The 2023 presidential poll in Nigeria promises to be an interesting electoral contest featuring giants and lilliputians. Giants like the PDP’s Atiku Abubakar and APC’s Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. And lilliputians like the Ebonyi state Governor, Dave Umahi, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, ex-Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim and a host of other undeclared candidates. Since President Muhammadu Buhari would not be participating in the poll (having served out his second uneventful tenure) the race would be crowded. Yet, in the end what matters most is our collective ability to use our voters cards to usher in a real change. Not the one Buhari promised us and reneged on.

After flying the Goodluck Jonathan presidential kite the northern power mongers appear to be settling for the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, as the possible ‘consensus’ candidate. The cabal are desperate to put forward someone they could manipulate. In Asiwaju Tinubu they seem to be afraid of what he can do once he takes up residence in the Villa. The ‘bullion-van’ diplomacy seems not to be working for the so-called National Leader of the ruling party.

The 2023 presidential poll promises to be a free and fair election if the President dutifully assents to the electoral bill that seeks to reform our electoral system technologically. For once we must get it right electorally post-Buharism.

The electoral amendment bill, though presently rejected by the President on some understandable grounds, if eventually passed into law with minor amendment by the legislative arm of government, would free our chaotic electoral system of rigging, manipulation and godfatherism. The losers would no longer be announced scandalously as winners and the winners losers!

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party stands a good chance of wresting power from the misruling All Progressives Congress. Given Buhari’s abysmally poor stewardship it will be very difficult to ‘sell’ another potential failure to Nigerians come 2023. Unlike 2015 when the then President, Goodluck Jonathan, was generally perceived to be inept and corruption-friendly coupled with mounting security challenges 2023 would see opposition professional politicians campaigning on Buhari’s many failures.

They would definitely tell Nigerians how the retired General promised ‘change’ but ended up ‘changing’ Nigeria for the worse. Of course ‘change’ did happen but in the fortunes of his many kinsmen, Fulani freeloaders and upstarts. Many found prosperity by keying into Buharism and its well-known policy of sectionalism, religious favouritism and ethnic bigotry.

Way back in 2015 Buhari had promised economic revitalization but we ended up with recessions, steady devaluation of the Naira and massive unemployment. Under his watch poverty elected Nigeria as the capital of the world dethroning India to that effect! He closed land borders for years thereby depriving many of their sources of livelihood. He banned Twitter thereby creating more unemployment and reducing Nigeria to a stone age.

Buhari had promised to end the ubiquitous insecurity threatening the terrritorial integrity of the nation. But years down the line Boko Haram and other affiliate terrorism networks are becoming much stronger militarily taking some Local Government Areas in Borno State. Thousands, including military personnel, had been butchered up north! Yet Buhari and his media handlers keep insisting that the organized terror groups had been ‘technically’ defeated! 

When you add the Fulani herdsmen invasion of lands that did not belong to them, sacking, killing, extorting, raping and maiming original owners to the complicated mix of insecurity with arrested development a state cannot but be described aptly as a failed one.

But insecurity is more than Boko Haram and the exploits of the Fulani herding criminals. Along the highways you have these professional kidnappers and armed robbers operating freely without any challenge. And in the South-East the ‘unknown gunmen’ phenomenon is starring us all menacingly in the face. Nowhere is safe anymore, not even in Buhari’s Katsina state.

That is how low we have sunken as a nation. Given the dangerous demoralising prevailing atmosphere, therefore, 2023 comes as that crucial time in our tortured national political history when we, the people, must decide to do the needful electorally towards making Nigeria work for everyone of us. We must get our acts right! We must stand up, united as one people persecuted and dispossessed, to say a big no to the continued political savagery being unleashed on us by a corrupt unpatriotic elite.

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a controversial political figure in Nigeria. He has a lot of baggages following him anywhere he goes. His stewardship in Lagos as Governor; tales of grafts post-governorship; his health profile; his origins, his academic credentials. Even his name is surrounded with controversy! Such a man must not be entrusted with enormous power as the President of the country no matter his strenght or mobilization capabilities.

Asiwaju Tinubu had insinuated, after informing President Buhari about his life-long ambition to become our President, that he was a ‘kingmaker’ who should now be crowned the ‘king’! Well, in Lagos, yes, he could be right because decades after leaving the Alausa, Ikeja Government House as Governor for eight eventful years Tinubu has played a major role of a godfather, deciding single-handedly who got what including who got elected as Governor of Lagos State. 

But nationally, no. Tinubu cannot claim to be a national ‘kingmaker’ even though we concede that he played a significant role in the emergence of Buhari as President in 2015. That ‘mistake’ is still haunting him till today. But he chose to ignore it trying hard to appease the Fulani cabal hell-bent on seeing him disgraced and forced into retirement.

If Nigeria were to be the rich state of aquatic splendour, Lagos State, alone then Tinubu could slumber away and be ‘coronated’ as President come 2023. No Akinwumi Ambode or Bode George could do anything about that! But in the turbulent Nigerian national politics fraught with murkiness and pettiness Tinubu cannot lay any claim to commanding any respect or popularity across the federation. 

He is seen generally as an old corrupt sick man unable to bring anything new to the table in terms of solution to the Nigerian politico-social, economic developmental drama. Besides, after tolerating and enduring Buhari as President with his frequent medical tourisms to London it is inconceivable welcoming another President whose health status is not only shrouded in mystery but one closer to the grave.

Asiwaju has a lot of questions to answer or issues to clarify. What is his real names? Is it Bola Ahmed Tinubu or Amoda Lamidi Sangodele? What is his real age? What ailment is he suffering from? How much millions or billions did he loot while governing Lagos State? Where and when exactly did he graduate? Or better still, from which University did he graduate? Who and who are his classmates?

The Tinubu presidency cannot be qualified, therefore, as what Nigeria needs after the Buharian presidential pestilence. What we need is a complete change, a new pair of capable hands dedicated to the cause of Nigeria. Anything less would see our suffering multiple.

This self-styled kingmaker cannot be king in our generation. Hell no!

SOC Okenwa

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