By Carl Umegboro
The 2023 presidential election may take after the United States previous presidential election which nearly set the number one country ablaze following the piggishness of the then incumbent, Donald Trump to remain in power at all costs. The desperation of the two major political parties in the country; All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to be in power at all costs is worrisome. The duo is seemingly not disturbed about the present socio-economic crises let alone the bleakish future of the country, but only concerned about controlling the central government by any means. Thus, relevant sectors should proactively be prepared for possibility.
The primary concern should be the excruciating pains and mayhem nerve-wracking the helpless masses of the country due to ineptitude, greed resulting in humdrum looting of the treasury and corruption in diverse dimensions over the years. The miserable character silhouetting the two political parties is similar – merely to aggressively be in power. Since 1999, there have been no significant achievements from the central governments the duo respectively controlled. For instance, almost all the solid infrastructure in existence in Lagos and Abuja are credit points of the military governments like the Federal Secretariat facilities, National Theater, etc. Absurdly, there’s an attempt from a quarter claiming credit for developments in Lagos State, a former federal capital territory with massive establishments funded by the Federal Government and private sector, comparable to the current FCT.
Most absurdly, recently, the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu knocked his PDP counterpart, Atiku Abubakar over his ambition to succeed Muhammadu Buhari, his fellow tribesman from Fulani who will complete an aggregate eight years of two-term in office on 29 May, next year.
On this ground, APC accused PDP of violation of power rotation arrangement. On the other hand, PDP judges the ruling party, APC over non-inclusive politics by the ‘same-faith ticket’ in a society where religion is well pronounced thereby sidelining Christians, who represent one of the two dominant religions.
PDP’s candidate, Atiku furnished a flimsy excuse claiming he joined the race as his party, PDP failed to ‘micro-zone presidency to Southeast. But the question? What is Atiku’s business, a northerner whose fellow Fulani man is rounding off two terms for the northern region, with which zone in the three South to produce the next president? Clearly, the defence is weak, but merely to hoodwink light brains. Similarly, APC in attempts to cover up its own mess, resorted to conspiracy theories. After the first plot failed, another group was mobilized through a non-existent group called ‘Pentecostal bishops of the northern region’. Meanwhile, APC superciliously ignored appeals from the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to balance its ticket for peaceful co-existence considering that Nigeria is being ravaged by religious extremism.
The matching actions of the two parties are that of personal interest against public interest. APC action by backing Alhaji Ahmed Tinubu, a Muslim to present a fellow Muslim, Alhaji Kashim Shettima as his running mate suggests that no Christian from the northern region is competent to become the vice president of the country. Tinubu while meeting with the ‘masqueraded clergies’ said he opted for Shettima on ground of his proven competence and credibility. This defence is like adding salt to injury as it portrays all Christians from the North as run-of-the-mill to Kashim. True acts of patriotism deject anything that can ignite ethnic and religious crises.
Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal who heads Atiku Campaign Organisation carpeted APC that its same-faith ticket will sow the seeds of discord in the country. I concur. However, his party, PDP is similarly attempting to sideline the entire southern region from political relevance to servitude. It is, therefore, difficult to deduct the senses in the outbursts of the two parties. Or are they merely taking the nation for a ride? By their actions, the actors are not seeking popular concerns. And even from records, Nigerians particularly the suffering masses have not significantly felt the impact of the dramatis personae in any manner.
For instance, in one trending photo, Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) posed with the deprived children with sachet water. Meanwhile, Atiku pleasurably lives life to its fullest in Dubai, only showing up during politics to mingle with the poor. His privately-owned institution of learning in Yola is exclusively for the rich people, not even the average class. It’s possible no child from a poor family had ever felt the gate of the institution or any scholarship scheme. Meanwhile, statistics on out-of-school children even in Adamawa, his home state is disturbing.
His counterpart, Tinubu alleged he has ‘made’ many people, including President Muhammadu Buhari, that he single-handedly made him Nigeria’s president. This attracted a ‘presidential’ knock immediately. Others in the list include Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), Raji Fashola (SAN), Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), who are successful lawyers before delving into politics alongside Ben Akabueze, a former Managing Director/CEO of NAL Merchant Bank who mobilized the Igbo in Lagos into the party, and other professionals. Brig. Gen Buba Marwa (rtd), former military administrator of Lagos State narrowly escaped the list on account, he governed the state before Tinubu’s tenure. Otherwise, his name must make the list on account of his impactful performance similar to Fashola’s administration.
Be that as it may, Nigeria’s peaceful co-existence is critical to its advancement. Added to this, an ideal leader for the country must emphatically, be articulate, strong and competent to ably address numerous prevalent issues in the polity. The idea of standing for an election, at the same time, hiding, dodging debates, conferences and media interviews is unacceptable. It is only in Nigeria that aspirants to the highest office of the land contest elections without submitting for debates. Nigeria must grow above enthroning mediocrity or expecting magic. INEC should obligatorily organize debates as done in civilized countries as Nigeria is not cursed as where anything goes. A poll that produces a shabby administration is counterproductive.
• Umegboro writes from Lagos