THE OUTGOING PRESIDENT AND PROSPECTIVE CANDIDATES.
THE OUTGOING PRESIDENT AND PROSPECTIVE CANDIDATES.
“They came forth to war; but they always fell.” James Macpherson, 1736-1796, VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS, VBQ, p 267.
The 2023 Presidential Elections are still about seventeen months away. But, from my long experience, writing on these pages, while the ultimate winner might not be known now, the losers are as clear as clean water in a clear glass cup. Two broad groups of perennially vanquished political gladiators are already at enormous competitive disadvantage which might doom their campaign in 2023.
The first group are those attempting to form a viable third party. Led by the usual gang of professors and people addicted to dongo tauranci or big grammar, they have been travelling down the familiar road which led to defeat for them. Their first, and cardinal error, is the attitude that suggests that they assume that time and the nation wait for them. To the best of my knowledge, they have not decided what the name of their party will be, the party’s national and states’ headquarters, the party manifesto, the principal officers, the criteria for contesting for the presidency in the party’s primaries, and, most importantly, who might be candidates for the contest. In short, they have not undertaken all the tasks required of any group before it can be regarded as a political party instead of just a conspiracy to seize power. I turn the page or switch to another channel every time the leaders of the third party are featured. They are not serious people; just erudite wind-bags. They have no chance in 2023.
The second group, campaigners for Igbo Presidency, including me, are now running with one leg. The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has more or less decided to field a Northern candidate. The South, including the South East, will only receive the consolation prize of Chairman. And, even that might not go to the SE zone. With PDP going North for its candidate, the choice is unmistakably clear. The flag bearer will once again be Abubakar Atiku. The Ohaneze and those campaigning for Igbo Presidency have been told by the PDP to get lost.
“I hate ingratitude more in a man than lying…” Shakespeare, 1564-1616.
PDP’s position on Igbo Presidency is, to me, very unfortunate and, perhaps, also unfair. Granted, morals play very little role in politics. Next to the South South, the South East states had been the most fervent supporters of the PDP until recently when selfish fortune seekers decamped to the All Progressives Congress, APC. It is the only southern zone which has not produced a President. I strongly believe that most of the agitation for secession in Igboland will vanish with an Igbo President in 2023. Granted, no serious candidate has stepped forward. But, that might be explained by the fear that it will amount to a waste of time and money to contest. We need to re-assure them that we are ready to heal the festering wounds of the Civil War. But, the PDP has turned its back on the SE.
“…Leadership can be summed up in two words: intelligence and integrity..”
US Congressman John Brademas, VBQ p 125.
That leaves only one opportunity left for Igbo Presidency – the All Progressives Congress, which lost in the zone in 2015 and again in 2019. The obstacles here for Igbo Presidency are even more daunting than those they would have encountered if the PDP had left the race open. First only one candidate has declared for the contest from the zone. His strongest opponents are his own party members, in the same state, and they have just delivered a killer-punch to any claim that he might have to integrity. How on earth does one defend his integrity against an allegation about500 properties illegally acquired in 96 months in office as a former Governor? The allegation, if true will mean that the former Governor was involved in the acquisition of five (5) properties a month. Even the world’s largest Real Estate Management firm would be overwhelmed by the load of work entailed. How on earth was it possible to attend to governance with that self-imposed workload? He might convince his campaign workers; but, it is doubtful other Nigerians will buy the story – unless he clears his name in court. Unfortunately for him, time is running out. So, rule him out; and no other candidate has declared interest from the zone. That is a major problem.
Meanwhile the APC has its own multitude ofobstacles to scale before it can continue in the Presidency. Time is the number one. Like all the others, it must decide which zone to produce the Presidency; who among the possible candidates will emerge as its flag-bearer and then the party must close ranks around the ultimate winner. They didn’t have those problems in 2013 to 2015. They have them now. With so many vital issues unresolved, it is not surprising that only one candidate is now actively campaigning. Ordinarily, that would have meant that the matter is closed – the PDP and APC have their likely candidates.
One issue which will become increasingly important has suddenly cropped up. Health. Nigerians must now consider the health of their president before he assumes office and becomes a liability. After the sad experience with Yar’Adua, and our current experience with Buhari’s trips to London, the last thing we need is another President who will spend weeks away from his duty post. In that respect, let me remind Nigerians of the words of a late US President:
“Men of ordinary physique and discretion cannot be Presidents and live, if the strains be not somehow relieved. We shall be obliged always to be picking our chief magistrates [presidents] from among wise and prudent athletes – a small class”.
President Woodrow Wilson, Constitutional Government in the United States, New York: Columbia University Press, 1908, pp 79-80.
At the time Wilson wrote, the world had not become a global village. Presidents don’t stay “awake” twenty four hours a day – putting pressure on their health. Today, an individual wanting to govern his country must first ensure that he is physically fit. The people must also be certain that their President has the stamina of an Olympic Marathon gold medallist. Breaking and sometimes disturbing news occurs virtually every minute of the day. No nation can afford to have a leader who must be sedated at night before he can sleep; and “pumped up” before he can be ready for work. When Harold Wilson, in the 1970s, said that “A week is a long time in politics”, the world was crawling compared to today’s space shuttle speed.
A recent visit between two top political associates has drawn attention to one of them in this regard. Irrespective of any other qualities a Presidential candidate might possess, lack of demonstrable sound health must be regarded as a major deficiency. Nigerians must be sick and tired of enriching foreign doctors treating our Presidents and paying parking fees for our Presidential jet sitting on tarmacs away from Nigeria.
WHERE ARE THE YOUNG ONES?
“Good intentions don’t control power; only power does.”
Alexis Tocqueville, 1805-1859, VBQ, p 197.
With the “grammarians” still not getting their show on the road, the PDP and APC in various forms of disarray, the formerly monolithic North now fractured, one would have thought the youths, who constitute more than half of Nigeria’s eligible voters,will begin to assert their power and move more strongly to determine the outcome of several elections. In that regard, the #End SARS# movement would have amounted to a waste of time, energy and resources if the young people don’t re-establish the network and use it to influence the outcome of elections in some states in 2023.
Targeting candidates of the established parties for defeat through bloc-voting by young people will start to drum the message into the heads of the old politicians that genuine change is needed to save Nigeria from the quagmire in which we are and are destined to remain until we deliver ourselves in 2023.The mainline political parties will not respect the youths until the young people demonstrate that they can hurt them. Nobody in untouchable; if the young people are determined enough and work towards it. “When spider webs unite, they can tie down a lion” according to an Ethiopian proverb, VBQ p 258. They must understand that they are fighting for their lives; because they will inevitably inherit the mess the present old rulers will leave behind.
CONCLUSION: ATIKU VERSUS TINUBU
“All men like to join with the power that is the first to show its strength.”
Xenophon, c430-370 BC, VBQ p 197.
In case the reader is asking: what is the meaning of all these? The answer is simple. Unless other forces intrude along the way, Nigerians will be asked to choose between Atiku for PDP and Bola Tinubu in 2023. The youths, the “grammarians” and the other contestants will have themselves to blame for not doing their home work properly to secure victory. Being anti-Tinubu or anti-Atiku alone is not a winning formula.
PRELATE EMERITUS OF THE METHODIST
CHURCH NIGRIA, HIS EMINENCE (DR) SUNDAY
COFFIE NBANG CON TURNS 86!
The Prelate Emeritus. who was born on the 26″ of August.
1936 in EKET AKWA-IBOM, will be celebrating his 86th
Birthday on Thursday 26 of August at the Methodist Mother
Church, THE WESLEY CATHEDRAL OLOWOGBOWO
The Eucharistic Service will start at ll am prompt. His Eminence,
Dr.) Sunday Nbang was the first Prelate of theMethodist Church Nigeria and also served as the President of the World Methodist Council.
This unique service is expected to have dignitaries including past Heads of State, State Governors (past and present) , Archbishops and Bishops, past and present Government officials, friends and relatives in attendance.
The Council and members of the Host Church the Wesley Cathedral Olowogbowo, Lagos wish him, many more happy returns of the day, good health and God’s abundant blessing.
I am not a member of the Methodist Church. But, there are few men of God for whom I will make space here with so many national burning issues to be addressed. His Eminence Nbang is one of half a dozen. God bless you Sir.
PIA AND THE BETRAYAL OF OIL PRODUCING COMMUNITIES.
“The traitors in one’s midst, always highly trusted, always splendid fellows, always the last people to be suspected. Agatha Christie, VBQ p 251.
Some splendid fellows in the National Assembly, NASS, from the Niger Delta betrayed the people who voted them into office by voting for the Petroleum Industry Act 2021. The people have their chance in 2023 to ensure that they never again get elected to any office.