You could taste the excitement in the air with your tongue taking a heavy scoop of wet dust. It would only be the early days of the first rains in 2019 and we are happy that it’s happening in mid February.

How poetic it is to get married around Valentine’s season…again. The last wedding was almost four years ago and that was after she had endured what seemed like an eternity of emotional, physical and psychological tortures. I was scared of walking her up the aisle, as I still am even now, to choose the man who we would call her husband after we would have signed away our freedom.

If there was anything that got us through each wedding since her first, it is the realisation that soon enough she could choose another. And hopefully he’d be kinder than the last. That her children would fare and feed better. Not a husband that would rape what is legally his. But instead allow her some blossoms like the palms in Edo. Allow her milk feed her hungry children.

She has been blessed by Providence with breasts larger than two cities, with milk and honey that can feed the whole of Africa and a half. Yet 90% of her children are malnourished and living in dire economic realities. Her husbands that do not need it, take most of the milk, and let infants die from lack.

She’s the woman by the well, have been married to many men, who are not husbands, and even the one she is currently with isn’t. She needs a saviour who will tell me it is well even by the well. She needs a saviour who will be standing draped in fine tuxs, at the other side of the aisle, as her children try to pick another husband for her.

The choice of the next president of Nigeria can aptly be described by the reality of a husband for a beautiful damsel. If she gets it right, she will blossom and grow. All men will see her glow and praise the man of her bosoms. If she gets it otherwise, she will shrink and groan and a widow’s lonely bed is better.

We must deliberately run away from getting engrossed in the activities and excitements of the coming wedding and look beyond it. Look beyond May 29th or June 12th when the marriage would be consumated and critically appraise the suitors we have.

The strongest persons we have, by virtue of their positions and the influence they wield politically, are the current President, Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party. These men have a lot in common and we must refuse to be blind to these realities.

Firstly, they are both septuagenarians, with the current President a few moons older than his rival. Is age a factor in leadership and by extension governance? Although, experiential wisdom comes with old age, but senility is also a well documented cost of grey hairs, and at over seventy both men have more grey hairs than dyes could cover. The future is a brutal place for men that are well above their retirement age. It is not a friendly place for the slow and aged and the Nigerian situation is in no wise a less complex one. We are a nation of highly impatient people. We want good roads, stable power supply, vibrant and competitive economy, standard corporate engagements, reliable transportation systems, affordable and ultramodern health delivery systems, abundance of food. Guess what, we want all these now and with no excuses for any delay. Can either men in their seventies keep pace with the changing dynamics of the Nigerian sociopolitical climate? I will like to think not. Most countries of the world are switching up to the vibrancy and ingenuity that comes with the youth in governance. I would like to think that Nigeria deserves a little better than men above 70!

Secondly, both men come with mixed loads of emotions and expectations. The current President is perceived to have not fared greatly across the three indices of the economy, security and corruption fight. Yet, he is also perceived to mean well but a victim of much sabotage going on both from within and without his government. So, the opinions are divided between giving him the benefit of the doubt for a further four years or kicking him out.

Also, the presence of his vice president makes this the more difficult. The old man from Adamawa seems to enjoy a better mix of the expectations. He is generally perceived that he would get the economy back on its feet as a businessman that he likes to be referred to. Even though, this may be nothing more than a smoke, same way we expected Buhari to do well in security matters than a former university don. However, his antecedents speak of an impending doom that many sane Nigerians are weary of. This is further amplified by the army that he is surrounded with. The PDP is generally perceived to have brought Nigeria to her knees and they don’t seem to have repented.

Thirdly, and this is by far a most critical one, they are both surrounded by unscrupulous and highly questionable characters. The most baffling thing is that both do not seem to care or lose sleep over this. They have allowed themselves be surrounded by characters that have no qualms in raping Nigeria in broad daylight. Both men are like two sides of a coin and no matter how many times you flip and flop, you will only get the same coin. The APC and the PDP are one and the same political parties. Many of the influential stalwarts in APC had been members of PDP that got aggrieved and those of PDP are aggrieved members of APC.

So beyond the ceremonial wedding of elections, we need to take a break and holistically approach the general elections with a cursory gaze at the marriage after. We need to get it right in 2019 and if getting it right means we have to look beyond the two septuagenarians then look we must. And who said that a third wheel drive isn’t better than the two wheels that’s gotten us here in the first place?

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