The APC seems not to leave anything to chance as it is now battle-ready for the 2019 elections, commonly tagged “the greatest battle of the century”.
As the political activities geared towards the 2019 general election appear to be gathering momentum and currently at fever pitch, political parties and their gladiators are already perfecting their strategies aimed at capturing power both at the national and state levels. The ruling APC party is currently basking in the euphoria of their recent electoral successes in the gubernatorial elections which were held in Edo, Ondo, and their stunning win in Ekiti State where the party dramatically snatched victory from the ruling PDP in what was considered a great electoral upset. The party also recorded similar feats in the recently concluded senatorial by-elections in Bauchi, Katsina and Kogi States.
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However, the APC seems not to leave anything to chance in spite of these electoral successes as it is now battle-ready for the 2019 elections, commonly tagged “the greatest battle of the century”. On the other hand, the opposition coalition party led by the PDP is already sharpening up its political weaponry aimed at dislodging the ruling APC from the Federal Government led by President Buhari come February 2019.
The electioneering campaigns in Nigeria had always been characterized by intrigues, blackmails, horse trading and empty promises by these conscienceless political actors who often hoodwink the poor and hapless voters to give them their mandate.
The APC captured power in 2015 on the mantra of change from the so-called corrupt and inept PDP Federal Government led by former President Goodluck Jonathan. Three and half years after, the Nigerian masses are now in a strong position to judge if they are better off with the present Federal Government led by the “incorruptible” President Buhari otherwise known as “Mr. Clean”. Indeed, Nigerians are better judges for themselves and as such do not need any soothsayer to guide them as they prepare once again to take their destiny into their own hands. There is the common adage that says “a woman who had married two different husbands in her life time is certainly in a position to know who among the two is better.”
It is needless to emphasize the point that the poverty level in the country today had risen to such astronomical and intolerable proportion as was recently reported by the United Nations (UN) Poverty Index recently indicated that Nigeria had overtaken India as the poorest nation in the world.
It is regrettable to observe, however, that the prevailing level of general insecurity in the country is rather alarming with the attendant consequences of loss of hundreds of human lives almost on a daily basis as a result of the criminal activities by the notorious Boko Haram terrorist groups and more recently the deadly Fulani terrorists masquerading as herdsmen.
The Nigerian masses will soon be presented with two hard choices between continuing with the present inept and visionless APC Federal Government or vote into power another political party in the forthcoming general election. It seems, however, that the only viable option open to the Nigerian masses in their present predicament is to elect the coalition party led by the supposedly reformed PDP which presumably had learnt its bitter lessons after its electoral debacle in 2015. The current political tsunami sweeping across the political spectrum through massive defections by the so-called political heavy weight appears to have given the rejuvenated PDP political leverage and also repositioned her for a stiff and memorable contest with the APC in the forthcoming polls. Should the greatly reformed PDP put its acts together and forge a common front by organizing free, fair, credible and transparent primaries at all levels especially at the national convention of the party where its Presidential candidate will emerge, then the pendulum of huge electoral success will surely swing in favour of the party during the elections.
However, the PDP at the moment has a herculean task of managing the crowd of eminently qualified presidential aspirants which number at the last count had risen to about fourteen presidential hopefuls and each of them nursing the ambition to clinch the party’s ticket.
The present zoning arrangement of the PDP appears to favour the North and which accounted for most of the presidential aspirants coming from that zone. Political expediency however demands that the party’s flag bearer should come from the North in view of the fact that a strong and popular candidate from that zone is needed to match and possibly defeat the incumbent President Buhari who himself is also from the North. It is most likely therefore that the PDP will beam its searchlight for her presidential candidate within the North West zone consisting of seven states and with the highest voter turnout which is obviously a deciding factor in any presidential election in the country. The incumbent President Buhari is also from the zone which will certainly make the contest highly competitive as both the APC and PDP are expected to share the massive votes from that zone in the presidential election.
The zoning arrangement within the PDP appears to place the South East geopolitical zone at a serious disadvantage in the current power equation in the country as the PDP was reportedly considering zoning the office of the Vice President or running mate to the Presidential candidate to the South West geopolitical zone ostensibly to counter the enormous influence and popularity of the incumbent Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who is also from the zone. This is certainly a political master stroke on the part of the PDP if one should recall that it was the South West region that indeed gave President Buhari the ultimate victory in the 2015 elections.
Suffice to say that the people of South East would forcefully argue that the Vice Presidential slot should be ceded to them in order to balance the political equation and also serve as a reward for their steadfast and massive support to the PDP over the years.
Nevertheless, in political parlance it is often said that politics is a game of numbers and this statement of fact obviously favours the South West who had the fortune of always playing the unique role of deciding a winner in any Presidential election which they perfectly executed in favour of President Buhari during the 2015 presidential election. Again, it would amount to sheer foolhardiness and political suicide for any party to ignore the obvious fact that since Vice President Osinbajo comes from the South West zone, it is most likely that the people of that zone would vote en mass for Osinbajo’s party rather than vote for any other party that denied them the Vice Presidential slot.
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The possible scenario whereby the PDP eventually zones the Vice Presidential ticket to the South West will invariably give the party a huge electoral advantage and leverage which will definitely translate into tremendous electoral success in the election. In other words, the voters within the zone will be presented with two choices thereby placing them in rather difficult situation that could eventually result in the splitting of votes between the APC and PDP Presidential candidates.
Akabogu writes from Enugwu-Ukwu, Anambra State