the  country.  Many  believe  only those who can stop the insurgency, banditry and kidnapping in  the  country  are  worthy  of  succeeding  President  Buhari.

Another    issue  that  will  have  serious implications  for  politics  in  2023  is the promotion of  divisive  religious sentiments.  As argued  by most  concerned  Nigerians  from  both  sides  of  the  religious divide,  religious  acrimony  is  one  challenge  that  will aggravate  disharmony  in  the  country.  This  is  the reason most  Nigerians  are  opposed  to  any  political  manoeuvre  that will alienate any part of the country.

Fairness and  good  governance  are  two things  that  will stop the threat to the stability and harmony in the country. The promotion of religious sentiments to for cheap  politics  is  a  development that will  undermine  peace and  unity  in  the  country.

The  fact  is, Nigerians from all sides of the religious divide have coexisted peacefully.  Security  and  peaceful  coexistence  is  the major source of strength of the Nigerian State. Attempts by some individuals to foist religious dominance on the country will, therefore,  precipitate  disharmony  of  immeasurable proportion.  Furthermore,  religion  and  tribe  are  not  at  the  moment the  concern  of  the  average  Nigerian.  For  those  who  may wish to know, tribal and religious sentiments have given way a  long  time  ago  due  to  spirited  efforts  of  some  patriotic leaders.

Many  Nigerians  will  confess  that  late  President Umaru Musa Yar’adua endeared himself to Nigerians because he did not  attach  any  importance  to  these  parochial  and retrogressive sentiments.  He endeared himself to majority of Nigerians because of his commitment to fairness, equity and  aversion  to  nepotism,  religious bigotry and sectionalism.

It would be recalled that President Musa  Yar’adua  either  in  terms  of appointments,  citing of projects  and  projection  of  national  unity,  rose  above  ethnic and  religious  sentiments.  He recognized competence regardless of where one came from.  Talking of the political leadership Nigerians would want and vote for  in  2023,  a  major  consideration  will  be individuals who will unite the country that is presently divided along tribal and religious lines.

If one might say, no country will develop  if  it  is  divided  along  retrogressive  and  divisive lines. It is in the interest of all Nigerians  and  generations yet unborn for the country to remain united. The fact is,  no  part  of  this  country  can  survive  and  progress  if  it is alienated  and  discriminated against.  A word  is,  therefore, enough  for  those  planning  succession  and  promoting discrimination.

It  is  important  to  point  out  that  insurgency, banditry and sundry acts of lawlessness that have engulfed the  country  over  the  last  10  years  have  retarded  growth and  eroded  the  basis  of  unity  in  the  country.  Other major security challenges unfolding in the country are the theft of oil  in  the  Niger  Delta.  The  sabotage  of  the  oil sector  which  is  the  mainstay  of  the  nation’s  economy  is threatening the economy.  The  political leadership  required  in  2023,  especially  the  president  and state  governors  must,  therefore,    have  the political  will,    capacity  and    competence  that  will galvanize all resources to surmount all threats to security in the country.

By Afakirya Gadzama, MNI, OFR, is the Chairman, National Institute for Security Studies.

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