2023: Nigeria Needs All Now

2023: Nigeria Needs All Now

As a nation, we are going through grueling times and how the crop of today’s leadership will weather the storm to determine how much we can redeem our lost glory.

In 1993 when Moshood Kashimawo Abiola of the blessed memory and the then leading light of the then Social Democratic Party, SDP, made a historic episode in our national democratic history, not many thought he was going to sail with his populist agenda. He jettisoned long-held dispositions where there must be a balance between the various ethnic and religious dispersions that have made us more polarised than united. His running mate in that election of June 12, 1992 was a Muslim from the North East.

The appeal of the duo was endearing and unrivalled in the political history of a country which hitherto had been bedeviled by several unmitigated crises bordering on mutual distrust, religious rifts and ethnic discord.

It was then a historic scenario which flavoured our polity with a fresh brand of democratic nuance with the feat that they were almost coasting to victory before the military at the time truncated the golden opportunity that would have written a fresh chapter in our political trajectory.

Nearly 23 years on, it is disheartening that we are yet to move out of the cocoon of religion and ethnicity- the twain discordant elements that have polarised our country. After the Abiola political odyssey, not again have we experienced a better election that was devoid of ethnic and religious colouration at that level of contest.

One of our leading political parties, the ruling All progressives Congress, APC, is in a quagmire over a choice of a running mate, worried that pairing a Muslim northern personage with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu would affect its chances at the presidential polls in 2023. We are not bothered that some Nigerians are expressing reasonable caution on the need to balance the ethnic and religious divides that have serially distorted our political space; there is the need to put national interest ahead of primordial sentiments which have further deepened our polarity.

We hold that as a cluster of nationalities based on the colonial experience since 1914 when the British amalgamated the southern and the northern protectorate, to forge this entity called now so called Nigeria, we must embrace our diversity as a basis for our strength. There are interests who foster sectional affiliations, favouring multi-religious and ethnic divisions, but we must caution that these sentiments are more worrisome for our corporate existence.

While it is difficult to isolate sections interested in isolating themselves from the Nigerian project we keep counseling that their aspirations should not mitigate the corporate existence of others who think they can still live together. Agitations for plausible acceptance and recognition within the Nigerian project are legitimate but must not cross the borders of allowed by legal parameters, especially as endorsed by international conventions.

In the current dispensation, it is worrisome that the two major political parties, the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have elevated their status to the level of undue adulation, thinking they hold the ace to make governance happen from 2023. We are quick to caution them that age and size are not yardsticks for measuring success. They must convince Nigerians that their combined leadership since 1999 has made any difference for the people.

It is a moment they must spread out their scorecards in a broadsheet so as to ensure that the electorate would be free in making a choice devoid of undue coercion or interference. It is also a wake-up call for other political parties to sell their manifestoes notwithstanding that they may be under pressure from their disadvantaged position of paucity of electioneering funding.

Nigerians may soon be wiser by looking beyond political parties to individuals who they consider can deliver the goods.      

AljazirahNigeria urges all stakeholders to be cautious of the need to enable an environment where all stakeholders would have their way by a participatory process devoid of manipulation. Democracy is everybody’s heritage and by that we stand. 


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