Nigeria 2023: ‘Searching for Mr. President’


Nigeria 2023: ‘Searching for Mr. President  






For those  who understand that Nigeria  is on a brink, and steeping  to crash into smaller countries,  the search for  a bridge builder  who may be president in 2023, hoping that the contraption will survive the menace of marauding herdsmen and the drumbeats of separation is now.


As it stands, Nigeria does not need an hybrid president with extraordinary  intelligence  or  political sophistry to keep her colonially foisted corporate existence intact. To get out of the woods, Nigeria and Nigerians need a  bridge builder who will reconnect,  reconcile and reposition   the six geo-political regions that till date are the basis for ethnic and religious campaigns.


Frankly, what has placed the Nigerian state precariously on a cliff didn’t start with the Buhari’s administration. It has been simmering since the nation witnessed its’ first coup d’etat in 1966. The coup was an ominous  sign that Nigerian wasn’t feasible, but we went ahead in our wild goose chase. Except for the fact that those who carried out the bloody coup were Nigerians,  everything about the 1966 coup was wrong. Little wonder that it was a retaliatory coup, barely seven months after the country woke up to a martial music for the first thing in her short history then. No doubt, it was branded a northern coup. The northern elements in the Nigerian military were angry  and had to take  revenge because they were of the opinion that the Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu led coup was a calculated move to wipe out prominent northern leaders from the political arena to  pave way for those of the eastern region to hold sway.


Since the ill fated coup, the deep seated animosity between the north and the south has been legendary. Small wonder the Nigerian civil war broke out in 1967. Since then arsenals were never fired at each other yet, there have been war at various fronts. The internecine war of religion and ethnicity is far more  dangerous than one region actually taking up arms against another. Nigerians had, and still fight themselves on almost all fronts. The Igbo man wants the Yoruba man out of his way at all cost. The Fulanis/Hausas seemingly dominate the Immigration services, Customs, Nigeria Police, Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, the Nigerian Military, e.t.c.  Appointments into federal parastatals are no longer done on merit and competence. Each ethnic group now tries to outsmart the other over federal appointments.


To be able to  keep Nigeria in one piece and manage the country adroitly, we do not need  an Igbo President nor a Yoruba President, but a Nigerian President  who fits into Niyi Osundare’s poetic  rules.  In his allegorical  poem, ‘The Leader and the Led’ the poet who  spoke through an all-knowing  Forest sage  notes that  the  search for a quintessential or dreamed leader comes with painstaking and diligent  search, and to  guide the search from derailment, the search must not lose focus of transparency and astuteness.  The Forest sage   opines that the dreamed leader  will be one who has the following qualities rolled into one:  ‘Tough like a tiger’, ‘compassionate like a doe’, ‘transparent like a river’ and ‘mysterious like a lake’ .

Nigerians should brace up to the reality and reasoning of the 21th Century where the fad and focus is globalization and industrialization. Bounding ourselves further into religious bigotry  and ethnic tapestry would mean grave danger for generations to come.


The time now calls for  us to tell ourselves the truth. Nepotism and sundry corrupt practices  only asphyxiate a nation and set the denizens on collusion course. If we must make progress, the various political parties must  indulge in the same serious search for   candidates whose political popularity traverse ethnic and religious boundaries.  Primary or selection exercise must be transparent and credible.


The one who should  eventually emerge as President in 2023  must be open  minded  and be ready to operate an all inclusive administration, one devoid of ethnic and religious sentiments. Appointments should be such that only qualified individuals with the relevant experience should be considered. The administration of whoever emerges  must hit the ground running. Particularly, he should be able to douse or completely erase the suspicion presently oscillating between the northern region and their  southern counterpart. His administration must be such that the people of the southern must be or seem to  have been relieved from the fear of the  hegemony of the northern Muslims.  The same way, the  people of the north should not be seen as  parasites.


This writer does not make a case for Atiku Abubakar, but the Turaki of Adamawa has all it takes to tame the marauding herdsmen and the menace of banditry. Besides, his popularity cuts across regions of the country. He is popular in his northern region the same way  he is popular  in the south.  He holds a cosmopolitan view of a Nigeria that is prided above ethnic and religious sentiments.


Age may  not be  on the side of Atiku, what is needed to keep Nigeria as one indivisible country, at least for now is experience and the ability to act timeously.  It must be shown that government is sincerity in its drive to match the country beyond religious ethnic tapestry.


No doubt, there are other Nigerians, whom if given the opportunity would stir the country far from nepotism in appointments and siding with the people of whatever region he hails from. But, one wonders if such individual understands Nigeria as much as the likes of Atiku do. While in service as a top ranked  officer in the Nigerian  Customs, Atiku had the privilege to hobnob with Nigerians with different ethnic and religious backgrounds, and he made an execellent use of that opportunity.


As Vice President to Olusegun Obasanjo (1999-2007), Atiku was able to demonstrate unparelled political sagacity that many are still of the view that the engine room of the Obasanjo’s administration was Atiku whom pundits claimed did all the dirty jobs to ensure that the sails of the Obasanjo’s administration was not disrupted at any time.

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