2023: Last chance to save Nigeria — Opinion — The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News – Guardian Nigeria

Looking at the way things are going on in the run up to the 2023 general elections, it is obvious that politicians have learnt no lesson from the mistakes of the past and the abhorable state of affairs in Nigeria. All the fears and apprehension about a possible collapse of a ruined country do not resonate among the rich ruling class. Can 2023 bring remedy?
There is nothing in the horizon to show that these people are bothered about Nigeria or interested in redeeming it. Politicians need to be reminded that they have to save this country now or else lose it. Consequently, given the awful state of affairs, the 2023 may be the last chance to save Nigeria from imminent collapse and disintegration.
Otherwise, as it were, we are back to square one. The cat and mouse race has reopened. The witch that cries and children start dying is at it again. It is as if to say the end of Nigeria is at hand, as all the political gladiators appear to be hell bent on capturing the presidency.
All the call for parties to zone the presidency to the South-East for equity, peace and justice is like water pouring on rock, which does not sink. All the talk about electing a credible individual who has what it takes to pull the country out of the quagmire does not make any meaning. All that the powers that be want is to foist a president who would continue with the plunder and despoliation. To those with this mindless attitude, it doesn’t matter what becomes of the country. They are diffused enemies of the country.
Against the backdrop of what leadership entails, I note with sadness that leadership in Nigeria is a mockery. Ours is a concoction, a camouflage and sheer mimicry. Why, for instance, is politics in Nigeria a do-or-die affair? What are the politicians fighting for? Is the abject state of affairs in Nigeria not an affront and indictment on the entire political system?
Looking at the spate of declarations by every Tom, Dick and Harry, I am saddened that there is complete lack of vision or ideological framework upon which true leadership should be based in the country. It is baffling that someone who is dreaming to be Nigeria’s president would come out and whimsically say, “I am the most qualified to be president,” just like that, without anything attached; no thinking, no statement on any of the numerous issues – economic, social, political and otherwise plaguing the country. The way and manner of the declarations are made is befuddling. There is simply no seriousness in what is going one. A host of those declaring are just out to spoil the game for others.
Some of the so-called politicians are hell bent in fighting their real or imaginary opponents to submission at all cost. That is where all the energy and resources are expended but not on critical thinking of how to tackle the country’s problems. The stronger force wears the weaker down and takes all. We have power mongers that have turned politics into warfare.
Truth is that there are just a handful of politicians who have shown commitment in serving the people. What is called achievement by the ruling class is a mere shadow of what Nigeria should be and what Nigerians should get as citizens of a rich country. We have been treated with half measures by successive administrations. That explains why there is pervasive poverty and social upheavals. We are retrogressing rather than making progress.
The debacle over who becomes president is based purely on greed for some. There is no concrete agenda to turn things around. That is why Nigerians have moved from one bad government to the worse. I would have loved to see politicians fight over ideological issues, over alternative approaches to governance and development. It would have served the people better if contenders to elective posts have alternative ways to bring succour to the suffering masses. But none of this is happening.
Every four years, jungle politics is reenacted over the same issues that plague the country – bad roads, poor education, poor healthcare, mass unemployment, epileptic power supply, etc. Ironically, rather than contend over how to improve on these issues, the contention is among politicians of the same party. The bone of contention is not over who has a better idea or how to improve the lot of the people but over money.
For instance, the N100 million announced by the ruling All Progressives Party (APC), for the purchase of the presidential nomination form is now the dominant issue of discourse. That has taken the wind off the critical issues of human and economic development.
Why should politicians in the same party, who supposedly share the same ideology, fight each other? In decent societies, parties fight our ideologies. When a politician no longer subscribes to his parties ideology, he resigns to identify with the party whose ideology he shares. But this rarely happens, as parties are built based on what ideals the members strongly subscribe to. But in Nigeria, politicians migrate from one party to the other in search of green pastures where more money is being shared.
For instance, within the past couple of months, some shameless politicians have started the random movement from one party to another. They have started moving from APC to PDP and vice versa. Even those who betrayed their party somewhere along the line are coming back. You then ask what was it that drove them away in the first place? And what new thing have they seen in the party that is attractive? There is nothing of such.
The task ahead is enormous. The 2023 presidential election would serve as a watershed in the checkered history of Nigeria. The mass discontent across the country demands a change of approach. With discontent in the east, west, north and south, politicians cannot afford to play the same old games that brought the country to this sordid state. The frightening situation should spur every politician to show patriotism if they really love this country.
The country needs a president who is genuinely committed to turning the country around. If a corrupt president is foisted on the country again, the consequences might not be favourable to Nigeria.
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