Pursuant to Section 135(2)(a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, President Muhammadu Buhari would alongside some state governors complete their four-year term on May 29, 2019, paving way for the inauguration of new administrations as would be determined and returned by the electorate and returning officers, respectively, in the forthcoming general election. By the resolve of the umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to improve, as observed in the just-concluded Anambra State governorship election, with no sign of interference from the powers that be as before, convincingly, votes of the electorate would count in determining who mounts the podium as next President and other leadership positions.
As a result, politicking is gathering momentum in diverse dimensions and quarters with many defections, scheming and political-arithmetic by ambitious politicians. For some in their defenses, especially for habitual defectors, it was lack of internal democracy in their political party, for some others, monumental failure of their party to meet the aspirations of the masses. And for new entrants, audacious claims on rescue mission over the economy writing off the ruling class with endless commissions and omissions. Finally, for the ruling party, consolidation of laboured ground-breaking policies becomes the new mantra. Of course, this is politics in action, as long as campaigns are issues-based, devoid of personal attacks and acrimony. Nonetheless, in the civilized world, defection from party to party is rare, unethical and usually decodes a picture of no political ideology, values and integrity.
By the development, the battle for control of federal power in the next political dispensation will be relentlessly contested between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the erstwhile ruling party, Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) except a new merger surfaces, which is unlikely at this juncture. Presently, APC has the upper hand, and undeniably with viable structures, increasing numerically on a daily basis, leveraging on defections from other political parties particularly its major opponent. On the other hand, few that are insecure and uncertain of actualizing personal ambitions in the ruling party opt for exodus. However, the grumblings devoid of appeasements aim at just one goal, to strategically emerge a candidate in any political party in view of the general election, and peradventure the new political party fails to expressly honour the ambition, it speedily faces its abandonment with a new catalogue of accusations and criticisms.
Be that as it may, salient factors that may play major roles in the 2019 presidential election include rotation of the presidency, which is of utmost national interest despite its no provision in the Constitution. By the apparent marginalization of the South-East geopolitical zone, especially the run-of-the-mill lamentation to also produce a President of the country like others, calculatedly, the Igbo queuing en masse behind President Buhari’s reelection bid in 2019 to complete the remaining term could actualize their dream quicker after his second tenure in 2023, and closer than any other candidate from the North that, all things being equal, will round off in 2027 as experience has shown that politicians, particularly in third-world nations, do not respect gentleman’s agreement, especially to relinquish political power voluntarily. Hence, any promise to run for only a single term is nothing but abracadabra, or a good piece for kids in the tales by moonlight. Arising from this, this may not be a good time for hate speeches along ethnic lines but to ponder meticulously, responsibly and foresightedly before adopting a presidential candidate.
The most salient factor is the position of the economy under the APC’s leadership in comparison with the PDP’s previous governments, x-raying from its position during the inauguration in 2015. Without a doubt, the economy has not substantially ascended to the anticipated position in terms of dividends of democracy but, evidently, it is pointing in that direction by a whole lot of strategic policies, starting with plummeting the massive corruption the economy was fantastically subjected to over the years, which led to economic recession. With President Buhari’s proficiency in maneuvering the almost-collapsed economy out of recession, it attests that the President has the wherewithal to move it to the next level, if given another chance. It, therefore, implies that Nigerians cannot afford to enthrone political instability at this critical time. The present administration indisputably took off at almost zero level, except long-lists of mismanaged, diverted public-funds in ear-splitting figures in foreign currencies, thus deserved adequate time to consolidate on its policies for dividends of democracy, in line with its manifesto.
Arising from the above and in the overall interest of the nation, concerted actions should be geared towards consolidating the developing policies in place alongside deploying additional capable hands by the federal government in its workforce. If not, the economy will inescapably recycle to square one by changing government alongside policies haphazardly. Nonetheless, if PDP has the capability, know-how and substantial message to convince and successfully wrest back federal power from the ruling APC, knowing that the electorate can without aid produce a realistic profile and the party’s philosophies through its 16 years in office, it is no taboo, as long as it is by PVC (permanent voters card) and, essentially, one-man one-vote. Democracy is a game of numbers.
•Umegboro, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Lagos and could be reached through [email protected] (07057101974, SMS only)