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COLUMN/OPINION

2023: What Should Nigerians Expect?

Promise Adiele  –  Convener, Third Force Movement
British literary icon, Charles Dickens is one of the most famous writers of the Victorian era. His novel ‘Great Expectations’ ushers us into the interesting life of different characters with great expectations about life. One of them is Pip, an orphan whose great expectation is to become a wealthy gentleman and then marry his heartthrob Estella. It all sounds too familiar. To achieve his great expectation, Pip decides to improve himself socially, morally, and educationally. It is a personal decision motivated by self-accomplishment. Therefore his great expectation constitutes a galvanizing force to maximize his potential towards achieving his goals. In our individual and collective capacities, we all have expectations, and to achieve them, certain decisions must be made, lifestyles jettisoned, and habits cultivated. Everyone has great expectations. Countries have them, institutions, companies, men, women, and even children all have great expectations. Every human action is an enabler of one expectation or another, the popular great expectations.
In Nigeria, the idea of a change of government in 2023 is exciting. Nigerians expect that 2023 will arrive quickly for a change of government to happen. This legitimate expectation borders on urgency given the way our country continues to descend into the abyss of hopelessness. Highlighting the problems that beset Nigeria is a boring endeavour. It is of no use. We are aware of all the fissures which threaten our corporate existence daily. The chasm in the fabric of our body politic continues to widen in multiple dimensions. No one is happy except those who are benefitting one way or another from the general malaise in the country. It gets worse daily. There seems to be no solution. But towards 2023, what do we expect? What are we doing to achieve these expectations like Dicken’s Pip?
In our country, some people expect that in 2023 Muhammadu Buhari will complete his tenure as the president and hand over the baton of leadership to another president. It is confounding that amid all the dislocating realities and failure indices confronting the Nigerian state, some people are preparing to succeed Buhari in 2023. No problem. It is a valid aspiration to contest and win elections but it is also composite insensitivity for politicians to overlook the dire situations in the country while pursuing their inordinate political ambitions. In the slim circumstances that elections hold in 2023, what should Nigerians expect from these politicians, who, it is obvious, are out for personal gains? Those who want to occupy various political positions in 2023 should demonstrate their readiness by showing empathy towards the suffering, impoverished people of Nigeria. To keep quiet and look away while the country revel in a cesspool is to assure Nigerians that the Buhari nightmare will continue after 2023 and that is a dishonest attitude.
The failure of government at the centre and in all the states of Nigeria, except perhaps Lagos State, is an obvious indication that the government serves the people no purpose. What have those exercising power in the last six years done with it other than ensuring personal gain? Those who are preparing for 2023 should tell us in unambiguous terms, what they will do differently from the present socio-economic infirmities in the country. It is inconceivable that some politicians who are part of the present failure in the polity have the effrontery to aspire to contest elections in 2023. How does that sound? Idiotic and senseless or proper and logical, you decide. If aspiring politicians towards 2023 do not come up with something new, then there is a big question mark on 2023 elections because this failure, hardship, insecurity, sterile governance, and economic ignorance cannot continue. In 2023, do we expect an election to hold and same leaders continue recycling the old order of political patronage, clannishness, nepotism, insecurity, and economic backwardness? What should Nigerians expect in 2023?
Some people expect that after the 2023 elections, Nigeria will be restructured to reflect an equitable distribution of national resources in the country. If we expect that the country will be restructured, has any of the aspiring politicians come out boldly to assure Nigerians that his administration will restructure the country? If truth be told, it is obvious that restructuring Nigeria is the only symbolic political engineering that can ensure the continued existence of Nigeria as a country. If that is the case, let those who have their eyes on Aso Rock demonstrate mastery of restructuring and its implementation strategies. It is not enough to aspire to occupy Aso Rock but to lead over two hundred million people out of the present misery and anguish. We want to know how this will be achieved. The colossal mistake of 2015 must not be repeated. Will APC or PDP – two political parties of the same ancestors, only separated by nomenclature – restructure Nigeria? Is there a way that Nigerians can ensure that any politician that promises to restructure will keep to his words without summarily adorning the shameless garment of deception and failed promises as Buhari has done? Those who expect that Nigeria will be restructured have their works cut out for them.
Some Nigerians expect that the country would disintegrate and from the debris of disintegration, different countries will emerge. It is obvious that our country only exists in principles. Only the honest, brave, and bold can admit this reality. The subsisting power machinery has connived to fail to secure lives and properties. I am sure Buhari and his co-conspirators are aware that they have failed on this cardinal point. But what should be our collective great expectations in 2023? If we identify our great expectations towards 2023, how do we achieve them? I do not want to subscribe to the lame narrative that the people are powerless, therefore stripped of all forms of willpower to affect a change in their country. No, the people are not and cannot be helpless unless they want to be so. Boko Haram is controlling parts of Northern Nigeria as we speak. IPOB is in charge of the South-East of Nigeria, yet we delude ourselves that Nigeria exists with all eyes set on 2023. Should we expect to disintegrate in 2023 and go our separate ways or elect a new occupant at Aso Rock to continue to advance the present nightmare or restructure the country?
The omens are sinister in Nigeria. The Southern governors are insisting that power must return to the South. The Northern governors are also insisting that power must remain in the North. What then should Nigerians expect? Will the country disintegrate if both regions insist on keeping power? What exactly will happen if the Southern governors and Northern governors do not agree on power-sharing? It has been reported that the South-East governors have said that they will declare Biafra if the president does not come from the South-East. Northern governors have also asserted that power will remain in the North for many years, branding power rotation as unconstitutional. This sounds like an impasse, a predictable cul-de-sac.  What then should Nigerians expect come 2023? Should we get ready to separate or shall we continue to live and exist as one country? Will the South-East give up their aspiration to produce the next occupant of Aso Rock? Will the North concede and relinquish power? Will the South-South and South-West all insist to occupy Aso Rock in 2023? Something must indeed happen in 2023. What do we expect?
Quite intriguingly, in the face of all the anomalies besetting Nigeria, all the aspiring politicians towards 2023 have remained ominously quiet. Nigerians expect them to give a blueprint that will deliver the country from the throes of inflation and economic strangulation. Nigerians expect these politicians to give an opinion about the daily butchery of lives in the country perpetrated by terrorists of all hues. Nigerians expect these politicians to tell us what to expect if they successfully ascend the throne of power in 2023. We must expect something from someone who wants to become the next president of Nigeria. The mistakes of the past must not be repeated. All Nigerians should speak up. To keep quiet and play safely while the country is enervated by evil is to be complicit in the doom that daily overwhelms the country. Posterity is a merciless creditor.
Promise Adiele PhD
Promee01@yahoo.com
Daily Times Nigeria
6th October 2021

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