By Martin Tachio
On May 29th 2023, hopefully, there will be a transition of power in Nigeria from the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to yet another government that Nigerians will be at their ‘mercy’.
Yes, I said mercy because no one ever imagined the level of gnashing of teeth, we will go through when the present administration came in, in 2015.
Indeed no one ever thought the emergence of this present administration in 2015 would result in severe gnashing of teeth.
Amid pomp and worldwide applause the government was inaugurated.
Little did the people or even the kingmakers know that the situation in the country will within a few years become pathetic and scary to the extent that our coexistence will be questioned this loudly.
First, the present government has not been able to stop Boko Haram’s murderous onslaught despite it being a fundamental campaign promise.
Secondly, banditry and organized crime have overwhelmed large portions of the north-west of the country without significant respite.
Also, the economy has gone on recession twice in 6 years and inflation is at an all-time high of double digits, with prices of essential foodstuff and daily needs rather becoming unimaginable.
Thanks to data from the National Bureau of Statistics and the Central Bank of Nigeria.
On corruption, the multifaceted phenomena is even more profound today than at any other time in our history with the government’s unimpressive effort at curbing employment rackets that are institutions today, bid rigging, contract buying and shoddy execution, bribery and buying of sensitive government appointments, just to mention a few of the vices we are in bed with presently.
Now, the big question, who will save Nigeria and redeem it? Who can stop the country from its progressive slip into the abyss? For now, only a few men have shown their faces.
Today as I drove through Abuja city centre, I noticed a huge billboard of Yahaya Bello, Governor of Kogi State. A campaign billboard for 2023 presidency, posters of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State are also noticeable around the city, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu support group is also visible in my social space and Senator Sani Yerima support groups are active within the city.
For now, these are the individuals that have indicated an interest in ruling Nigeria come 2023. i.e if Buhari bequeaths power to them.
One question people ask is, why do Nigerian politicians vie for elective offices they know they don’t have the capacity to deliver on?
The answer is simple. We are not sincere with ourselves as Nigerians! Here are a few examples. Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state became a governor on a platter of gold after the death of Prince Abubakar Audu, who died before the end of vote collation.
As soon as Bello became the governor, the state started experiencing a wage crisis. Civil servants salaries were not paid for uncountable months. same for pensioners.
He abandoned laudable projects started by his predecessors and displayed a total lack of accountability. Bello got a second term in office through the validation of his re-election by the Kogi governorship election tribunal.
Is he the right guy for the job in 2023? Yahaya Bello is not alone in this type of misgovernance, Okezie Ikpeazu, the governor of Abia state is his vicious rival in this game.
Another aspirant for the presidency in Nigeria come 2023 is senator Sani Yerima. A former two-term governor of Zamfara state. When Yerima assumed governorship in 1999 he declared Zamfara a Sharia state.
That declaration caused a protest in far away Kaduna where Christians in the state marched in protest against a similar declaration, the outcome was a huge riot that balkanized the present Kaduna state to Muslim north and Christian south up until this day, breeding mutual distrust among brethren.
Sani Yerima ended his tenure in Zamfara state in 2007 without any visible infrastructural nor institutional reforms. Yerima’s closest rival in ethnoreligious politics on the landscape is former governor Modu Sheriff of Borno state.
So, is senator Sani Yerima the man for Nigeria in 2023?
Going forward, it is amazing how Nigerians have been wickedly governed over the years while deception is the code all over the country.
Nyesom Wike, the executive governor of Rivers State south-south Nigeria is another man some political pressure groups are rooting for. Nicknamed Mr projects, he is dynamic and dogged. He commissions at least one life-changing project every month since assuming office as governor.
Many see him as brash and undiplomatic in his utterances just like former American president Donald Trump. His profile on infrastructural reforms and governance for the good of the people can only be rivalled by Dr Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State and Abdulahi Ganduje of Kano state.
Nasir Elrufai of Kaduna State would have comfortably been in this league but for his poor human rights record, divisive rhetoric and selective project siting over the past 6 years.
So, is Nyesom Wike the man for 2023? It is arguable but time will tell.
Then the last but not the least is Jagaban, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State from 1999-2007.
He is credited to be the one that created the template Lagos State government is running on today and is also the political machine that brought mainstream popularity on General Buhari which ensured the victory of the general at the polls in 2015. However, public opinion on Bola Tinubu places him as a controversial politician that cannot be trusted with the highest political office in the land.
The man Tinubu is said to be very generous and caters for the welfare of his loyalists; one of the reasons some political pressure groups are angling for him. Tinubu, known to have an eye for talent and competence as seen in Babatunde Fashola, Akinwunmi Ambode and governor Jide Sanwo-Olu.
His political movement is so massive and bigger than any of the other aspirants mentioned in this article. As a matter of fact, no former Nigerian governor has influenced the political direction of his State in the level of Bola Tinubu since democracy birthed in Nigeria.
But is he the right guy for the job in 2023?
Nigerians are tired and under siege from poverty and unhindered criminality. We need a strong-willed character that can govern a modern state such as Nigeria where 60% of our population is under 40 years old.
Nigerians need to be sure that whoever comes in, in 2023 will not run an opaque government that favours only his kinsmen to the disadvantage of others as clearly seen today. Nigerians want an equitable distribution of wealth, social security and justice.
Martin Tachio is a journalist and good governance enthusiast.