Thoughts on Tinubu, Obi et al and the Nigerian 2023 Presidential elections.
Alas, another election is here, and as I’ve done since 2011, I will be writing about the choice of my candidate. As the title depicts, my choice has been made, I support and will be voting for Peter Obi, the candidate of the Labour Party.. However, I am writing this post for one main reason, to keep a record of my thoughts in the present. As a 2015 Buhari voter (you can say Buharist), I documented my thoughts then, and I understand very clearly why I took the position I did. On occasions when I want to feel foolish, I re-read it, and I understand my position.
I’ll start by saying I do not fancy “popular democracy.” This quote “I’m all in favor of the democratic principle that one idiot is as good as one genius, but I draw the line when someone takes the next step and concludes that two idiots are better than one genius.” ― Leo Szilard
However, it is what we’ve accepted as a nation. And at this moment, it is the process we have decided to utilize to choose our government. The first thing one must accept is you can only choose a president from those that are on the ballot.
Secondly, within reason, if your interest is in choosing the next president (or influencing governance) and not in merely participating, then your choices are narrowed to those who are rationally able to either win or impact the race. In cases where none of this applies, you sit it out. I did just that in 2019.
With the above in mind, my choices are limited to these political parties and their candidates – Tinubu of APC, Atiku of the PDP, and Obi of Labour. It was previously 4, however, Kwankwaso showed he was not serious about the presidency by taking the choice of a running mate too literally. The guy he chose has run away!
How I view(ed) the Candidates.
APC + Tinubu.
“Emi lo kan – It’s my turn”
Despite the gross failure of the APC in the last 8 years, before the primaries, it wasn’t certain I would not be voting for the APC. Had they chosen Yemi “BDSM” – “his hands are tied” Osinbajo as their candidate, they would have had a chance with my vote (it was dependent on PDP not choosing Obi). Alas the PDP chose Atiku and APC, Bola Tinubu. I looked with trepidation at sitting 2023 out yet again as I did in 2019, then Obi reappeared from nowhere.
Tinubu as President is such an unpalatable option. No doubt a masterful politician has put in the work, and having a man with not only a chequered past but also a present as president was a clear non-starter for me. As if that is enough, the Tinubu being offered wasn’t that of 2007 but of 2023 with clearly physical and mental degradation. But that wasn’t enough, they chose Shettima, a person whose relationship with a terror group was being debated, as a running mate.
There is this argument about what Tinubu achieved between 1999-2007 But it falls flat for two main reasons. First, he is no longer as healthy and agile as he was 16 years ago. And most importantly, the team he had around him is no longer available. Fashola, Osinbajo, Ben Akabueze, etc who were core think tanks have given way to Ayiri, MC Oluomo, and Dokubo. I think something happened to him after putting in Fashola and he swore off brains and doubled down in brawn.
You cannot decide to take Kanu to play football for Nigeria at the next Olympics because of his 1996 exploits. And worse still, he would be teaming up with the guys you play dribble to score with. When it became clear that the dregs of intellect were the new key players in his team was doing the Bishop debacle. Even a 3rd tier skit maker would have delivered better.
The most interesting thing is the fact, Tinubu’s Lagos is at best, is a sophisticated slum that is the best of the worst we have around in Nigeria. I remember my tribute on his birthday a few years ago.
“Bola Ahmed Tinubu has presided over Lagos for 20 years welding unprecedented TOTAL and ABSOLUTE political control over the best-resourced Nigerians in every parameter. THE JAGABAN
As of 1999 when he came into power, he had the best representation of a blank canvas with the area encompassing VI Extension (Ligali Ayorinde) to Songotedo. For two decades he’s had the unique chance and unhindered time to showcase his masterpiece – the Bola Tinubu vision of a city and standard for his people.
A few good spluttering starts placed him ahead of his peers – BRT, LAWMA, and LAMATA.
But looking back the substance of the result is clear.
The sprawl of the unplanned sophisticated slum we have from Oniru to Songotedo and beyond is the manifestation of bottom-pot mediocrity – zero public hospitals, water, schools, post office, zero standard planned and numbered houses, roads, and areas. Zero zoning or building codes. Etc
In the human capital area, Tinubu’s 20 years of absolute control has spurned a generation of illiterate thugs and bandits in power – his legacy to the people.
May your atrocious legacy disappear like the water used to make Eba.“
Labour + Obi + Obidients
“I am not running for president, you are running for president through me”
From the left flank came Peter Obi the notoriously frugal governor of Anambra state. If I am being honest, I haven’t always been a fan of Obi for the primary reason of him abandoning APGA immediately after he completed his tenure. And I held him very responsible for the rise of Willy Obiano as his successor. In addition, I wasn’t a great fan of his tenure as it seemed to focus too much on the theoretical activities as governor. Over-indexing on plans and savings vs execution. In addition, it seems to me he is not a systemic person and depends too much on himself to get it done (as governor, to combat fraud, he was purchasing fuel for his convoy by himself)
But, because he had remained politically engaged, and comparing his crime of frugality of state resources with that of a candidate with an unknown past (with a sprinkle of drug trade) and present (spiced with poor health) and another notoriously corrupt candidate who checks out every election, chasing Peter Obi far head of the alternatives was an obvious choice.
As the campaign season went on, I became more enthralled with his work ethic on full display. I had thought Tinubu pre presidential primaries did a lot of work but Obi’s campaign runs have put Kanye and Cafu to shame.
But to be honest, what swung me assuredly to Obi’s side was “the Obidients.” A core group of coconut head Gen Z fold that decided to take their political future into their hands. Though moving with a lot of vitriol at anything that seemingly criticised their chosen candidate, I understood and still understand the anger. I state I am not Obidient simply because Buhari is the last politician I’ll bat for without looking back. The disappointment robbed me of the joy of believing. But water the outcome – Obi wins, Tinibu loses or Atiku gets disqualified, they would be the people of the election. 4 people turned into many millions in the street. If that is not a miracle of God, what then can we call this?
PDP + Atiku
Voting for a PDP candidate running for any position has always been a default no from me courtesy of the party’s DNA sprawling from being a bastion of incompetence to brazen corruption and negligence of the rule of law. However, Bola Ahmed Tinubu being the credible alternative made them worthy of consideration. But they went against their principle of rotations and chose an Atiku. The first issue with that was his region, being from the northern part of Nigeria would, all things being equal, take us to 16 years of the presidency being in a single region of the country.
That’s always going to be a difficult sell in a country that struggles with disunity fuelled by terrorism and insecurity and requires a level of unity for the nation to thrive. However, in making my choice I decided it would be very difficult to vote for Atiku, a notoriously corrupt being who had become disengaged from the nation he chose to rule by spending more time in Dubai than in Nigeria.
There isn’t much to write about Atiku since he’s been a perennial candidate and has done nothing much to improve in regard to his reputation. One thing I would say that made me consider him as “less worse” is that he’s been a proponent of true federalism – which will dissolve power from the centre and give to the regions. However, as a man that has built a notorious reputation for never keeping an ion of his word, surely, this counts for nothing in practice.
Kwankwaso + NNPP
Before running mates were chosen, and though I knew the local Kano politics was Kwankwaso’s priority, I assumed he’d pick a running mate that would give him a type of lift in the southern regions. Alas, he forgot to replace the placeholder he had chosen initially. Kwankwaso has somehow been relevant in Kano politics in or out of office. It was by whiskers he failed to put his son-in-law as governor in the last election.
Despite the blunder of his choice of running mate – who has run away, Kwankwaso has put in the work in this election. Visiting many states and LGAs. That momentum has reviewed my assessment of Kwankwas’s impact and I see him being a factor in this election.
A lot of people believe that the election will result in a run-off. But for now, I am not thinking about that.
If I were to summarise my position on this election, I would say: This election is for Tinubu to lose and Peter Obi to win. Atiku for me remains a dark unpredictable horse. Whatever the outcome, Kwankwaso will be the reason why.