Nigeria: Marching towards 2019

July 27, 2018 Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , POLITICS

PT photo

 

By

Abdulyassar Abdulhamid

 

 

The 2019 general elections in Nigeria are fast approaching. Politicians are taking every necessary step to secure nomination and ultimate victory at the polls. Disgruntled politicians are switching from one party to another in search of greener pastures politically. Such strategies are commonplace, especially, on the eve of any general election in a political clime like ours, and the 2019 general elections will be no exception. In fact, the much talked-about 2019 elections will shape the destiny of Nigeria and Nigerians for many years to come.

 

The situation is getting more tense as some senators and serving governors in the ruling All Progressives Congress are threatening to leave the party. This has led to the formation of R-APC with former APC chieftain, Buba Galadima, as its national chairman.

 

However, the leading opposition, Peoples Democratic Party, is nursing yet another defeat from Ekiti governorship election. Its leadership has started romancing with the former two-time Nigeria’s president, Olusegun Obasanjo and some influential politicians attempting to leave the ruling political party to garner more popularity and more solid political footing.

 

 

Genesis

 

After much speculation as to whether or not President Muhammadu Buhari will contest next year’s presidential election, partly due to his health condition, as alleged by the Peoples Democratic Party and partly for the worsening security situation in the country, on 9th April Buhari declared his intention to seek re-election in the forthcoming 2019 general elections. This caught many politicians off-balance.

 

This, as the president claims, is a response to the growing public clamour for him to re-contest in 2019 elections.

 

He said, “People have been asking me to declare for re-election and some have been asking me when I am going to declare. I want to give the NEC honour to be the first to hear it. I have decided to re-contest in 2019 general election [sic].”

 

Although, there is no single moral burden disqualifying the president from contesting next year’s election, those who oppose the president’s ambition to seek re-election in 2019, especially APC’s arch-rival, the Peoples Democratic Party, have been insinuating that the president had publicly said that he would serve for only one term.

 

In another breath, they cite the present worsening economic condition in the country, its attendant effects on the citizens, especially the masses and the deteriorating security situation in different parts of the country as reasons that make him unfit to seek re-election.

 

 

Flashback

 

Prior to the 2015 general elections, the prolonged crisis between the leadership of the People’s Democratic Party and some estranged governors reached its apex of political tension. The five governors, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano State, Murtala Nyako of Adamawa, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State and Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto State, under the leadership of Kawu Baraje, decided to merge with APC. The aggrieved governors were later joined by a former vice president, Atiku Abubakar a former speaker of the House of Representative, Tambuwal and other discontented PDP members, whom are considered political powerhouses.

 

Because of the fruitful outcome of the merger between former members of the nPDP faction of PDP and APC leadership, many commentators argue that yet another merger is inevitable. And the only way to unseat the ruling party is to borrow a leaf from its homework that led to its success in the 2015 general election.

 

What is more, Prince Uche Secondus, PDP National Chairman, is working round the clock to rejuvenate the party. The recently concluded Ekiti governorship election is a case in point.

 

 

Political experiment

 

The Ekiti governorship election, conducted on Saturday 14th July, was a political experiment to establish a hypothesis. Both APC and PDP wanted to wrestle it out especially at this time when politics is raising some dust.

 

Although roughly 34 candidates from various political parties contested the Ekiti governorship election, it was a tight race between Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressive Congress and Kolapo Olusola of the People’s Democratic Party. While the former has the federal government’s backing, the latter had the incumbent governor, Ayodele Fayose’s backing. The truth, as claimed by many analysts, is that the two candidates are just mere pawns in the overall political game plan.

 

The real battle is a quest for supremacy between the All Progressives Congress, which wants to forge its own path by hitting the last nail of its influence in the South West and the Peoples Democratic Party, which wants to test-fly its political resurgence after nursing some wounds of defeat.

 

Now Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress has won the election, this means that the APC can walk boastfully with its chest sticking out and use that as a scarecrow against anyone who wishes to break away, and the Peoples Democratic Party is left with no other option than to go for plan B, which is, probably, merging with the less powerful political parties. The rumour making the rounds is that they are considering a change of name and logo.

 

 

Flash-forward

 

On Wednesday 4th July the aggrieved former new Peoples Democratic Party members in the All Progressives Congress declared the formation of the R-APC faction of the ruling political party due to what they described as an ‘onslaught against the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, among others.

 

During a press conference, the R-APC National Chairman, Buba Galadima said, “We are sad to report that after more than three years of governance, our hopes have been betrayed, our expectations completely dashed. The APC has run a rudderless, inept and incompetent government that has failed to deliver good governance to the Nigerian people. It rather imposed dictatorship, impunity, abuse of power, complete abdication of constitutional and statutory responsibilities, infidelity to the rule of law and constitutionalism [sic].”

 

Now, the leading opposition party is threatening to boycott the 2019 general election if what it calls ‘umpire or security agencies’ high level of partiality endures. This was stated by its National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus at the party’s national secretariat on Thursday when addressing the delegations of International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI), after lamenting what he called ‘manipulation of vote figures’ in the recently concluded Ekiti governorship election.

 

The prediction by political pundits that the merger might not last long has turned out to be true. On Tuesday 24th July 13 APC senators defected to the PDP, with, probably, many impending ones.

 

One major problem the APC may experience is its internal problems. APC must curtail the powerful storm of defection that is facing it. Well, many see this as a minor setback or a crack that will not affect the party’s success in the least, but PDP had swallowed such a hook and at last it led to its ruinous defeat in the 2015 general elections from which it is yet to recover.

 

The chances of APC in 2019 solely rely on its ability to handle, gentlemanly, many alleged corruption cases on its table. Analysts and critics of the government, who are doing everything to see its downfall, have been raising billboards of the cases of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal, who is being accused of mismanagement of funds meant for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in the Northeast, the former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina, who was being accused of fraud, and now the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, who is being accused of NYSC certificate forgery to question the sincerity of the anti-graft war and integrity of the president.

 

This is a heavy-booted march towards the 2019 general elections. The truth is that nobody is indispensable in Nigeria. The earlier the government understands this, the better. While administrations cease to exist, Nigeria endures.

 

 

 

 

Abdulyassar Abdulhamid

Abdulyassar Abdulhamid, Kano based, is graduate of B.A English from Bayero University, Kano. He is a budding writer, social analyst, freelancer at Sunrise Language Practitioner (SLP) and regular contributor to Nigerian dailies. 
His writings have appeared in The Communicator, a magazine published by Kano State Polytechnic and in Dailytrust, The Triumph and The cable newspapers. He has a strong interest in literary theory.

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