Nigeria’s 2019 General elections are less than a year away, and the candidates are emerging. For the Presidential race, there is no doubt that incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari currently runs the show and holds the ace, unfortunately. The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has never hidden its lust for power and its ability to be callous in attaining and retaining Power no matter the consequences. This has been evident in the APC’s style of governance at all levels; even its own internal administration has not been spared. As an opposition party pre-2015, the APC and its members were a vocal lot, they made allegations, threats and utterances against former President Jonathan, acts that could have thrown Nigeria into flames but for the gentle nature of Jonathan. Today, APC is in Power, and have still not given up their old methods.
|Muhammadu Buhari Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo|
It is no longer news that the Nigerian Presidency under Muhammadu Buhari has been a complete failure; under normal circumstances voting him out in 2019 should be a no-brainer, it should be the easiest job for Nigerians since Buhari’s failures are there for all to see. But, it isn’t. Truth is, President Buhari has become a formidable Presidential candidate in spite of the ridiculous failures his government has recorded. Reasons why Buhari’s 2019 prospects remain high can be traced to a. Poor quality opposition and b. Pride, Ego and Arrogance of many erstwhile Buhari supporters, too ashamed to admit that he was never a Messiah. Then we also have the rise of sinister ‘Third party’ advocates that are either consciously or sub-consciously trying to institutionalize voters’ apathy by pushing forward a RED CARD agenda.
This so-called Red card movement is calling on Nigerians to boycott the two major political parties PDP and APC; this movement has neither proposed any alternatives nor proffered real solutions. Some schools of thought believe these Red-carders are covert political mercenaries encouraging Voter’s apathy in order to give the incumbent President Buhari an undue advantage.
The main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has done well thus far in picking up the pieces after losing its 16year grip on Power and surviving a major Chairmanship tussle. But many admirers of the PDP are not satisfied with the quality of opposition it has given to Buhari - they want more fire. Many want PDP to delve into the very dangerous form of opposition that the APC imposed on former President Goodluck Jonathan. While it is true that in order to get rid of Buhari in 2019, the PDP needs to put in place a well thought out strategy, extreme caution must be taken. Former President Jonathan’s core support base was in a way more enlightened and could stomach the conventional and unconventional APC-inspired criticisms which came their principals’ way. Buhari’s core support base in the deep North is a direct opposite, religion is also a factor and the tendency to resort to violence is high.
Defeating Buhari and APC can only be achieved if the PDP and all other opposition parties, including all lovers of democracy come together and rally round one major Presidential candidate in 2019. This candidate must be a unifier, someone that is not coming with in-built grudges, vengeance and hatred for any part of Nigeria. Our ideal 2019 candidate must be a wealth creator, not one whose sole aim is how to share Nigeria’s Oil revenue. Corruption must be fought with institutions and modern technology, this, our ideal candidate should know. On our part as Electorates, we must drown the voices of imposters and for-hire intellectuals waving their Red cards and distracting us.
Nigeria has about seventy political parties but the reality on ground shows that only PDP and APC have the nationwide structures and financial capabilities needed to bid for Nigeria’s Presidency. What this means is that (for now) the only party that has a realistic chance of overthrowing APC in 2019 is the PDP. Still, the PDP cannot do it alone; a consortium of genuine Democratic forces need to align. We must call out fraudulent intellectuals in our mist pretending to be fencists but subtly trying to sustain the Buhari status-quo. We must brush off certain young Clowns that are presenting themselves as Presidential candidates all in a bid hoodwink young voters and lead them right back to Buhari.
It is difficult to believe that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under an APC government will have the integrity to organize free and fair elections in 2019, but we must keep the faith. As we continue to encourage Nigerians of voting age to collect their Permanent Voters Cards, we must also prepare ourselves to defend our votes with sweat and blood, if situation demands it.