The 2023 election is arduously at hand with festive campaigns and Nigerian voters anxiously waiting to return to the polling booths to elect their leaders and representatives especially the president and the governors. The Nigerian populace at this juncture is squarely prepared to face the old guard politicians who have always found the ways and means to manipulate them and hold onto power. Nigeria’s old politicians and their cronies have always manipulated the voting public to sway them into voting for them, or even convince the voters to hold onto their apathy and keep quiet even when the election is rigged.
This time around with all the problems confronting Nigeria, it has become apparent and self evident to the voters that this crop of the elected leaders consisting mostly of the old guards are not the solution to the massive inefficiency and incompetence in the system. The problems are numerous from declining standard of living to insecurity and outright hunger in the land. Nigeria is a nation blessed with both natural and human capitals but the problem lies within the leadership of the country.
The level of corruption and fecklessness associated with the leadership is beyond understanding. A nation that was once the envy of Africa and the rest of the world cannot grow enough food to feed its teeming population despite the abundance of fertile soil and arable lands. The average life span of Nigerian is declining while those of the old guards are increasing. The educational system is in shambles, while the children of the ruling class are attending universities in the best schools in the world, especially in Britain and USA. There is virtually no coherent health care policy from the government of Nigeria. But do they care? Of course not, because they have their medical doctors in London, Dubai, Frankfurt and the best medical centers in Europe.
The problem of Nigeria is a leadership problem. Chinua Achebe in his book, The Trouble with Nigeria, categorically painted the problem with Nigeria on its leadership. “It analyzes social and political challenges that the country has faced since the 1980’s. The ironic concept is that the same challenges addressed still exist in Nigeria today including corruption, social inequality and ethnocentrism. The book presents the shortcomings of the Nigerian government past independence. To most Nigerians, they haven’t really achieved independence for their masters, those in power are looting from them and lack patriotism.”
Achebe “states that it is not that Nigerian citizens are fundamentally different from the others but it is the political system that has allowed and given a chance for the rich and those in the throne to be corrupt, molest the poor, and hike on taxes for their own personal benefits.”
In his words, “The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian character. There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example, which are the hallmarks of great leadership.”
Why then is it difficult to replace the leadership? Because, the leaders are adapting to the ecosystem like amoeba and finding clever ways to perpetuate their leadership. The tiring but effective tools of warfare employed by the leadership are tribe, religion, election rigging and bribery.
The most potent tool in their arsenal is tribe and ethnocentrism. Knowing quite well the power of tribe, the old guards are quick to use it. Tribe is quite appealing and highly effective in coercing the weak minded people. The poor and less informed citizens fall for the tool of tribalism. But when tribalism becomes redundant and waned, then comes religion. Yes, religion is the mother of all battles, it never fails nor disappoints.
But finally it seems that the Nigerian people are becoming wiser and more informed. They are beginning to find out that the only group winning in this game is the ruling class and the old guards.
Folks it looks like Nigerians are waking up from their slumber and deep nightmare. They better stay woke!