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2023 general elections and the cloud of uncertainties in Nigeria


On your marks, get set, ready, go is the sound reverberating across the nooks and crannies of Nigeria at the moment.

The creatures of the air, the species in the bush, and those habited in waters are in full awareness that Nigerians have a date with destiny in 2023.

As activities preparatory to the general election are getting heightened, the clouds are gathering heavily signaling that the much-anticipated rain surely will not fail. Ceteris paribus, in almost six months’ time, Nigerians will welcome the rain.

But the questions keep coming – how peaceful, beneficial, torrential, acidic, or devastating will the rain be? Will it be peaceful but strong enough to sweep away terrorism, banditry, kidnapping for ransom, and other violent crimes? Will the accompanying flood be able to uproot unemployment, economic hardship, biting inflation, bad leadership, docile citizenship, and other unpleasant national statistics? Will it be able to erode religious intolerance, rivalry, and bigotry as well as ethnic superiority/inferiority?

Will the rain produce a new crop of selfless, law-abiding and people-oriented leaders, who will not only respect Nigerians as their employers but also patriotically steer the nation away from political perdition and economic precipice? Will the rain bring the wetness that will end the dryness which had hitherto denied Nigerians equitable flow of the milk and honey the nation is blessed with?

Or will it be so weak to spare the bad eggs, who had diverted our commonwealth and patrimony into their private pockets and deliberately impoverished the citizenry and render them perpetually dependent on the crumbs from their benevolent tables? They hold the nation in the jugular with the two most potent weapons of religion and ethnicity. Will the 2023 rain be an episode that will uproot despair and helplessness, poverty and starvation, greed and ethnocentricism?

Will it come with the needed potency to launder our battered international image and perception? Will it be able to restore the lost prestige, honour, and pride to the green card? Will 2023 rekindle hope in our dear fatherland and put a total end to the dangerous drift that is fast portraying us as a failed state?

2023 looks good to present the most interesting electioneering experience Nigerians have seen since the beginning of the current democratic dispensation in 1999.

That given, we must not all be lost in the frenzy of the election to forget about realities around us, which are expected to shape our shared destiny beyond 2023.

Yes, commendable as the euphoria trailing the great political awakening going on across the country, particularly from the young population, we must not lose sight of the dangers of mismanaging the 2023 general election.

Nigerians, irrespective of political affiliations and ethnoreligious biases, must be wary of the shenanigans of the political elites, who most often think about the next election and think less about governance.

We must not allow their inordinate, unbridled ambitions to drive us into a disastrous situation, likely to put the last nail in the coffin of disunity.

We must for once bear true allegiance to the spirit of Nigeria and deliberately divorce our ethnic and religious attachments.

We cannot afford the colossal cost of political correctness, which if allowed to blur our sense of judgment, will leave us with a leader (president) unfit for the 21st century.

To get the best out of the ongoing electioneering, *Nigerians must spare thoughts about the nation they want to see when the elections are over.* 

We must keep the atmosphere everywhere reasonably peaceful for the elections to hold.

The duty to keep the peace is primarily for the government but secondarily a collective responsibility of every citizen.

The incumbency remains on Nigerians to set the tone for the season. *The 2023 elections will come and pass but the realities on their trail should not only engage our attention but must guide our actions and inactions now.* 

Whether people of the broom or of the umbrella, whether “atikulated”, “batified” or “obidient, the necessity of nursing the fragile national peace must mingle down in our sub-consciousness. No argumentation, no debate, no controversy, the year, 2023, will be memorable history in Nigeria. *Our sincerity or otherwise to stay together as one indivisible entity will be sorely tested.* Our readiness to accommodate the interests of others in the spirit of equity, fairness and egalitarianism will be called to question.

Our collective ability to rise above primordial, petty ethnic, religious and sectional considerations will be seriously queried. 2023 presents a good platform for us as a people to prove beyond words, our sensitivity to the stack undeniable realities across ethnic nationalities in terms of distribution of collective wealth. We shall have to prove beyond doubt that Nigeria indeed in our collective patrimony and no one, no matter his or her location within this geographical entity, must be short-changed in the distribution of our shared national riches.

What becomes of Nigeria after 2023? Will there be Nigeria post 2023 presidential election? *Will the chord of unity now at its elastic limit, cut or remain?* Will the presidential election mark a positive turn around for Nigeria in all ramifications? Will it plunge us the more into the abyss of parochial politics, economic hopelessness and political uncertainty?

With wide-spread economic frustrations, endemic insecurity, unprecedented hunger, starvation and general state of despair, there are doubts in some quarters about the likelihood of holding the 2023 polls. However, several other Nigerians have warned that the consequences of failure are graver than the current challenges. In other words, nothing should stop or truncate the transition process.

 *A country at cross road with none of the available options totally safe, our shared resolve to reverse the dangerous trends and salvage our collective destiny is the only secret of success.*


As the Igbo proverb says *“echi di ime”,* the days, weeks and months ahead are indeed pregnant.

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