Nigeria is at the threshold of a new beginning. The 2023 general elections offer Nigerians a unique chance to rejig their national leadership narrative.
According to Chinua Achebe in his book, “The Trouble with Nigeria,” and I quote: “The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership.”
Having taken a close look at the state of the nation, the leadership challenge, and the imperatives for change in governance, it’s important that from the crowd of contestants seeking election into the highest office in the land, namely the office of President, as well as the other high elective positions at the Federal, State and Local Government Cadres, we distil what we must look out for as guides in helping us make the right choices come 2023. As we inch closer to the next general elections, we, as a people, must bear in mind that the election is a make or mar one. It is by no means an ordinary election season. The future and survival of Nigeria is at stake as it’ll heavily depend on the outcome of the 2023 general election.
According to the fiery Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, ‘Nigeria is on oxygen. Something drastic and immediate must be done.’ It goes without saying therefore that we are in dire straights, to say the least. The 2023 elections will be unlike any other. It will be an election between contradistinctive choices in a struggle for the very soul of Nigeria. In the coming election, the new Nigeria as envisioned by the Obi-Dient Movement will be taking on the old Nigeria represented by the old professional politicians or insensitive senile men of power and ill-gotten wealth.
This election will be a direct challenge to the ruling elites; it’ll be a challenge to the regular, entrenched, and traditional parties, namely the PDP and APC, which though nominally different, are united in their determination to maintain the status quo. Indeed, it is apparent that their very existence or core interest consists in nothing but maintaining a vice-like grip on the reins of power for the purpose of deploying same in the service of their avarice or narrow pecuniary interest.
This election is practically a war between the status quo and the general popular aspiration for true change. It promises to be a contest between the people’s yearning for lasting peace as against the drumbeats of war, order as against disorder, authentic progressivism as against the debilitating conservativism of those who from time immemorial have held the country by the jugular.
It will be a battle for life or for death, genuine unity or disunity, self-sufficiency or dependency, discipline or impunity, literacy or illiteracy, ignorance or enlightenment, wisdom or folly.
As we approach the general elections, let us soberly bear in mind that we are in desperate times. Nigeria has never been this challenged in the last six decades. The 2023 election is destined to pitch the rapacious and greedy political elites (who see Nigeria as their fiefdom and natural hereditament) against the mass poor of this hapless country who only crave for succour and respite. The 2023 general election is a straight fight between the masses and the elites, between the political bourgeoisies and the proletarian ordinary Nigerians, between the aspirants of the organised, structured political parties and the largely uninformed masses who are easily swayed by ethnic and religious considerations over and above the most important issues of competence and capacity.
In these contests the leaders and the followers will be squaring up in a battle of wits, and so 2023 portends competing choices in an era of contradistinctions and contradictions.
There is a time and season for every thing and activity under the heavens, the holy scriptures say. Nigerians have witnessed chequered times, and have survived the various governments headed by all types of personalities, including desperate tyrants and maximum rulers. Therefore, we cannot afford to keep doing the same things, the same way, but expecting a different result —- the classic definition of folly or insanity. Nigeria has been trapped in the abyss for too long. Is it not time we changed our approach and modus operandi? Is it not time we changed the music and dance steps? Is it not time we changed the drivers of our polity?
The same old people, same old gang, same old marauders masquerading as self-ordained leaders are here again offering themselves to Nigerians as messiahs, with same old tricks too.
Today Nigeria has become a classic case study in state failure and dysfunctionality. With the cumulative effects of failure of leadership, the unchecked activities of violent non-state actors, bandits, terrorists, kidnapers, unknown gun-men, among others, the time for the true change that Nigeria and Nigerians desperately yearn for is no other time but now.
It is no longer news that the old political hordes that for long held the country by the throat are men and women who are totally bereft of integrity, educational, spiritual, moral and social acumen. The time to dislodge them for the real change is now. This real change is different from the curious kind of change which APC and Buhari had enunciated in 2015 or the nebulous type that the PDP had conceived under former President Goodluck Jonathan as the “Transformation Agenda.”
This is the time for a 360 degree turn around for Nigeria, as it has become imperative for Nigeria to change its style and parameters for the recruitment of its political leadership.
It should be stated that in choosing its new set of leaders, what should be paramount to Nigerians ought to be the following: character, capacity competence, passion, commitment, and preparedness.
The Labour Party’s presidential flag-bearer, Peter Gregory Obi adequately fits the bill in view of his erudition and affableness, while Datti Ahmed Yusuf, his running mate, evinces a breath of fresh air. These true, tried and tested gentlemen represent the new order. In them the nation has found a veritable pathway to a New Nigeria.
Many have therefore described them as the Third Force, and it goes without saying that they will birth the New Nigeria which many had long yearned for.
Indeed Nigerians hardly need to be told that they must rally round Obi and Datti in order for them to be able to bring about paradigm shift in Nigeria’s political leadership thus been espoused by Purposeful Leadership Foundation with mandate to contribute 5 million votes for Obi-Datti come 2023 election.
Together we can. Yes we can!
Onuakalusi, a lawyer, and Atusiubah are of the Purposeful Leadership Foundation.