With the 2023 general elections breathing down Nigeria`s neck, battlegrounds have been marked all over the place. For many Nigerians, danger lurks in every corner. For many, the days when the country knew only those crimes that so often punctuate the life of every other country are now firmly in the past, replaced by days made up of a creeping sensation of serpents crawling in every corner, ever so willing to strike.
Even if what has become a national experience has a touch of paranoia all over it, Nigerians are well entitled to nurse whatever fears or suspicions they may have no matter how wild because they have painfully watched a beloved country being marched to the edge of the precipice by predators and plunderers.
Kashim Shettima`s spectacle
Nigeria certainly aspires to become where freedom is taken for granted; to become that country where variety is given free rein as the spice of life, and people can live the way they want as long as they fully respect the rights that others have to make their own choices. This, of course, would include the choice of wearing what one feels most comfortable in, without fear of any form of discrimination. Indeed, when the Supreme Court recently decided that Muslim students in Lagos State must be made to suffer no consequence for wearing their hijab, many interpreted this verdict as another step forward in the country`s quest for freedom.
Indeed, for a brief moment, a wave of sartorial freedom washed over the country with lawyers leading the euphoria which even found prominent scenes in courtrooms around the country.
Kashim Shettima, the Vice Presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress was recently in Lagos to represent Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Presidential Candidate, at the Annual General Conference of the Nigeria Bar Association which held until August 26. Probably intimidated by having to address the august gathering of Nigerian lawyers so hounded at the beginning of an administration in which he has been a prominent player, Shettima chose to dress the part. If the suit, red tie and sneakers were not lurid enough, the image he cut in them soon went viral.
Characteristically, Nigerians who have always managed to find humour even out of the darkest events seized on it to amuse themselves. The euphoria has since died down but beyond one man`s dressing to a conference that brought some of Nigeria`s troubling realities into sharp relief, including the fact that lawyers could act like brigands and street urchins over conference materials, Nigerians must recognize that their country has hopped into the last chance saloon. If the country does not get it right in 2023, there is no telling where the country will end up.
The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari which is now in its twilight has yielded nothing but disappointment, broken promises and no little frustration among Nigerians. If insecurity and poverty overload the highlight reels of a seven-year administration that has seemed interminably longer because it has been a such a roaring failure, the rut in which the country is currently stuck in will prove to be child`s play if Nigerians do not dust up their voter cards and choose the right people next year.
Given Nigeria`s catastrophic failure of leadership and the fact that Nigerians seem unable to put the right people in office, choosing right is indeed an epic task. If it is not to become an impossible one, Nigerians must be especially wary of those who confuse getting to a ripe old age with being ripe for the onerous task of leading Nigeria.
A country that has obviously run out of options must now know that everything counts.