Clock is ticking and the year of another political decision is at hand. In less than a year from now, Nigerians would have another opportunity to determine their fate. They would have the privilege of choosing their leaders once again.
While some officials already in power would be asking for tenure renewal, others in the opposition would try all tricks in the books to unseat them. Already, there are political alignments and realignments with some people calling for the formation of a ‘third force’ having concluded that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have failed.
It is obvious that the 2019 general elections would be contentious and volatile. This is because similar scenario of 2015 when the APC, then in the opposition, dethroned the PDP, now in the opposition, abound.
President Muhammadu Buhari then campaigned on the tripod of fighting corruption, fixing the economy and eradicating insurgency. Many political observers are unanimous in their believe that though the ruling party may have succeeded in these areas, there are much to be done for there to be Eureka. Issues still abound in these three areas still abound three years after.
Even though the dreaded Boko Haram had been ‘degraded’, the isolated strikes of the group are devastating. Only recently, when the nation have been made to have a sigh of relieve, the insurgents struck again in Dapchi, Yobe state and carted away over 100 secondary school girls in an operation similar to that carried out by the same group in Chibok, Borno state, in 2014.
Another security challenge has also reared its head in the form of herders/farmers clashes resulting in the untimely death of innocent, defenceless citizens. This has further compounded the challenge of insecurity making it seem as if the country has been reset to the pre-2015 mode.
In the fight against corruption, no one is in doubt about the President’s passion to clean the Augean’s stable. He had demonstrated, more than others before him, his desire for a new, egalitarian Nigeria. He has shown relentless determination to be the nightmare of kleptomaniacs and looters in government. He has recovered looted funds and queried inexplicable wealth of some serving and retired government officials.
But the spate of the war is being generally adjudged slow because democracy, as a system of government, does do allow for fiat but due diligence with the observance of the rule of law. Opponents are latching on this to pooh-pooh his achievements and as such the ruling party would need to be united to showcase the rare accomplishments of this rare, selfless leader.
The APC is perhaps more divided more than its leadership is willing to admit. While its leadership keeps maintaining that there was no division in the party, the President, having realized the fallacy in such claims, empaneled a reconciliatory committee headed by an APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Midway into his assignment, Tinubu raised the alarm that the party’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, was frustrating his efforts in the assignment and wrote to the President requesting for the sack of his National Working Committee (NWC) and the appointment of a care-taker panel that would prosecute the party’s congresses ahead of the 2019 general election.
In what seems to be a counter-coup, governors on the platform of the party, who are obviously longing to take control of the party, gave Oyegun a confidence vote and extended his tenure, alongside his executive members, for an extra year. This was ratified by the party’s National Executive Council (NEC) held last week.
Pundits argue that the extension of Oyegun’s NWC was a direct affront to the party’s mover and reconciliator-in-chief, Tinubu. This, they observe, is the beginning of another bad blood in a party in dire need of internal peace. Now, the question is: how will the differences between Tinubu and Oyegun be resolved?
The Tinubu led reconciliation committee has its hands full of crises in many parts of the country with many party big-wigs at each other’s jugular. Asiwaju will have some jobs to do in Kogi, Kadunna, Rivers, Sokoto, Katsina, Bauchi, Ondo states to mention a few.
The absence of the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki at the party’s Caucus meeting held in the Presidential Villa and at the APC NEC have been interpreted to be an indication of his displeasure with the leadership of the party. Kwara state governor, a protege of the Senate President, was equally absent at the Villa’s caucus meeting.
This followed the rumour that the two APC strong men have commenced discussion with the opposition PDP for possible decampment ahead of 2019.
The ruling party, no doubt, needs to be repositioned for it to be able to prosecute the 2019 elections with a common front. That the party is being rocked with crises at a time its major opposition seems to be getting its rhythm right has become worrisome to people who would want Buhari to continue his mission to salvage the country from retrogression and place it on the path of sustainable development.
The handing of the conflicts of interests in the APC, which has been variously described as an amalgam of strange bedfellows, would determine the success of the party in the forthcoming general elections.