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Between Nigeria’s rock and hard ground

Kenechukwu Obiezu

Between the devil and the deep blue sea. Between Scylla and Charybdis. Between the All Progressives Congress and Peoples Democratic Party.  Nigeria is in the pangs of a far-reaching decision and the pains bespeak just how difficult the process is proving to be. Would it end in a still birth?

In 2015, after the Peoples Democratic Party had swindled Nigerians for sixteen years, Nigerians unwittingly lurched from frying pan to fire when at historic polls, protest votes were piled like logs under the pot of the All Progressives Congress to bring to boil the ambition of Mr. Muhammadu Buhari who had tried and failed to become Nigeria`s President three times before he finally clinched the ticket on his fourth try.

As result after result trickled in from the polling units in that eternal election, the spines of the members of the Peoples Democratic Party tingled with dread. Was it possible, many of them asked. Was what was unfolding before their glazed eyes even remotely possible?

With the questions that prickled the parameters of their provinces came the overwhelming dread, a fear of the unknown about the chilling uncertainties of life outside the corridors of power. For after sixteen years during which they operated the levers of power in Nigeria with the gloves of hubris, routinely humiliating  Nigeria and Nigerians before the international community by their  disingenuous gaffes, Nigerians  had conspired to pry power out of their  hands by simply deploying  one of democracy`s most  devastating devises: the power of a vote.

When teeth soon protruded from the mouths of Nigeria`s anti-graft agencies shortly after Mr. Buhari assumed power in 2015, mercilessly turning over predominantly PDP members, the worst fears of those who had panicked at their fate post-defeat materialized. Time has changed everything though with the anti-corruption train,if ever there was one, having hilariously run out of steam before  laying out the steps of pardon to some of those convicted by the courts for stealing billions.They have since clambered aboard.

Recently, the greatest concern for Nigerians has not come from their visions of empty pans, pots and cupboards, but from the bullets, bombs, bayonets and blood shed by Boko Haram and its co-terrorists. It is not just hunger that keeps Nigerians awake at night but the staccato sound of gunshots and the booming blasts of bombs.

Insecurity has become an existential problem for Nigeria and while it grows fangs every other day, those who should be halting it in its tracks continue to  drink from the chilling  cistern  of cluelessness and even callousness.

Many Nigerians already know that the 2023 general elections will be a straight fight between the ruling All Progressives Congress and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party. This nightmarish acknowledgment has been reluctantly but inevitably made given that many of the other political parties who would be on the ballot simply do not have the structures to mount any serious challenge when push eventually comes to shove as it would.

That the battle royale will go down between the two political behemoths is an extremely bitter pill for Nigerians to swallow because finally a choice will be made between the devil and the deep blue sea – between the APC and the PDP. The only hope that can be held out is that the net cast will claw back the lesser of two evils.

On the one hand is the Peoples Democratic Party. As Nigeria triumphantly returned to democracy in 1999, the party became the exultant embodiment of Nigeria`s exodus from the Egypt of brutal military dictatorships. That other political parties quickly lost in the 1999 elections was evidence that Nigerians had chosen to seek shelter from the scorching sun of autocracy under an umbrella. Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo became President.

Once settled in power, the Party and those who rode its vehicle to power soon unleashed the most depraved depredations on Nigeria and its institutions as nepotism, corruption and bad governance became acceptable currencies in the corridors of power. There was also that baleful boast from a member of the Party that the Party would spend some sixty years in power. The madness went on for sixteen whole years until Nigerians decided they had tolerated  enough.

The rejection was swift, cutting and historic with the All Progressives Congress seemingly providing the answers to the many prickly posers that were engaging the Giant of Africa. But even from the beginning, with the APC supposedly sticking out its neck for Nigeria and Nigerians, nagging questions persisted especially about the competence and temperament of Mr. Muhammadu Buhari who had been Military President with very little to show for it.

But because a severely strained country wanted out of the PDP`S shipwreck, protest votes piled under Mr. Muhammadu Buhari to send him to Aso Rock. The love story has since gone sour with the All Progressives Congress presiding over some of the most heinous attacks ever on Nigerian state institutions by both state and non-state actors.

Come 2023 Nigerians will have another opportunity to choose between two evils. Nigerians must choose the lesser evil. At that point, the lesser evil would be the evil that would have been away from the corridors of power for   eight years. Because by then, lessons may have been learnt.

May that day quickly come.

Kene Obiezu,

keneobiezu@gmail.com

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