If I Were A Delegate: Voting For The Future Of Nigeria
With the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria’s main opposition party, having conducted its primaries, all eyes are now shifted to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to tow a different part and not allow money and “dollars” become the determining factor of who becomes the party’s flag bearer ahead of the 2023 presidential election. The delegates, whether statutory delegates or ad hoc delegates are the ones who will elect the presidential candidate of the APC in a few days. With the screening of APC presidential aspirants finally concluded, upon the delegates lie a burden to rescue Nigeria from decadence by shunning money politics and dissuading any attempts at dollarization of our national conscience.
The quest to produce the next president for Nigeria has brought to the fore an unavoidable debate about the need to elect a credible and upright president, someone with integrity, and the moral capacity to serve in the interest of Nigeria, not motivated by personal interest and gain. Since its independence, Nigeria has been exploited by corrupt leaders and politicians who have frittered away the country’s immense wealth and hindered growth and development.
This is why the 2023 election is another pivotal milestone in the course of Nigeria’s developmental journey. What can be certain is that the decision made in selecting the next president will have serious repercussions for the nation’s development in the decade ahead. For this reason, it is expedient to appeal to the delegates who are the key players in the party’s primary election stage to think of Nigeria first and not allow short terms gain to sabotage our collective future.
President, Muhammadu Buhari made a strong appeal last week, asking the APC Governors to allow him to have a say in choosing his successor. While some misinterpreted that plea as being self-serving, it is important to underscore that the president’s request is borne out of a desire to preserve what is left of the integrity of Nigeria’s leadership. President Buhari may be the last trustworthy leader with integrity if care is not taken in electing who will succeed him. This is so important given that some of those hardline presidential aspirants have the running perception of lack of integrity and corruption allegations hanging over them. Therefore, it is important to look objectively at the request of the president. It may sound selfish that he wants to have a choice of his successor, but as a delegate, it is a duty to the nation to look at the quality of leadership that will be bestowed on Nigeria after president Buhari leaves office.
Delegates should consider the following important issues before casting their all-important votes.
The emergence of Atiku Abubakar as the flag bearer of the PDP has changed the dynamic and requires APC to put forward a candidate of sound integrity and without any baggage of corruption allegations. That is the only way to differentiate and have a strong selling argument.
Secondly, it is important to give priority to unifying the country by supporting a southern presidential candidate that is energetic and dynamic and who is not bugged by health challenges. Thirdly, it is important to select someone who is within the framework of the succession plan of President Buhari who himself has made enormous sacrifices to sustain Nigeria’s fragile democracy.
It is also critical as a delegate to discern red flags such as the self-entitled mentality of some of the aspirants. Countries are not built by the patronage of personal interests but by giving priority to the national good and the people’s aspirations. President Buhari has shown a shining example in his demonstration of loyalty to the nation above personal aggrandizement. Therefore, it is our collective duty, delegates included, to place the country above pecuniary interest and self-serving ambitions. One thing is sure, Nigeria is not for sale and cannot be given away to the highest bidders, like an unwilling bride. Another important consideration should be the urgent need to protect the internal cohesion and democracy of party and country from moneybag dictatorship. Money is not everything, but the preservation of our country is an existential imperative and a key legacy we must bequeath to future generations.
In all of these, one person stands out that has the competence required and the moral and cerebral capacity to move Nigeria forward. Vice president Yemi Osinbajo has served meritoriously with president Buhari for the past seven years without blemish and or rancor. The vice president has undertaken numerous national assignments with the highest degree of merit and accomplishment and has demonstrated a passion for the nation above personal interest. Prof. Yemi Osinbajo stands solidly in the gap to preserve the legacy of President Buhari’s leadership achievements and move Nigeria in a new direction of national growth. Vice president Osinbajo is a stable character, trustworthy, and can fulfill most of the expectations, be it generational – integrating the youths into leadership, preservation of national ethos, the culture of excellence in leadership, ticking the moral box, and fulfilling the political expectations both in terms of being a unifier and achiever with a solid track record of public service.