The 2023 Election Is An Ecclesiastes Moment For Nigeria

Nigerians are too naïve to see that their challenges are too difficult to be straightened through an election or by a single leader.

Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Mahmud Yakubu.
Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Mahmud Yakubu.

Nigeria’s political temperature is at a boiling point.

Friends are attacking friends and neighbours are fighting neighbours in the build-up to the 2023 general elections.

Emotions are spilling as Nigerians nurse false hopes in an election that will only result in an Ecclesiastes moment.

Ecclesiastes is a book in the Bible, containing the sayings of Solomon, the wisest king of Israel.

The book is so loaded with complicated spiritual facts, guided questions and answers that it easily addresses the outcome of the upcoming election.

In Chapter 1, verse 2, it says:

Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless

Having been mercilessly horse-whipped in my expectations that Nigeria’s problems can be solved through the major political parties, I look at the frenzy surrounding the three-horse raise between Atiku Abubakar, Bola Tinubu and Peter Obi as meaningless.

The trifecta is on, one of them must win, but the hopes of the people for a better society will continue to be dashed.

We have been here before.

We have heard the promises and will be enticed with more in the rundown to 2023.

And we have seen the top candidates jump from party to party in their long journey here.

Atiku and Tinubu have worked as partners on a presidential race before.

And Obi has been a running mate and confidant of Atiku who, now in his third party, represents an ideology that is at variance with what he has stood for all his political life.

While Tinubu has been a godfather and a master of party fusion, Atiku has switched parties more than any presidential candidate in Nigeria’s history.

The three are all opportunists who cannot save Nigeria because they are massive contributors to, and co-creators of, the pains of the masses.

Nothing has changed – not even our enthusiasm for bad leaders. We pin hopes on empty promises once again and embrace our punishers, giving none of the other 15 presidential candidates a glance.

The frontline candidates were trained in the same political school and while they may be looking at the world from different prisms, their sights are set on exactly the same things – money instead of service.

Peter Obi confirmed the unity of ideas in an interview with Arise TV Prime Time recently, when he reiterated: “I have said it before, there is no different ideology between all of us who are running. Our politics has not matured (to a point) where we have different ideologies, beliefs and everything.”

Political ideology should be the differentiator and engine that sets one political party uniquely apart from another.

Ideology is the set of ideas, beliefs, values, and opinions that should tell us how parties are going to approach the solutions to our challenges. If ideologies do not set candidates apart, then they are all the same.

Ecclesiastes addresses our inability to experience real change. It goes further in the sixth verse of the same chapter:

The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course

Politicians tell us things have changed. They have new plans, new strategies and new thinking. They travel all over the country with strong messages to fool the people. If they win, they go back on their words; and if they lose, they look for another political party that suits their ambition. They are the same people in different garbs.

Absolutely nothing has changed since we started voting for them. It is the same people partying together, doing the same things in the identical ways, who are telling us what we see is not true.

But Ecclesiastes is predictive in the ninth verse:

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

History suggests that after the election, Nigerians will start whining all over again. Politicians won’t change a thing.

Nigerians can continue to attack each other and fight on the social media.

My people are not as smart as their politicians, who have seen through them and manipulate easily.

They can predict voter behavior and dangle shinning objects. Voters are just like chickens in the pen.

Nigerians are too naïve to see that their challenges are too difficult to be straightened through an election or by a single leader.

Not by any chance will it be.

The foundations are not strong and it needs a new structure.

Solomon addressed that as well in verse 15 of Chapter 1 of Ecclesiastes:

“What is crooked cannot be straightened;
what is lacking cannot be counted.”

Fela Anikulapo, who died 25 years ago, said for every step Nigeria takes forward, it takes two backwards. Things are so crooked that Nigeria probably takes five steps backwards today.

The 2023 election should be about restructuring, not putting another candidate produced by the flawed system in power.

Since we fail to see what we really need, Nigeria has found itself in an Ecclesiastes moment, where everything is futile and pointless.

Just look around!

Many parts of Nigeria are flooded and the President had to be told that he needed to do something.

Forget about the herdsmen murders, the kidnappings, terrorism, petrol scarcity, electricity outages and other problems that afflict our people.

Something is awfully wrong with the society, but more with us who are incurably unrealistic in the diagnosis of our challenges.

If you have been pinning all your hopes for a brighter future on the 2023 election and a new president for Nigeria, I have bad news: you will be back here in 2027 with the same lamentations that are on your lips.

I have come to tell you that Nigeria will not be changed by the next political leaders.

Our politicians are mean and nasty people who will do anything to win votes.

They are far too distant from the realities of the common man to know how to help them and they are too stone-hearted to care.

Nigerians must stop opening up to be deceived by sophisticated politicians who manipulate their minds during elections.

We have to stop being so malleable.

If most Nigerians can think, they would know that the presidential candidates they are rooting for are just shades of the same colour.

They are products of the same system who pretend to be different.

We are back in 2015.

The year in which many Nigerians thought if they got General Muhammadu Buhari into power, the country would be forever changed.

Am I suggesting that Nigerians should be despondent and not vote? It is too late to do that. Restructuring will come up later as hopes are further dashed. The show must go on.

What I am recommending is that Nigerians cast a look at the candidates who don’t have the resources and the war chests to look attractive.

There may be a diamond in the rough among them. Isn’t it time you wasted your vote on an untested candidate?

I am also asking Nigerians to be realistic.

We’ve been here before- in a place where we built the castles in the air in 2015, and before that.

Why should we keep fooling ourselves that any of our politicians is a knight in shining armor?

Before he joined the bandwagon, Dele Farotimi, the Lagos lawyer and activist, stated at a gathering of Nigerians citizens online that any politician who passes through the sewer must come out dirty.

His view then was that anyone who got into the structures the major political parties set up is already damaged because of the process.

I agree with Farotimi’s theory.

If the way the majority of Nigerians are thinking does not change and they vote the way they talk, no matter who they pick, they will remain in pain and anguish for another four years.

The election will be meaningless.


Written by Tunde Chris Odediran

Tunde Chris Odediran studied and practiced journalism in Nigeria. He is now a Technical Communications and Information Technology professional in the United States.