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Strategic scheming for 2023

Strategic scheming for 2023

By Theo Adebowale
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Nigerian presidential elections 2019 have held and result announced. The winner of the election will be inaugurated May 29. It is amazing that several interest groups started scheming for 2023 presidential ticket even before the 2019 election was held.

Mr Boss Mustapha was reported to have promised the South East 2023 ticket. Alhaji El Rufai, it was told, stated that nobody had promised southerners the ticket.

Another northern politician opined that President Muhammadu Buhari did not do anything for the North in his first term, he was not likely to be any different in the second term, therefore a northerner should succeed him. In the South West, a group was said to have canvassed a particular politician as presidential material for 2023.

In all these, the most annoying was that of the South West group whose spokesman must have enjoyed the delicacy of the meal served to have opened his mouth so wide and exposed a suave, polished and cool headed politician to unnecessary hazards of politicking. Unnecessary because his preferred candidate is just settling down in office as Chief Executive of a South West State. In the character of Nigerian politicians, they may start to distract him from the tasks of governance which he has embarked upon brilliantly. Again, no other aspirant has yet formally declared his or her intention to run for the next presidential race. But most essentially, any serious minded aspirant for that matter must still be on the drawing board. Because as the Bible says, there is time for everything.

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This is a period when party members are expected to be busy thinking of how the second term of President Muhammadu Buhari would deliver more economic benefits to citizens. APC members can do this by jostling with ideas of turning the economy around, by positioning themselves for offices and contracts that would be efficiently discharged to justify the mandate. On the other hand, chieftains and members of parties other than APC would be expected to give close marking to government subjecting its policies to scrutiny and offering a more effective, and cheaper policies. On the other hand, individual aspirants will begin to assemble from the length and breadth of Nigeria within their parties to package a platform that would be presented to Nigerians. It is also important to observe that zoning formula, does not of its own produce a credible, acceptable and competent candidate. However, the formula has helped to mediate agitation of different coloration in the political class. In good measure, it has served as a mechanism to persuade aspirants to take their turn.

Regrettably, as corruption loomed large in the system, political offices have been turned to cash centers with inexhaustible capacity. Hustlers, tale bearers, bouncers and pretenders now abound in the political circle. Men and women of honour that would easily distinguish themselves in public service career and the private sector, have been frustrated by corrupt practices, many of them cajoled into politics to ‘invest’ rather than pursue their chosen careers. No wonder nepotism thrives at all levels to the point that elected and appointed officials look up to being succeeded by their children, siblings and marriage relations. That is the political misfortune of Nigeria that makes some subscribe to the zoning formula.

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But beyond this unpatriotic line of reasoning, the zoning formula would subsist for some time to come. It encourages the various zones to prepare and project their first elevens for national offices. Also, the formula contains desperation and instructs aspirants to wait for their turn. It is also very important to note that the zoning formula or rotational presidency is expected to give hope to the young, brilliant and capable citizens that they are truly leaders of tomorrow. When dividends of anti-corruption crusade start to deliver in good measure, industries, manufacture, commerce, constructions, even the academia, would deliver outstanding leaders that would serve as role models for the young and upcoming. They can choose to concentrate and specialise in professions and determine the shape of the economy.

In the meantime, the success of the anti-corruption war is crucial to the soul of the Nigerian polity. It will keep every dummy out of the path of leadership so much so that office seekers would know their capacity and limit themselves to or concentrate in jostling for positions at a particular tier of government. To be sure there are some who can perform extra ordinarily if they concentrate on politics at the local government level. Others may proceed to the state, while some still move to the center. But our submission is that ethnic, religious or even geographic support would no longer be available to all comers. Beyond that, we foresee Nigeria of the future that would have discounted primordial consideration for political mandate.

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In the immediate, let those who desire or are preparing for presidential, gubernatorial and legislative offices in the 2023 begin by rendering support to the incoming government to succeed. Direct and indirect support for that government to stabilize and start to deliver would create an enabling environment for electioneering next time. Until politicians demonstrate that they can provide good governance, democracy is under threat. It is when every consumer of public policy agrees there has been a remarkable improvement in delivering the good life, and another party advertises that it can do better that we can begin to say that democracy has come to stay.

Party politics should go beyond plotting to undermine the incumbent. We should have in every party, or the two most prominent, experts with a responsibility to proffer solution to problems of food shortage, infrastructural decay, provision of social services, power generation, transmission and distribution, insecurity and provide alternative models of solution, political scheming and strategizing will remain drastically limited.

The man or woman that will succeed PMB at the end of his second term must get ready to deliver a comprehensive proposal on how to do it. Spokespersons for the zone and the aspirant must refuse to be hoodwinked by braggarts and jingoists. Merit should be their asset. Fairness must be their launch pad; excellence in service delivery shall be their row.

There is time for everything and a chance for every group.

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