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Gbenga Gbadamosi: 2023 election: On the march again…

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Nigeria is on the march again to pick the man who they will be entrusting with their fortunes and destinies for at least the next four years. A lot of contenders have indicated interests in the top job, many on the list have become humble persons overnight and go about with so much humility. These are regular sights at every dispensation.

This is the time you will see many of these aspirants queue up at groceries stores, abandon protocol and mingle freely with crowds in places they will never deem good, healthy or safe enough to be seen. This is the period you will see them buying corn by the roadside, help control traffic or eat at “Mama put”. This is when they do everything for the optics.

This is also the period some of the aspirants are projected in messianic light as the one with the magic wand to turn things around for good. Just like we had in pre-2015 with General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd) who was projected as the man with the midas touch, sincerity of purpose and incorruptible man who will fix Nigeria’s many problems in almost seven (7) years as President, he has turned out to be a greater problem to Nigeria, thereby compounding the problems of Nigeria. The country is more insecure than it was and Nigerians are even more divided along ethnic and religious lines than ever before. Not even the civil war era was we this divided.

As another dispensation is upon us, and it is a great opportunity for Nigerians to choose new set of leaders to pilot the affairs of this country at all levels for another four years. Most political parties have kicked off the process of availing Nigerians wide range of options to choose from and the Peoples Democratic Party, which is one of the two leading political parties in the country has elected a flagbearer for the 2023 Presidential elections.

While many might be unimpressed with the kind of opposition the PDP has offered APC in the face of monumental failures and misrule, one must accept that PDP has demonstrated huge resolve to challenge APC for the Presidency and has positioned itself as a strong opposition. The emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the party’s candidate did not come without its drama. In the build-up to the party’s presidential primary held in Abuja on the 28th May 2023, Peter Obi who many touted as front runner withdrew from the contest and also resigned his membership of the party just few days before the event.
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There was also a major talking point in the build-up to the presidential primary, the decision by the National Working Committee of the party to throw the contest open and not zone it to southern region of the country in total defiance to the provision of Article 7 (2) (c) of the party’s constitution which states and I quote; “in pursuance of the principle of equity, justice and fairness, the party shall adhere to the policy of rotation and zoning of party and public elective offices and it shall be enforced by appropriate executive committee at all levels”. This move has caused dissatisfaction among members of the PDP especially those from South East who felt the ticket should be micro zoned to the region for equity, justice and fairness as the region is yet to play a prominent role since return of democracy in 1999. This is also an affront and brazen disregard to the south as governors of states of southern part of the country met and issued a communique that the next president of the country must come from the region. It is fair that after eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim and a northerner, his successor must be a southern Christian.

That the PDP disregarded this valid call, is not enough to rubbish the aspirations and credentials of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who emerged winner of the contest. We must face it that at some point in our national life, we must jettison zoning along religious and tribal lines and stick with competence, and I understand if the PDP took this route with its only focus being getting back power and Nigeria from the obvious clutches of downward drive.

Moving forward, in the quest for cohesion and uniting the party, it is expected that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar must pick his running mate from the south, especially following the strong showing of South-South. The southeast did not vote as a bloc and with the display of appropriate temperament, composure and conduct for such exalted office or any public office Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State comes to mind and adjudged the most suitable for the position considering the fact that he keenly participated in the race.

With Atiku expected to bring to bear his training in regimented service in the Nigeria Customs Service to assert and be in charge of the Command, Control and Communication (C-3) of the Armed Forces as Commander-in-Chief, and which will go a long way in giving the right leadership in ensuring success on the war on terror and insecurity, there is need for his support from someone with the requisite knowledge and antecedents to help pull back our nation’s economy from the precipice which the APC-led government has driven it to.

Alhaji Atiku will need to shop right for a man with great man-management skills and leadership style that will support a harmonious relationship with other arms of government, deliver his several and much-needed economic policies to salvage Nigeria. A man who can make a success of ventures to debunk and demystify the agelong argument that ‘government does not have business in business” with the successful turnaround of public sector interests and endear real investments for the economy.

It is my humble opinion that the wind of change and good fortunes beckon on PDP. And this time, the party has an opportunity and prospects of the most formidable team if it is an Atiku/Emmanuel ticket. The competence of this combination will not only pacify the protagonists of zoning and seeming disgruntled persons within the party but also catapult the country to revival.

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