2023 Elections: As Campaigns Begins, What Future for Nigeria?


By Ambrose Imoga, writing from Abuja.

As the campaigns for next year’s general elections heats up, it is better, at this time, to ask the leading contenders what plans they have for Nigerians, because the damage they inflicted in the past are evident –quite extensive—and telling on the very survival of the nation:  large army of shabby looking okada riders and  keke Nape operators, pot holed roads, abandoned structures, kidnapping and terrorism and worse still—dwindling financial fortunes. That the nation is now regarded as the poverty capital of the world is no fluke; every aspect of the society has been destroyed—left helpless; it is the same set of recycled politicians.

They wouldn’t leave, but time always catches up with them—before they know it.  No sooner they “smuggle” themselves into offices, than they turn their backs against those who voted them; the nation cannot tolerate a repeat; it is therefore pertinent to ask the right questions.  Nigerians have endured too much hardship and they know it; if a repeat is allowed with all the painful struggle for survival—the large army of stark illiterates building up in the name of okada riders —a menace to other road users. They would be wary of being dribbled this time around. So to avoid a showdown which is imminent, the demand for   campaigners to put their cards on the table should be taken seriously—it is the right thing to do. It is inhuman to be displaying empty manifestoes to a people who have been deceived over and over; the Buhari experience is a pill too bitter to swallow.

He came with something akin to seven-point agenda but ended up with a surprise reverse– implementing “lopsided” appointments and installing those “he trusted” into vantage positions; he showed complete disdain to everyone but himself—and his household. How do you explain a democratic president using the same set of ministers for the duration of his 8 years’ tenure despite their woeful performance? In FCT for example, the minister not only went AWOL, his performance left everyone in shock. Now, angry and frustrated, valiant Nigerians are determined to push their way through! They have their PVC’s. Next is to guide it selfishly. They must be protective of their future; they now know that politicians care less about them—or their future.

This must not happen anymore.  “I expect to see concrete plans for development”, said one Chinedu Maduka, an Abuja based architect, and not the empty manifestoes politicians usually parade. Chinedu’s fears are real. So far, only brilliant artistic paperwork shows what they have as manifestoes. “People want to vote for posterity; they want change, that’s why they are rushing for their PVC’s”, he says.  Chinedu believes that the current set of politicians are self-serving, non-committal and vain and if allowed to return would punish Nigerians like hell. “I don’t want to receive bags of beans and rice this time; I want good roads, functional system”, Chinedu explained.

For now, money politics and ethno-religious gambit seems to be the fad, it would be a miracle to convince the actors to shift from that mindset. “they think money will get them in”, added one Felix Obuah, an artisan also living in Abuja. “I only hope Nigerians will not sell their conscience this time”, he said. Well, with the ongoing sensitization about voter’s registration, there might just be a silver lining on the way. Yet, one of the biggest obstacles remains the influence of godfatherism. This is the only stumbling block confronting free and fair elections. To them, idealism or real ideology plays no part. And if nothing has been learnt from the abysmal performance of the APC government, then the stage is set to move from frying pan to fire!

Potentially, this is the picture that awaits any wrong decision taken from now. “It is frightening, but if the sixteen years of PDP disastrous rule does not reel Nigerians, then, nothing else will” admits Victor Kolo, a practicing lawyer in Abuja.  Buhari’s 8 years is an added fire that has left Nigerians gasping for breath. Both PDP and the APC promised Nigerians good life as well as economic advancement of sort; but at the end, they left Nigerians crippled, rapped and dumped, with hunger, starvation and flattened economy! So who are these new politicians on the beat? The same old set! Phew! “These are greedy, selfish, visionless leaders”, said Mr. Sam Hembe, a supermarket owner. He blasted them for being too full of themselves and out of touch with reality. “How can the APC parade same religion ticket and hope to win”, he asked, visibly angry.

Yet, their campaign lists have been padded to accommodate friends, associates, colleagues, girlfriends and wives!” Iyorcha Ayu of the PDP on the other hand cannot step down from his chairmanship position for the sake of unity and patriotism.  His party may go to blazes so far as his position is intact! “They say it is family affair with five governors already out; that’s how they messed Jonathan and now is their turn”, said Mr. Sam. What is obvious however is lack of total commitment; Nigerians don’t deserve further problems.  “We need people who can do the job, build overhead bridges, skyscrapers, infrastructures”, said another fellow conversant with this discussion. His regrets the absence of genuine leadership. “We are more than 200 million Nigerians, yet a few are in control of our resources”, he said.

What do you expect? The pay-off is huge and the benefits endless. “That’s why they struggle tooth and nail to grab power”, the fellow stated.  Be that as it may, 2023 should be about transformational politics. With alarming population rise, adequate measures should be put in place to prevent adverse results. Already the dearth of infrastructure is affecting motorists causing gridlocks and traffic snarls. “We can’t afford to continue this path” said Mr. Kenneth Okoh, also an Abuja based consultant. “We need to get serious”, he added stressing that otherwise we will lose it. The future of the nation should be of concern to every peace loving Nigerian.