Penultimate weekend at wee hours of the night I was deeply asleep when a good friend of mine based in the States gave me a rude awakening as it were. The call came pleasantly surprisingly and unexpectedly. Usually I sleep early in the night to be able to be awake at dawn early enough for some physical and mental exercises but on this particular weekend my beloved daughter had kept me awake late into the night. We were watching a movie and she never blinked her eyes until the thriller ended. Her mother and junior brother had long slept but Stella was so much engrossed in the final outcome of the film.
On two occasions, fagged out, I had dozed off where I sat and she had woken me up telling me on each occasion that we must finish watching the film together before we sleep. She made it clear that she alone could not finish it and I obliged her! She is, of course, a combination of brain and beauty, my photocopy! I love her so much and have never denied her anything.
My bosom friend in America had called to know if I had finished writing my story for this year’s Commonwealth Short Story Prize Competition. I had informed him about a month ago that I had started knocking the story into shape. So I answered him in the affirmative and informed him that I was just waiting for the entrance whistle to be officially blown early September for me to submit my entry. He congratulated me asking if the story was stellar enough to earn global accolade!
From there he moved on to something more serious, politics. He had asked me if I had made up my mind yet about whom to support in the forthcoming presidential poll back home. Of course I responded in the negative reminding him that Nigerians in the Diaspora did not vote. And that I am yet to settle definitively for a particular candidate even though I am resolutely ‘Obidient’.
However, I told him that among the five official leading declared candidates for the crucial poll (PDP’s Atiku, APC’s Tinubu, Comrade Sowore of the AAC, Peter Obi of the Labour Party and Kwankwaso of the NNPP) I am against the candidacy of both Atiku and Tinubu for obvious reasons. I am anti-Atikulation and anti-emi lo-kan because for the former the PDP made a tactical strategic political mistake be fielding a northerner (a Fulani at that) to hold the fading tainted umbrella for the presidential election.
And the latter (Asiwaju BAT) because of his tribal dangerous politics. We see the ’emi lo-kan’ or ‘Yoruba lo-kan’ politics as divisive and sectional in nature. Besides, in our reckoning, the two aforementioned veteran politicians are too old to preside over our national affairs. When one adds their fantastically-corrupt past and poor health profile to the mix then the youths of our generation must look elsewhere for a ‘messiah’ or ‘saviour’ of our time.
My bosom friend saw instant reason with me without any reservation and he expressed so. He opined during the telephonic conversation that for our today and their tomorrow (the next generation) something positive, leadership wise, must give!
Without mincing words he had declared that he was ‘Obidient’ even though he was not an Igboman like me. He concluded that a Peter Obi presidency was more than welcome in these trying national times. Of course, I concurred!
No sane mortal had ever accused us of pandering to primordial tribal or religious sentiments in our online interventions spanning a decade and half. Our intellectual efforts are always tailored towards a better society; in defense of democracy, rule of law, freedom and justice. We believe that ethnicity, sectionalism and religiousness must be divorced from national politics for national salvation to happen.
Before hanging up I told him that Peter Obi, Comrade Omoyele Sowore and Rabiu Kwankwaso in that order were my preferred candidates given their patriotism and quality academic credentials. Of course, I would be in a better position, I intimated him, to reach a definitive conclusion upon the publication of the manifestoes and programmes of governance of the trio with the advent of electioneering campaign.
We both shared our patriotic concern for our dear terrorized nation and the way forward. The wasted years of the PDP and the misruling APC must not be rewarded electorally by Nigerians with another success at the polls. That would amount to mortgaging our collective future and that of our children and children’s children.
The 2023 presidential poll promises electoral fireworks. And the outcome could shock Nigerians and international observers of our national tragedy. Whatever happens we believe God is not yet through with His intervention in our national life. It remains an unfinished ‘business’ for the Most High!
Perhaps after all said and done 2023 post-Buharism could well turn out to be our year of grace and redemption. Let the prayers be intensified, let the efforts at fasting be redoubled. The future despite the demoralising present holds a lot of promises.
For our abused hopeless today and the hopeful tomorrow of our children, therefore, we must collectively vote wisely. Asiwaju Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar must be retired politically from the national political scene come next February.
It is a sacred duty we owe ourselves. And above all, God!