-By Austen Akhagbeme:
In the first part of this essay, I have attempted to lay a foundation for the subject matter by taking a trip through the shenaniganry of the early post-colonial politics of personalities and identity in Nigeria which characterised the period in focus and has become endemic to us as a people, today.
Nevertheless, the absence of true patriotic and political benevolence toward the nation by her citizens, especially the political class, has again brought to the fore the inherent danger of identity politics even as we prepare for another round of elections in 2023.
If we must survive as a nation, leadership recruitment must be devoid of favouritism (even at the level of the individual) that is based on primordial consideration which usually oxygenates the unhealthy practice of politics of identity.
In the usual chicanerous manner, our politics and politicking have, once again, thrown to the table three top dramatis personae to choose from in 2023 as a driver of our beleaguered nation all brandishing self-declared statecraft and patriotism.
Can we, as a people for the first time, look beyond emotions, primordial affiliations and creed to choose the character best suited for the topmost job of the land in a nation with a plethora of paradoxical potentiality, arrested development and yet hopefully expecting a change for the better?
If the outcome of the 2023 election is determined by these usual dangerous tendencies of identity politics, which are already dominating our pre-campaign spaces, then the result and performances of whoever wins the election and by extension, the government that will emerge therefrom, may not be able to deliver the nation of our dream no matter how hard they try.
This is so because the same old factors, nuances and tendencies of ethnicity and cronyism, that held us in captivity plus the inherent passion for primitive accumulation and abuse of our collective patrimony by the ruling elite will remain unabated.