Contenders and Pretenders; By Safiya I. Dantiye


SUDDENLY, it is as if politicians couldn’t wait for 2022 in preparation for the 2023 general elections.

While there had been speculations that Bola Ahmed Tinubu, National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), would contest the 2023 presidential election with even support groups rooting for him, he went to see President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday and made his intention known. Bold and clear!

Ex-Governor Bola Tinubu of Lagos State,…began the pension for former governors.

“I’ve informed the president of my intention but I have not informed Nigerians yet. I’m still consulting,” he told State House correspondents after the meeting with the president.

And there was frenzy everywhere; some in support, some against. Those against say as a king maker, he should not seek to be king.

Then on Tuesday, the governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, also went  to the presidential villa and informed President Buhari of his interest to run for the  presidency in 2023 as well.

Former Governor Kalu

The Chief Whip of the Senate, and former governor of Abia State Senator Orji Kalu, said he was under pressure to run for the presidency and to also visit the president and inform him of his intention as done by Tinubu and Umahi respectively.

The presidential villa may soon be turned into a Mecca of sorts by those that have the access to the president to go and tell him of their intention to run for the presidency.

In any case, the supporters of Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, are not lying low as representatives of about 500 pro-Osinbajo support groups across the country stormed Abuja to fashion out strategies that would give him an edge during the APC presidential primaries ahead of the 2023 elections.

The umbrella body for all the pro-Osinbajo Support groups, The Progressive Project (TPP), hosted the groups in Abuja on Wednesday.

Well, we are only seeing the beginning, and this is from the ruling party that wants to retain power, while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the main opposition party, still smarting from losing power in 2015 after sixteen years, would definitely come up with big wigs. Though some within the party are toying with the idea of abandoning zoning and pushing for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who is from the North, instead of the presidency to be zoned to the South.

There are also other interested people from other political parties to contest for the presidency.

My grouse however is not with the contenders but with the pretenders. They definitely know they don’t have the outreach, spread, structure and so on for national support, but just assume because they have worked in a very big place or are technocrats, or are ‘experts’ in this or that, the presidency is for the taking in their delusion.

I recall some years ago somebody said, “Is it easy to win even a counsellorship election?”

Apparently, it is to those who believe that without putting  anything on ground over the years such as being in and out of politics they feel that because they are ‘brilliant’ they would be handed over the presidency. As if the others are not also brilliant or even more brilliant than they are.

While there are few instances at state level where this type of people want to be governors, their aim is more at the presidency.

Some would later decry unfair playing ground, money politics and everything that is wrong with our politics as if they don’t know or ought to know before they venture into contesting.

Though to be fair to some, they lived abroad for years, they feel that they can win election because they have lofty ideas and that Nigerian voters also care about ideals not money or food items given by politicians.

Therefore, some people would push these gullible ‘foreign’ politicians to contest, they spend money and at the end they may not even get up to fifty votes, but those urging them would have made money out of them.

Of course everyone is free to aspire to the highest office in the land provided he meets the criteria set by law, but don’t pretend to have what you don’t have; you waste your time and you waste people’s time. You also ridicule yourself and the office of the president.


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