The United Nations chief scribe and Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres was in Nigeria on a two-day working visit between the 2nd and the 3rd of May, 2022. This visit was the first time that the Secretary- General of the United Nations visited Nigeria, and the visit is significant in so many ways among which is the period that the country of Nigeria is in in terms of political uncertainty, which is a direct result of the problem of insecurity in the country. The menace of insurgency is on the increase, and the political atmosphere is cloudy and blurry making visibility in terms of where the country is headed difficult. If you observe carefully, representation from the United Nations had been made in the past in the person of the Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, who herself is a Nigerian.
The visit of the number one person and head of administration at the United Nations is indeed an answer to the cause made by well-meaning Nigerians to the United Nations for intervention in the political situation of the country, which is volatile. There are threats of secession by the major ethnic groups, and in relation to the zoning of the presidential ticket of the political parties to certain parts of the country, and other reasons are those of nepotism, and marginalization of certain minorities. It is made public that the U.S. Secretary-General had a closed-door discussion with President Muhammadu Buhari on matters that are private. He was reported to have also discussed with the president on matters surrounding the 2023 elections as well as those of security.
The take-home for Nigerians from this visit is that the eyes and attention of the international community are on Nigeria, and this has created additional responsibilities to those in positions of power. They are, as a matter of necessity, expected to play safe in the manner in which they conduct themselves in the area of confronting insurgency as well as obeying the existing rules at both the local and the international levels of conducting peaceful and transparent elections.
What is notable and laughable in the conduct of some of the activities that are leading to the 2023 elections is the number of aspirants that have declared their intentions to contest or run for the position of President of Nigeria. This is the first time in the history of the country when aspirants within one party who have indicated interest to run for the position of President is about 30 at the time of writing this article. Another controversial part of the conduct of the party primaries is the cost of buying a nomination form for the expression of interest in running for a position, with the APC, for instance being 100 million Naira, while with the PDP is 40 million Naira. The high cost of buying a nomination form, apart from being outrageous, is disenfranchising and also makes the parties to be for only the rich and elected positions for the highest bidder. This, to say the least, is anti-democratic.
Another revelation from the number of candidates that are gunning for the position of the president of the Federal Public of Nigeria is the degradation of the position of the President of Nigeria. The high number of aspirants goes along way to reveal how much respect and honor the position has lost over a period of time. It is a position that is now reserved for the survival of the fittest. President Buhari, with this development, has reduced the bar to a very low level of near insignificance and that is why you have everybody from within his cabinet, ministers, the governors, the members of the legislature, from both the states and the federal level, everybody has considered himself qualified to step into the shoes of President Muhammadu Buhari. This is the level of moral decadence that we find ourselves in as Nigerians. Anything of value must be scarce to maintain its value. The same is not applicable to the presidency of Nigeria, which has been made very cheap for every Tom, Dick, and Harry.
On a final note, the visit of the administrative head of the United Nations is applauded. It is our sincere hope also that the U.N. representative has discussed with the authorities in Nigeria on the need for preventive diplomacies in the light of how volatile the country is at this time. It is believed also that all the consequences that are to accompany acts of negligence, indulgence, and disregard for the international law have been well-highlighted and emphasized. This visit is not to be judged as the previous ones, which have left nothing positive to show with regard to the smooth running of the country that is believed to be in a democracy. To all Nigerians, see this visit as an opportunity for you to appreciate your constitutional rights to vote and be voted for, and with a view to using this understanding to bring about a genuine turnaround in every area of the life of the people as well as that of the country. Where a peaceful transition power is made impossible, the realization of the dreams of the agitators for self-determination becomes inevitable.