This year will usher in a barrage of political activities that will shape up electoral contests in 2014 and 2015. Major events in the preceeding year will also hit a high tempo this year; CHIDI OBINECHE and NDUBUISI ORJI in this preview set the tone.
The major events that will define the politics of the year include:
Emergence of a new BoT chairman of the PDP
All things being equa,l a new chairman for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) Board of Trustees (BoT)will emerge on January 8 or any other time in the new year. Once a BoT chairman emerges, the race for the 2015 presidential ticket of the party will begin in earnest. Although by the party’s constitution, the BoT is a mere advisory organ of the party, its chairman has always wielded influence in the affairs of the party.
Merger of major opposition parties
The planned merger of three major opposition political parties in the country is expected to come to fruition in the course of the year. The leadership of the parties, Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN),All Nigeria Peoples Party(ANPP), Congress for Progressive Change(CPC) has repeatedly said that the new party will come on stream in 2013.
A chieftain of ANPP and former governor of Yobe state, Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim told journalists recently in Abuja that after a series of negotiations, the opposition parties have resolved to form the new party sometime in March 2013.
“Before March 2013, we are all going to reach an accord on this merger, that is the deadline for the merger materialising. From all indications, the parties are looking forward to forming a totally new party where all the opposition parties will come together as one entity,” Ibrahim, who is a member of the ANPP’s contact committee on opposition merger talks stated. If the merger arrangement succeeds, the three parties will lose their individual identities. The proposed party which is intended to wrestle power from the PDP at the centre will greatly alter the political configuration of the country.
Deregistration of more political parties or the reversal
The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) is either going to deregister more political parties in 2013 or reverse the deregistration of 31 political parties which was done last December. However, this will be dependent on the outcome of litigations challenging the electoral power to deregister parties. If the courts rule in favour of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, then, the electoral body might go ahead with the deregistration of twenty one other political parties that did not win any election in the 2011 general election.
Going by that, only about 12 parties will be in existence by the end of next year. The parties are the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN), All Nigeria Peoples Party(ANPP), All Progressive Grand Alliance(APGA Labour Party(LP), Congress for Progressive Change(CPC),Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Peoples Party of Nigeria(PPN),), Accord Party(AP), Democratic Peoples Party(DPP), KOWA Party, the newly registered United Progressive Party(UPP) and any other party that might be registered in the course of the year. But if on the other hand, the Courts rule against INEC, the deregistration of the 31 parties will be reversed , while new parties are likely to be registered preparatory to the 2015 polls.
The ongoing review of the 1999 constitution will be completed in the third quarter of 2013, going by assurances by the leadership of the National Assembly. According to the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, “as I pointed out sometime in June this year, our target is to ensure that we conclude this work by the third quarter of 2013. That should be in July so that it is steered clear of the politics of 2015 general election.”
He added that “collation of inputs ended in the last quarter of 2012 to enable us submit our report to the Senate by March 2013. It is hoped that debates will have commenced by April 2013”.
The constitution may likely lead to the creation of about eight more states to bring parity to the number of states in each of the eight geo-political zones or at least a state in the South east to address the zone’s demand for equity in Nigeria. The constitution may also address other issues like Local government autonomy, role for traditional rulers amongst other pertinent national issues.
As preparation for the 2015 general election begins to heighten in the new year, the feud between President Goodluck Jonathan and former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo will either deepen or thaw.
Anambra governorship election
The Anambra governorship election will hold at least in the last quarter of 2013.The governor of the state, Mr Peter Obi will complete his second term on March 10, 2014. Being the only governorship election likely to take place this year, all eyes will be on the state, as all the major political parties will be engaged in the epic battle for the political soul of the state. The ruling APGA in the state will be seeking to retain the state, while the PDP will be seeking to regain the state. The PDP lost in 2006 when the Appeal Court, Enugu division upheld the ruling of the Anambra State governorship Election Tribunal that nullified the election of Senator Chris Ngige as governor of the state.
The preference of Governor Obi to have the next governor come from the Anambra North will also heighten the tension in the state. So far, about twenty governorship aspirants across the various political parties are angling to succeed Obi.
Campaigns for 2015 general election
Politicians interested in contesting the 2015 general election either at the federal or state levels would start declaring intentions in the new year.
Also, the court case on whether or not President Jonathan is qualified to re-contest the presidency in 2015 will be determined in 2013.Irrespective of what the judgement of the courts are on the matter, the tempo for the presidential campaigns will pick up.
If the courts bars the President from re-contesting, the search for a success will begin in earnest. Just as all those interested in contesting the position will begin to declare their intentions. Even if the courts rule that Jonathan can re-contest, the campaign for 2015 presidential election will still begin.
Although the President has said he would declare his stance on his second term in 2014, his foot soldiers would become more vociferous in pushing for a second term for him.
By and large, in 2013 there would be a deluge of rash endorsements for politicians seeking to contest the 2015 general elections.
The simmering state of insecurity in Nigeria which has been adjudged as political may escalate or thaw in the new year. If it escalates, states in the 3 geopolitical zones in the North, especially the NorthEast will either descend deeper into political oblivion or re-emerge stronger and better politically.
2013 is the midterm for most of the governors in the area, and it will post significant impact in their calculations.