A lot of politics is played as the 2023 elections draw near. People are not that particular about the local elections even when it is very important as that is closer to the people in terms of development and infrastructure. But, given the unitary presidential system where the president has enormous powers, presidential election has become a very important one where each regional power bloc works to lead.
Each of the power blocs want to be in power as well as the individuals whose lifelong dreams to become president are threatened by the resolve of the people to elect the president of their choice, to take back the people’s power and shut the door to imposition of leaders who only remember the people during the elections.
As the election draws closer, there are many issues affecting Nigerians. President Buhari has promised to deliver a free and fair election but his party faithfuls are not seeing eye to eye with him. There have been accusations that Buhari is working to undermine his party’s chances with his cash swap policy in particular. These accusations were engineered to force his hands and to use the power of presidency to bring a desirable outcome for his party.
Cash swap and currency redesign was welcomed as a good policy that will not only bring back stashed-away notes to the banks but also as interpreted, is to curb vote buying. This the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu appropriated as a policy targeted at him. He has since been attacking the president and attacking the policy. His utterances triggered social unrest.
Tinubu who has shown jittery in his campaign by throwing through the window the issue based campaign to adopt tantrums, may have desired the chaos to impact the election.
Scampering to find a way to the hearts of Nigerians, Tinubu’s campaign made an effort to alienate from Buhari’s failures, indict Buhari over causing election sabotage and when they found out they may be injuring their campaign, they made a detour talking about a cabal within the Buhari’s administration. When that was not yielding as it may be a strategy to alienate the so-called powerful cabal, they began to point at opposition parties as those behind the cash swap.
The APC that never batted an eyelid while Nigerians suffered is looking for a cheap way to care for Nigerians today, because they want their votes. Nigerians do not care and no amount of trying to whip them to protest or be in sympathy will work. In fact, voters should take their anger to the polls and vote out the APC across board.
The APC party has failed Nigerians and it will be foolish for Nigerians to bring them back to power. Despite trying to be seen as siding with the people in the precarious cash swap situation, it is wrong to have the party return to power especially with a candidate that is weak.
Governors of the APC met with the president, three APC governors approached the Supreme Court and it delivered a stay of the cash swap, pending the determination on February 15 as the president will meet with the council of states to discuss the crisis of fuel scarcity, cash swap and insecurity ahead of the elections. Major decisions will be taken. It is noteworthy that these governors that have not been concerned about Nigerians drifting to multidimensional poverty became concerned about the people and cash swap because, as envisaged, will affect the outcome of the APC in the polls.
According to the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations, “We say it categorically that the Supreme Court does not have the jurisdiction to entertain that matter that has been presented before it by some state Attorney General. We the CSOs are rejecting it.
“It is a plot to open bank vaults to enable vote buyers and holders of illicit wealth to have cash to buy votes. We urge the CJN to hurriedly vacate the Ex-parte order in the overall interest of the Nigerian election,” National Coordinator of the group, Obed Okwukwe said.
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Attorney General Abubakar Malami has asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the suit filed by three state governments.
The objections towards the currency redesign and cash swap policy should have been dealt with when the policy was announced a few months ago. But, to score a cheap goal, the political players waited until the end to object to the policy while the banks engaged in hoarding the new notes.
These national issues aggravated the suffering of the people and are causing social anger. The way they are being handled pitted the public, the opposition party against the APC. While Labour Party Peter Obi called for calm and understanding, the ruling party has been in infighting over their own policy.
Buhari’s throated appeal for Tinubu at the APC rally in Lafia, for which the Tinubu campaign celebrated, may be seen as a dry endorsement especially following the accusations by Tinubu. It could be understood that Buhari may have been cajoled into making such statements which his body language initially showed otherwise. With so much accusations by Tinubu, one may ask if Buhari is giving such endorsement heartedly or blackmailed into it?
These social issues, if not contained, may cause the shifting of the election dates. But, looking at the way these issues were orchestrated to happen in the lead up to the election, the APC, Tinubu and the Buhari administration may be sinister while trying to cover up with their infighting.
Nigerians deserve to be led better and one of the candidates, Mr. Peter Obi has promised to lay a foundation of a fair leadership. Angry Nigerians should use their voter cards to protest at the polls rather than going to the streets and getting shot at.