Of 2023, Political Prodigies, And Avoidable Frolics

By Olusola Adegbite, Esq. July 3, 2020

Of 2023, Political Prodigies, And Avoidable Frolics

The race to 2023 has produced another gathering – the recently unveiled National Consultative Front (NCF). A 30-man shortlist shows that the leading promoters include eminent Nigerians such as Femi Falana, Obiageli Ezekwesili, Ghali Na’abba, Yabagi Sanni, Olisa Agbakoba, Shehu Sani, etc. The group’s communique states ‘inter alia’ that, “a new ideological mass movement shall be initiated to embark on immediate mass mobilisation of the nooks and crannies of the country for popular mass action towards political constitution reforms that is citizens-driven and process-led in engendering a new Peoples’ Constitution for a new Nigeria that can work for all”.

To an average Nigerian, these words are tantalising to the heart and melodious in the ears, except that they sound just like an all-too-familiar broken record, that has been played over and over again. The gathering somehow has the smell of similar and earlier, but now defunct groups, who had dotted the political landscape in time past, waxing philosophical about the things that needs to be done to rescue Nigeria. The point often missed by such groups, is the fact that since 1999, elections here have been won, not by being ‘eminent’ or waxing ideas, but by having an astute understanding of the dynamics of our own peculiar politics.

While politics is the same thing everywhere, ours has a unique touch – the north/south dichotomy. Let the NCF not be naïve that the elections in 2023 will be determined by the rhetoric in its recent communique. 2023 will first be about which part of the country presidential power is zoned to in the days ahead. Events thereafter, particularly following the APC National Convention will signal a clearer direction. The 2023 zoning formula will shape the behaviour of the current political actors, which is definite to cascade to their loyalists.

As things stand now, only the two leading parties – APC & PDP have the necessary architecture to play the game set to be unveiled soon. So, where does this leave the NCF? It has a number of options – open discussions with either APC or PDP, to actualise the goals enunciated in its communique. Where this goes south, it has a further option of convincing the tens of fragmented parties in the polity, to all collapse into one formidable party, with the additional expectation that it can succeed in bringing over key members of both the APC & PDP to its tent.

Importantly, the conveners of the NCF must know that those who vote in Nigerian elections are not the elites who dominate the discussion room. Those who vote are at the lower rung of the societal ladder, and this class has been cornered by both the APC & PDP. It is either the NCF infiltrates this voting bloc and win them over before 2023, or alternatively create its own bloc, by getting the elites to come out on election day and vote. This is my two pence, the NCF must importantly realise that in historical terms, Nigerian elections have majorly been won by the party who was able to outmuscle others in mobilising campaign funds, mobilising critical stakeholders, mobilising disgruntled grassroot actors, mobilising the mass of the people on election day, mobilising the media and other information outlets, mobilising novel ideas, and mobilising the power of incumbency. Anything else, will amount to an avoidable frolic.