More than ever, the compelling need of a national leadership that understands the language of crises and colours of development makes the forthcoming election a detour from the norm. It is left for the vote-weary electorates to decide.

While the macro socio-political space has subjected the same electorates to voting haemorrhage, the political fighters that hinged the survival of the nation state on restructuring have raised the hope of an issue-based campaign season. In a twist of fate, the restructuring debate flight came crashing even before taking off. This is another validation of Prof Williams Adebayo’s social construct of hope that hoping against hope is not the cure for hopelessness. It is the marijuana of the hopeless. Our hope of an issue-based electoral run has been decimated.

So we are back to yesterday!

After the lettered spar between the perceptive Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the dogged perennial presidential aspirant Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, one would have thought that the debate on restructuring would be with us throughout the 2019 election cycle, more so given that Nigeria is bleeding from a million cuts, like a great blue whale plagued on all fronts.

In our situation of insecurity, joblessness, hunger, rational debate becomes the first casualty. Logic does not flow with lack. The kingdom of the belly is not at material par with the paradise of the brain. During the Northcentral rally of the PDP, party leaders repeatedly told the people that they would put food on people’s table since APC has taken food away from their table. Unfortunately for the leading opposition party PDP that has been mouthing restructuring, it appears that the restructuring debate has lost its central purpose in its campaign run. The ruling party APC has counted this as a win.

The abandonment is a no surprise. None of the political parties has a clear understanding of what it means, how to do it and the expected outcome. But in the post party primary convention, they quickly rev up their foot soldiers on the debate with PDP thinking that it was offering a fresh alternative while APC was wobbling to explain its lazy and naïve approach to the restructuring debate.

Nonetheless, the limited understanding of the restructuring process and the expected outcome has made the debate to take the back seat in this campaign run.

Till now, none of the parties has been able to put a meaning to the buzzword but there are countless subjective interpretations which are laced with fault-lines, depending on which divide the holders belong. The debate is now more political than problem-solving as being touted by politicians. The subjectivity in the restructuring debate was made more evident in an open letter written by Prof Osinbajo to Alhaji Atiku. The response from Alhaji Atiku to that lecture note showed a more constricted subjectivity.

The opposition party has been forced to abandon its campaign theme on restructuring and has since been distracted by simplistic issues that offer zero electoral advantage and prosperity for the country. PDP has suddenly lost the steam that propelled the convention which produced their presidential candidate. Unfortunately, the party’s house of clay is riddled with half-hearted members and non-committal financiers. Such house of clay needs just an electoral defeat for its undergo internal re-engineering. It is a sobering reality of our evolutionary democratic journey.

However, for the ruling party APC that is full of confusionists – from Ogun State to Imo, from Zamfara to Kwara and from Rivers to Enugu; it is a game it has anchored on anti-corruption and has successfully maintained the discourse around corruption. For the ruling party, restructuring has never been part of the deal. APC’s house of clay is standing on a pillar, pray the pillar stands firm for some more years. Otherwise, it takes President Buhari to quit politics for the house of clay to come crashing and then undergo retooling.

There will be no definitions of restructuring from the people, and there will be no expatiation on what system of government the people want. If Nigerian leaders cannot see into the future nor perceive the revolutionary changes needed to stabilise the country and unleash the people’s energies and creative potentials, then let them continue to ossify in their conservative and reactionary politics.

Obajeun Jonah writes from Lagos. He blogs on www.obajeun.com and tweets via @Obajeun

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