The Presidential Election billed for 25th February 2023, has been described by many as a make or mar one for Nigeria. The reason for such assertion is simple to decipher. Nigeria is in dire straits. As the nation crawls closer to the election date, all the negative indices that seem to characterise Nigeria’s development effort are on ascent with far greater velocity. The situation has imposed an unimaginable level of suffering on a hapless citizenry. As the election date draws closer, it would only suffice to say that if Nigerians get it right, if they vote correctly, a new initiative aimed at scorching the problem could be initiated.

On the other hand, if they vote wrongly, the situation could get worse. Infact, a lot of pundits predict that there could be no Nigeria to manage, if the people with the same mindset that created the problem are recycled back to run the show after May 29th 2023 when the present incumbent in office is expected to hand over to a successor. It has however been said in several quarters that ‘God is a Nigerian’. This later day saying is attributed to the providential ability of Nigeria to pull back from the brinks inexplicably and quite contrary to expectations of doom. The first of such expected damnation when Nigeria drifted towards an implosion as one nation was during the crisis period of 1966-1970, the second was the June 12,1993 crises that spanned five years to resolve while the third was the unexpected death of President Yar’Adua in 2010 when the National Assembly had to invent the “Doctrine of Necessity” to steady the Nation again.

The fourth might yet be this February 2023 presidential election when the Nation seems to be collapsing in several critical fronts and in dire need of an urgent resolution. Following from above, it could be asserted that perhaps the God of Nigeria might be at work once again. It is the same providence that has thrown up the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi as the leading one in this crucial make or mar presidential contest. No less a person than Mr. Charles Oputa, aka ‘Charly Boy’ has made the point that without Obi’s candidature, the Nation would have been compelled to make the choice between a “sniper or Ota Piapia”, both of which are different variants of rat poison.

There is no doubt in the minds of several perceptive people that the profile of the candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu and that of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, especially as it relates to the resolution of Nigeria’s current and lingering challenges, are quite so inadequate as to justify Mr. Charly Boy’s theoretical postulation. Firstly, Tinubu is presently physically constrained by age and health challenges to even muster the presence of mind to tackle the current challenges of our time. Additionally, Asiwaju parades other baggage like questionable educational resume and past business dealings that have question marks attached to them.

Engineer Musa Rabiu Kwankwanso is one of the good candidates that is in the race. He parades very high academic qualifications in addition to being rated as a politician with high level of integrity. However, his campaign has been largely confined to the North West where he is expected to have a good showing. Additionally, his politics has been characterised by a high level of insularity all of which limit his acceptability especially in the south and Christian areas of the North.

Except for Obi of the Labour Party, the other contestants in the presidential race could be categorised broadly into what one comic writer referred to as “I Also Ran Group of Contestants”. Quite expectedly Obi has brought a freshness that the national politics urgently needed. He has articulated in very clear terms the steps he will take to resolve some of Nigeria’s intractable problems and take the country back from consumption to production. It is easy to believe him because he has a track record of integrity, consistency and capacity in both his private and public sector outings.

Again, age and health favours him. This is in addition to parading academic and personal profile records that towers above that of any other contestant in the race. It is good also to mention that even though Obi has stated severally and emphatically that he is not running the presidential race on the basis of his ethnicity or religion but rather on his capacity, credibility and consistency to deliver on the job, yet it will be nice to mention the fact that his win will impact the national question positively. Obi’s south east zone is one of the regions of the country that is bleeding from insecurity.

Such insecurity has been inspired by separatist groups who have accused the federal government of marginalising the region in both representation and allocation of federal resources. Again, the South-east is the only such one that has not produced a president since the advent of the present democracy. It is expected that Obi’s presidency will help to douse the separatist agitations and curtail the present insecurity that it has bred in the region. Above all, Obi has an impressionable personality that is unassailable. He combines the brilliance and idealism of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe with the practicality and attention to details of Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

Obi combines the pragmatism of Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, Dr. Michael Okpara with the simplicity and humility of sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and Dr. Akanu Ibiam. It is also important to note that in spite of his famed “stinginess” the Labour Party Presidential hopeful possess the compassion of Mallam Aminu Kano. Infact it will suffice to say as Shakespeare remarked in one his plays, all the elements seem to combine well in his physical frame. Taking the above reasons into consideration, one could assert with confidence that Obi’s win in the coming presidential election is a must one for Nigerians if the nation will be pulled back from its present sojourn into a bleak alley that it has dangerously and recklessly been railroaded into. It is actually a historical imperative if Nigeria is to attain its full potential as the most viable black nation on earth.

Jones Ike, former Chairman, Arochukwu LGA and member, Dr. Alex Otti Campaign Council wrote from Abuja

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