Arise TV presenter Rufai Oseni has advised Nigerians not to put too much hope for revolutionary change on whoever emerges winner in the forthcoming 2023 Presidential Election.
Oseni based his pessimism on the lacklustre manifestos being reeled out by top gladiators for the election which, according to him, only sounded theoretical but lacking in pragmatic resolution strategies on how to solve the myriads of problems bedevilling the country.
The Arise TV Anchor said this while featuring on “Boiling Point Arena”, an online platform of distinguished intellectuals and technocrats, initiated by a seasoned media Professional and an avid advocate of good governance and development, Mr Ayo Arowojolu.
Speaking on the topic: “Nigeria 2023 Presidential Election: Challenges, Reality and Myth”, he identified the greatest challenge ahead of the 2023 presidential election as identity politics.
He stated that, ”Identity politics is the major challenge facing the 2023 presidential election. The problems confronting the country are beyond tribe, ethnicity and religion. To salvage the country, we should begin to look at real issues of poverty and unemployment.”
According to him, the media has a great role to play to assist the political class to focus attention on the real issues by deliberately shifting attention from selling sensationalism to promoting substance.
Rufai Oseni said “the political class is the same regardless of party. They are striving to manipulate the thought process of the electorate.”
He lamented the poor attitude of Nigerians in not interrogating the manifestos of the parties and urged the media to step up the game.
“I am not in support of any political party but only crave for good governance. My disposition to raising issues with the candidates is the same. Unfortunately, none of the political parties has a manifesto that indicated how the problems bedevilling Nigeria can be solved.”
Responding to one of the questions he was asked, he commended President, Muhammadu Buhari, for signing the electoral law, which would strengthen the success of the 2023 elections.
He also responded to a question on the fear of the election not holding. He said: ”Elections will hold. I can assure you that President Buhari will do everything necessary to see to the success of the elections. INEC is also ready to deliver to us a credible election. However, we should be wary of saboteurs.”
The broadcaster said that politicians were deliberately gaming the voters to create voters’ apathy, adding that meanwhile, the political class has weaponised poverty to the extent that Nigerians have become gullible and lacking clear thinking abilities.
According to him, ”the voters are ready. The politicians are gaming the voters to dribble the system to voters’ apathy in order to gain an advantage but the voters should be wiser this time round.”
He attributed the challenges of the nation to the gullibility of the citizens who have been weaponised by poverty, thereby affecting their decision process.
He lamented that the intellectuals who should provide direction have become liabilities to the country.
Taking a swipe at the academics who falsified results in the process of conducting elections, Rufai lamented: “How will a Professor change results because of money? One of such was incarcerated recently and that is the type of liability our intellectuals have become. My greatest fear about salvaging the country is the intellectual class.“
Asked to speak about the courage of his convictions and whether he would be ready to be part of the government to contribute his quota, he said he had intentionally chosen his path to be different from the majority.
He said he was not afraid of being a lone ranger and that he was determined to stand tall against harassment and intimidation stressing that he was equally not ready to switch game and become the mouthpiece of anyone.
His words: “I have rejected opportunities in the past and I will reject them again and again. My passion is to deepen the course of public participation in the governance of the nation. I desire to be a vanguard in public discourse and it is not part of my passion to be a mouthpiece.”
He tasked Nigerians not to stop talking, adding that “Whoever emerges as the President, we must keep engaging the government in constructive criticism and in analysing issues empirically.”
Rufai Oseni recommended a tripodal approach to take Nigeria out of the woods.
According to him, ”the short-term approach is for platforms like Boiling Point to continually engage the people towards stimulating a conscience breaking. The medium approach is for families to develop the right attitude and finally, the long term is for the nation to be intentional with national reorientation agenda.”
A Public Relations icon, Mr Eddy Ademosu and an erudite academic and Senior lecturer at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Dr Oluwatosin Oyetayo, moderated the programme.
The Initiator and Convener of Boiling Point Arena, Ayo Arowojolu disclosed that the monthly interview programme is in furtherance of good governance and targeted at restoring the lost glory of Nigeria as the Giant of Africa.
According to Arowojolu, “the Boiling Point platform is made up of over 200 personalities drawn from among professors, Judges, royal fathers, security experts, media professionals and entrepreneurs.”
Rufai Oseni however submitted that it will take a miracle for anyone among them presently angling to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, to be equipped with the capacity to turn the tide positively for the country.