By Fredrick Nwabufo
Why are Nigerian politicians ravished by the thought of election? They plot and machinate over it. And when they eventually get into office, they spend four years scheming for another turn instead of honouring their contract with citizens.
There is always a blue-print for the next election, but a subterfuge for governance and duty. The last general election was held in February, and just eight months after, there are already ‘’crusades and evangelism’’ ahead of the next one in 2023.
How can we make progress this way? We need to ask ourselves some uncomfortable questions? Do we keep reprocessing the same class of predators every four years? Do we consider a single term presidency? How do we reduce the cost of elections?
Our elections are about the most expensive in the world, with the cost ballooning from about N2 billion in 1999 to more than N240 billion in 2019, trumping India’s — a country much bigger in size and in population than Nigeria.
Really, the argument of former President Goodluck Jonathan on this climacteric issue reverberates with me. He foregrounded the paradox of our elections at the constitutional term limits summit in Niamey, Niger Republic.
“Four years is quite a short period for a country that is developing for a person who wants to change the country to do much. In Nigeria we just finished the election and some people are already talking about 2023 election. It is distracting,’’ he said.
“That is why some people come with the idea of a single tenure; so a president can sit down and plan all his programmes for the good of the country. We are too distracted with these elections. Why must we waste money every four years to elect a leader? Those are the things that agitate our minds.”
I think, a single term of six years may not be outrageous. Whoever is president will have to buckle-down and work, instead of thinking of the next election, which is distracting.
Also, I believe, this should apply to other elective offices. I know some lawmakers who have become fossils at the National Assembly – every four years they buy their way into the legislature but with nothing to show for their perpetuity in office. Should this continue?
Electing credible candidates is a different matter entirely. As long as ethnicity and religion are the kernel for electing persons to public office here, competence and credibility will always be extraneous.
The current administration is yet to clock a year, but some agents of ‘’the presidency cabal’’ are already crusading for a ‘’pretender to the throne’’.
Babachir Lawal, former secretary to the government of the federation, who is a consort of the rulers, principalities and powers of present-day Nigeria, has kicked off the crusade with evangelism for Bola Tinubu.
Hear him: “By 2023 when Buhari’s tenure will be over, he’ll go back to Daura to face his cows like I am doing. But you see, every leader must leave behind a legacy. I will like to see that he leaves behind a legacy of achievement.
“Bola Tinubu is my friend of many years. Buhari is my big boss. Bola Tinubu without prejudice that he’s my friend will make a good president.
‘’Other issues notwithstanding, he (Tinubu) will make a good modern president because the presidency these days is scientific. Nigerians, by convention, seem to have agreed that there should be rotation of the presidency.”
But, I would like to say, ‘’buyers beware’’. I do not intend to de-market product Tinubu, but I believe he should remain tamed as a wraith hovering over the seat of power. He could dance around the throne, but he should not sit in it. His antecedents are well established.
I do not think we need a president, who has publicly admitted arrogantly to conveying cash in bullion vans on the eve of an election, in contravention of the country’s money laundering laws.
If by 2023, the ‘’children of Eris’’ unbalance the scale and decide to skirt the south-east by tilting the office of the president to the south-west, then, I will gamble my vote on a refined, expansive and level-headed person, who does not cut the figure of a mob boss, like Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo – if he decides to run.