The political trajectory of Nigeria in the next four years will be initialised this Saturday – as the two leading political parties (the APC and the PDP) select candidates for the 2023 presidential election. The fate of our nation rests in the whimsical repository of a few deciders. We can divine the future possibilities and challenges of our country from the outcome of these presidential primaries. It is a make-or-mar fixture.
Nigeria is at a precarious time in its evolution. As I wrote in a previous column, Nigeria’s next president will be coming at a time the country is agonisingly sundered along ethnic and religious contours; at a time of seething anger and great uncertainty; when the economy is in shreds; corruption at the apogee; at such a perilous time when Nigerians cannot commute from one part of the country to another for fear of being killed and kidnapped; at such a vulnerable time when a dollar is N600 at the parallel market, and when over 13 million children are out of school. Nigeria’s next president will be coming at a time of anomie.
The task ahead is enormous. Nigeria desperately needs the right people to get the right fixes. A president who will address the hydra of insurgency, banditry and kidnapping; galloping debts, oil revenue shrinkage, freewheeling inflation, and the Venus flytrap called petrol subsidy. These are tasks demanding extraordinary competence and a surfeit of courage.
Cleaving substance from blanks in the APC, Bola Tinubu, former governor of Lagos; Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti; Rotimi Amaechi, former minister of transportation, and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo are the presidential probables.
Tinubu is perhaps the most popular presidential hopeful in the APC. I think in Tinubu resides the gravitas to take tough decisions. Nigeria needs a president who is not afraid to be unpopular. Taking critical and tough decisions comes with revulsion and even violent opposition from segments of society. But Nigeria cannot achieve its manifest destiny without some hard scrubs. Tinubu comes off as that leader who is not disinclined to dare the undared. He is feisty, deliberate and unbending…