Barely one year to the 2023 general election, some aspirants have indicated interest to vie for Nigeria’s number one position – the presidency. Some have already started seeking endorsements from some eminent personalities and groups. It is believed that more people will join the race in the months ahead.
As we prepare for this all-important election, it has become imperative to note that 2023 should not be business as usual. Since independence in 1960, the major challenge Nigeria has grappled with is leadership deficit. It has become more acute since 1999 when the current democratic dispensation birthed.
This is because most of our past leaders never prepared for the job. For instance, some powers that be brought Chief Olusegun Obasanjo out of prison and imposed him on the nation to assuage the South West over the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, which was reportedly won by Chief Moshood Abiola. The military junta then led by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida did not declare Abiola winner nor allowed him to take over as the President. Abiola later died in detention.
At the end of Obasanjo’s tenure, he propped up Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who was not too healthy then. Yar’Adua died in office in 2010, prompting his deputy, Goodluck Jonathan, to mount the saddle of leadership. Jonathan’s unpopularity towards the end of his tenure paved way for Muhammadu Buhari, who succeeded him in 2015. Many Nigerians had expected that Buhari, who won the election after some previous attempts, would do better. Events of the past seven years, have, however, indicated that he was not adequately prepared for the job.
Moving forward, we need people who are ready and prepared for the job. Nigeria has many talented people, who can salvage it from the myriads of challenges confronting it. Hence, the selection process of the next Nigerian president must be thorough so that the right person can be given the job of the nation’s Chief Executive Officer.
One of the major ways to do this is for the President to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law. If we adopt electronic voting and transmission of results as stipulated in the bill, it will be difficult for anyone to rig the election. And that will be a major step towards ensuring that the wishes of the people prevail. Besides, we need a president who is healthy and vibrant and can withstand the rigours of the job. Whoever has any health challenge or is too old should not aspire to be our president. Also, we need a president who is eminently qualified for the job. Also, aspirants must show competence in previously running a business or managing human and material resources. They must be articulate and knowledgeable and must prove that they will clearly provide solutions to the nation’s socio-economic problems.
Today, our economy is in a bad shape. The spate of insecurity is also high. These are offshoots of corruption which is endemic in ministries, departments and agencies of government. We need a president who would also tackle corruption headlong.
Nigerians need a president who will take the country as his constituency and treat every section equally. Part of the major problems we have currently is imbalance in the federation. Some regions feel marginalised from the scheme of things. This has led to various agitations in some parts of the country. At all times, our focus should be on competence, pedigree, patriotism and love for Nigeria.
We should take a look at all the aspirants and choose a president who will reposition the country and make it great again; a president Nigerians should be very proud of; a president who understands the intricacies of a macro and micro economy.
The president we need is one who is a nation-builder and who will prioritise the interest of the country far and above others; a visionary leader who will move the country forward; a servant-leader, who is willing to sacrifice himself for the country; an educated and intelligent leader. Above all, we need someone who understands that the Nigerian presidency is not a prize to be won but a job to be done.