By Kenechukwu Obiezu
With the wind of the 2023 general elections forcefully blowing through the country, fanning the flames of leadership succession and causing phoney predictions to hurtle around, Nigerians know they are in for exciting rides at this time.
The reasons for these are legion indeed.
Whatever the last seven years of the eight-year long presidency of Muhammadu Buhari have been, Nigerians did not foresee all that have happened.
Hope had been brightly kindled when Nigerians summoned the political will, that many had put beyond them, to send the presidency of Goodluck Jonathan packing from Aso Rock.
President Buhari came in promising to do so much. But the promise which especially stood out was that corruption would be fought to a standstill.
When the President admitted shortly after his assumption of office that he was shocked at the sheer enormity of Nigeria‘s problems, many suspected that all along, in their frenzy to unseat the PDP and Jonathan, the President and the APC had not paid enough attention to the depredations the Giant of Africa had gone through for many years.
In a country of spotted hyenas, perhaps, it had become almost impossible to tell the difference between the hyena and the leopard.
Now, seven years down the line, a battle royale is seemingly afoot between the PDP and the APC over the leadership of a country that has known unspeakable plunder at the hands of the same men who populate both parties. While the PDP will be out to show that its historic defeat in 2015 was a mere slip, the APC will be out to show that its victory was no fluke.
Decidedly, the APC and the PDP will fight as two elephants, but sufferance will be reserved for the Nigerian electorate who already cannot bear the thought of being led by those rumoured to be the leading contenders to clinch the tickets of the two powerhouse parties.
But there may yet be another twist in the tale, another player to whip yet more excitement into what promises to be a very exciting tight race.
On Tuesday, February 22, 2022, some prominent politicians who included former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Senator Suleiman Hunkunyi of Kaduna State, ex-minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung; Alhaji Buba Galadima gathered to form what they called a third force to wrestle power from the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the 2023 general elections.
The group gathered under the aegis of The National Movement which they said would help rally Nigerians to forge a common front to save the country from collapse. Also in attendance at the occasion were other prominent Nigerians like Tanko Yakassai, Senator Grace Bent, Senator Umale Shittu, Ibrahim Ringim, Rufai Hanga, among others.At the occasion, it was Kwankwaso who clearly stated that the aim of the group was to rescue and redeem Nigeria from a difficult situation.
He also stated that those plans were in place to register the group as a political party. Now, only very few Nigerians would argue that their beloved country is not on the brink. Fewer still would argue that it is not in need of rescue. There is no doubt that the country is in need of a change, the changed and changers. With the APC which strongly promised change in 2015 struggling so much to do all it promised, Nigerians should be wary of another party promising change in the country.
Nigerian politicians sure know how to reinvent themselves and stay relevant no matter the season. This is the reason Nigeria has so many politicians who plunder the country in one party only to move to another party to escape prosecution and to stay relevant.
There is no doubt that with the stakes in the 2023 general elections as high as they have been in years, there would be politicians who would attempt to pull themselves out of political obscurity by joining existing political parties or forming new alliances so as to share in the bazaar that politics and elections have unfortunately become in Nigeria.
What the country needs are leaders who are themselves changed and are ready to change things in the country for good. What Nigeria needs is not new political parties but politicians with new hearts.
Until then, farce would continue to trump any force for good.
***Obiezu, a public affairs analyst, wrote via: [email protected]