Sir: Come February next year, Nigerians would have the opportunity to transform the groans and grumbles of the last seven years into tangible protests at the polls. The level of excitement so far generated by the upcoming elections indicates that perhaps more than at any time since Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999, Nigerians know that a historic opportunity beckons.
Many Nigerians do not exactly remember the hopes and enthusiasm that greeted the election of Mr. Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. This is because in spite of the fact that he was reelected in 2019, his general performance while in office has left much to be desired. Many Nigerians have found his mix of cold indifference and noxious nonchalance particularly toxic.
Democracy’s most delectable serving is the ballot box, which opens with it the gift of elections. That people are free to form their choices and express same through the ballot box is the crowning jewel of democracy. This makes eminent sense because leadership at any point in time is only as good as those who provide it. In a democracy, for basic rights to be guaranteed, those in government must be haunted day and night by the ephemerality of their offices and the ruthless transience of power. It is why Nigerians are especially invested in how the 2023 general elections will turn out, especially what its outcome will be, and how that outcome will define the country going forward.
The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, who also doubles as the spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, was recently in the news for saying that Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate, had perfected plans to stage-manage an assassination attempt which would be blamed on the All Progressives Congress all in a bid to score cheap political points. The Labour Party has since hit back, drawing Keyamo into a war of words that has been marked by both sides calling for the other side to be placed on the security watchlist.
Campaigns are due to begin at the end of the month. But from all indications, it appears those who will lead their camps to battle are poised to employ all manner of dark arts. It is up to Nigerians to watch out for those who by their words and actions would betray the fact that together with those they serve, they do not mean well for Nigeria. The ability of Nigerians to read the signs and identify political desperados will make all the difference.