The question of who to vote for as the 2023 general elections draw close is a personal decision as well as a collective one. Nigeria is at crossroads and the sum total of personal decisions will have consequences for all — good or bad.
So far, our political scene has been serving us weekly drama, with the whining of Wike as background music. One of the major differences between this present build-up to the elections with previous ones in Nigeria’s 23 years of uninterrupted democracy is the fact that the presidential candidacy has moved from a two-party tussle to a 3 (or dare I say 4) party tussle. A lot more occurrences clearly indicate it isn’t business as usual.
Nigeria is estimated to have the largest youth population in Africa. It has a median age of 18.1 years, about 70 per cent of the population are under 30, and 42 per cent are under the age of 15. The people that make up this population are currently impacting (directly and indirectly) the political landscape of the nation because of a dwindling economy and future prospects.
This week, the trending drama/scandal was the Federal Government of Nigeria confirming that it purchased vehicles worth N1.2bn to help Niger tackle insecurity. According to the Minister of finance, budget and national planning, Zainab Ahmed, President Buhari has the right to make his own assessment of situations and give directives accordingly. It is, therefore, safe to say that the President, having assessed the state of a ‘broke’ Nigeria and the incessant insecurity across the country, saw it necessary to give that directive.
This didn’t move my shock meter considering that the President, who is governing a country plagued with a high level of insecurity, comfortably delivered a lecture on how to tackle insecurity in Liberia.
Today, August 5, 2022, marks 172 days since the Academic Staff Union of Universities embarked on an industrial action. Five days ago, doctors under the aegis of the National Association of Resident Doctors threatened to commence a strike if the government fails to meet their demands.
These demands include the immediate implementation and payment of the new hazard allowance and arrears among other things.
Also, kidnapping is now a lucrative business in Nigeria whereby some have sarcastically encouraged the federal government to not omit the sector when calculating our GDP for 2022. Recently, The PUNCH reported that Nigeria’s budget deficit has risen to at least N30.58tn within the last seven years.
I won’t bore you with the numbers, but experts say Nigeria is spending way more than it can raise and it is not spending on infrastructure.
Our President’s actions and inactions, to some extent, speak to the school of thought that we deserve the leaders we have as we are all cut from the same cloth.
We have a culture of being quick to offer advice to others on how to solve a problem we are yet to figure out in our homes, we want to fake it till we make it thereby spending much more than we earn, “cut your coat according to your size is an adage we grew up reciting but never adhering to… we must buga and ensure that we are seen (even when there is nothing to be seen) so we borrow money to fund a wedding we can never afford.
Our indiscipline and lack of accountability reflect on how we view leadership at all levels. We rather want to be seen to be getting the job done than actually getting it done. Yet we hide behind the facade of respect and loyalty as we sink the ‘Nigerian ship’.
As you make your decision with regards to who to vote for in the coming election, empowered with the understanding that Nigeria will not be miraculously fixed by the next president, we must realise that it is important we vote for leaders with the capacity to chart a new direction for the nation and be ready to hold them accountable.
The job of fixing this nation is a collective duty. We as civilians must be ready to ask the right questions and be willing to swallow the uncomfortable pill of truth. We must also, individually, acknowledge our shortcomings and make a commitment to do better.
We are all responsible for this nation’s failure. We must all take responsibility for its success too.
I leave you this Friday with the words of Donald Duke in an interview with Felicity Ezewuike from three years ago for Plus TV Africa:
“It’s a very stupid statement to say that I am going to vote for someone I know will be a disaster, but I think he will win…People who think that way are stupid and deserve what they get.”
Image source – Lifehack