Though till date, no one has come out to officially signify any intention to run for presidency in the 2015 elections, calculations, alignments and realignments are already going on among would be candidates and their supporters.
While the gladiators are getting set to enter the political arena and slug it out, there are some factors likely to affect the process that will determine who will be sworn in as the President of Nigeria on May, 29, 2015. The factors include:
The North’s Quest For Power!
It is obvious that politically conscious elements from the Northern region of the country want power to shift to the region again. After Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s 8 years, the presidency returned to the North. It was however not for long as Umar Yar’Adua who succeeded Obasanjo died just before his third year in office. Power thus shifted to the South South.
Findings have revealed that meetings are already being held with the aim of producing a consensus presidential candidate who will be able to stand against the incumbent.
One of the things that may however militate against the peaceful emergence of a consensus candidate is the number of serving Governors already believed to be interested in joining the race. The Chief Executives of Niger and Jigawa States have already been tipped as preferred choices while many more Northern Governors may still signify intentions to run. Bad blood might eventually be generated with the eventual emergence.
Single Term Agreement? How Much Does It Matter?
The Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum,Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu recently alleged that before his election, Dr Goodluck Jonathan had a single term agreement with the Governors. Not only has the allegation raised some dust, it has also pointed to the fact that all is not well within the camp of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Though the matter has been described as a non-issue by some members of the party, some of who have pointed out that such agreements can never be relied on politically. One of the examples given was that when Chief Obasanjo was “empowered” for the presidential race in 1999 by Generals T.Y Danjuma, Ibrahim Babangida, Aliyu Gusau and Abdulsalami Abubakar, the pact Obasanjo had with them was that he would serve for just one year. After the assumption of office however, Obasanjo reneged on the agreement, served two full terms and even attempted to get a third.
Some people who are seeing things differently have opined that the President’s honour could be put to the test especially if any document regarding such agreement could be tendered by those behind the allegation.
The PDP’s Internal Crisis
With a PDP Governor openly confronting the President on the 2015 race, it is crystal clear that the ruling party’s house is not in good order. Apart from Governor Babangida Aliyu who spoke of a single term agreement between the Governors and the President, it is an open secret that the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Rotimi Amaechi has fallen out of favour with the President, hence the formation of the PDP Governors’ Forum to cut down his influence. Incidentally, Amaechi is not alone, campaign posters and branded vehicles bearing his picture as running mate of Governor Sule Lamido of Adamawa State for the presidential election in 2015 have already been seen in a number of places in the north. In other words, Lamido is already being seen by the President’s supporters as an opponent.
The Senate President, David Mark too is believed to have his eyes on the presidency, having been in the Senate for more than 14 years. Pressure is being put on him to run is some quarters, especially those who want power for the Middle Belt.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur too is not having an easy time with the Governors who are clamouring for his resignation. Most of them shunned the programmes that marked the second anniversary of his election as Chairman recently, thus leading to the belief that apart from all not being well with the party, it might be heading towards an implosion.
Where The Igbos Stand
Apart from Gen JTU Aguiyi-Ironsi who was the Head of State from January to July 1966, no other Igbo man has ever ruled Nigeria. While some have pledged support for the President’s re-election, Orji Uzor Kalu seems to be alone in the call for an Igbo President in 2015.
Chief Arthur Eze who has assumed the position of the spokesman for the zone has pledged support for President Jonathan’s second term. He chose to base his argument on the premise that four years is too short to finish the job the President has at hand. “Obasanjo took eight years, we are calling on you to take another four years as one term is too short to finish the job you have at hand. You can consider giving power to the North after eight years so that they will return it to the South East after their own eight years”, Eze told the President at a function recently.
The Obasanjo Factor
Though Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is no longer the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the ruling PDP, he still commands a reasonable amount of influence within the party. One thing many know about Obasanjo is that he is not a man who gives up without a good fight, so when he tendered his resignation letter as BoT Chairman, most members knew something would come up.
Analysts have opined that some of the former President’s loyalists who were shown the way out of the BoT and other positions in the PDP might soon find their way back to their former positions. One of them is the former National Secretary of the party, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola
That all is not well between OBJ and President Jonathan is an open secret and it is also public knowledge that some Governors appear to have taken sides, especially with their insistence that terms for peace include the reinstatement of Prince Oyinlola and some other members of the BoT of the party.
If the sacked members are reinstated, there will be trouble for the President’s camp, if they are not, there will still be trouble. Obasanjo knows when and where in the political game to pull the relevant cards.
The Return of Atiku Abubakar!
There are indications that former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is considering another shot at the presidential race. Street Journal’s investigations revealed that Turakin Adamawa is already reviving his political structure, though it remains unclear whether he will make do with the Peoples Democratic Movement (the structure he inherited from the late General Shehu Yar’Adua).Incidentally, a good number of PDM members supported Goodluck Jonathan against the former VP in 2011. So, if things are to go his way, Atiku might need to work extra hard on strengthening his structure.
Corruption: As It Was In The Beginning…
The sincerity or otherwise of the government in pursuing its much publicised war against corruption has caused divided opinions.
Much of the money spent by the government has not translated into development and that is the situation in almost every sector of the economy. The expended funds are not in any way commensurate with the recorded development in most of the sectors while public officers’ accounts continue to be laced with filthy lucre.
One of the things many believe will affect the fortune of the President and his party, if he emerges as the candidate for the 2015 polls is the recent pardon granted to the former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief DSP Alamieyesegha.
The move has been variously described as a show of insincerity as far as the corruption war is concerned.
The Grand Merger
Having realized that regional parties cannot successfully give the ruling party a very good run, the opposition parties have resolved to come together to form a grand alliance. The merger as good as it seems is however not without its own shortcomings. The war against the alliance has already started with another party approaching the Independent National Electoral Commission to register it and recognize its acronym A.P.C which is the same one the All Progressives Congress intends to use.
Apart from the INEC hurdle, another topic for discussion within Nigeria’s political circles is whether the alliance will eventually work or not. Findings have shown that all the merging parties are coming together with different programmes, ideologies and leadership styles. For instance, while some believe in shadow elections before the emergence of candidates, some others simply pick candidates using other measures other than primary elections.
There are fears that the alliance might be hijacked by elements from certain parties while the infiltration of its ranks by agents sent to cause confusion from other parties cannot also be ruled out.
While the APC alliance presents itself as a good substitute, fears are being exercised that the party’s programmes are yet unknown and as it stands, its aim is getting the present ruling party out of power.
One factor that will also determine the fortune of the APC is its flag bearer and how he will emerge. If greed and selfish interests are not controlled, the alliance might break before the emergence of the candidate. General Muhammadu Buhari has not stated that he will not run again in 2015 and that is one of the things that will determine the way things will go.
Though many of his moves have come under heavy criticism, those with discerning minds have opined that the President and his advisers are looking at the long run effect of such moves. The President seems to have a good knowledge of how to placate any aggrieved group of people at any given time.
The state pardon granted to the former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief DSP Alamieyesegha generated hues and cries, the many supporters of “Alams, the Governor General of the Ijaw Nation” see nothing wrong with it. The move is expected to win the President more support especially in places where the pardoned Ijaw leader commands enormous respect in the grassroots.
And now, a sizable percentage of Northerners are hailing the President’s move towards granting pardon to the Boko Haram insurgents. Though some people have faulted the move, if eventually it happens and the terrorists get pardoned and rehabilitated, the President may earn himself a place in the good books of many people up north ahead of the 2015 polls.