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Buhari’s biggest hurdles ahead 2019 polls

By Fidelis Mac-Leva on 19/08/2018

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•President Buhari
•President Buhari

With the publication of notice of polls by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) last Friday, and the primaries coming up later this month, the countdown to the 2019 polls may have begun in earnest.

With barely seven months to the 2019 general polls, permutations on their possible outcome have been the subject of discussions among Nigerians, especially political watchers. While the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has signed a pact with other political parties to wrest power from the incumbent, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC is not resting on its oars to retain the presidency.

Although President Buhari has enthused that victory was sure for the APC in the next year’s elections, analysts say he has a different set of challenges to contend with in his re-election bid come 2019. Among the biggest hurdles before Buhari, according to analysts, is the calibre of opponents he would be facing in the presidential race. Prominent among those seeking presidential tickets on the platform of the PDP are a former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, who formally declared his intention recently in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.

At a rally in Yola, Adamawa State, Atiku vowed to unseat the APC government not only in Adamawa State but also at the federal level and reclaim them for the PDP.

According to him, Nigerians were disappointed with the APC-led government as the insecurity situation has worsened. He reportedly said: “In 1998, I took this state to the PDP. Today, I have returned to take what rightly belongs to the PDP.”

Another hurdle that Buhari may face in his re-election bid, according to observers, is the gale of defections that has hit the ruling APC thereby swelling the ranks of the opposition PDP. A parallel is drawn in this regard the defection of five governors of Rivers (Rotimi Amaechi), Kano (Rabiu Kwankwaso), Adamawa (Murtala Nyako), Kwara (Abdulfatah Ahmed) and Sokoto (Magatakarda Wammako) as well as speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, before the 2015 election. It was largely viewed as the crown capping of the intricate political dynamics, calculations, permutations and treacheries that conspired to expose the underbelly of Jonathan’s presidency.

To many, therefore, similar defections experienced under the current dispensation with the Senate President leading the pack of defectors in the National Assembly as well three APC governors of Benue, Kwara and Sokoto states is a threat to the victory of the ruling party in 2019.

Added to this is the factor of voter apathy. Riding on the crest of the change mantra that gave APC victory in 2015, Nigerians invested high expectations in the APC led government in terms of its campaign promises. Some observers, however, believe that many of the electorate may no longer be enthusiastic in casting their votes for either the ruling party or the opposition due to their disillusionment with the political system. This would have an effect on the voting patterns, even in states that are traditionally Buhari support base.

Similarly, states that have experienced security challenges, particularly in the North-Central zone who abandoned the PDP in 2015 because of Buhari’s change promise may no longer go with the ruling party, analysts say. The growing security threats occasioned by the wanton killings and destruction of property in states of Benue, Plateau, Taraba and Kaduna, are cited as some of the major challenges staring the President in the face in his re-election bid in the affected areas. Aside from his promise to deal with corruption, the President promised to secure the lives and property of Nigerians and improve the economy.

But some pundits believe that Buhari’s chances in 2019 are still bright due to several factors that may count in his advantage. For instance, some analysts cite the Buhari factor in relation to recently conducted by-elections into the national assembly. Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, said last week that the victory of the APC in Katsina, Bauchi and Kogi states was an evidence of the popularity of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Although 39 political parties were said to have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to field a single presidential candidate that would unseat President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, some analysts say seeming conflict of interest may undoubtedly pose a serious threat to the actualization of the main objective of the mega-alliance. Also given its antecedents with regards to recriminations that usually dog primaries and conventions, observers are doubtful if a consensus presidential candidate for the PDP-led coalition would work.

Similarly, with the recent confirmation by Presidency that vice president Yemi Osinbajo will run with President Buhari again in 2019, many believe that his support base in the South-West coupled with the ‘Tinubu factor’ would enhance Buhari’s re-election bid in the zone.

Given the hurdles and advantages that characterize his re-election bid, analysts say the battle for the presidency in 2019 will certainly be an interesting one.

•Excerpted from a Daily Trust report

Source News Express

Posted 19/08/2018 09:43:34 AM


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