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  It is roughly thirteen months to general elections coming up in February 2023. Over twelve candidates across the country have declared their interest to run for the highest office of the land. Campaign promises are scurrying left, right and centre. Supporters are rolling out their drums of support for their preferred candidates. Posters, billboards, handbills and what-have-you, bearing the images of candidates, are already flying about in several social media platforms and on the highways and streets.
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As usual, there is frenzy in the air, and these noises and confusions are drowning every moment of reasoning. More are yet to declare their interests, and in the coming weeks, Nigerians will see more. Presidential visits in the Aso Villa, media interviews, staged press briefings have been and will be the order of the day. Politicians will present both practical and unrealistic manifestoes, including those with murky pasts. Those who have had the opportunity to serve in various capacities but could not do jack are yet begging for another chance to continue their debauchery and squalor. Most times it befuddles me with the shamelessness of some of these politicians. But I am even more befuddled by the moronic followership of their supporters. 2023 will be a defining year for Nigerians. So much is at stake – a dwindling economy, a crashing democracy, tensive insecurity, a heated polity, paralytic nationalism sponsored by President Buhari’s nepotistic and ethnoreligious governance and so many more.  Nigerians must not be deceived with paltry handouts from these politicians nor should they be bamboozled by their eloquence. As they proceed to the polling units in 2023, they must consider several issues before casting their votes otherwise they will be partners in destroying what is left of Nigeria. One of those issues Nigerians must consider before casting their votes is that of the age and health of various candidates. Candidates who are close to their graves as we have seen in the case of General Buhari should not be given a second thought by the electorates otherwise we would have a president who will spend two-thirds of his tenure fixing his health by engaging in medical tourism. For three months we had General Buhari in a London hospital on the account of his deafness, and other unknown life-threatening ailments. For ninety days, the country was at a standstill because the president was too sick to perform. Presently, we are seeing retirees, aged-fellows without sound health coming out to serve Nigeria as president. Their audacity is outrageous. How power-drunken they can be! Nigerians must not vote for candidates above 65 years of age on many grounds: first, they are out of touch with the realities of modern governance; secondly, the office of president is very much tasking that it requires the strength of a young vibrant and articulate candidate. Nigerians can do better in the 2023 Presidential elections by electing someone who not only is young but also competent. Numerous examples exist where presidents are 30 to 40 years of age. In the case of health, whether young or old, Nigerians must not vote for a candidate with failing health. Late President Musa Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who died in office and President Muhammadu Buhari are enough lessons for Nigerians.
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Secondly, Nigeria must consider the experience and expertise level of the candidates. One with an ugly past in the public or public-private sector must not be considered to talk much of being elected. Nigerians must be very harsh in dealing with the past of various candidates. In 2023, track-records matter. Nigerians must either elect a candidate who had either performed as a past governor, senator, CEO, or any worthy leadership position in the past. Nigerians must also vote based on the expertise level of the candidate. Technocrats, intellectuals, successful businessmen who have shown savvy in the past are best bets and should be considered when Nigerians will cast their vote come 2023. By all means, Nigerians must shun novice and those whose images are steeped in fraud, people with untraceable wealth gotten from corruption, and those with verifiable corruption scandals. This set of individuals must be put aside if Nigeria must move forward. Thirdly, Nigerians must consider a candidate who has a democratic and federalist approach to governance. It was due to Nigerians failure to read the warning signs of General Buhari’s undemocratic, ethnoreligious statements and posture, that Nigeria’s polity is presently divided along ethnic, tribal, and religious lines. The nation has been taken sixty years backwards by this present administration and it is grappling to strengthen the already severed and crushed sense of nationalism among Nigerians because the electorates voted a tribalist in 2015. In the forthcoming election, Nigerians must look out for candidates who have in the past or the present shown sense of tribalism, nepotism, and religious fundamentalism and weed them out. What Nigeria needs now is a candidate with a unifying power, and the candidate with such power and capacity should be voted into power. Finally, Nigerians must consider the fragile nature of the Nigerian polity that is saturated with multiple aggrieved tribes and ethnic groups and give a chance to zones that haven’t had the opportunity to present Nigeria with a president. Without mincing words out of the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria only the southeast and northeast have not led this nation at the presidential level since 1960. The electorates must have in mind the palpable marginalization of aggrieved groups and the future of Nigerian nationhood and vote someone from the southeast for the sake of equity and fairness. Featured Image Source: Businessday NG
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This article was first published on 23rd January 2022


Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.

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