2023: An Open Letter To Nigerian Youths

Stanley Ugagbe

Stanley Ugagbe

To my indefatigable Youths of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it is with every sense of responsibility and deep concern that I write to address you as we prepare for the much anticipated make or mar 2023 Presidential election. I waited patiently for the various political parties to conduct their primaries so that the outcome can inform my inferences.

Expectedly, the two major parties with ‘glorified structures’ have presented two political ancestors – one, a former Lagos State governor who has monopolized the State and believes he should rule because it’s his turn; the other, a former Vice President who has been desperately contesting for the nation’s topmost seat since 1993.

Like never before, the nation is currently divided across all lines. I’m not particularly interested in blame game but it’s germane that we present facts so as to know where we are coming from, where we are and where we are going. Between 1999 and 2007 under Olusegun Obasanjo, the nation’s GDP was 6.95%, between 2008 and 2010 under Umaru Musa Yaradua, it was 7.98%, between 2011 and 2015 under Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, it was 4.8%, and between 2016 and 2021 under Muhammadu Buhari, it was 0.81%. If we vote Buhari pro max, there will be no GDP in this nation.

While it is evident that many things went wrong under previous administrations, what we have been through under the current regime is nothing short of a thorough torture. Precisely, under this administration, National Security collapsed, National Currency/Economy collapsed, National Health collapsed, National Infrastructure collapsed, National Education collapsed, National Grid now collapses on regular basis; in fact, it will be no exaggeration to aver that everything has collapsed under this administration. All of these happened because we have people who camouflaged as merchants of integrity but are only skilled at looting funds and cannot provide leadership to assuage the sinking ship and sadly, there have been no uproar from the populace despite the excruciating hardship these WICKED rulers have subjected us to.

Over the years, indices have shown that our voting decisions have always been hinged on frivolities – family, ethnic, religious, and party ties. That is, he is my family member so I must vote for him, he is my tribal person so I must vote for him, she is of the same faith with me so I must vote for her, we are in the same party so I must vote for her. All of these come to play without properly assessing the leadership qualities of the aspirants.

2023 is just a few months from now and except we get it right this time, we all are going to feast on the bitterness of another draconic ruler. President Buhari scourged us with whips, and if we fail to do the right thing, the next person will scourge us with scorpions. If we are to liken Buhari’s tenure to marriage, I’m sure that less than 1% will be able to endure such pains, agony and mischief; 99% will ask for a divorce. That is how bad it has been under the current regime.

It is on the premise of the above that I write to conscientize us to arise to the occasion. Now that the various political parties have presented all their candidates, we must begin to properly assess them, what they stand for, their past records, their policies, leadership qualities and more importantly, if they’re physically, mentally, psychologically and morally fit to mount the topmost position.

The choices before us are very pellucid, either to continue on the trajectory of failure or create a new course, either to become a producing nation or continue as ‘bambiala’, either to jettison bribes and opt for the right leadership or collect 2k, half bag of rice and suffer gruesomely for another eight years, either to usher in fresh minds and hands or continue to recycle our political ancestors. I find it disdainfully nauseating when I hear people say parties without ‘structures’ like the PDP and APC cannot produce a President. There were no structures when the Youths executed one of the most organized protests in 2020.

It is no longer time to make voting decisions based on frivolities, we must make informed decisions. We must grow beyond religious bigotry, tribal iberiberism, party abracadabra and self-egoism. 2023 is a make or mar election and need I remind us that four years are not four days and the incumbent is likely to win a second term. That would make it 8 years in the hands of another Pharoah! I’m sure you don’t want that.

The 2023 election is a ferocious battle between the youths and the old cargoes. We must be combobulated with singleness of purpose. We must be part of the process if we truly want to usher in a new course that will erase these deep wounds that the current administration afflicted on us. Get your PVC, be ready to vote and defend your vote. The nation is in our hands and we must get it right in 2023. It is not in my place to tell you who to vote for but whether in the Church/Mosque or secular world, it is always good to be ‘obIdient’.

Stanley Ugagbe is passionate about effecting change through writing. ugagbestanley@gmail.com

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