2023 Elections Series 1: The Providence Factor

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By Obideyi Olanrewaju Lobinco.

Here comes another decisive moment of our beloved country Nigeria and like I have been doing since 2015, my intuition to write about this forthcoming election is again strong.

This intuition is not born out of skill as I obviously I’m not the best writer with popularity for writing exploit, but out of a passion which I believe is guided by Providence.

I have decided to use the word PROVIDENCE so as not to irk anyone’s religious sensibilities. Afterall, religion has divided us more as a country than it binds us yet we are all proud Nigerians that believes mostly in Providence irrespective of how we know Providence frowns at our acts.

I am glad however that irrespective of our religious divide, we all sort of believe in Providence, and it is this same believe in Providence that has kept us together as a nation.

It is no gainsay that situations that ought to have degenerated into the worst case scenario in our country have seen us as a people leave things into the hands of Providence, rather than rise like other nations do to salvage their country.

Providence must have been a Nigerian, because at the worst heat of the polity, somehow, things just calms down in such a way that can’t be explained.

Even our exploiters have continually placated us and sworn to us in the name of Providence (whichever way we understand providence in line with religion) to make us keep trusting them. We are probably the most dependent population on Providence, as majority of us even entrust our civic responsibility of political participation into the hands of this Providence.

Our country which probably boasts of some of the most intelligent human capitals, natural resources and most religious religiously divided people in the world, one of the most ravaged poverty capital in the world and which ordinarily should be the most volatile country in the world is rated as parading the most happy people in the world.

My dad used to tell me back as a child that, “okele gbigbe toun ti alafia, ere nla ni” (A dry morsel with a guarantee of peace, is a great reward). This aptly describes our country.

The best majority of our population are suffering and smiling yet we choose peace over any other thing. This must be Providence shaping us.

2023 Elections Series 1: The Providence Factor

It’s another election season and the euphoria is palpable all around, but how could we have made it this far? There’s been a lot of conspiracy theories which our premises gives credence to, but the conclusion of these premises since our independence have never been in consonance with the conclusion we always generate.

God must love this country so much, but like a romance story; if one who is loved never takes cognisance and appreciate the love, the love might only start to be appreciated just after it has been lost. May ours not be so. Amen

I will start from the point of my knowledge of the Nigerian polity in my over four decades of living.

The first president people of my generation could relate with was President Ibrahim Badamosi Babaginda (IBB), and I remember as a little boy that our parents who were probably younger than I am today were groaning in prayers for a better country.

It is obvious Providence pushed IBB out of governance judging by the fact that after 1999 he wanted to come back as a democratically elected president but the terrain just never encouraged it irrespective of the resources (human and financial) at his disposal, and maybe contrary to plans that birthed our new democracy in 1999 that has lasted till now. Providence certainly is an advocate of orderliness.

Our common menace which is same menace (military leadership) in Nigeria conducted the election which was regarded as the best and most free election then, which had majority of our parents then speaking same language in the name of democracy, but Providence probably knowing better than we do and understanding that election probably doesn’t represent our secularity had it annulled.

Even years later, when it seemed Providence had revisited us after the prayers of Nigerians seem to have been answered, our hope of 1993 was totally shattered beyond repair in 1998. Yet there was no war.

Democracy was rebirthed with a reborn general who escaped death just by whiskers. He was the most unlikely and least expected to even ever dream of the position. The politicians who’d want to claim credit for the emergency exit of military rule orchestrated by Providence again lost to the military man that just escaped the claws of death.

One thing we have in common as a country is our believe in Providence which is described as God, Allah etc.

Every leader since 1999 has left us better than their predecessors in various legacies that further strengthens the emancipation of us as a people and our democracy. Could Providence be listening to our heart yearnings while ignoring our human clamours?

Obasanjo ruled with Military fist. Whether true or false, a probable third term agenda which probably would have taken us back to where we are coming from was thwarted not by the expert politicians, but by “he who knows he, do he”. What a lucky people we are.

Were it a Falae or the other contestants that won, I have the hunch our democracy may not have lasted this long, or just like Abacha wanted to, we could have had a long serving democratically elected civilian president like is seen in some parts of our continent, only that this president wouldn’t have represented the people’s real choice, may never represent the people’s interest and maybe not of Providence’s blessing.

At the election that gave us his predecessor, no one aside his anointed candidate could have succeeded him because we were ruled (not led) by military intelligence.

Umaru Yaradua a respecter of the rule of law took over, but unfortunately coincidence/Providence took him from us but gave us GEJ. Irrespective of his good heart, at that nascent period of our democracy, could a Yaradua have meandered his way to do what’s right for the next election considering his tribe and the circumstances that brought him to power?

GEJ also wasn’t perfect, but somehow, his decision to handover in the heat of our polity then gave us Buhari. That call he made before INEC announced the result is definitely the fabric that’s held Nigeria together as a country till date. A Buhari that has given up but that Providence had plans for became our president after Providence had turned a General into a democrat. Two extreme ends.

An Obasanjo or IBB or past Military warlords probably could never had allowed that transition were they in Jonathan’s position.

Were Ex-president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan an Atiku or Obasanjo, could we have had that transition? I doubt it.

That singular act probably softened our current president Buhari’s presumed right to power, by making him understand that power should not be grabbed, snatched and ran away with but should be solicited from the entirety of the people, not a section of the people. He realised the people voted for him not because he was merely packaged, but because he was packagable.

A lesson he learnt after partnering with the majority of all he had hitherto been against.

Never bite the hand that fed you except it’s the only option of survival is probably the reason our anticipated General of 2015 have had to let somethings slide and which has led to the disappointment of majority of us that saw him as a messiah while he obviously from the trend of things was just a pathfinder. My understanding now is that he was just another tool by providence.

This is one president that has strengthened the fabrics that holds our democracy constitutionally. The electoral reform guiding our elections now is a banger obviously.

Coincidentally again, time had soften Buhari such that by the time he became elected, he’s more civil politically and has caused a change in our electoral architecture. A president that calls a winner once declared winner by INEC irrespective of which party they belong is a new trend in our polity. A seating president advising Nigerians to vote who they want even if it’s not his party’s candidates is the first of its kind in our system. This is definitely providence at work.

The election cycle is here again. Who amongst the leading contestants do you think can take the baton from Buhari’s exit point and won’t take us years back because of lust for power or personal aggrandisement or negotiations not with us but with those who are believed to be custodians of power? Anyway all real power belongs to God

Leadership has failed us more because of tussle for power and greed. It’s always been believed that to get power, you must make some negotiations with some set of powerful people in Nigeria, and unfortunately not Nigerians who are continuously played as pawns for the aggrandisement of these few.

Who amongst the leading candidates do you think is counting on vote of the people and not established the structure that’s led us here? Anyone the structure gives winning to will be accountable to the structure, but whoever the people gives victory will be accountable to the people.

Whoever you decide to vote irrespective of political alignment may just be or not be what Providence wants for us at this time.

While providence is helping us, we must help ourselves. If we don’t get it right now, it may just be the last opportunity for our generation, but definitely our children’s generation will start the cycle again and hopefully they will get it right.

Won’t it be better we get it right now for continuity purpose

Providence is fair to us, let’s be fair to ourselves as we go into this election.

Irrespective of who your political alignment goes with, I just want us to please as a people seek the face of Providence once again, just so that we don’t travel another 20years back from the distance we have today covered as a people.

Don’t vote sentiments, vote competence. Sentiments will always be wrong, but competence gives a higher probability of delivery.

Have you have collected your PVC? It is the height of irresponsibility to shirk away from your civic responsibility in choosing your leaders. The gods won’t do for men, what men should do for themselves.

Pray for Nigeria as we near the election in few weeks. May Providence again come through for us.

Obideyi Olanrewaju is a Passionate Nigerian youth.