By Rev Fr Gerald Nwafor

I watched with keen interest the speed at which many people are rushing into the Presidential race. There is nothing wrong with declaring one’s intention to govern a country one loves so much.

I am writing this piece on the evening Nigeria lost to Ghana in the 2023 world cup qualification at Abuja before over seventy thousand Nigerians in the stadium and more than two hundred million Nigerians watching on television all over the world. And I assumed some were just listening to the commentary on their little transistor radios, because they were not privileged to be near their TV sets.

I was hardly in the right mind to write on the athletic honors and trappings evading my beloved country at this moment, because a friend had called me and said, “Bandits or terrorists blew up a train traveling from Kaduna to Abuja.” My mood was sinking and as I was digesting the soccer disaster and this train carnage, I was informed of about nine villages attacked in Southern Kaduna by the bandits, and over sixty people were killed, including women and children. So, I said to myself, “What in the world is going on in Nigeria and what topic should I pick to write about?”

Since amid this madness, many politicians were readily declaring their intentions to run the country, I chose to write about the duty facing anyone who has thrown his hat in the ring,prompted by the current President having called himself a lame duck.

With less than one year remaining to run the country, he cannot therefore do a lot. Although during his 2014 campaign Mr. Buhari promised us that he would stop the menace of Boko Haram because he is a war General. Most of the people agreed and trusted him and killed the political future of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan with a sword of vengeance. He promised also that he would balance the astronomical exchange rate of 1 U.S. Dollar to 180 Naira in the parallel market and the black market.

I do not want to shock your conscience, but a court of law might rule this unconscionable. Today the rate is 1 to 415, worse by more than twice. But the exchange rate is not the same yesterday as today, and tomorrow will bring a new high. And the bandits and terrorists are still at large. We do not know how to hold him responsible for all the lies and misleading statements. The fact that Buhari destroyed the political aspirations of Jonathan with all the lies and broken promises should be a source of big concern for us during this political warfare, and a warning.

Tinubu Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Adekunle (aka Jagaban) has declared his intention to rule or ruin Nigeria. Under APC (All Progressive Congress) he was supposed to be the anointed one to take over from the current President Major General Muhammadu Buhari GCFR. Like I said, in political warfare, there are no permanent friends: everyone has his political sword ready and is willing to use it when the opportunity manifests itself.

The APC stalwarts from the north have said in plain language that there was never a time they promised Tinubu the presidency, to succeed Buhari. The western political caucus has shouted foul to that statement. According to Bisi Akande who was the chairman of APC at the time of the merger, the marriage of the northernelites and the western political class to overturn Jonathan was based on the pledge that Tinubu would succeed Buhari. Today we are hearing discordant tunes from different angles.

A note to remember and to keep in mind is the name Professor Osinbajo, the Vice President. Professor Osinbajowas solely appointed by Tinubu to be the Vice President of Nigeria. Tinubu knew him as a fine gentleman and a person who would always say yes to him. But this is politics, and as such, the relationship between the political godfather and the political godson is not always rosy.

I have a lot of witnesses to this axiomatic truth. Some of them worthy to testify are Jim Nwobodo and Chimaroke, Olusola Saraki and Lawal; Peter Obi and Obiano; Orji Uzor and Theodor; Amed Tinubu and Ambode, and Matthew Obasanjo and Jonathan. You can add more to the list at your leisure. Therefore, I call on Tinubu to be on the watch out.

There is an idiom, I have heard it two ways. Who should bail the cat? Or who should bell the cat?In the latter, the meeting of the mouse population decides to put a bell on the neck of the cat, to alert them of the movement and arrival of their predator has been agreed. But the problem is, which mouse will go over to the kingdom of the cat to put the bell on the cat’s neck? On the other hand, the former example, the cat has just fallen into a trap and is asking the mouse to help bail him from the trap.

The mouse has agreed to bail the cat but who will do the courageous job of releasing the cat from the trap, given the antecedent behavior of the cat towards the mice? The question now is who will bell Nigeria from these political gladiators who have destroyed Nigeria for the longest time? So, we can detect the bad Presidential candidates in the plethora of names flooding our televisions and radio stations and billboards. We don’t want to lose our World Cup games at home.

We don’t want our railways bombed. We don’t want bandits to attack villages and airports in broad daylight. We don’t want our Naira to have a free fall in the international market. We don’t want kids to stay at home because of an ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities) strike, or more problematically, the fear of being kidnapped on the way to school. These and many more are the reason we should keep our eyes on these political gladiators who are coming to kill us, destroy us, and enrich themselves.

(Fr Gerald Nwafor is a priest of Awka Diocese, and writes from the USA)