I have always had a lukewarm attitude to politics especially Nigerian politics. I have always believed that your destiny is what you make it and not what some pot-bellied men in Abuja do or do not do.

I would have to admit that I was very excited when Barack Obama won the US elections in 2008 and in 2012.

Similarly, I was elated when Muhammadu Buhari won the presidential election in 2015. Finally, I thought to myself, we would have a decisive president who would do away with corruption.

President Buhari taking his oath of office in 2015 (Guardian/Ladidi Lucy Elukpo)
Guardian Nigeria
President Buhari taking his oath of office in 2015 (Guardian/Ladidi Lucy Elukpo)

The fact that I am writing this opinion piece shows how much my feelings have changed since that day. It's been a flicker of hope to the cool flames of apathy.

When the drums of another election started beating, I paid no mind to the body language of the political juggernauts gearing up to run for the highest political office in the land. My mindset was as long as they are not the ones paying my salary, I could care less. I had mentally seceded from Nigeria a while ago, and a few gesticulations from individuals from the clueless political class weren't enough to get me interested.

However, in July 2018, I got interested in Nigerian politics again thanks to the Loose Talk podcast interview with former governor and presidential candidate Donald Duke. For three hours, Duke spoke like a charming orator on his plans to revive Nigeria and help build a country that will be a product of our dreams and not our nightmares.

The Pulse LooseTalk crew with Donald Duke The Pulse LooseTalk crew with Donald Duke

I was sold on the dashing politician and I even wrote an opinion piece about how he is the candidate for young Nigerians in 2019. Now I must admit that Donald Duke's campaign never hit the grounds running. It started out sluggish and was later caught up in inter-party politics.

The duopoly narrative of APC and PDP was followed by the 'third force' agenda, especially after former President Olusegun Obasanjo jumped on it.

It also gained momentum because Nigerians were tired of voting for the same politicians who apart from party logos were inseparable.

The likes of Donald Duke, Oby Ezekwesili, Fela Durotoye, Kingsley Moghalu and Omoyele Sowore presented themselves as the third force candidates. For the most part, a voter base tired of the broom and umbrella were excited that these Nigerians had stepped forward to contest.

Dr Oby Ezekwesili Dr Oby Ezekwesili

Even though my own candidate of choice had stayed silent, I was happy that we had others like Moghalu and Ezekwesili putting up a spirited fight. Don't get me wrong, I am a realist, and I knew the odds for any of these candidates winning was a long shot but I was happy that people were challenging the status quo.

Now, my excitement is gone and I am back to my apathy. The way in which Ezekwesili's campaign has unfolded within the last 24 hours has been disappointing to me. Stepping down for a consensus alternative candidate this late to the elections is almost the same thing as raising the white flag.

This is not the Miracle of Daman or the Dream Team in Atlanta '96. What we have here is a collapse of the third force alternative irrespective of who comes out as the consensus candidate of the coalition. No golden goals will be scored in this election.

Donald Duke is now back in the race after his party's politicking but what good will that do at this hour?

Let's call a spade a spade. The third force contenders were inadequately prepared for the 2019 elections. What we have left is a party that ruled for 16 years that gave Nigerians more headaches than joyous moments, and a party that has wobbled and fumbled this last four years.

The apathy is back in full force. How can I vote for candidates I don't believe in? I bet there are many other Nigerians that are tired of the broom and umbrella alternatives. Unfortunately, the options we have are not encouraging.

The drive to encourage people to go out and vote is good but how can I vote for candidates who I don't believe in? With other candidates falling like a pack of cards, what option is left? The answer might be to siddon look.