2023: Will Nigerians wait in vain?

Promise Adiele

By Promise Adiele,

The waiting game is on. With measured apprehension and nervous presage, Nigerians are waiting for 2023 to arrive quickly. The reason is obvious – they want to extinguish the raging APC inferno misnamed government. Nigeria’s ruling political party APC, under the watchful eyes of President Muhammadu Buhari, forced on Nigerians by Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has submerged the country beneath a furnace, further into an existential crucible. Yet some people inexplicably want a continuation of the same conditions, an unjustifiable mindset difficult to ascribe to a person of balanced cognition. How on earth would anybody of sane mental capacity want APC to continue to steer the ship of the Nigerian state? How is it possible that someone wants Nigerians to continue in these pathetic, rueful conditions? Although the Holy book admonishes that “affliction shall not arise the second time”, some people are invoking the spirit of APC’s second affliction on the Nigerian polity. It is unfair.

Nigerians are currently battling with hellfire experience. Those who deny the hellfire experience are deluded, but very soon, the geography of victims will extend to include those who think they are protected by power and money. As the wait for 2023 continues, it appears Nigerians are wasting their time since current events negate the possibility of a safe, conducive atmosphere for the election to take place. Waiting for 2023 inevitably reminds me of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot where two vagabonds Estragon and Vladimir waited in vain for a mysterious Godot that never came. Beckett’s play has since become a concise manuscript for interpreting the Absurdist Theatre which encapsulates the futility of human endeavour. But we wait all the same.

Presently, politicking has divided Nigerians into different groups with funny appellations coined from the names of the three front runners for the office of the president towards 2023. Those supporting Nigeria’s latest political sensation and former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi of the Labour Party, call themselves Obidients. Those supporting septuagenarian APC leader and former Lagos State governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu call themselves Batists. Those supporting Nigeria’s serial presidential aspirant and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar of the PDP prefer to be known as Atikulated. Thus Nigeria’s political atmosphere is charged with each group trying hard to market their candidate and justify why he is the most suitable to occupy the most exalted office in the land. Of course, the neutrals have keenly and critically looked into the future and, given Nigeria’s current exertions, are circumspect about the reality of 2023. Surely, it can only take the most optimistic person in Nigeria to believe that the 2023 elections will hold. The signs are ominous. Nigeria’s daily newsreel is inundated with gory stories of deaths and more deaths perpetrated by terrorists all over the country. It does not portend well that the seat of power Abuja, which ordinarily should be the most fortified and protected, is currently under siege by terrorists. Yet, millions of Nigerians are hopeful that 2023 will witness the installation of a new government elected by the people. Their hopes are valid because there is a huge possibility of the emergence of a New Nigeria under Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party. Of a truth, never in the history of this country has there been a groundswell of support for a new beginning led by one man. This underscores the value of the Obi Phenomenon. But will election hold next year?

If the activities of terrorists and bandits continue unchecked across the country, then Nigerians should prepare to kiss 2023 goodbye, and their wait will be in vain because there can never be any election under the present circumstances. Terrorists are daring, bold, and unrelenting. While the APC government watches with paralyzed interest, these goons gradually take over the length and breadth of Nigeria. First, they filed into Abuja in a majestic convoy, unchallenged and comfortably attacked the Kuje Correctional Facility for more than three hours while the commanding heights of the Nigerian Army slept or pretended not to see. Again, they attacked the presidential convoy nearly hurting Mr President in the process. Still, they brazenly attacked the National Guard, one of Nigeria’s most sophisticated security arms, killing two soldiers and wounding about six others. Nothing happened. Nobody was queried or sacked. Emboldened by the lack of resistance from any quarters, they threatened to kidnap Mr President and the governor of Kaduna State Mallam Nasri El-Rufai. They also threatened to invade and attack major cities in the country including Lagos, Port-Harcourt, and Enugu. At the moment, the government has shut down all schools, both primary and tertiary in Abuja indefinitely, an open admission by the APC Buhari administration that they cannot guarantee the lives of Nigerians. Gradually, terrorists and bandits are taking over the country, just gradually.

If these conditions continue unabated as they are likely to do, will elections take place in Nigeria next year? I flinched after watching a video of some army officers admitting that their superiors instructed them not to go after the terrorists. Well, inasmuch as I want a new dispensation in Nigeria next year, as we hunger and thirst for a revival of relapsed existence, we must be awake to these realities and pause to ask the all-important question, will there be an election in Nigeria next year? Is the Buhari APC government committed to handing over to a democratically elected government or bandits and terrorists? Why would anybody instruct soldiers not to fight terrorists? On what planet does that happen? That is the same sentiment echoed by a gallant officer Gen. Segun Adeniyi when he made a video complaining that military authorities were sabotaging their fight against terrorists by denying them a supply of ammunition. Well, the army authorities redeployed him for his courage and no one heard anything about him again.

Mr Buhari’s attitude to these developments in the country is dispiriting. It is inconceivable that having sworn on oath to protect and defend the integrity of Nigeria, Buhari will capitulate so shamefully before a rag-tag terrorist invasion. Many people have insinuated that Buhari and his government are complicit in the current terrorists’ macabre dance of death given the kid gloves with which he treats their excesses. To succumb to such a narrative will be advancing the devil’s plot. Yet, there is cause to worry about the future of Nigeria under Buhari. Given the President’s recent admission that he is ‘eager to go’, it follows that he admits his failure as the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces Federal Republic of Nigeria. If indeed he is eager to go, one would expect him, as an apostle of integrity, to resign immediately. Of course, Nigerians are also eager to see Buhari go. If the legislature succeeds in impeaching him, it will be good riddance to bad rubbish.

While the Obidients, Batists, and Atikulated square up in media warfare, let them pause and ask – will elections hold next year? In a previous essay titled “2023: To be or not to be” I argued that 2023 is not yet certain. I remember vividly that Pastor E.A Adeboye declared to a bewildered congregation that God has not told him if the election will hold next year. If terrorists eventually take over the reins of power in Nigeria, what options do we have? That Mr Buhari donated $1,000,000 (One Million US Dollars) in a show of solidarity to the terrorist government in Afghanistan immediately after they sacked a democratically elected government is a testimony of how his mind is working. Perhaps, there are certain things those of us in the classroom do not know. Let those who know better than us kindly interpret the Nigerian scenario for us because it appears that Nigerians, like Estragon and Vladimir, will wait for 2023 in vain. God forbid.

Promise Adiele PhD

Mountain Top University