From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd), has said that issues such as zoning, restructuring and identity politics resulting from the politicisation of religion and ethnicisation of politics would shape the 2023 politics.
He made the submission while delivering a keynote address entitled ‘2023 Politics, National Security and Nigeria’s Stability’ at the 2022 Blueprint Annual Public Lectures and Impact Series/Award held yesterday in Abuja.
The immediate past minister of interior noted that every election regime comes with its own challenges, which revolved around national security and stability.
He said since 1960 when the country got its independence, Nigeria has gone through a chequered history, culminating in the Fourth Republic the nation is today.
He added that so far, the nation has had more than 20 years of uninterrupted period of democracy, the longest in its history. He also said within the period, the country has recorded six general elections, while it is heading for the seventh in 2023. He observed that it was apparent the country has started 2023 politics with the mundane issues that brought the nation to the level of insecurity and instability it is today.
“We have more than enough challenges or issues confronting us. Rather than directing our energy on religious or ethnic controversies, we should be more interested in such issues as poverty reduction; food security; youth unemployment; improved power sector; quality and affordable healthcare services; and improved education system. The development of critical infrastructures is also a key area of concern, and although the APC government under Buhari has done remarkably well by completing many of the projects it met in 2015, in addition to new ones it originated, there are however approximately 60,000 abandoned projects in Nigeria, estimated to cost about N12 trillion. And what can we do to mitigate such waste? These are only a few critical areas the 2023 politics should focus attention on, not religion and ethnicity.”
Dambazau further said the nation’s immediate concern at the moment is the widespread insecurity. He said in more than 20 years, Nigeria has been dealing with emerging threats from non-state actors that have led to the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East; banditry and kidnapping for ransom in the North West; and threats of secession and ethnic extremism in the southeast and South West.