To see is not always a challenge. What has always been a problem is to see through. With the 2023 general elections now coming at Nigerians like a train in full speed, the political parties set to test their might in the polls next year are applying finishing touches to their internal issues, and putting their best foot forward – those they feel would give them the best chance of obtaining or retaining power.
Already, at the primaries of the biggest political parties which have gone down, candidates have emerged. The Peoples Democratic Party has elected Mr. Atiku Abubakar, a former Nigerian Vice President. The All Progressives Congress has hoisted Mr. Bola Ahmed Tinubu whose amiable demeanor momentarily crumbled in Ogun State on the cusp of the party
s primaries as his aggressive streak shone through when he reminded his party of his contributions to it and why the cup of the partys ticket should not be taken away from him.
Like a rainbow breaking through the clouds after a storm, the Labour Party, has emerged as a third option for Nigerians largely because it has on its side a former two-term Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, who is arguably Nigeria`s brightest political light.
His clear ideas about the illness that ails a dangerously infirm country has endeared him to many young Nigerians who have watched their future blitzed by the blight of corruption and incompetence.
If one thing was more apparent than others in the just concluded primaries of Nigeria`s biggest political parties, the PDP and the APC, it is that money still plays an inordinate role in elections in the country, with its biggest roles reserved for the internal politics of the parties through which candidates are picked for elections. From within, both parties appear beyond redemption.
Immediately the delegates of both political parties began to descend on Abuja like a venue of vultures, conversations were coated with the outrageous amounts some of the contestants were willing to pay the delegates, in foreign currencies of course, and laughter laced with the lure of filthy lucre. Some of the delegates were said to have been paid thousands of dollars for their votes.
That politics and especially elections in Nigeria have become so infested with money as opposed to morals which multiply the values that must go into rescuing a sinking country leaves in no doubt the fate that will befall the public purse once any of those who paid through their noses to become candidates eventually takes power.
It is expected that more money will change hands when the Nigerian electorate joins the fray next year. There will be many attempts to induce voters and buy votes. But with each vote sold, as many of the delegates have done, Nigerians will catch just a fleeting vision of the violations that await the national vault when any of the political mercenaries in the running take power.
If quid pro quo holds, it means that if any of those who has already spent so much in desperate pursuit of their goal eventually takes the ultimate prize, attempts would be made to recoup their investments. If most of the funds came from political associates and well- wishers as some of those who think Nigerians naïve are inclined to argue, in Nigeria`s corruption-plagued patronage system, it could not have been without some unspoken commitment to reciprocate.
There are many who would argue that today, having sold their birthright for the bare consolations that become copious and conspicuous around elections, Nigerians live at the mercy of their leaders. As such, no matter how bad those in power perform or how far they go to empty the national treasury, it is some kind of guerdon for a country that always chooses momentary satisfaction at the cost of extended famine.
Nigerians cannot afford to get it wrong in 2023. Some of those who would soon begin to parade themselves before Nigerians as the solutions to the country`s problems come with rich and colourful histories. Even those Nigerians who need a little prodding before they agree that some people are disasters waiting to happen to Nigeria need only glean at their public records to see the sea of red flags. Like lepers in biblical times, politicians like these must be avoided.
Image laundering won`t just cut it this time around. When they come to preach that they hold the key, Nigerians must ask them if an Ethiopian can change his skin.
If in 2023, Nigerians don’t get it right, they will only be handing over the keys of the national vaults to the venue of vultures which has vowed to devour Nigeria.
The consequences will be dreadful.