In the more advanced democracies, you only see electioneering activities just a few months to elections. The American presidential system is a little more elaborate, with its system of state-by-state primaries.
Yet it does not fully wake up till about six months to the Election Day in November. Political leaders know the importance of spending maximum time in addressing the crucial issues of governance and building the system to guarantee a better future for the people.
Elections and active politicing are supposed to be the means to an end. Leaders are more interested in the next generation, not election. But in Nigeria, the situation is opposite. Politics is a full time “business” for many politicians because it is the easiest means of making money due to its highly corrupted nature.
This situation worsened since the return of democracy in 1999, when godfatherism assumed the centre stage. Barely 15 months into the 2019 to 2023, electoral cycle, the All Progressives Congress, APC, and a prospective candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have already set the 2023 political ball rolling.
During the penultimate weekend, the Caretaker National Chairman of the APC, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State announced that he had brought unity to the fractious Rivers State chapter of the party.
Also, the governor of Sokoto State, who contested for the ticket of the PDP in 2018, Alhaji Waziri Tambuwal, paid a widely-reported courtesy visit to one of Nigeria’s foremost living political legends, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, in Abeokuta. According to Tambuwal, he was on a consultation visit towards his presidential ambition in 2023.
It is unfortunate that these governors have allowed themselves to be distracted from their main task of fulfilling their mandates to the people of their states and embarked on long-term political adventurism at this juncture when the whole world and our country are still battling COVID-19. It is also sad to note that Yobe State is one of the flashpoints of Boko Haram insurgency, while Sokoto is among the North Western states, where the so-called Bandits have held sway.
Boko Haram and the Islamic State terrorists have also been pitching their tents throughout the North West and Niger State, and lives are lost daily. On top of all these, we have just been confronted with the fact that our economy has shrunk by six per cent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and we are inexorably headed towards recession.
These are issues of governance that should occupy the attention of elected leaders at this time. Once politicing takes the attention of leaders, governance suffers. It is a disservice to the electorate to abandon the delivery of good governance dividends with almost 20 months ahead of the 2023 general elections.