By Abiodun KOMOLAFE
Barring unforeseen circumstances, Nigeria’s presidential election will be held on February 25, 2023. So, as the D-day nears us by the eyelids, we are akin to focusing on the grand agenda of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in producing Nigeria’s next president and plausible threats to Bola Tinubu’s ultimate ambition in politics. Obviously, APC covets support from all the geo-political and ethno-religious divides, just like any other political party with a determination to coast home to victory in an election. But, as the popular saying goes, ‘charity begins at home.’
For Tinubu, the Southwest is his domicile political zone while the Yoruba nation is his ethno-religious base. With regard to the forthcoming election, one major problem that’s likely to threaten the presidential prospect of the former governor of Lagos State is the divergence in the loci of power in the Yoruba nation. Sincerely, never in history has the Yoruba nation been divided about a cause that’s supposed to be homogenous; a cause that’s supposed to be a one-for-all agenda in structure and texture.
Of a fact, Tinubu is not just representing the APC but also the Yoruba race! Nevertheless, the prevalence of multiple loci of power and influence centres such as ‘Afenifere’ and ‘Igbimo Agba Yoruba’ and ‘Afenifere Renewal Group’ (ARG), none of which is speaking with one voice, is a formidable problem; and the most noticeable of this vote-splitting catalyst is the Ayo Adebanjo version of antagonism. Only recently, Adebanjo did not only urge Nigerians not to vote for Tinubu but also made an assertion that the “Northerners won’t vote for him”; which therefore means that the APC flag-bearer should go back to the drawing board.
Since politics is a game of number, if what the Afenifere leader is saying holds water, then genuinely, that’s dangerous! Besides, if, indeed, the North wants to play a game with the South, then, the latter has actually played into the hands of the former because, once the North activates the non-negotiability motto of ‘One North, One People’, then, that may affect the complexion of ’BATified.’ Unfortunately, the people back home, where Tinubu is supposed to garner bulk votes, are not speaking with one voice. If not well-managed therefore, this may be a terrible principality against a worthy dream. Without doubt, until there’s a supervised census that comes with true figures, Nigeria will always have a long way to go!
“Poverty is weaponized and greed is ubiquitously pervasive in Nigeria. For most people, politics is just to secure the means of livelihood, not to develop a neighbourhood, community or country. That’s why, by the time a man who goes into politics wearing a pair of bathroom slippers is given a N26 million car with other perks of political office to boot, he moves on!”
The other threat has to do with the people currently milking the resources of Nigeria with crass insensitivity. As we know, Tinubu is a guru when it comes to Public Finance; and he knows what to do to make Nigeria work! But let it be known that those who are currently sucking her blood will not want to give in so easily. No! They will stop at nothing, even if it involves bringing in external forces! Interestingly, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is in their hands; and they control the transportation system!
Tragically, too, recent events have shown that a moving train can be stopped and its passengers kidnapped for ransom! Needless to repeat that the terrorism, banditry and others currently doubling Nigeria’s troubles may also not be unconnected with calculated attempts to ensure that things are not easy for Nigeria’s handlers. Indeed, that’s how retrogressive Nigeria has become! Except one wants to be economical with the truth, respite is after the elections; and it depends on the outcome of the elections!
Another serious problem is yellow journalism, vis-à-vis misinformation. If not competently controlled, this problem may not only be for the forthcoming elections but also the dismemberment of the Nigerian society. If not properly handled, it is a chaotic problem that may set the country ablaze. As things stand, the newspaper industry is ailing. Thus, it cannot afford to hire the best of hands to run its affairs. So, it compromises on almost everything. The social media have taken over but, unfortunately, their contents are not verifiable; and sources may not be determined in time. Impliedly, the menace of social media may decapitate the gains of democracy, if left unchecked.
The effectiveness of the security profile in Nigeria, before, during and after the elections, is also key; for it will determine everything! Again, that may threaten Tinubu’s prospect as Nigeria’s next president, if not well-managed! For instance, if a grenade is thrown in Kaduna, and another in Daura, the perpetrators may not need to come to Ijebu-Jesa, my Native Nazareth, before the message is taken.
After all, the Bimodal Voter Authentication System (BVAS) cannot accredit a ghost town or an empty space! Once that happens, our brethren from the other side may come up with reprehensibly fictitious figures. And, if the BVAS reports are able to dance to the melodious tunes of Form EC8A, then, that will be the ‘end of story!’
The functional capacity of the country’s infrastructure is another major challenge. For example, should the national grid misbehave on the day of the election, thereby throwing the country into darkness, then, Nigeria will be a tale too horrible to tell!
One other important problem that the people don’t take seriously is the measure of the political will of the powers-that-be to see the election through; and anyone who takes this important factor for granted may find himself or herself to blame.
Talking seriously, it behooves the political will of the man in power to make sure that the election sails through. If he doesn’t, no matter the pretence and/or the abracadabra in governance, nothing is secured! For instance, if, behind the scene, President Muhammadu Buhari refuses to hand over power, nothing can be done!
Lastly, that poverty is weaponized and greed is ubiquitously pervasive in Nigeria is no longer news! Therefore, public administration cannot but be problematic! For most people, politics is just to secure the means of livelihood, not to develop a neighbourhood, community or country. That’s why, by the time a man who goes into politics wearing a pair of bathroom slippers is given a N26 million car with other perks of political office to boot, he moves on! So, thousands of other guys are waiting for the next term, when they, too, will have to fight for public office.
According to a Yoruba adage, ‘Aja to yo kii ba aiyo s’ere!’ (A well-fed dog does not relate with a hungry one). Undeniably, poverty in Nigeria has created a pool of both the unemployed and the unemployable; and the hope of getting even “crumbs which fall from their masters’ table” can keep some people perpetually attached to the powers-that-be, whether they have steady incomes or not. Added to this is that politicians in this part of the world are the most difficult people to deal with. Why? They forget their associates and followers easily! This is demoralizing! It’s also a disgrace!
Therefore, since a hungry man is an angry man, a situation whereby politicians are being used and managed as factory workers shouldn’t be encouraged. A factory worker holds allegiance to a particular factory, because that’s where he or she works. He reports there, as directed; and gets paid for work done at the end of the month. The salary is meant to make him stay alive as well as maintain his or her family. On the contrary, a political foot soldier is a freelance worker without a root; which makes him or her very fragile and dangerous, because he or she switches allegiance at the slightest provocation!
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!
*Komolafe wrote in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria ([email protected])