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2023: Dear Lord, give Nigeria an alternative to this impending alternative

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2023 election

By Fola Aiyegbusi

THOSE who can see deeper, for it takes the deep to call to the deep, would have seen what necessitated this my humble prayer. With the victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the recent Edo gubernatorial election, it is clear that Nigerians will definitely seek an alternative to the present crop of politicians they have entrusted their lives with at the Federal level of governance.

It will be erroneous to believe the All Progressives Congress, APC, lost that election only because of Adams Oshiomhole’s handling of the situation. It was an emphatic statement that Nigerians are angry and won’t mind having fresh handlers to manage their affairs.

And with all sense of patriotism, it is a decision that is apt, necessary and justified. However, my worry is on the very likely beneficiaries of the decision. Those close to me know that in my objectivity and principles of realism, I was once a very big fan of this administration and the vehicle with which it used in getting to power.

I have exchanged write-ups with people, young and old, in past till present, justifying the reasons for the need for a President Muhammadu Buhari prior to his victory in 2015 and have also spent quality time between then and now, highlighting the positive angle of his administration which has even pitched me against a number of people who I believed their hatred for this administration is borne out of jaundiced narratives propelled by ethnic and religious bigotry. A conclusion I still don’t have any apologies for despite my concurrence to the need for an alternative.

I must make it clear that it is this administration itself that has clearly shown the reasons why it needs to be replaced by another set of more committed and capable people.

All the Federal Government agencies responsible for proper information dissemination are all asleep. I see the sense in the comparison made by the ousted Emir of Kano, SLS, that to administer a nation, a person with capabilty, but that has integrity challenges, is far better preferred than the person who has integrity but has serious challenges in capability.

It has shown clearly in the manner this Federal Government is run and has evidently shown more in the way the ruling party itself is run. Suffice to say that the president is equally the leader of the party. By every reasonable measure, it is not far-fetched to conclude that the APC has taken its self-destruct tendency to an irredeemable level with the crisis it went through prior to the Edo election and the evident outcome of the election.

Sometime in the past when the photograph of the President where he sat on a sofa chair with toothpick in his mouth was released in the media, it pleasantly amused me for a few reasons.

One was that, jokingly, so afterall presidents are like the rest of us that may need a tooth pick after a meal and the second reason was that I was sure “social media mischief makers” opposed to this administration will make some “political fun” out of the particular  photograph.

I am not surprised that the same photograph is now awash on the social media with various derogatory comments attached to it. But can one blame anybody? Are the comments not deserved?

It was in this government that the president sent the name of a nominee for clearance as chairman for its anti-corruption agency and another head of an agency under the same government wrote a memo to the Senate condemning the choice as unfit and incapable to hold the office. What does that say about the person that sent the name in the first instance?

In this government, we saw open altercation between a serving minister and a serving director general of an agency under the same Federal Government that resulted into dirty public name-calling and eventual eviction of the agency from a building owned by the same Federal Government.

Under the same government, the Attorney General of the Federation wrote a memo to the president alleging fraud against the head of the same government’s anti-corruption agency,  rubbishing the supposed fight against corruption of the agency, and now surreptitiously advocating for the scrapping of the agency as alleged by Professor Itse Sagay, head of a Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption under the same government.

It is under this same government that the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation has publicly indicted some ministries and extra-ministerial departments of financial infractions in a government claiming to be fighting corruption. Ministries have had open confrontation with others over policies and their implementation that ought to have been sorted out at cabinet levels.

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During the controversy surrounding the Chinese doctors or medical personnel visit to Nigeria at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak, the explanation given by the health minister contradicted that given by the presidential committee on COVID-19 under the same government.

Just recently, the Federal Inland Revenue Service tweeted a “roundly condemnable” instruction to the effect that bank customers should again go and register their personal details with banks and financial institutions despite the BVN already in use only for other Federal Government financial regulatory agencies to rightly kick against it and ask that the instruction be reverted immediately.

And again the question pops up: don’t they relate with each other? How many more examples of lack of coordination, lack of synergy, lack of mutual cooperation, working relationship and more importantly, lack of supervision do we still need to state here?

Is there any coordination in the manner Nigeria has handled the diplomatic face-off with Ghana on the treatment meted out to Nigerians in Ghana? Today the economy is in comatose,  no thanks to COVID-19 and the shocking drop in the international price of crude oil. But can we disregard the “deafening silence” from the president between when he won election in 2015 and when he constituted his cabinet almost eight months after?

The exchange rate significantly dropped when he won the election and rose again after a lull in the economy due to inaction for good eight months which till today had a negative impact on the economy.

I have asked for the umpteenth time what it takes for a country to call for help if it is finding the war against insurgency and banditry difficult? What and where is the difficulty in that as it pertains to our current enormous and overwhelming security challenges?

Even back to the ruling party issues, can’t the president who is the leader of the party call the governor and instruct him to go and inaugurate the members of the state assembly deprived of representation in the house and then call your national party chairman to back down?

Has recent events as it affects the party in Zamfara, Rivers, Bayelsa and pockets of states shown that there is a leader anywhere? How on earth will a government not know that these are not the best of times to implement the full deregulation of the downstream sector no matter all the merits therein, and also increase the tarrif on electricity?

I have thus concluded that the people have just passed a message with the Edo election that they will hand over their mandate to an alternative political party in 2023 which now is the basis for my humble prayer to God.

I am scared of the most likely alternative that this “vox populi vox dei” may throw up. We have seen how they fared when they had the opportunity of governance for sixteen years. For some, it is so easy to condemn the actors of today without taking into consideration the actions of the past actors too. If a house collapses because of the weight of the roof, is the foundation and the structural concrete columns of the house not defective too?

I will rather concur with those who claim that they are tired of the excuses of this administration because they voted it in because they wanted a change rather than those who hip the entire blame on the government and the party.

Even in America in 2009 shortly after his victory, Americans told president Obama to stop complaining about the previous administration of President Goerge Bush and work. They punished him for it at the midterm elections. Therefore this is why I am worried about the “poster boys” of the party likely to be the beneficiaries of the present political situation in the 2023 presidential election.

They have been tried at various levels of government in the past too and they won’t be any different. I honestly don’t know what new thing they want to offer this country.

Suffice to say that party is not likely to pick its presidential candidate rightly from the South, as it seems that most prominent southerners in the party are jostling for the position of national chairmanship, and have conceded the presidential ticket again to the north despite the fact that a northerner is at the moment president for eight years.

This may lead to an upsurge of regional insurgency and agitation if it so happens, thereby threatening the corporate existence of this country. Therefore in conclusion, it is clearly evident that this current ruling party may be shoved aside by the electorate in 2023 but there is serious need to pray fervently too for the replacement. Else, Nigeria may continue to oscillate between “frying pan to fire, back to fire to frying pan” and vice versa.

VANGUARD

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