nmistakably the battle line for 2023 Presidential election has been drawn among three competing groups-the Obi-dients, BAT and Atikulation- even though it appears Atikulation, which is still battling to survive the phenomenal internal squabble threatening its very soul, is yet to throw down the gage. The Obi-dients affirm again and again that theirs is not a political party: theirs is a mass movement comprising the country’s vibrant young people that constitute the bulk of the Nigerian population. Theirs is a mass movement of the oppressed, University students left to rot at home, ASUU, the hungry, the sick, the dying, the suffering, pensioners, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), men and women who have not been eking out a simple living in the last seven years. The aforesaid categories of Nigerians come from a variegated bloodstream of Nigerian society. They are united in their unalterable resolution and demand for a breakaway from the ruinous pre-existing legal order. They are demanding for a creation of a new Nigerian order where work culture and serviceable public ethics would guarantee hard work, honesty, diligence, meritocracy and human flourishing.
Unfortunately we live in a time in which brainlessness and stupidity are being assumed into politics. Most Nigerians have lost faith in the Nigerian project. Walk into a beer parlour, for instance, and say you feel optimistic about the future, and you may be asked to vamoose on account of your reveling in an uncommon utopia. That is how bad things have become in Nigeria. With its separation from reason and noble ideals, the banal politics we play in Nigeria finds itself unable to distinguish the good from the ugly. Certainly a political culture that creates perennial loopholes for flourishing incompetence, parasitism, official corruption, graft and conversion of the people’s commonwealth into personal fiefdom calls for an immediate change. Merely casting hope in an empty democracy run by brainless men to provide the much-needed instant miracle to improve the living condition in Nigeria is to live in a fool’s paradise.
The truth is bitter. But the bitterness ingrained in the truth does not alter the truth. The truth remains the truth even if it is hotly contested. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. We should reflect on the fact that BAT has publicly vowed to continue the perfidious legacies- official corruption, nepotism, insecurity of lives and property, islamization of Nigeria, incestuous narcissism, stone-headedness, cluelessness-of President Buhari. Ask BAT about national rebirth they would mumble something to the effect that it is their turn to rule Nigeria or they will throw their overflowing colourful agbada attire here and there in a way that suggests that insanity has taken a permanent residence in the land. It beats the imagination that amid the grounding, ambushing, conquest and occupation of Nigeria by the Jihadists, and, of course, amid the endless killing and persecutions of Nigerian Christians, BAT is remorselessly fielding a Muslim-Muslim team in the Presidential race. This is evidence that BAT has no respect for the teeming population of Nigerian Christians. Another evidence is that BAT has never condemned the escalating ethno-religious killings in the country. For instance, BAT finds nothing wrong in the recent massacre of innocent church worshippers at St. Francis Catholic in Owo, Ondo State by terrorists. After Deborah Samuel was murdered by fanatical Muslim students and the whole country was thrown into mourning, BAT did not condemn the murder. When a member of the Vigilante Group was stoned to death and set ablaze by Muslim extremists for allegedly insulting Prophet Mohammed or an Imam, BAT also kept mum. BAT did not publicly condemn the Abuja-Kaduna-train bombing and abduction which occurred on March 28 2022. Amid complete collapse of State security architecture, the terrorists have laid monumental siege not only in Kaduna State but in Niger, Bornu and Nasarawa States murdering, maiming, raping, intimidating, and terrorizing their victims unabated. Yet BAT has not uttered a word in condemnation. Instead BAT is busy saying that it is their turn to be crowned the President of Nigeria. The politics of BAT is not the politics imbue with ideas but the politics of entitlement.
This is BAT for you. It is obvious that BAT lacks a sense of justice. It is clear that if elected President BAT would make a disaster President. Electing BAT as President of Nigeria would trigger off more Islamic terrorist attacks in different parts of Nigeria. By his action and inaction, BAT has shown that they are in sympathy with the Islamic terrorists. Can you believe what I am about to say now?. Can you believe how debased the political culture of BAT is?. How broken is their politics? How intimidating and barbaric their political campaigns are?. Ostensibly unable to match the Obi-dients’ wisdom; Obi-dients’ sustained mass mobilization of the people; Obi-dients’ call to a return to the fundamental values that once made this country a great country, BAT has recently resolved to, among other things, threaten the lives of key Obi-dient figures on social media. They also intend to threaten the family members of the Obi-dients so that they would be compelled to abandon the Obi-dient movement. Keyamo is already issuing some violent and intimidating statements against political opponents. Also the DSS and security agents are likely to be recruited to go after key members of the Obi-dient movement. They will likely link some Obi-dients with IPOB and thereafter bring trumped up charges against them in order to arrest them and charge them to court, if possible. Many Obi-dients are likely to be arrested and falsely accused of financing IPOB. The businesses of some Obi-dients and the businesses of their respective family members are likely to be threatened as well. They may recruit the EFCC to intimate the donors to and fund- raisers of the Obi-dient movement. It is not unlikely that they are also planning to use prominent members of BAT to intensify their false accusations against the Obi-dients through the electronic, print media and on social media too. They are not unlikely to use the Igbo language to link Peter Obi to IPOB in order to call for his arrest. Already Malami is threatening that Peter Obi might be prosecuted for allegedly receiving financial sponsorship from abroad. At the moment they are compiling a list of key Obi-dients who must be stopped before they use the Obi-dient movement to stop BAT. Already instruction has come from the top that public advert spaces should be denied the Obi-dients in Lagos so that they would not use them to advertise the Obi-dient political campaigns when the political campaigns kick off on September 28.
With BAT in power, there would never be a separate place for Christianity in the public order except on the terms defined and dictated by BAT. Truth would become a matter of indifference. And peace would disintegrate when truth becomes a matter of indifference or a purely interior sentiment. Thus peace would not be that “tranquility of order” that St. Augustine had postulated wherein the individual persons saw and understood the truth of things and agreed to live accordingly. Peace would be built on the supposition that no truth existed or could exist.
This is why you and I must fight now for the future of our country. The Nigerian nationalist taught us many lessons. They taught us that freedom is a cause worth fighting for. “Give me liberty or give me death,” said Patrick Henry. So many brave country men and women of ours have died in the pursuit of freedom. As we see threats to freedom and those ideals which our nationalists lived for and died for, we need to fight to reclaim our freedom. Even though Nigerians have lost faith in President Buhari and the APC they have not lost faith in themselves. We will defend Nigerian values, rights, and freedoms. We will not let President Buhari ruin this great country. We can retake our Nigeria from Buhari in February 2023. But before that can happen, BAT is advised to eschew bitterness, violence and intimidation. Violence has never been used to solve the problems of mankind. Violence is a recipe for anarchy. We don’t want anarchy that could stall the elections next year. BAT should play the politics of ideas not the politics of violence and intimidation of political opponents. INEC must jealously guard its independence and its impartiality.
INEC must conduct a free and fair Presidential election to prevent the Nigerian young, majority of whom would be monitoring the election, to attempt to set Nigeria ablaze. President Buhari has publicly said that he is looking forward to handing over power to his fellow BAT member. This is probably why some of the 19 newly-nominated Resident Election Commissioners (RECs) Are members of the APC. SERAP and others are calling for inclusion and transparency in the nomination of RECs. He who pays the piper dictates the tune. If the Presidency is the sole nominator and financier of INEC’s RECs it means that the RECs are under control and bidding of the President. This is why SERAP and others are saying that the power of nominating the RECs should be taken away from the Presidency and given to an impartial and independent body comprising Nigerians from different cultural, religious and political spectrum. Therefore the National Assembly, political parties and Nigerian stakeholders should reject 19 newly-appointed (RECs) so that the 2023 election results will not be compromised.
Finally, it is true that the day is dying but we must be hopeful. We must be optimistic. The rock rejected by them would soon become the corner rock. A rock that will make them stumble, a solid rock on which foundation a flourishing Nigeria will be built. So, be ready to vote wisely in February 2023. This is the only way you can account for the hope that is in you. And say to those whose hearts are frightened: be strong, fear not. Do not return evil for evil, reviling for reviling; but on the contrary, bless those who oppress you, for the eyes of the Almighty are upon the just, the face of the Lord is against those who concoct evil and his ears are not open to their prayer. With the sun rising from the East and setting in the West, North and South, streams of living water will flow out in abundance for all; the lame will leap like a stag; streams will burst forth in the desert, and rivers in the steppe. The burning stand will become pools and the thirst ground springs of drinkable water.