As the 2019 presidential election draws nearer, the country, as usual, has started witnessing political scheming and calculations from different political groups who desire to take control of the soul of our bleeding nation – Nigeria. The recent political development has pointed out to a fact that if re-alignment of political parties fail to come to pass, as it happened in 2014 that led to the formation of the today’s ruling All Progressives Congress, the race to the highest office in Nigeria will not be a two-horse race. Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter how many horses are deployed into the race, since we have only one office of the president, which will be occupied by one person elected through electioneering process under a political party. Thus, it’s settled Nigeria will only have one elected president at a time no matter the number of individuals or political parties that may wish to govern the nation.
The shape of the 2019 election can easily be predictable except that we cannot say who actually will captain the ship after the next election. It is also charitable to credit the current Nigeria President, General Muhammadu Buhari (retired), who has signified his interest to continue in the position of authority in 2019 and beyond. A major advantage of his earlier decision is that it will quickly silent any other interested individuals from his party. This development will definitely shape the ambition of other individuals within the ruling party who may be interested in giving a shot to the top job in the land. Beyond Buhari’s declarations are the Nigerians whom he will have to deal with. It should be noted here that Buhari has formerly governed the country as a military leader for close to two years and now for the past three years; he is expected to have a very rich knowledge of the political behaviours of his people.
With the transformation of the former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Coalition of National Movement into a full-fledged political party, and the great influence the former number one citizen weigh in our polity, it will be suicidal to ignore the Owu-born former General in Nigeria’s political equation. The new Obasanjo’s party, the African Democratic Congress will definitely pose a challenge to Buhari-led ruling party. But with all sincerity, the challenge will be minimal due to some factors (which is a discourse issue for another time). The best option for the ADC to clinch leadership position at the centre will be the merger of the new “political baby” – ADC with its “step-brother” the Peoples Democratic Party. However, will the ego and pride of the actors involved allow such viable monumental relationship to materialise? Time will tell.
Being the major stakeholders, the race to occupy Aso Rock in 2019 will be majorly determined by Nigeria masses that are yearning for change. Many Nigerians have claimed that the present administration’s promised change was nothing but a charade. This has resulted in another quest for another type of change, it should be noted that no matter the strength of the politicians, with daily education and enlightenment, we Nigerians will determine who governs us. Another angle to this is the collective demand for change in the ages of our leaders, Nigeria’s President Buhari is 75, stricken by constant visit to the United Kingdom on the account of health check, it can be concluded that age probably may not be on his side, though to me, age is just figure, what matters is the ideology, commitment and dedication which have less to do with age.
Even though there are very youthful individuals coming out for the top job, it seems their preparations are not adequate most especially when it involves asking for the power at the centre. To attest to my postulation, a serious contender in an election with less than 10 months should have a political party to champion his cause. It will be more than joker for anyone to jettison party politics for touring around the world when the main voters are in the Nigeria cities and villages. Nevertheless, In all, we should applaud Nigerians who can voice out their opinions and made themselves available to challenge the status-quo.
Obviously, the ability to wrestle power with Buhari’s APC government, rest in the hand of the main opposition party, the PDP. Unlike the Obasanjo’s ADC, PDP has the strength, the coverage and the political structure to put out a great show. Meanwhile, the present situation of the APC is a challenge, the situation that has led to parallel party structures in nearly all the states of the country, I am afraid; we may soon have a new APC who at the slightest provocation can team up with the opposition to pull down their former mansion.
There are arguments about the performance of President Muhammadu Buhari as a President, but in fairness to him and his administration considering the available resources and the rot in the system; it will be unjustified to put the blame of the country on him. As Nigerians continue to see the reason why others are desperate for power, and gaining insight in the achievement of Buhari’ led administration most especially in building institutions and infrastructural development, it will be a herculean task for anyone to successfully put up a challenge that will send Buhari to Daura in 2019. But the race is not over, in fact, it has not started, the next few months will be entertaining and challenging but we must remember that as entertaining it could be, the soul of a nation is involved, our actions and inaction will be weighed.
. Ogunseye writes from the United Kingdom.