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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Nigeria Decide: Mixed emotions as Africa’s most populous nation goes to poll

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Nigerians will today go to the ballots to elect the nation’s president and lawmakers that would pilot their affairs for the next 4 years. This is in preparation for President Muhammadu Buhari’s exit on May 29.

The 2023 Nigeria election has attracted global attention considering its importance to the country and Africa.

The country has continued to contend with several political and economic challenges since Buhari took over in 2015. Analysts have compared the situation in the country to the popular idiom of migrating from frying the pan into the fire.

The growing pitiable conditions of Nigerians have not only been felt within the country but in the entire continent and perhaps globally. These conditions have ignited the migration syndrome also known as japa, where Nigerians who were successful under previous administrations abandoned their now unsuccessful trades for greener pastures.

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had capitalized on the japa syndrome, assuring Nigerians in the Diaspora that upon return of the party to government, opportunities will open for a massive return of stranded Nigerians abroad. This is similar to the message of the Labour Party’s Peter Obi who believes a new Nigeria will be birthed under him.

Though the battle for the soul of Nigeria remains a four-horse race where the APC, PDP, LP, and the NNPP will slog it out, there appears to be a general admittance by all the political parties that the current government has failed to redeem its pledge to Nigerians. All the political parties including the APC have faulted the leadership style of the current government. A recent case is the cashless policy of the government which Bola Tinubu and other APC chieftains stood vehemently against.

Under the Buhari government, Nigeria has witnessed serious recessions, reducing the value of its currency to nothing. Prices of food have continued to skyrocket in the markets amid rising insecurity.

In the early half of 2022, kidnapping had become a lucrative business for criminals who moved from house to house in search of average Nigerians to take for ransom.

This is even as the Naira is now above N700 to a dollar.

Unemployment, herdsmen killings, political killings, and a host of other crimes have reached the crescendo under the watchful eyes of President Buhari.

The 2023 election remains the best opportunity for Nigerians to express their anger over the current state of things. The emergence of the Obidient movement championed by the youths across the country has further put pressure on the political elites who distribute power at will during every election.

About 48 million youths are charged towards the polls in a frantic move to change the status quo. Though the majority of them are passionate about the aspiration of Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party, it’s yet to be seen if their decision will significantly affect the outcome of the poll.

Though 18 political parties are on the ballot, Nigerians will have to choose from among four top political parties and candidates.

Analysts believe this is the best chance for the country to choose the best person for the job. Taking the wrong decision out of sentiments will keep the country down for another 4-8 years.

Most voters have argued that the voting pattern will change this time around. The argument is that it will no longer be about party structure, but about rescuing the nation from the structure of poverty and insecurity.

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