Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the atmosphere is heating up and several persons are indicating interest to run for the number one position of the country. Typical of our dearly beloved country, the very persons that got the country to its present state are creeping out again to contest the position of the President.

The political system in Nigeria is in many ways not favorable for fresh hands to come in. Since the inception of this country from independence till date, the same crop of people are still in the hem of affairs and that is why we have the likes of Bola Ahmed Tinubu indicating interest to run for Presidency. 

We have been, and are still recycling leaders like empty bottles; sadly, they’re indeed bottles without content; same old, same old. 

Tinubu, the former Lagos state governor and a strong supporter of President Buhari finally declared his intentions to the President of becoming his successor; a kingmaker who wants to become king.

One would wonder what Tinubu has to offer at his feeble. Recall that last year he was in London for treatment of an unknown sickness, many fears that if he eventually becomes President, history will repeat itself just as Yar’Aduas’ time.   

 Because Nigeria is just like the ‘Fuji house of commotion ’, rumors have been making rounds of former President Goodluck Jonathans’ intentions of wanting to return to the Aso villa for another term. Just recently, posters of the former President were seen in some parts of Lagos state and Abuja the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). 

The posters read “PLS RUN, NIGERIANS ARE CALLING AGAIN.” The posters were courtesy of a group Greater Nigeria Ambassadors (GRENA). The posters claimed to be a call on Goodluck Jonathan to run for the seat of President again in 2023. The group has now joined a number of persons and groups calling on the former President to run again in the 2023 general elections. 

Another ambition brewing is that of the current Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo, funny, but true. The Vice President who has been in office for the past seven years has just suddenly realized that he is better of President than just assisting (but well, he could succeed his principal). 

According to a report by Peoples Gazette, Osinbanjo informed the President, his principal, of his intention to run for President in 2023 and sought his blessings. According to Gazette, Osinbanjo met the President on New Years’ Day.

“The Vice President did not want to go into the election year by hiding a plan which the President had probably already known about”, the report read in parts. “He knew that an immediate endorsement of the President, on the other hand, may not be so easy to come by.” 

One question that comes to mind is if Osinbanjo has what it takes to lead this country, why did the country deteriorate so badly during his time as Vice President? What would he do differently from his principal? So many questions begging for answers but just as Omawumi sang, “If you ask me, na who I go ask?”

With these crops of leaders still in politics today, the assertion that “children are the leaders of tomorrow” is non-existent. Some of them have been in leadership positions before I was born; sadly, they are not ready to let go off power yet. 

One of the things Nigerian politics, maybe Africa in general fail to address is ‘mentorship’.  If the youths were carried along, mentored, and prepared we wouldn’t have the likes of Tinubu, Goodluck, and even Osinbanjo contesting for the presidency. 

Fortunately or unfortunately, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria allows for any person to contest for the seat of the president provided you are educated to at least school certificate. The 1999 constitution (as amended) in section 131 (d) provides that “a person shall be qualified for election to the office of President if he has been educated up to at least school certificate level or its equivalent.”

Judging by this section of the constitution, almost everyone has the rights to contest the seat of the President and that is why all manner of persons creep out to indicate interest. What is baffling though is why is the same set of people going round the circle again? 

During the last general elections, the likes of Kingsley Mogalu, Omoyele Sowore, Fela Durotoye and many young bloods contested the seat of the President but their ambitions did not scale through; now I wonder is it a system problem or a people problem?

We have had these same leaders from inception till now; it is high time we had fresh minds with sound ideas run the affairs of the country. The recycling idea has got to end. As electorates, we have to take the future of our dear country into our hands; it is everybody’s responsibility to get involved in processes to bring in good governance. The time to lurk around is over; it is our collective responsibility to bring in the change that we desire in every sector. 

Author: Kangmwa Gofwen

Lagos Bureau Chief, Nigeria