New Telegraph

Parties need to put houses in order for successful 2023 poll

Nigeria is inching towards another general election, which will be held in February 2023. Although politicians are still shy or hesitant to declare their interests for the various offices available, especially the presidency, there is no doubt that Nigeria has less than two years to go for the all-important poll. We consider the 2023 election very crucial to the health of the country because of the trauma the country has passed, especially since 2015, when the Muhammadu Buhariled All Progressives Congress (APC) steamrolled the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidency.

Between 2015 and now, Nigeria has faced so much pressure internally, owing to the activities of criminals to the extent that many believe it is a matter of when, not if, the country will break up. With the activities of Boko Haram insurgents, herdsmen, kidnappers, separationists, agitators and all manner of violence, we believe that the 2023 elections are very crucial to the survival of the country. Get it wrong, Nigeria bursts!

That is why it is worrisome that the two leading parties, the APC and the PDP, rather than focus on the very important election, are more embroiled in leadership crises. While we concede that the battles are more of internal power plays towards 2023, we cannot but feel disappointed that both major parties, despite their obvious failure to rescue Nigerians from abject poverty, insecurity and similar issues are busy engaging in unnecessary hair splitting over the control of their party structures. We say so because we know that at the end of the day; the internal wrangling would be settled, with the more powerful taking the cake to the detriment of the generality of Nigerians.

Ordinarily, Nigerians would have expected that by now, the two major parties would have given a clear roadmap towards the elections, knowing that the Buhari presidency is running its full course in less than two years. But it is very appalling when the only noise that is coming from both parties is leadership crises that are rather adding to the threat to democracy, which the country is faced with. We recall that sadly, these squabbles within the parties are rubbing off wrongly on the whole democratic process.

The different and cacophonous judicial pronouncements on the leadership crises are pointers to the malady that has infested both parties. Incidentally, smaller parties are also borrowing experiences from the two big parties. Take for instance the multiple suits in the Anambra State governorship elections, where political parties went as far as Jigawa, Kano, Imo states to obtain injunctions against their opponents just to score political points. At the end of the day, it took the intervention of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, to stop the mess.

At the PDP for instance, the battle between the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and the National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, is threatening to tear the party apart. Various entreaties by leaders of the party appear to have been a wasted effort. Currently, cases are in court from both sides and their allies, while Secondus is suspended by the courts.

The power tussle, which came to the open recently, has been simmering from the inside for long, which is the reason some governors of the party defected to the APC. Incidentally, we are even more worried by the crisis in the APC, which is the ruling party. Since the Supreme Court by a margin of four to three confirmed Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), as the governor of Ondo State, in the suit filed against him by Eyitayo Jegede of the PDP, the entire leadership of Mai Buni, the governor Yobe State and Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the party seems to be endangered. Against some advice from leaders of the party on the danger Buni posed with holding the party office and that of governor together, the APC has gone ahead with ward and Local Government Congresses, with the State Congresses scheduled for October. Dramatically, the PDP has also gone to court, challenging Buni’s position. What it means by implication is that the APC risks waking up one day to see the court pronounce all actions of Buni illegal. It means that the APC would need to start afresh or lose out entirely as it happened in Rivers, Zamfara and some other states in 2019. Why are we worried? We are worried because both the APC and the PDP do not appear to have woken up to the reality that Nigeria needs serious discussions going into the 2023 elections.

Rather, the two political parties appear to be like the proverbial Emperor Nero, who fiddled while Rome burnt. Rather than face issues that are bothering Nigerians towards the elections, gladiators in the parties are busy sharing the booty in advance. It is all about power struggles and not the interest of the beleaguered Nigerian. We expected that by now, the two parties would have clearly had presidential aspirants, who would give the citizenry hope about their future. We expected that by now, presidential aspirants would have started showing their roadmap to Nigeria’s recovery.

No! Everybody is playing the Ostrich. Politicians are hiding under proxy wars for self-interest, while the country wallows directionless. Do we take it that they are waiting for a go ahead from Buhari, whose tenure will expire in less than 18 months to give the go ahead? We strongly believe that APC and PDP should put their houses in order and show citizens the next picture of the country’s journey. We, like other Nigerians, are tired of hearing about ego fuelled leadership quarrels, which serves no interest beyond the key players.

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