The clocks are ticking furiously but fatefully towards a colossal general election that will prove crucial to the future of the country. There are many Nigerians who believe with all their hearts that when the polls open to voters in February 2022, it will be for a referendum on the direction the country will take in the next four years and perhaps beyond.

In a country where the deepest reservations are often kept for those who provide leadership, the relationship between Nigerians, their leaders, and the process that throws them off remains terribly unfortunate. The scars are etched deep into the country’s psyche.

Key national institutions continue to falter. The political process continues to be plagued by a cancerous apathy and inertia. Corruption continues rampant. A staggering economy has thrown up a people deeply scarred by poverty. In the last decade, insecurity has come to add salt to the wound.

For example, in the South Kaduna region of Kaduna State, it continues to appear that there is a fiendishly orchestrated attempt to destroy entire communities and seize their ancestral lands. What has been especially heart breaking is that the government with which people have a social contract has largely stood by and done nothing.

Ahead of the 2023 general election, Nigerians don’t exactly have many options. Yes, for the first time in a long time, there is a third force looming on the horizon for Nigeria’s presidential elections. The fact that this third party led by the Labor Party continues to deliver traditional strong stomach cramps as Nigeria gradually approaches decision day is a measure of how dire it is.

In 2015, a seismic shift in Nigerian politics saw the Peoples’ Democratic Party ousted from power. The All Progressives Congress, which seized power in historic elections, has gone on to post more than seven years of bland leadership marked by incompetence, indifference and a debilitating dereliction of duty.

Whatever the All Progressives Congress wants to go on, Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the one who has taken on the task.

Ending eight years in the cold, the Peoples’ Democratic Party has placed its fate and its faith in the hands of serial contender Atiku Abubakar.

The Labor Party’s hard-hitting forays into the corridors of power in Nigeria are led by Peter Obi, the prodigal son of the Peoples’ Democratic Party whose refreshing ideas and jarring honesty threaten to topple the sand house that is Nigerian politics.

All three candidates believe they have what it takes. For different reasons, different Nigerians believe they have what it takes. Recently, former President Olusegun Obasanjo endorsed Peter Obi of the Labor Party as Nigeria’s best candidate. In a scathing letter to Nigerian youth, Obasanjo urged Nigerians to vote for him. There have also been endorsements from other prominent Nigerians for Peter Obi.

With different motives behind these endorsements, some of them undoubtedly ulterior, what is the value of an endorsement in Nigeria?

It can be heavy or paperweight depending on the influence of the person giving it. It is telling, however, that a man who was president while the three main presidential candidates were in active politics has left for Peter Obi.

The signs are clear and the handwriting is scrawled on the wall. Nigeria is drinking in the hall of last chance for leadership. Another mistake that was tragically made in 2015 and 2019 could be the last straw.

It is doubtful that the African Giant can afford such a calamity at this time. Nigerians must choose wisely. Eccentric endorsements may not be perfect guides to making informed decisions, but they can offer crucial clues.

Ken Obiezu,

Twitter: @kenobiezu

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