It is just about a month to Nigeria’s biggest moment.

A nation holds its breath as it counts days to epic elections which will go a long way in determining whether it moves forward or backwards in its journey of nationhood.

That it has been quite the journey would be a massive understatement. There have been many occasions on which it looked like that journey would come to a shuddering halt.

That the journey has proceeded somewhat defiantly is testament to the resilience of the country – an extraordinary resilience that has defied even the caprices of military rule.

The Nigerian military may have no direct role to play in the upcoming elections. In fact, the provision of security for the elections should be left for sister security agencies. However, whether it is charged with directly providing security for the elections or not, the ability of the Nigerian military to quell the storms building elsewhere will be key.

Since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office in 2015, the storms have built up from year to year, each destructively more devastating than the last.

Before the man hailed as just what the doctor ordered for Nigeria in 2015 came on board, Nigerians had sufficiently stewed in bad leadership and were exhausted at last. When a basket of rotten eggs was slapped on the face of the Peoples Democratic Party in the form of a historic defeat after 16 years in power, Nigerians breathed a sigh of relief.

The hope around the country then was that with the breath of fresh air expected to come with power changing hands, a new lease of life beckoned on the country. Those hopes were desperately short-lived for it took only a couple of months for even the most ardent advocate of change to realize that Nigeria had sold a hyena only to buy a hippopotamus.

A number of presidential candidates currently parade themselves before Nigerians, each laying claim to the country’s highest office. But who does the cap fit if any? That Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, is frequently mentioned in the same breath with drug-running fills quite a large number of Nigerians with trepidation. His failing health and flailing words have many worried by the prospect of him cashing in on his bright chances at the polls to become Nigeria’s next President. For Atiku Abubakar, the Wazirin Adamawa, who is having a sixth shot at the country’s highest office, a difficult childhood tending cattle in the bushes of Jada make for a wonderful story. A veteran political combatant and former vice president, Nigerians worry about his seeming wanderlust and the undying whispers that wed him to corruption. In Peter Obi, many young Nigerians see the Nigerian president they have always wished and even prayed for. Visionary, visceral and vivacious, the former Anambra Governor’s fighting talk about Nigeria’s problem is promising.

Yet, many cite the relative obscurity of the Labour Party and Nigeria’s historic voting patterns to predict that it would take a miracle for the man who has stolen even many hearts to win. Whoever Nigerians settle for, there can be no mistake. The folly of the past cannot be reprised. Bad politicians must be denied access to Nigeria’s highest office.

Kene Obiezu, @kenobiezu

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