2023 Presidential election: Issues and concerns – Part 2 — Opinion — The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News – Guardian Nigeria

Continued from yesterday
The campaign promises by many of the aspirants bidding for a presidential ticket betray insincerity or sheer lack of understanding of the fundamental dysfunction of the present governance system notwithstanding their so-called experience in governance. Indeed it is demonstrably a case of nemo dat quod non-habet.
The aspirants have been moving around to address delegates on their programmes. But what is not clear is whether such programmes derive from the manifestoes of their parties in which case one expects the delegates to interrogate the aspirants on specific matters rather than accept hook line and sinker amorphous statements such as fixing the economy, insecurity and sundry hackneyed issues.
Then the question, what is the general disposition of the delegates on the issue of governance? In light of the manifold challenges confronting the country, one would expect discussions on true federalism to address a number of issues notably, insecurity which calls for multi-level policing – federal police, state police and local government police; local government administration which demands that local governments be a creation of states; power/electricity which calls for a multi-grid system and autonomy of states to regulate and manage electricity generation, transmission and distribution; census which calls for the power of the state to conduct census for effective planning; a natural resource which calls for state control and development of resources and to provide support for the central government in line with the principle of fiscal federalism.
These amongst others should be matters around which the views of presidential aspirants should be sought by the delegates. Regrettably, the press has not been helpful in this regard nor has it shown interactive sessions of aspirants and delegates for the benefit of citizens.
Still on the disposition of the delegates. If as it seems, the delegates can be compromised by pecuniary inducement from aspirants as quid pro quo, then it justifies the apprehensions about the 2023 presidential election, particularly the options, in candidates, that will ultimately avail the electorate.
There is a strident call by INEC for Nigerians to take possession of their voter’s card (PVC) and to exercise their civic responsibility by voting. Prior to the 2015 presidential election, many Nigerians were disenchanted by the arrogant and underperforming PDP and consequently yearned for a change of government. APC exploited it as its mantra.
Although the APC manifesto was robust on issues of governance and solution, particularly on true federalism, the flag bearer of the party did not campaign on the basis of the manifesto and therefore could not be held to account when he presented his three-point agenda – economy, security and anti-corruption.
As we approach the next presidential election in 2023, the compelling question is, how equipped is the electorate to interrogate presidential candidates that will emerge in the days ahead, particularly since the bulk of the voting populace is not knowledgeable about the critical issues and how they affect them.
No doubt, as in 2015, Nigerians are desirous to have a government and a leader that will address the multitude of problems in the polity. There is a sense of hopelessness, and despair exacerbated by the attitude of the political class which smacks of insensitivity. This feeling needs to be assuaged by an assurance that 2023 holds the promise of a decisive change.
The press would do well to help the electorate in this regard to do due diligence in identifying a presidential candidate whose worldview is in sync with the yearning for a fundamental restructuring of governance in Nigeria and presenting him or her with the same verve and publicity as it was for President Buhari in 2015.
Concluded
Professor Eromosele is former deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.

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