Welcome to the year 2023. This year will undoubtedly be a very interesting year.
In Nigeria today, the year 2023 is pregnant for all our politicians, both the contenders and the pretenders.
This is the year that has given Nigerians the opportunity to choose and make the best decision for the country.
With about eight weeks to go before the general election, this year is undoubtedly a defining moment for Nigeria and Nigerians. We are waiting and anticipating.
2023 is Nigeria date with destination.
It is the year that will determine the fate of more than 220 million Nigerians over the next four years.
This year is full of various events, but it is a year that will determine the political trajectory of this country.
This is the year of the “war between politicians”. This is the year that will make or break Nigeria’s existence as a country.
This is the year of our pact with God. It is a year in which Nigerian politicians will come to terms with the electorate.
This is the year of the redemption of Nigeria. This is the year of fulfillment. This is the year that Nigeria must overcome religious and ethnic sentiments to elect a leader worthy of our trust.
This is the most important year.
for the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC). The electoral referee had long been preparing for the 2023 general election.
This is the year that will throw up the biggest challenges Nigeria will face in the next four years.
This is the year for us to do
that big choice of choosing who actually becomes the president of Nigeria who would run the country for the next four years.
This is the year Nigeria will mortgage its future by voting for just one candidate out of 18 candidates representing different political parties.
From north to east, from west to south, Nigerians will deliberately decide through their permanent voter card (PVC), the candidates who will emerge victorious in the elections for president, national and state assemblies.
This is the year that reminded me
from the story of Moses, the great prophet of God who led the Israelites out of the land of Egypt.
The holy book tells us how the journey of forty days sadly turned into the journey of 40 years.
When the Israelites were about to cross the Red Sea, they rebuked Moses. They asked him if he should have left them in Egypt to suffer in their long slavery.
They feared death. They feared suffering in the desert.
For every man, there is a limit to one’s threshold. There is a limit to one’s suffering and lamentations.
But instead of feeling overwhelmed and confused, Moses looked to God and sought redemption.
It was at this moment that God appeared and asked Moses what he had in his hands.
Moses replied.. ‘it is my rod, oh lord! And God asked him to put her over the red sea and the red sea broke and paved the way in amazement.
This is how the Israelites made their way through the Red Sea only for Pharaoh and his leaders to perish in the Red Sea.
This year, Nigerians are on the edge of the Red Sea. The Pharaohs are after us, threatening to kill, maim and destroy the fate of Nigeria in 2023.
But who will be the Nigerian Moses? Obi, Tinubu or Atiku?
Let me digress a bit. In the Yoruba language, the acronyms of letter (O) letter (T) and letter (A) mean combined (OTA) which means “enemy”.
And going further, the question is: Are the three leading candidates from the Labor Party (LP), the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) the real enemies of Nigeria as we approach the 2023 elections?
Is any of these candidates the true savior of this country?
Who is the ‘God-sent Messiah’ who would lead Nigeria to the promised land?
These are questions we need to ask ourselves as we move into the February and March elections, respectively.
Remember they would come with big promises and white lies.
They have been making endless promises. And in the next six weeks, they will make more promises. They would be telling us all kinds of lies.
They would tell us that Nigeria would switch to Dubai in the next year. They would tell us that our naira would be equal to one US dollar, or even stronger than sterling, the UK currency.
They told us that our dead refineries would start working immediately after being chosen.
They would promise us that power
the supply would be uninterrupted for the next four years.
They would tell us that our health sector would be great again.
That the unprecedented brain drain in the sector would be a thing of the past.
Politicians are in the season of promises, lies, white lies, where they would say that they would kill corruption before it kills the nation.
They would tell us that the streak of insecurity would end immediately after they were elected and that Boko Haram and banditry throughout the country would be history.
They would tell us that Nigeria would emerge stronger and better from the many problems that have been hindering its progress.
They would promise us that there would be no long lines at our service stations. That our professors and university professors would not embark on protracted industrial actions.
They told us that they would exchange Nigeria for Dubai or Mecca.
Each election year is unique in the history of each nation.
However, this year is special for Nigeria because strange things are still unfolding in the political environment.
Our politicians are inventing new jargons and languages.
They are leaving with a new or renewed hope. They are coming out with different slogans.
Honestly, nothing is really new in all of these. It had been ingrained in the Nigerian political lexicon since time immemorial.
Remember that in 1983, the presidential election was between the late Alhaji Shehu Shagari of the Nigerian National Party (NPN), the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) and the late Dr.
Nnamdi Azikiwe of the Nigerian People’s Party (PNP)
Is there any resemblance of our past experiences to this present experience? Is the history of the second Republic and the 1983 elections repeating itself?
Well, it’s just a matter of time.
In 1993, it was between the late Aare Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the late Alhaji Bashir Othman Tofa of the Republican National Convention (NRC).
Also in 1993 there was an electoral debacle that culminated in the annulment of the freest and fairest elections in Nigeria’s history.
Nigeria’s hope in 1993 was dashed.
General Minna lives on to tell us how and why he aborted Nigeria’s dream of a great nation.
In 1993 we had the best opportunity to transform this country. In 1993 we were more united as a nation.
Abiola’s victory was complete national glory. He reflected what the game of politics should be.
It was truly the best testimony of a politics without borders, beyond religions and ethnic sentiments.
The victory of the late MKO Abiola really showed that there is great strength in religious tolerance and how we can learn from playing politics without bitterness.
But despite the landslide victory of the late Abiola in the 1993 elections, the whole process turned out to be a pipe dream.
And Nigeria missed the chance to get it right through free and fair elections.
We missed the golden opportunity to cross the red sea because there were some pharaohs and their chieftains behind us.
It was the pharaoh of that time and his allies who ended up truncating Abiola’s victory and the Nigerian dream of hitting the mark.
Nigeria lost it and we started all over again.
This is how the journey that was supposed to last a decade extended, which was between 1983 and 1993 and instead we had this democracy in 1999.
Remember those who actually made the sacrifices. Remember those who gave their lives.
There were people who made great sacrifices for us to have this democracy.
Between 1999 and 2023 it was a long period of 24 years. It is an irony of fate that Nigeria is still learning and experiencing all that God has blessed us with as a nation.
We are still looking for the best way to make the votes of the electorate count in this country.
Our politics have been monetized and the votes of the electorate never count.
And we have yet to learn our lessons that politics is about choice and that the power to choose our leaders is in our hands through our votes.
So as this year’s election approaches, Nigerians need to wake up and become aware of their voting rights and also make their votes count.
Nigerians must be ready to take back the country from the pharaohs who are only interested in making us poorer.
In truth, Obi, Tinubu and Atiku are all products of this rotten politics we play in Nigeria. They are part of the rotten we call politics in Nigeria.
But one major factor that can help Nigeria against these three super rich candidates is the God factor.
However, God would not come down from heaven to choose the president for us, yet Nigerians remain the real determinant.
Let’s use our hands to create the future we want for ourselves and the next generation of Nigerians.
Let’s use our votes to determine who rules the country for the next four years. That’s the God factor I’m talking about.
So while the politicians start their tricks, let the electorate that will determine your fate choose wisely.
Please consider all important conditions before casting your ballot.
Consider your age, your experiences, your past records, and your past history.
Like it or not, one of them will surely succeed Buhari.
But before that, we must play the God factor by choosing carefully and see who among them could be the best for Nigeria and Nigerians.
Kehinde Aderemi, is the Special Media Assistant of the Aareonakakanfo of Yorubaland.