2023 presidential election

By Segun Ige

SURELY, it’s about time we arose to the call of the compatriots. How can we obey this sacred call of those whose blood runs in our veins; those whose spirits become restless in the face of chaos and trauma; and those whose labour of love continues to bear witness against our manifold wrongdoings and misdemeanours?

To be sure, the bond of love, peace, unity and justice is not a far-reaching one. Nigeria, the same yesterday, today and forever, is within our grips to govern, if it was for the people of old.

We need to start appropriating the same prowess and power so as to reposition Nigeria to its once-given pedestal of peace and wellbeing. The call for peace, as you can see, is timely. Nigeria, not North, needs peace. Nigeria, not North, needs healing. And Nigeria, not North, needs to “have it together”, once again.

The North, especially with its frequent firestorm of banditry and kidnapping, is merely a revelation that Nigeria, in general, is struggling, suffering, suffocating from a “let me have my cake and eat it” decision problem. Yes, the decision problem of leadership is what has been wreaking havoc, tormenting people, distressing the dimensions of the human reality.

As of now, political aspirants and presidential wannabes are already, as it were, holding groundhog days and groundswells about such-and-such, about so-and-so. Technically, as we have it, little or no attention is paid to the mass abduction of schoolboys, schoolgirls and teachers. The frequency of this narrative hits the nail on the head once for all: That attention is no longer on insecurity, but on 2023 presidential election.

I wonder what a country without the security of its future leaders would be. But I think, by the way, that the maxim of the youth being the leaders of tomorrow is just a delusion. It’s obvious from our leadership architecture and framework that the youth are not ‘experienced’ enough to be in the discourse of power.

I even suspect 40-year-old Abdulrasheed Bawa’s appointment as EFCC Chair to be, you know, one of those political gimmicks – but this time, quite different, with the instrumentality of the backdrop of the #EndSARS protest. At least, to some extent, their request has been granted! To me, I feel it’s a way of appealing and appeasing – nay whitewashing – the psycho-trauma experiences the Nigerian youth have long been begrudging the political apparatchiks.

Even more disturbing is the fact that Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, was attacked by a group of armed men on his way from farm at Tyo Mu, along Makurdi-Gboko Road. His convoy was rocked down on March 20, 2021.

He narrowly escaped the claws of supposedly herdsmen strangleholds; he claims to have been briefed by one intelligence agency of their internecine strife.

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The reaction of the Peoples Democratic Party was generally unbecoming. It behoves that of a country on the verge of partition, cessation, or sedition. It behoves that of a country suffering from institutional and ideological divisiveness. It behoves that of a country craving for escape in the hands of thirsty and hungry power-drunken demagogues.

In short, the PDP says the monkey’s hand should be removed from the cauldron. Really, what has been the President’s pertinent decision in halting these acts of renegades, genocides, anarchies, pogroms and the like, characteristic of “there was a country?” I’ve never seen a decisive weapon of mass action actually deployed by the Federal Government. Hmm… little wonder #BringBackOurGirls co-convener Aisha Yesufu argues that what’s been responsible for the recurrent abduction of schoolboys and schoolgirls is the President’s “body language”. She takes this to mean, clearly, that Buhari’s non-verbal cues have been systematically deviating and diametrically opposing his verbal clues. After all, in kinesics, a certain proportion of equilibrium and balancing ought to be met by the two tenets.

Because the South West is not excluded, Nigeria, not North, needs a psycho-trauma healing session so that we can be cleansed and purged of all biases; so that we can be free from the disturbances and distresses of unstable governance; and so that we can live a harmonious and accompanied life under the ambience and aura of bearing each other’s burdens, having each other’s backs on the days of trouble, and being open and transparent about the things we do for one’s self, or one another. The Wakili wake-up call is a crucial one.

I protest that Nigeria should cease existing as a space for opportunism and adventurism of power. I was, in fact, psycho-emotionally traumatised by Governor Kayode Fayemi’s use of the word “opportunity”, come 2023. I could not but be caught in a trance where I saw how leaders opportunistically jump from one position of power to another. Just like that! Without any sense of vision and direction for the future of the country.

Nigeria has become a space to have your own share of the cake, which is why the politically zealous – not with any mind of purpose of goodwill – are politically ambitious for the pursuit of power and popularity.

Now, we are hearing that the All Progressives Congress wants to rule for 32 years. Some are saying the South should produce the next president. And those we somewhat believe to have graduated from Lateef Jakande’s ideological school of thought are already staking their claims to leadership, of course.

Well, Jakande’s visionary enterprise, for example, could be a leader-formation curriculum that, in reality, leadership is not about, especially in Nigeria, building a systemic source of income, or wealth, or even portmanteaurish portfolio. Leadership is hard work. Leadership is sacrifice. Leadership is leading-and-following, simultaneously, driven by vision, direction, purpose and passion to reform and transform a people, a country – generations!

Is that what the country needs now? Is that what should be our eminent response to the call of the compatriots? Should the “gods” be blamed for the present state we are, or have found ourselves? Indeed, we need to submit ourselves, unreservedly, to “mother Idoto” for cleansing and purification in order to experience a lifetime peace and progress in our polity.

Ige, a freelance journalist, wrote via [email protected]

Vanguard News Nigeria


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