By Abuchi Obiora
Part One of this discourse took an overview of the conditions that will moderate the challenges posed to Nigerians in making a choice of their President in 2023 and considered factors such as the existing economic, social and safety deficits that are sure to influence Nigerians’ choice of their President within the context of a groundswell of opinion to have a generational transfer of the baton of political leadership to Nigerian youths. This Part Two zeros in on how the generational change of political leadership in Nigeria can be achieved.
For a longtime, Nigerian youths have become victims of the mismanagement of the economy by the present political class. For a long time too, Nigerian youths have been waiting for the ‘Tomorrow’ that never came as the privileged, thieving elder politicians, many of them in their eighties, are not tired of their trademark deception and corruptive influence.
The consequence of this is that the social and moral sinews of the Nigerian society have been so much infested with extreme negativity that all manner of evil conceivable to the mind of man have become realities in Nigeria under the watch of the APC government.
The tragedy of Nigeria and the major factor militating against her development is that the mortally ignorant, the intellectually weak, and the morally bankrupt have to sit ingloriously directing Nigeria’s political and economic affairs since independence. This ignoble lot, through a military junta headed by one of their own cleverly and craftily legitimated their grip over the rest of the country through a dubious document called the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999. No wonder, ever since then, Nigeria has been moving in the opposite direction of the common march of the rest countries of the world towards the perfection of their socio-political systems.
I have read and understood histories of nations, both ancient and modern, and I have never come across any nation in the world that got it right and developed with the blind leading and directing the sighted. All the countries I have read about that were governed by the ill-equipped, as Nigeria is being governed, have run into extinction. This discourse will not be enough to go into the details of those countries.
It worries me that many Nigerian politicians across the political parties support Presidential candidates, not because of the capacities of those candidates to take full charge of the despicable condition of the country, but for the reason of long political associations with those Presidential candidates and the likelihood that those Presidential candidates will appoint them into some juicy political offices.
This explains the reason why, in spite of the obvious fact that Nigerians observe incapacity as a result of the natural process of ageing trailing some Presidential candidates, these politicians selfishly insist that their candidates must become the President, most probably because their candidates will serve as their guaranteed meal tickets from the national treasury. I have observed that all of these aged Presidential candidates have been singing the same song that Nigerians have been used to in the last twenty years – that they will take Nigeria to the next level (of retrogression?).
Though these aged Presidential candidates across the major political parties have been vague in pinning down the political and economic framework which their government will be hinged upon, it came as a relief to concerned patriotic Nigerians that one of them, the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party promised Nigerians that when elected, he will initiate the process of building a new Nigeria that will be a producing, and not a consuming country. Honestly, this falls in line with the desire of Nigerians to move away national governance from transactional to transformational in order to jumpstart all the hitherto, ignored and dormant development potentials that will eventually ensure a sustainable Nigerian economy.
Let me digress briefly by observing that the APC seem to be subverting itself from winning the 2023 Presidential election. This line of thought may look strange, but this may actually be a strategy by the Northern minority hegemons and oligarchs who use the tools of religion and ethnicity in diverse chameleonic ways as time may dictate, to retain political power in Nigeria.
While Nigerians saw and regarded the APC comical stage drama of the unknown Bishops (TUB) as blasphemy against Christians and the Christian religion, I saw it as an expression by Nigerian Muslim politicians, of their total disregard and contempt for Christianity in Nigeria. I saw it as a mockery of Christianity in Nigeria, a religion all of them seem to have agreed to decimate in Nigeria.
I say these things because of the follow-up-action of one of the party chieftains of the APC, a Northern Muslim Nigerian Fulani man who goes by the name Shehu Garba. This man, to his shame, crowned the insult on Christianity by adorning himself with a ceremonial Bishop cap. He caused this shameful act to go viral forgetting that he would have been a dead man within hours were he to, in like manner, insult any of the paraphernalia of the Islamic religion or do any untoward thing directed to the Islamic prophet. But thank God that Christians are not murderers and wicked as people like him. He would not have been walking free in Nigeria by now if Christians are murderers and wicked as he is.
By the way, this same man rejoiced through his Twitter Handle when some Islamic religious fanatics cold-bloodedly murdered a twenty-five year old Christian lady, an undergraduate of a tertiary institution, Miss Deborah Samuel in Sokoto on an allegation of blasphemy against the Islamic prophet. But it is in the nature of Christians to forgive and leave judgment to God because our Jesus Christ did not teach us how to kill, like he has been taught in twelve portions of the Holy Book of his religion, which I need not mention here because he knows and uses them.
As for the Muslim – Muslim ticket of the APC Presidential team, I see a game being played on the Asiwaju who was ‘forced’ by a certain Northern Muslim interest to pick a Muslim Vice Presidential candidate.
They have just allowed him to go with what the Binis of South South Nigeria will call ‘Ozaba’. Literally translated ‘Ozaba’ means a burden that trails and limits one’s opportunities. Cast your mind back to the statement credited to the APC Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, that the party hierarchy will punish Bola Ahmed Tinubu for daring to say that he is the King Maker to whom the President, Mohammadu Buhari owes his ascension to the Presidency. Is it not clear to Nigerians that the first punishment by the Fulani-controlled APC government in Nigeria has just been meted to the Asiwaju to curb his chances of securing Christian votes without which no Nigerian President can attain power?
The reason of the ‘Ozaba’ on the Asiwaju, I suppose is to enhance the chances of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, another Fulani man, who the hegemons and the oligarchs had for several times regarded as ‘Aruna’ (Unbeliever). Alhaji Atiku Abubakar may after all, be the preferred Presidential candidate of the Northern oligarchs in the 2023 election. This type of game being played now happened in 2014 when the Northern oligarchs assembled in Sokoto and agreed that all of them across all the political parties will work to enthrone Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. Methinks that between a Fulani ‘Aruna’ and a Yoruba ‘Aruna’, the oligarchs preferred to choose a Fulani ‘Aruna’.
Let us wait, watch and see, but Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has an ambition-threatening internal brouhaha in his PDP party as a result of his choice of running mate because he underestimated the political clout of Nyesom Wike, the Governor of Rivers State, another equally ambitious political personality from the South. The truth is that the twin issues of the choice of running mates by the Presidential candidates of the APC and the PDP has thrown open the possibility of a floodgate of ‘decampees’ waiting to either openly declare for the Labour Party or silently work for its victory at the February 2023 presidential polls.
Still talking about the Presidential candidates of the three political parties that seem to have national spread (the APC, the PDP, and the Labour Party), the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi, renewed the vibe of Nigerian youths, forcing them into politics. With the emergence of Mr. Peter Obi as the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, there have been renewed interest amongst Nigerians home and abroad on the affairs of the country, with many of them desiring, without prompts, to be part of the making of a new Nigeria. Right now, there are shivers going on in the spines of the ‘Old Brigades’ including the one who still want the national cake-baking members of the organized Nigerian Labour Industry to labour till death. Right now and somehow, it seems, with the silent people’s revolution going on in Nigeria, the ‘Old brigades’ are all at the twilight of their political careers in Nigeria.
From all indications, the out-going President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will go down in the history of the country as having been the greatest catalyst through whom, as a result of the so many failures of his government, the rebirth of a new Nigeria of greatness, came about. The incumbent President, through the failures of his government created the enabling environment for a generational transfer of the baton of political power in Nigeria from the tired and worn-out elder statesmen and women, to vibrant, more educated, more patriotic, less corrupt, more dedicated, youthful and purpose-driven set of Nigerians who easily are amongst the best in the world.
Perhaps, this is an opportunity to say something about the understanding by some people that the Labour Party has no political structure on ground to win the Presidential election in Nigeria. The question is: what does it take to win the Presidential election in Nigeria? The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as Amended says that a President-elect will be deemed to have emerged amongst the contesting candidates when a candidate garners simple majority vote cast in the election, plus 25% of the total votes cast in at least 12 of the total number of states in Nigeria.
One thing I easily find out about the two Constitutional requirements for emerging as the President-elect in Nigeria is that the same factor that influences one, influences the other. It is easily possible for a Presidential candidate in Nigeria who has a popular appeal and support spread across the six geopolitical regions of Nigeria to meet these two conditions. Obviously, these requirements were inscribed in the constitution to discourage ethnic bigots and religious irredentist to attaining that office. Yet so far, these two sets of people have periodically attained the office of the President through the dubious political brokerage called indirect ‘Primaries’ and consensus candidacy whereby tons of naira change hands between the politicians, sponsored by select interest groups and cabals, away from the participation and approval of the Nigerian masses, who are supposed to be served by the system.
Another question is: what makes a political party? The answer is: People! The next, third question is: what was the political clout and status of the incumbent President in his former political parties before his last party, the CPC, has an understanding with the ACN to fuse together and contest the 2015 Presidential election as the APC? The answer is: Not much, especially from the point of view of his non popularity in some of the six geo-political zones in Nigeria.
Remember that the incumbent President has contested for the office of the President many times, losing in all contests before Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu touched him with his magic political ward. Let me repeat that personalities and people, make political party structures, because if not for the strategic political master stroke of Senator Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his long political train assembled in the last twenty years, the incumbent President would not have been in power today. We must give this to the Asiwaju, no matter whatever anybody feels about him. Never mind that the arrogant, self-effacing and proud Northern political leaders would not want to admit that Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu was the most important single factor that ensured the ascension of the incumbent President to that office .
My analysis here, therefore, is that in the same manner that the President rose to power having been ‘touched’ by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Mr. Peter Obi presently being ‘touched’ and massively supported by the vast majority of true Nigerian progressive politicians long relegated in the background, the organized Nigerian labour force long forgotten, and the now impatient, marginalized and more aggressive youths, will attain the office of the Nigerian President in 2023. This, though, is on the condition of what Economics calls ‘ceteris paribus’ (other things been equal). Based on this analysis, I warn that if the government or any of its agencies and agents artificially make those ‘other things’ unequal through electronic rigging and other electoral malpractices, Nigeria may see the type of social upheaval never ever witnessed in the country in 2023.
Very soon, many true progressive politicians in both the APC, the PDP and other less popular political parties will begin to pitch camp with the Labour Party. Let it be known that the people and political personalities determine the nature and spread of political party structure, and not the other way round. This is not hard to come by in Nigeria because of the long history of carpet-crossing amongst Nigeria politicians. The Labour Party will soon welcome so many of them.
Another question worthy of an answer here is: what is a better political structure than that founded and constituted with the anger and desperation of a people bonded in common woes? Your answer is as good as mine.
My advice for the realization of a new, prosperous Nigeria is that Nigerian youths should begin to effect a complete generational change of the political system by voting in candidates of the Labour Party from the Local Government Councils to the State Assemblies, the House of Representatives, and the Senate. Credible politicians who believe that they represent the future that Nigerian youth are yearning for should all present themselves and contest elections through the platform of the Labour Party.
Finally, I must let the readers of the Kaleidoscope Opinion Column to know that I have never registered to become a card-carrying member of any Nigerian political party in my life. My opinion has always dangled to meet the demand of my conscience and I have found out that my opinion has always coincided with the common aspirations of the majority of Nigerians, especially the marginalized masses.
The first time this ever happened was during the SDP (Social Democratic Party) and the NRC (National Republican Convention) of Chief M.K.O. Abiola and Alhaji Bashir Tofa, respectively. At that time, I did not hide my position as I do now. My position during that tough period in our national history was captured in the works I wrote which were published in the ‘Reflection’ Column of the Guardian on Sunday Newspaper when Mr. Kingsley Osadolar was the Editor. If I have, for about thirty years of my analysis and commentaries on the socio-political and economic affairs of Nigeria become Partisan once again in this discourse, I hereby tender my apology. Nobody will fault my opinion that things have become very bad in Nigeria now.
Nigerian youths must understand that time has changed. In our time, the patient dog ate the fattest bone, but nowadays in their time, the patient dog eats no bone. Freedom cometh by struggle.
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