2023 and a new political paradigm for Nigeria ~ By Iliyasu Gadu
Nigerian politics is in intensive care. All the components in the chain of political activities in the country; the electorate, politicians, political parties, electoral institutions, security and law enforcement and the judiciary are variously in advanced state of disarray, disillusionment and dysfunction. The blows on our body politic inflicted over the years by political actors have brought us to this pass. And it is no brainer that despite all appearances and statements to the contrary by some, the cumulative effects of these will sooner lead us to a point of no return unless by some positive turn of fate.
We have always lived a charmed political life tempting fate with our proclivity for political recklessness characterised pointedly by lack of love and care for the greater good of our country. In the run up to the 2015 elections due to the excesses of our political elite, Nigeria under President Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) seemed set on a path of self-immolation which would have consumed the entire nation. Sensing this impending political Armageddon, certain of the political elite decided to recruit and build an alternative political platform around a relative political outsider, Muhammadu Buhari as fig leaf to save the political class from itself. It was a desperate political gamble that had it failed would have arguably ended Nigeria as a country.
Although there are three more years left for him to end his two term tenure, we can right away determine from what we have seen so far of him, that President Buhari will not be able to do much to change Nigeria’s narrative of negative politics. If he discerned upon coming to power in 2015 that majority of Nigerians expected him to initiate the necessary process of introducing a new paradigm to Nigerian politics as one of the overarching needs of the country, president Buhari has largely so far not given us reason to hope that he has both the inclination and capacity to bring it on. Indeed from what transpired during the 2019 elections, starting from the primaries of his party the All Progressive Congress(APC) to the elections proper we can justifiably conclude that rather than the rescuer of Nigerian politics he was touted and expected to be, president Buhari had instead gone ‘’native’’. This anti-climax has led to a sense of acute disappointment among the many Nigerians especially those like me who supported and voted him.
It is essential we keep this at the back of our minds because our current political trajectory can only lead us to the status quo ante 2015 or even worse. In the coming months as the political elite resume in earnest their race for various political offices with the 2023 elections in prospect, they will expectedly be at their cannibalistic worst. As he did in 2019 president Buhari will look askance as the political class do their thing, more so because he will not be on the ballot.
Expect the APC which will have no incumbent presidential candidate, to have its PDP moment as the main political gladiators within the party go head to head. The civil war within the ruling party is thus bound to be fierce and brutal and it will be anybody’s guess what will happen to it. The PDP will also continue on its sure footed march to self-destruction which started from 2015 which will eventually end up consuming it.
Quite frankly as presently constituted and operated, there is little hope that our polity can deliver the sort of democracy and the dividends majority of Nigerians deservedly expect. The political class seem to have found favour with the sort of politics that they have created in the country. But if we continue this way, we may not have any elections worthy of the name in 2023 and most certainly Nigeria will be the worse for it.
We have come inexorably to the point where politics should no longer be left to politicians alone. We have come inexorably to the point where politics should no longer be left to politicians alone. To save Nigeria from this impending grim fate, there is a clear and imperative need for a new political paradigm in the country. In this regard there is a professional class of Nigerians who though not partisan political actors are nevertheless potentially significant enough to constitute the critical mass for this new political paradigm. They are Journalists, Lawyers, Doctors, Engineers, Academicians, Teachers, Accountants, Farmers, Businessmen etc who although interested in the political scheme of things and very often discuss robustly about it, nonetheless have largely elected to stay out of partisan involvement.
This class of people must now carve out a political role in the politics of Nigeria as a parallel force to check against the possible excesses of political actors and as a probable alternative to them in the expected chaotic and uncertain circumstances in the run up to the 2023 elections. The first step is to form a broad coalition across the country starting from localities, states and zones targeting and connecting with the teeming voting population across the country that have become rightly disappointed and disillusioned by the conduct of politicians and the nature of our politics. The overriding principle is that the coalition should not set itself up for elective purposes but as a political pressure movement dedicated to changing the character and content of Nigerian politics.
The coalition’s overarching political objective should be to change the political orientation and behaviour of both the political actors and the political parties through mass action platforms. In this regard it must aim to set rather than follow the agenda of the political actors, thus providing the people of this country an alternative platform for political options, issues and galvanizing them for positive political actions in defence of our collective interest as a country.
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