Too often, the phrase “make or break” is used without meaning or consequence. But if there is ever a time when the phrase holds true, it is this year when Nigeria elects its next leader. Make no mistake, the outcome of the February presidential election will determine whether Nigeria’s acute and chronic routine will begin to reverse or deepen further.

That is why no patriotic Nigerian should sit on the fence or be indifferent to next month’s presidential election. And that is why I have nailed my colors to the mast, why I have been unequivocal in this column about where I stand on the next president of Nigeria.

In truth, the battle for the soul of Nigeria, for the future of this country, is between the forces of evil and the forces of good; the forces of stagnation and the forces of change; the forces of regression and the forces of progress. Well, dare I add, the forces of division and exclusivism and the forces of unity and inclusivism.

Unfortunately, although the forces of good, progress and unity are in the majority, they are often too indifferent, too inactive to make a difference. On the contrary, the forces of evil, retreat, and division have enormous resources, as well as sheer motivation and determination to organize and mobilize to achieve their selfish goals.

No patriotic Nigerian who truly loves this country should sit on the fence or be indifferent to the presidential election in February and who becomes the next president of Nigeria.

The above proposition is best explained by Mancur Olson’s theory of collective action and public choice theory. According to these theories, it is difficult to achieve critical mass for positive change because everyone wants to “ride free” on the efforts of others; everyone is waiting for others to take the necessary action. But if you’re waiting for me to do something, and I’m waiting for you to do it, well, simple logic: it won’t get done!

But the root of the collective action problem is what political economists describe as “concentrated gains/dispersed losses.” Basically, this means that if the gains from a particular effort are concentrated, those likely to benefit from the effort would do anything to pursue it. But if the losses from such an effort are dispersed and widely distributed, those likely to suffer from the effort would lack the incentive to mobilize and stop it. This is also known as “concentrated interests” versus “diffuse interests”.

For example, if someone says that becoming president of Nigeria is his “lifelong ambition” and that it is his “right” and “turn” to be president, surely the gains from achieving that ambition would be so concentrated to him, his family, his friends, his minions, etc., “concentrated interests”, that he and his followers would do anything to achieve, by hook or by crook, that selfish ambition

Now, for Nigeria as an entity, the losses from the realization of that selfish ambition would be concentrated in terms of various damages to the nation. But for Nigerians, the losses would be dispersed, thus creating “diffuse interests” across the country.

In such circumstances, many people, particularly the middle classes and youth, who believe they can “get by” with any difficulty and rarely care about Nigeria as a whole, may lack the incentive to mobilize and act collectively to end a so selfish and selfish situation. potentially damaging ambitions for the nation. And that’s not to mention the overriding factors, such as ethnicity, religion, and the role of unexplained wealth, of slush funds!

This is what, ominously, makes this year “ominous” for Nigeria. The forces of evil, backtracking and disunity are circling like vultures, marshaling all resources, illicit or not, to capture the presidency. They are backed by enemies of Nigeria, who tell us that character, integrity and honesty do not matter as presidential attributes.

But where are the forces of good, progress and unity? Will they stand by and allow the forces of evil and their enablers to prevail? Did not Edmund Burke, or someone else, say that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”?

I mean, how many Nigerians who really love this country and are eligible to vote have picked up their permanent voter cards, PVCs, and how many of those who have PVCs will actually vote on February 25? And how many would vote for the candidate with the right combination of ability, competence, vision and integrity, who can start the process of rebuilding Nigeria and radically transform its destiny?

I repeat: no patriotic Nigerian who truly loves this country should sit on the fence or be indifferent to the presidential election in February and who becomes the next president of Nigeria.

That is why I applaud former President Olusegun Obasanjo for publicly endorsing former Governor Peter Obi, the Labor Party’s presidential candidate, as his choice for president. For bitter grapes or for mischief, some attacked Obasanjo, but none challenged his reasoning.

In an open letter on January 1, titled “My appeal to all Nigerians, particularly the young Nigerians,” former President Obasanjo listed four attributes that the next president should possess. He called them TVCP, which stands for: 1) History of Capacity and Performance; 2) Authentic, honest and realistic vision; 3) Character and attributes of a lady and a gentleman who are children of God and obedient to God; and 4) Physical and mental capacity with good judgment.

Based on those parameters, Obasanjo wrote: “Neither of the contestants is a saint, but when one compares their character, background, their understanding, knowledge, discipline and vitality that they can bring to the great efforts required to stay focused on work, particularly looking at where the country is today… Peter Obi has an advantage”.

I agree with former President Obasanjo, and with Chief Edwin Clark, leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leader of the Pan Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, and the leaders of the Middle Belt Forum, who han also backed Obi on the grounds of fairness, fairness, and justice, arguing that power should rotate to the southeast!

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The truth is that out of the four leading presidential candidates: PDP’s Atiku Abubakar, APC’s Bola Tinubu, NNPP’s Rabiu Kwankwaso and LP’s Peter Obi, Obi is the best. He is the only one whose election as president would check the right boxes, not only in terms of character and vision, but also in terms of managing Nigeria’s diversity.

To be honest, I like some of what Atiku says. “Restructuring”, “national unity government”, “free market economy” are what I have defended for years. But Atiku has a serious trust issue; there is something of the night in it. More fundamentally, given Nigeria’s diversity, it’s hard to justify Atiku, a northerner, succeeding Buhari, a northerner!

But Tinubu is absolutely beyond the limits. In fact, a Tinubu presidency would be so absolutely abhorrent on so many grounds that I consider anyone who supports his “lifelong ambition” and endorses his “Emi lokan” sense of entitlement as an enemy of Nigeria. Those who cite his exaggerated “achievements” in Lagos State, while ignoring charges of massive “state capture” and grand corruption (large-scale transfer of public resources to private interests) are wrong and unpatriotic. Also, they forget that Nigeria is not Lagos!

What’s more, Tinubu’s Muslim-Muslim candidacy, the threats his presidency would pose to ethnic and religious harmony, and his sharp character and lack of integrity make him unsuitable to be President of Nigeria. Think about it. Can Nigeria really have as president someone who turned over $460,000 to US authorities in a seizure of drug-related assets, with the publicly available evidence? Only the deranged, the unpatriotic, will approve!

So, Nigeria is facing an impending calamity, the future of the country hanging dangerously in the balance. But would Nigerians avert disaster next month? Well they must!

Happy New Year to all!