Presidency 2023: How do Southern politicians dance to the farce or reality of brokering a united, progressive nation? By Tiko Okoye
The prospect of artificial crises looms as the ruling party – the All Progressives Congress (APC) – and the main opposition party – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – head to their respective nominating conventions to crystallize their candidates to the presidency. In the meantime, we must learn to express our gratitude to Almighty God that Nigeria still manages to stand tall despite the tremendous bombardment it has suffered and continues to suffer on the political-socio-economic fronts.
Truth be told, nations have collapsed and governments have been overthrown for less than a tenth of the poor results of senseless acts of bad governance that Nigerian politics has witnessed. Are Nigerians uncompromising optimists and ‘the happiest people in the world’ as someone claimed many years ago, or are we just hopeless complainers and curmudgeons whose comfort zone is being able to bark without biting?
This explains why the theory of existentialism has piqued my interest quite recently. It fundamentally opposes the rationalist tradition and positivism, while emphasizing that we are each responsible for creating purpose or meaning in our own lives. If this is true – and I have no reason to think otherwise – the remains of the iconic “father” of the theory, the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, and other legendary representatives, such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus among others must all be turning violently in their graves as they take a transcendent look at the siddon-looking Nigerians!
But there is no denying that Nigeria is finally at the “mother of crossroads”. Apart from the events that led to the civil war, the stability and unity of our homeland have never been so threatened. But rather than seek win-win compromises, a particular group of politicians seem determined to sacrifice this nation’s peace, unity and progress on the puny altar of misplaced vested interests. Most notable is the crystallization of essentialism – as opposed to existentialism – within politics itself.
Essentialism is a philosophy that calls for introspection and the search for one’s “essence” which already exists. This fosters a rights mentality which explains why some believe it is their “birthright” to rule and the fate of others to remain as hewers of wood and fetchers of water. This attitude is now reproduced in the form of intrigue and power games as the APC and the PDP prepare to choose their candidates.
“All things being equal” (ceteris paribus) is a very popular phrase in economics, but it seems to have crept into our national lexicon. All things being equal, it doesn’t matter what part of the country a president comes from. All that would have mattered was if he impressed the Nigerian public by achieving legacies that would add real value to the lives of beleaguered citizens.
But we cannot run away from the reality that this country has been afflicted with a long, chronic illness of failure in both leadership and follow through. It bears repeating that no geopolitical area in Nigeria has the permanent right to sit metaphorically on the ‘security council’ of dividing the cake while others – the real bakers of the cake – ephemerally languish in the ‘assembly general” toothless.
To ease the growing tensions, a kind of gentleman’s agreement was reached between the political parties which saw power alternate between North and South. Furthermore, conventional wisdom has guided political parties in ensuring that their presidential tickets balance the two major religions of Islam and Christianity given the secular nature of the country. The first and only time since the beginning of the presidential system of government in 1979 that a presidential ticket from a major political party satisfied the first “rule” but violated the second “rule” was that of the combination of the Social Party- Democrat (SDP) of MKO Abiola (a Muslim from the South) and Babagana Kingibe (a Muslim from the North) in 1993.
But too much water has since flowed under the bridge. No major political party would dare to enter an electoral contest on such an “insensitive” ticket lately. Which explains why the leaders of the two main parties that merged to form the APC – General Muhammadu Buhari (Retired) of the Progressive Change Congress (CPC) and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), couldn’t show up. on a joint ticket in the 2015 elections. A Buhari/Tinubu ticket satisfies the balance between North and South but violates the religious balance as both are Muslims. This is how Professor Yemi Osinbajo entered the scene opportunistically.
After eight years of Buhari – a Muslim from the North – conventional wisdom holds that it is now the “turn” of a president of southern origin – preferably a Christian. It is therefore incredible to see the absurd and dishonorable ways in which the Northern political elite has practically thumbed its nose at Southerners. While one can understand the desperation of a serial presidential candidate like former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who sees the 2023 presidency as his last hurrah and his final opportunity for a long throw defying the odds of Hail Mary in Aso Villa, the same cannot be said for the much younger contestants. Patriotism should be made of tougher things.
It seems to me that powerful and highly connected Northern cabals are financially enabling increasing numbers of Southerners to declare their day-to-day presidential ambition as a means of undermining Southern solidarity and making it harder for them to reach consensus. between them. It’s a tried and true divide-and-conquer strategy aimed at sparking an endless family feud, while outside parties, posing as benefactors, step in to take home the coveted prize that is the object of their bickering. .
And make no mistake, the Northern cabals in question have a plan A, a plan B, a plan C, and even a plan D, should push turn to push.
Plan A is to get the APC and PDP to nominate presidential candidates of northern origin. Plan B kicks in if Plan B experiences a miscarriage.
Plan B is to get one party – the PDP – to nominate a northerner as a candidate if the other party – the APC – for some reason nominates a southerner. Then, the North will play two cards in the actual election in 2023: the regional and religious cards, while banking on the South-East and South-South bloc votes, whatever the cost for the more attributes. broad equity. and righteousness. Did I hear you scream Tufiakwa! If so, keep dreaming! That’s why there’s all the juggling and mind games to figure out which party would hold its nominating convention before the other – to figure out where the first candidate to do it comes from!
If plan B fails, plan C will be triggered. This would involve spending as little time as possible in political limbo before power shifts to the North. And that is how former President Goodluck Jonathan has become a beautiful wife to the northern cabals, as he can only spend four more years in office. Truth be told, I don’t think Jonathan is truly in love with the same APC that dishonored him. I see it as a strategy to force the hand of a nervous PDP to hand over the ticket to him as the consensus candidate.
Plan D can be seen as the last resort when all the calculations and permutations built into Plans A through C fail and the North reluctantly recognizes that the real situation and needs of this country are best served by conceding to the South its ” turn” to produce a president in 2023, after Buhari leaves office. Under this plan, Northern politicians would engineer the emergence of a Southern collaborator to rule effectively by proxy.
In the final analysis, Southerners can only raise the stakes by supporting – in as united a voice as possible – that the name(s) of any Southerner(s) who support(s) a candidate for the Presidential North or a Nicodemus haunter(s) returning to Egypt as a running mate in the 2023 presidential election would be written into the book of infamy and see his/their generation(s) – including those who have yet to see the day – forever tainted with ignominy and opprobrium. Dramatic situations require drastic measures.