2023 Elections: Can New Politics Revolutionize the Political Landscape?
The political landscape of any nation is constantly evolving, and as we move closer to the 2023 general elections in Nigeria, the expectations, aspirations and apprehensions of citizens are sky high. A lot has changed since the last elections in 2019, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the widespread #EndSARS protests, which sparked national conversations about police brutality, accountability and governance. The political class, as usual, has been trying to navigate these changes and maintain their grip on power, but there are also new voices, new movements and new ideologies emerging that could potentially revolutionize the political landscape in Nigeria.
One of the most significant developments in recent times has been the emergence of new political parties and movements that are seeking to break the monopoly of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The likes of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), the Young Progressives Party (YPP), the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Action Democratic Party (ADP) have all gained some level of traction since the last elections, fielding candidates in various state and local government elections, and attracting a growing number of young Nigerians who are disillusioned with the status quo.
These new political parties and movements have adopted different strategies and ideologies – some are focused on youth empowerment, gender equality, environmental sustainability and anti-corruption, while others are more conservative and pro-business. However, they all have one thing in common: a desire to disrupt the current political order and offer a new vision for Nigeria’s future. This is a significant departure from the past, where third parties and independent candidates were often seen as mere spoilers, unable to offer a real challenge to the dominant parties.
Another factor that could potentially revolutionize the political landscape in Nigeria is the growing role of technology in politics. The rise of social media and digital platforms has given citizens new channels to express their political views, connect with like-minded individuals, and organize campaigns and protests. This was evident during the #EndSARS protests, where young Nigerians used social media to mobilize their peers, document police brutality and demand accountability from the government. While the government tried to suppress the protests by shutting down social media networks and arresting protesters, the fact remains that technology has given citizens new tools to hold their leaders to account and demand better governance.
The 2023 elections could therefore be a watershed moment for Nigeria, as citizens have the opportunity to elect leaders who share their values, vision and aspirations. However, this will require a fundamental shift in the way politics is practiced in Nigeria. The political class must be willing to cede power and allow new voices and movements to emerge, rather than resorting to the usual tactics of vote buying, rigging and intimidation. Citizens must also be willing to engage in the political process and hold their leaders to account, rather than being passive recipients of government services.
Ultimately, the success or failure of the new politics movement will depend on whether it can translate its ideals and aspirations into concrete policies and actions that benefit ordinary Nigerians. Elections are only one part of the equation; the real challenge lies in building sustainable institutions, nurturing a culture of accountability and transparency, and developing a shared vision for the future of Nigeria. If Nigeria can rise to this challenge, then the 2023 elections could mark the beginning of a new era of politics in which citizens are at the center of decision-making, and accountability and transparency are the norm rather than the exception.