Browsing: Prof. M.K. Othman

Miraculously, the election of Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) as the next president was uniquely different from how the past three and current presidents became number one citizens. President Olusegun Obasanjo did not plan or dream of becoming Nigerian president before he was overwhelmed and persuaded to become PDP flag bearer and won the election in 1999. He garnered 18 million votes to beat his close rival, Chief Olu Falae who contested under a joined ticket of AD-APP. 

In Nigeria, tension, apprehension, anxiety, and uncertainty enveloped the nation few days after the 25th February 2023 presidential election. On 23rd February, two days before D-day, I was on a trip to Kano from Zaria and found myself driving in the campaign train of one of the four leading political parties. A journey of one and a half hours took me four hours with all my maneuvers and knowledge of alternative routes. The mammoth crowd of youth, elderly and women campaigners shouting and cursing with euphoria made the scene look like a war zone.  No one was talking about any political party agenda of good governance, economic emancipation, illiteracy eradication and the like. It was simply a show of political force with rented and other crowds to outwit other parties. That scenario was replicated in almost every nook and cranny of Nigeria in the name of political party campaigns from a few months to few days before the election. The scene created tautness and nervousness among the electorate while eroding hopes for a glorious Nigeria. With this scenario among the lower class of Nigerians, the political elites were spiritedly undoing each other in the spirit of “either I or my stooge get political power by any means or no one gets it”.  Right from the parties’ primaries, Nigerian politicians showed their true colors as each one of them was pursuing personal and primordial interests above that of the nation. Delegates of the two major parties were transported, fed, camped, and teleguided on whom to vote for a handsome price in hard currencies.

A few years ago, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) rated eighty-six countries as low-income and food-deficient nations, thus, considered to be food insecure ( Forty-three out of these food-deficient countries are located in the African continent, which has a total of 58 countries. The most affected among the forty-three countries are in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) where chronic hunger, squalor, and abject poverty are widespread. This is despite overall gains recorded in food production and food security over a decade on a global scale.

The Nigerian economy was once described as a “voodoo” economy, “the more you look, the less you understand” as it defies all kinds of known remedies. The mystery of Nigeria as a nation is not limited to its economy but includes socio-political and cultural dispositions. Longtime ago, western pundits postulated, hypothesized, and predicted the disintegration of Nigeria by the year 2015. Time has since revealed their empty prediction; regrettably, however, the nation is still sliding into the abyss of squalor and poverty, exacerbated by the population explosion – a kind of time bomb that must not be allowed to detonate.