The permutations and projections regarding the 2023 general elections may not be in full swing yet, but there’s no doubt that they have kicked off. And as new presidential candidates emerge, the dynamics will change gears and reach a crescendo. It will be an encore—we have seen it happen every time an election season approaches—especially one where a sitting president will be ineligible to contest. A common denominator we can expect as a response from these presidential hopefuls on why they aspire to the apex post in the land is love for the country. They will swear they love and are passionate about the Nigerian project and their hearts bleed for the giant that is content with living as a dwarf.
The month of February is synonymous with love and I cannot forget how proponents of Buhari’s presidency spun it in favour of the then-presidential candidate during the 2015 electioneering. As our politicians are inclined to do, this strategy will be repeated thIs February and the next.
Like a guy hoping to woo his love interest, candidates, through their foot-soldiers, will profess their love for Nigeria and the electorate. They will hinge their interest on the burning desire to see a drastic change that represents a far departure from the current situation and proceed to ‘prove’ their love for the ordinary man with naira notes and photo-ops at the corn seller’s stand.
Thankfully, history has since taught us to believe them at great personal risk.
As soon as they clinch the coveted role they seek, they’ll become unreachable…aloof even, and we’ll be back where we were—fasting and ‘raising altars’ for a turnaround in fortunes.
Did I hear you mutter ‘God forbid’?
I have tried to be optimistic also but nothing about the 2023 elections inspires hope at the moment. Already, the mudslinging has begun and if events of the past years are anything to go by, things will likely get murkier as the days evolve into months.
The prevailing fuel scarcity has also left me jaded, and this happens all the time. My frustration with the Nigerian State renews once I sight long queues and a thriving black market for Premium Motor Spirit especially because I am well aware that nobody will be held accountable for the situation.
This time around, the circumstances are not just shameful, they are sinister—we have adulterated fuel in circulation which has cost some car users the loss of their engines and has thrown the rest of us into a stressful state—yet none of the officials in charge has been sanctioned for the glaring incompetence or sabotage.
Away from lamenting, I have thought long and hard about how to ignite some optimism within myself because…really, what does worry and anger achieve? So I am banking on serendipity.
I know…I know. It’s wishful thinking to think that one would happen upon something pleasant or valuable by chance.
The ideal, age-long proven method is to take deliberate steps towards making stuff happen. However, this is a lot easier to achieve when you are taking lone decisions or working in collaboration with similar folks who share the same ideology as you.
When your train of thought regarding who should lead a challenge-plagued nation has to align with that of at least two-thirds of the population, then you can only hope for the best and resign to fate if things do not go your way. And in a heterogeneous place their Nigeria, the odds that your choice which is propelled by a genuine desire to see true change occur in the way the affairs of the country is run will correspond with millions of others is quite slim, to put it mildly.
And that’s why I am hoping that by some stroke of luck or interplay of the universe, whoever will take up the mantle of leading this country in 2023 will turn out to be a pleasant surprise. Someone whose conscience will play an active role in the choices he makes. Even though the optics are pointing in the direction of one of the old guards who represent all the misfortune and travails Nigerians needlessly go through will emerge the chosen one, I am suppressing my pessimism by attempting to force myself to believe that whoever emerges president turns out to be a serendipitous choice.
That in spite of their septuagenarian years or predilection for corruption, they’ll elect to do right by the people this one time.
It’s a far-fetched possibility but I’ll rather reason along those lines than be bereft of hope.
They say hope is the last thing to leave a man; I am not ready to have that happen to me.