Nigeria 2019: The liveliest election ever

October 19, 2018 Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , POLITICS

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By

Abdulyassar Abdulhamid

 

 

The 2019 general elections will be the liveliest ever. The round of elections, drawing its terms of reference from the previous elections, will create a faculty of reasoning of its own feet to walk on and armour to shield itself from sharpened objects that have been working day and night to harm it and, in one way or another, has great influence on general elections of the past.

 

To prove many Nigerians wrong, the 2019 general elections will especially seal the fate of ordinary Nigerian electorates and politicians. Many concepts and their meaning will be formed. It will forge its own way as against many ill-intentioned analysts who never get tired of feeding their caged listeners or readers their sponsored views. It will arguably be an unprecedented election.

 

Many an election in this great nation has been caught off-balance. While some came out dripping with shards of decoyed ethnicity or religion, others hit insurmountable obstacles that forced the steamer carrying the election to capsize;  imagine the irreparable damage it caused to the nation, Nigerians’ well-being.

 

In the third republic, the June 12, 1993 presidential election, considered by many as the freest and fairest election ever – although it is subject to who argues the best – and which was presumably won by the late Moshood Kashimawo Abiola in which he defeated Bashir Tofa, was annulled by President Babangida. The hope-laden streamer hit a huge military iceberg. Nigerians’ hope for the year to lay down a solid foundation in the history of democracy of this nation was cut short. The rest is history.

 

In 2015, Muhammadu Buhari was contesting for the fourth time, after recording three defeats in a row. He was defeated by Olusegun Obasanjo twice in a row and then by Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who died in office. Goodluck Jonathan was desperately seeking his second and final term. Religion and tribe played major roles in who sided with whom. Muhammadu Buhari emerged victorious by the skin of his teeth. Since then religion and tribe have been on display. Electioneering was lame then. The clever politicians provided it with false crutches to walk on. And so it did. But for God’s mercy, the 2015 general elections would have torn the nation to shreds.

 

Prior to the elections, The Villa, which was built with Nigerian resources, became a Mecca of a sort for some perceived “men of God” and tribal jingoists, who capitalized on the draggled and despicable situation to milk Nigeria dry.

 

Here is Nigeria, with all its troubles, fissures and promises, crawling towards the 2019 general elections that may have no sense of religion or tribe. This is an election that will focus with wide eyes on two titans, albeit with different mentalities, peculiarities and associates, that emanated from the same region and profess the same religion. In short, it will be a tight race between two herders; herders who will lock horns and fight to the finish.

 

President Buhari is the incumbent president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He is a Muslim Fulani man, who hails from Daura, Katsina State – a former military general that ruled for a year and a half and was toppled in General Ibrahim Babangida-led coup de tat.

 

On September 28, 2018, President Buhari contested the All Progressives Congress’ presidential primaries and won unopposed. The primary was unprecedented. Many pass it for tactical steps to test the president’s popularity once again and to draw Nigerians closer to the party.

 

In 2014, Muhammad Buhari picked Professor Yemi Osinbajo, a professor of law, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and a pastor, as his running mate. The reason both Buhari and the party gave for picking the professor was that he is a friend to the less-privileged, humble, loyal and patriotic. And still his running mate Osinbajo remains in the 2019 general elections.

 

President Buhari is aiming for his second term in office; and if he wins this tight race, it will be his last term in office.

 

One of the cardinal manifestoes of the Buhari-led administration is anti-graft war. Buhari may be berated for his slowness, or belonging to a one-man-integrity-party; but his integrity is arguably unquestionable.

 

The leading opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), had been making wider consultations for about three years on whom to trust with its presidential ticket. On Monday September 8, 2018, the former vice president, Atiku Abubakar emerged as its presidential flag-bearer.

 

Atiku Abubakar, a Fulani Muslim from the north-eastern state of Adamawa, is a household name in Nigerian politics since 1993 and an unrepentant political nomad. He was a vice president to Olusegun Obasanjo for eight successive years before they parted ways. In 1993 he was the presidential flag-bearer of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

 

Atiku Abubakar emerged as the People’s Democratic Party’s presidential flag-bearer in what seemed a competitive primary. He defeated about 13 contenders jostling for this highly exalted office. The contenders were Senate President Bukola Saraki, his predecessor, Senator David Mark, former Chairman, PDP National Caretaker Committee, Ahmed Makarfi, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State and former Minister of Special Duties, Taminu Turaki, SAN, the immediate past governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, former Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, former Governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, former Governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, the founder of Baze University, Senator Datti Baba-Ahmed, and Stanley Osifo from Edo State.

 

Armed with restructuring and economic resuscitation, Atiku Abubakar is presumably economically war-chested and a political dogged fighter. In fact, according to many pundits he will be fighting his last and probably the fiercest political battle ever.

 

On Friday October 14, 2018, the People’s Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar picked the former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi as his running mate in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.

 

Born in July 19, 1961, Obi is a graduate of the Lagos Business School and Harvard University, and London School of Economics. He was Vice Chairman Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Chairman, South-East Governors’ Forum and the Governor of Anambra State.

 

Some of the reasons Atiku and the People’s Democratic Party gave for picking Peter Obi is that “Obi is an astute professional who has laid his blueprints across the corporate world…the ticket will be able to steer our nation back on the path of progress, economic prosperity and unity.”

 

To summarise, in both camps, one has a northern Muslim herder alongside a Christian southerner: Atiku Abubakr/Peter Obi versus President Buhari/Yemi Osinbajo. While Atiku is lacing his manifestoes with restructuring, Buhari is brandishing the sword of unrelenting war against corruption.

 

Now it is four months to the polls. The ball is in Nigerians’ court, they either make a decision that will mar this great nation endlessly or do the needful by opting for a decision that will better their lives and that of their children.

 

 

 

 

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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