Although it has hoisted a most exciting team in the Atiku/Obi ticket, PDP has learnt nothing – and forgotten nothing – in its nearly four years in the political wilderness.
It is with every sense of restraint, and responsibility, that I have resisted the urge to title this piece “Why Buhari will win again”.
Yes, Buhari will likely win again – and it’ll not be because he has performed so well. In fact, if you asked me, if we removed the propaganda, the intimidation and the blackmail, this government still trails behind the one it replaced, in terms of achievements.
Now, I’m not one of those carried away by the millions of jobs so far created, which only Buharists can see, nor the numerous roads that have been constructed in the imaginations of
Lai Mohammed and Rotimi Amaechi, nor the downgraded capacity of Boko Haram which keeps picking out our soldiers like sitting ducks, nor the seeming unwillingness of the military top brass to end the insurgency (may be because it’s their own oil block), the dizzying deployment and redeployment of police Chiefs in Bayelsa and Rivers States, nor the-more-you-see, the-less-you- understand anti-graft war. Yes, a lot of jobs have resulted from a few policies, but when they begin to count the jobs in millions, they lose me.
However, Buhari has browbeaten all of us enough to concede the ballot to him, even before the first vote is cast.
I just hope I’ve not run my mouth too much! Well, if I have, both my home and my office are a strolling distance from the Kirikiri. They don’t need to come and arrest me. They can just send me word, and I’ll report there myself, and save them the logistics of mobilising policemen and vehicles to effect any arrest.
But that is even assuming too much. With the way people’s eyes have reddened, ahead of this 2019, many in authority could be resorting to self-help, in the name of an unacquiescing president. But I digress.
Yes, I know there might be a few shenanigans in some places like Kano, where we have already permed five million from five million, in sure banker votes, but the re-election of the president would be given the biggest boost by the very party that seeks to unseat him – the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
How do I mean? Although it has hoisted a most exciting team in the Atiku/Obi ticket, PDP has learnt nothing – and forgotten nothing – in its nearly four years in the political wilderness.
While Atiku is no doubt, more nationally accepted than Buhari, Peter Obi is like a rockstar among the youth population. The social media nearly went burst with excitement when he emerged running mate. He’s the type of candidate they’d been waiting for.
But, it would seem, three and a half years after losing the last presidential election, PDP appears determined to make the same mistakes that cost it the polls of 2015. Impunity, absolute lack of consultation and consensus and the winner-takes-all attitude have all returned.
Incidentally, the South East, which has cried the loudest, and unarguably suffered the most neglect under the Buhari administration, is set to contribute most significantly to that re-election of PMB. Don’t ask me if they’ll vote APC.
Here, in the South East, even though the PDP governors (APGA’s Willie Obiano and APC’s Rochas Okorocha are the others) continue to pay lip-service support to the Atiku/ Obi ticket, many of them still feel hurt that they first heard news of the choice of Peter Obi in the news bulletins, like the rest of us lesser mortals. Incidentally, their anger is not that Obi is not the best candidate, but that Atiku could have humoured them a bit by pretending to carry them along, and explaining how the likes of Chukwuma Soludo, Ike Ekweremadu and two or three others were eliminated from the calculus.
They are also angry that the PDP presidential candidate has cleverly avoided going into any discussion with the leaders of the zone over the 2023 Igbo presidency proposal, as well as a few grey areas about the restructuring agenda.
I wouldn’t know how this seething disaffection could translate to votes for Buhari, from a zone that is thoroughly pissed off with the president, but what I know is that it could hurt the PDP.
Isn’t it rather ironic that a zone which, according to PMB, gave him only 5% in 2015 (forget the curious arithmetic of 5% + 97%) when it had no son of the soil on the ballot, is now finding it impossible to effect a total lockdown of its votes now that it has one of its brightest lights and poster-boy ex-Governor on the ballot? The tragedy of a people!
And there is still more anger (and disaffection). Ever since Atiku Abubakar picked the presidential ticket of the party, not much seems to have been done to harness the support (and loyalty) of the other power blocs within the party, especially, some of the presidential aspirants who lost to Atiku, but all of whom freely pledged to work with the newly turbaned Waziri of Adamawa to ensure victory for the come next February.
Many of them (especially, those who refused to decamp from the party and who stayed behind to ensure that Atiku and other returnees and decampees still had a party to return to – after moonlighting with other parties) feel like outsiders in their own party.
One particular party leader feels pained that, at his level, he only learnt of the setting up of the party’s 2019 presidential campaign team on the pages of the newspapers. Another is piqued that he got an SMS invitation to the visit of Atiku to his home state less than 24 hours to the scheduled visit. Another equally couldn’t understand why the invitation to the recent Turbaning of the Waziri, in Adamawa, was sent to him few hours before the event. And yet, another is livid that he was neither invited to the recent strategy meeting in Dubai, nor has anyone deemed it fit to brief him on the outcome, nor how he figures in the entire equation. Yet, he is expected to deliver his state to Atiku.
It is understandable, therefore, why, at a recent party rally in his state, he endorsed every PDP candidate but maintained an ominous silence on endorsing any presidential candidate.
In Kano, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso is also said to be unhappy. Yet, the duo of Kwankwaso and Sule Lamido are expected to help swing the votes in the North West, where Atiku is not nearly as popular as Buhari. In fact, if Atiku pulls off a surprise in Zamfara, it would not be because of anything he may have done, but because of what Buhari failed to do there – protect the people from rampaging killers. The same goes for Kaduna, where Nasir el-Rufai is helping APC snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Meanwhile, I can’t vouch that Gov. Nyesom Wike is not still hurting from the aborted Tambuwal project. He just may revisit his earlier threat to deal with the party. Fayose, in Ekiti, is both angry and embattled.
Add all that to the fact that APC is already seeing Akwa Ibom as a low-hanging fruit, in its bid to get a foothold in the Niger Delta, then you would begin to wonder how the miracle to unseat Buhari would come about.
Painful as it is, Buhari might well be coasting home to victory.
I’m just surprised that he has not built new prisons. Or would that come after the 2019 victory?
I’m beginning to think the next presidential election is for APC to lose.
For the situation now is that not a lot of PDP stalwarts, including those in the National Assembly, are paying any attention to the Atiku campaign. Everyone seems to be busy concentrating on his own local election.
The whisper from the grapevine is that the Atiku team seems to attribute too much importance to his overhyped existing structures across the states, comprised largely of political dinosaurs and a few younger ones who are, at best, political paperweights in the contemporary political equation.
The politics of exclusion (and lone ranger) which inevitably compels party men to resort to anti-party activities is back on the front burner. If you doubt me, as those in the know how PDP lost Imo in 2015.