By March 28th 2016, it will be one year since a major event changed Nigeria’s political landscape forever. An incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan was voted out of office by fifteen million Nigerians, roughly 20% of Nigeria’s voting population; the other thirteen million tried their best to retain Jonathan but were unsuccessful. About 35% of Nigeria’s voting population participated in the 2015 Presidential elections where Muhammadu Buhari emerged victorious.
|President Muhammadu Buhari - Aso rock|
As Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari prepares to mark his first year in office, Nigeria under his leadership has witnessed a nose-dive on all fronts, economically, socially, politically, security, you name it. In science fiction movies, the concept of Time travelling has always fascinated many, including Einstein. So, let’s say a Time traveler from Nigeria in 1984 teleports himself to Nigeria of 2016, his likely reaction would be, “I think my Time machine is faulty, I’m still in 1984.”
President Buhari’s first year in office has been marred by all things distasteful, even though his ever decreasing Army of supporters and sycophants remain disagreeable yet optimistic that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. It will take more months of suffering before these die hard supporters realize that there may not be light at the end any ‘Buhari tunnel’. In 1984, as a much younger and vibrant military Head of State, Buhari’s tunnel led Nigeria nowhere, it was darkness all over; how much more now in his golden years with no visible added intellectual capacity since he was toppled in 1985. ‘Where de light wan come from?’
Nigeria’s deteriorating economic situation has led to intense buyers remorse by lots of Buhari voters that flew with the APC’s CHANGE mantra-many are too ashamed to admit it. But with unending fuel shortages, perennial electricity blackouts and crumbling foreign exchange, even the most loyal Buhari fan must be very worried.
Elections in Nigeria have once again become a bloodbath, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under Buhari’s administration has failed woefully in its conduct of several election reruns. The concept of Free, Fair and Credible elections have gone to the dogs. The ruling APC, in most of these elections have behaved like deadly spoilt children with a sense of entitlement on Nigeria’s Electoral process. The opposition PDP has emerged victorious in most of these rerun elections and has lost a number of members and agents to electoral violence that ensued.
Nigeria’s next general election is in 2019 and as the economy falters, the ruling APC has subtly began politicking towards Buhari’s re-election in 2019. Interestingly, within the APC fold, right inside President Buhari’s North-west power base, some disaffection seems to be brewing. Recently, supporters of former Kano state Governor Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso were reported to have gate-crashed an APC event demanding that their principal replaces Buhari in 2019. The Governor of Kaduna state, Mallam Nasir Elrufai was recently accused of plotting to replace Buhari in 2019, his accuser is known political rival but fellow APC member Senator Shehu Sanni. APC Grandmasters like Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar have remained very calm observers, yet engaged with each other in a quiet battle for the soul of APC via BOT chairmanship. However, the APC leadership has attempted to put its feet down by recently proclaiming that as it concerns 2019, “There is no vacancy Aso rock,” thereby affirming its support for a likely Buhari second-term bid.
As for devastated Nigerians, those sleeping in Petrol stations, recently laid off workers, entrepreneurs folding up their businesses and many others, a vacancy for Aso rock has already opened up in their minds. Their Nigerian spirit encourages them to ‘hang in there till 2019’ and if things don’t improve by then, we will send Baba packing. For other observers that have witnessed recent electoral violence allegedly instigated by a losing APC side in Bayelsa and Rivers rerun elections, voting out an incompetent Buhari in 2019 will not be a piece of cake, blood will most likely be spilled. Perhaps it is better (and safer) that we pray for Nigeria’s economy to improve under Buhari before 2019, so that he can ‘jejely’ win his second term and save us from a real life manifestation of Dogs and Baboons being soaked in blood on a national scale.
As for the opposition PDP, one can only hope they build on momentum gained from recent electoral victories while institutionalizing internal democracy on all party organs. If this is done, the PDP might as well become Nigeria’s only hope and source of democratic refuge through the uncertain and rather scary situation we find ourselves in right now. As for APC’s “No vacancy in Aso rock” proclamation, only the Nigerian people have the sole power to determine whether a vacancy exists in Aso rock or not, after assessing their President’s performance record. Based on current assessment of President Buhari’s performance by impoverished and recently-impoverished Nigerians, their verdict seems to be, “VACANCY: Qualified Nation Builder Needed As President In 2019 - QUALIFICATION: Anything except NEPA Bill.”
“PS: We Will Change Our Mind If Nigeria Improves By 2018.”