Present day Nigeria is undoubtedly hanging on an economic and fiscal cliff. Nigeria is profusely bleeding from gross ineptitude, gargantuan malfeasance and granite corruption. The nation is fast collapsing on all fronts as no sector is exempted from this unprecedented failure of leadership.

As a corollary of this avoidable development in the polity, Nigerians have become weary, disillusioned and distraught about the state of affairs in their country. The entire nation is enveloped with angst.

Beside the political class, some entrepreneurs and genuine self-made compatriots, the broad mass of Nigerians are now choked with the reality of how to eke out a living in the midst of spiraling inflation and bad governance.

The general and presidential elections 2023 is just a few months away, but the political utterances and submissions from some of the presidential candidates posit that the candidates are not in sync with the devastating economic and social realities in the country.

It would certainly not be out of place if any well-meaning Nigerian submits that the two main presidential candidates, Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar are merely on an ego trip and insatiably consumed by uncontrolled ambitions. Most shocking is the slew of indifference from the Buhari-led government. The government appears unperturbed and clueless on how to rescue the country from collapse.

The two men are not speaking directly to issues affecting the nation. Although we are not sure of what Peter Obi brings to the table, but he has been able to evince perspicacity on ways of dealing with Nigeria’s problems. His deposition to nationalism is clear as he has shown preference for addressing issues rather than taking the narrow precinct of self-idolatry.

This positive observation of Mr. Obi should not be seen as any attempt to up his approval rating.

Nigeria is today burdened by a panoply of self-inflicted problems which are informed by vested interests and lack of requisite competence. The Buhari-led Federal Government over the years had been economical with the truth often engaging in prevarication spins to hide the inadequacies of the president and his team.

The government has treated transparency as an anathema which has drawn the flaks of Nigerians who have summarily withdrawn their trust from the government it hailed in 2015.

The actions and inactions of President Buhari has bifurcated the nation along partisan, ethnic and religious lines. Never before have Nigerians been so divided. Absolutely nothing is working in the country. The health sector is near comatose, public universities are under lock and key while the national grid has collapsed over five times this year.

The security architecture under Buhari has irretrievably broken down. The bandits in Nigeria today are emboldened and deadlier. These purveyors of terrorism and cruelty have thrown obscenities that continue to engender opprobrium and hopelessness.

Nigerian indeed stinks. The putrid odour is suffocating the people and many believe the situation is emasculating the soul of the state and soon the nation might fold up.

The APC government has wrought on Nigerians a life of penury and absolute hardship. With this grim reality, Nigerians are asking, can Tinubu rescue Nigeria from the abyss? Does Atiku have the magic wand to turn around the fortunes of a potentially rich nation that has been torn to shreds by his class of leaders. is Obi a clear departure from the inept, venal and self-centred nature of past and present political leaders?

From our end, we are convinced that the governance system is “skewed to bad governance and failure. Unless the system is rejuvenated and restructured, any president emerging from the 2023 elections would only be a sad continuation of the governance malady plaguing the nation.

As a matter of urgency, Nigeria should begin a process of restructuring the country and tinkering with the constitution; a constitution that has been the precursor of the legion of woes in the polity.

Neither of the trio, (Atiku, Tinubu and Obi can invoke any meaningful change in the governance system, if any of them emerges president. Going by his antecedents, I doubt whether Tinubu would be inclined to push for restructuring in the country as it might amount to reducing the imperialism fraught in the Nigeria presidency, which the current constitution avails the chief executive of Nigeria.

Tinubu has this larger than life posture and certainly romances the imperial presidency and would never subscribe to any system that might ultimately negate his over-bloated ego, which a true federal system will do. He is not likely to move against a system that promotes political and economic patronage.

Of course, the APC presidential flag bearer would not go against a system that protects the untouchables in the polity. The Jagaban would certainly not be comfortable with a system that would transfer enormous powers to the federating units while the almighty presidency becomes less powerful and unattractive.

Mr. Atiku would be no different as he is properly schooled in a governance system that has brought Nigeria to its knees. Earnestly, It is the frailty of the system which encourages humongous waste, ‘padi padi’ arrangement and an overbearing presidency that have informed the unquenchable thirst of both Atiku and Tinubu for the top job in the country.

For Peter Obi, we are not sure of his burning desire to effect any change in the political structure of Nigeria if he emerges as the president. Obi may just not have the numerical representation of his party in the National Assembly to engender any change even if he so desires.

Without mincing words, we are in a helpless situation in Nigeria. The country is deeply troubled as the two main presidential candidates are blinded by personal ambition and not likely to introduce any new gamut of instructive policies and programs to leapfrog the nation into a win – win turn around.

Obi, who is viewed as a third force may be intentional and patriotic, but resistance to change from a political class that has fed fat on the national coffers is palpable and will definitely grow as it becomes apparent that change is in the air.

Desperation for political power at the top level in any clime never signposts sincerity of purpose and cognate capacity to deal with the peculiar challenges of the political environment. We are all witnesses to the desperation of Buhari to become Nigeria democratic president. He tried four times at the pools before succeeding. In fact, on the third attempt, he broke down emotionally, weeping and weeping because of his failure to clinch the presidency.

Ironically, his emotions hoodwinked Nigerians into believing that he really meant well for the progress of the nation.

But here we are and can now affirm that president Buhari was pained after his third presidential election failure not because he wanted to rejig the status quo and produce a new road map for the development of Nigeria. Howbeit he kept his personal agenda close to his chest and we are today sadly reaping from the gambit of deceit and showmanship.

Stories abound about desperate former chief executives of some countries who supplanted the development of their respective climes with egoism, personal aggrandizement and prosaic leadership.

The sad end of former Liberian president Charles Taylor is still fresh in our memories. Mr. Taylor rebuffed every attempt for him to embrace patriotism and jettison his unbridled ambition to rule Liberia at all costs.
Taylor eventually became president and shockingly had no action plan to address the social and economic ruins of the shackled nation. During his one term presidency, his inadequacies and blurred vision pushed Liberia to the edge of a precipice.

Coming back home, the Nigerian polity is again in a state of ‘deja – vu’ as the two main presidential candidates are showing huge sparks of desperation. The PDP flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar has been with his inordinate ambition to rule Nigeria as far back as the early 90’s.

During the famous “Hope 93” of Abiola, the Adamawa born politician contested against the revered Abiola at the Social Democratic Party (SDP) primary, since then he has channeled his efforts to achieve what some Nigerians tagged “ His vaulting ambition”.

Unfortunately, the former Vice President during this period, unwittingly attracted to himself a huge baggage which has turned out to be his Achilles’ heels.

The ambition of Atiku saw him traverse an odyssey of inconsistency. He left the PDP for the hitherto regional party, Action Congress of Nigeria. He then returned to the PDP in 2011 to slug it out at the presidential primary against former president, Goodluck Jonathan.

Atiku beat another retreat in 2015 when he joined the newly formed APC. He again returned to PDP apparently sensing that achieving his ambition in APC might be an uphill task.

Without any iota of doubt, Atiku Abubakar has shown immense desperation for the top job in Nigeria for close to 30 years and most patriotic Nigerians have now seen through his desperation as attempt that would sink Nigeria deeper.

Enter Tinubu, the APC flag bearer, who has arrogated the Nigerian presidency to himself with “Emilokan” as his campaign catch phrase. The former Lagos State governor has not hidden his grand desire to rule Nigeria.

He informed Nigerians that the presidency has been his life-time ambition and it looks as if anything less than winning will be acceptable to the former senator and leader of the ruling party.

Asiwaju is a bit far from reality and has to recognize that 2023 is about electing the best and not a coronation for anyone who believes it is his “turn to rule.”

Nigerians are beginning to ponder on the shape and colour that the APC campaign would take in September. How the Jagaban will absolve his party from seven years of dismal performance and convince the people that his presidency will correct the social and economic ills thrown at them by the ruling party is unfathomable. The master strategist has ahead of him, the biggest challenge of his political career.

For Perter Obi, things seem to be working for him as his approval rating soars. His biggest drawback is whether he can pull off the required votes in the north to complement what he will likely get in the south. At the moment, the permutations for electoral victory cannot be determined as the intangible factors will play a major part during the election.

If we succeed in having a free poll in 2023, the onus of electing a leader who would put Nigeria first should be the utmost priority of all well-meaning Nigerians.

Never again should Nigerians submit to the desperation of any presidential candidate. We should never work to produce an ethnic and clannish jinqoist as president who would tear down further the unity of this great country, we should not hesitate to reject all the proponents of this nefarious political system that has robbed Nigerians and the country of its greatest glory.

Be wise and don’t fall for the money for vote syndrome that the old schooled politicians have birthed to perpetually remain in the corridors of power.

This piece is entirely the opinion of the writer, and not that of

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