In the hands of Nigeria’s electoral umpire, the gun goes off and so begins the official campaign season for the much anticipated 2023 general elections.
Since the conclusion of party primaries that produced their respective candidates, events surrounding the major political contenders have been fraught with so much drama it almost puts BBNaija to shame – grown men bickering relentlessly in front of children – such an ‘un-African sight’.
However, if what we have seen so far is drama, it could be an overstretch trying to imagine what is to come in this campaign season.
The storm in the teapot of the umbrella party seems to have no predictable end. As it stands, the personal tantrums of the party’s ‘strongman’ is threatening the party’s probable gains across geo-political zones where a firmer footing is expedient to realise their plans of unseating the ruling party come 2023.
It does not also help that the unfiltered verbiage of his growing sympathisers coupled with the defiant panegyric tunes of his signature musical band goads the ego of the party’s presidential candidate into maintaining a stand-offish posture that has made the prospect of ‘reconciliation’ so unattractive it questions the meaning of the word itself.
While the turbulent wind of internal politics tosses the umbrella, it has in no way spared the broom.
The ruling party is still faced with members who are dissatisfied with the Muslim-Muslim ticket. This issue is quite literally picking the broomsticks apart – political opportunists and separatists are playing on religious sentiments to advance their personal interests. And with the recent disquiet about the composition of the campaign team from those that are yet to heal from their grievances over the choice of the presidential running mate, the picture is not looking as pretty as the party leaders would like it to be.
Then, there is the man who has recently gained celebrity status among the _’young and restless’_. The candidate who makes many wishes that elections were conducted as popularity contests and votes were counted by internet likes.
Although he is no political spartan like the Jagaban, the former governor conveys a charismatic appeal that has many rooting for his victory at the polls. However, his undoing could lie in the fact that his party lacks a nationwide structure, particularly in regions where it really matters.
To run a truly efficient government poised to return the good fortune of Nigerians, Baba Buhari’s successor would need internal peace to effect whatever policy or agenda that appeals enough to the electorate to give them the mandate for the next four years.
This should be a cue to all political parties to avoid unnecessary distractions and focus on restoring their internal cohesion and running an issue-based electoral campaign.
Now more than ever is the time for internal political decorum. When issues arise, the rooftops might not be the best place to announce one’s grievances.
The leadership of each political party owes it to Nigerian voters to make this campaign season free of petty and manipulative fog. They must give the electorate a chance to see the true capacity and visions of presidential contenders. And when the campaign is over, Nigerians must be able to go to the polls with a clear picture of who they believe can redeem our beloved nation.
2023 Elections: Ready! Set! Go!