If Atiku Abubakar is elected Nigeria’s President next year, he’ll be the 2nd oldest holder of the office at the young age of 72. President Buhari was 73 when he entered office marking a marginal difference. There’s not really a problem per se with Atiku’s age as all the evidence before us suggests he is in better shape than Buhari was at the same time. He’s also given the impression of being more intellectually active which should minimize the chances of the first six months of his administration running on “body language”. The other parallel with Buhari is the pay off of a long term ambition. Atiku’s unpopularity in the past cannot be understated. While Buhari had a fanatical following, Atiku’s cross carpeting meant he’d never really been able to sustain his platform. He came 3rd in the 2007 elections and the APC’s 2014 Primaries despite being the highest spender in that election. He also came 2nd in PDP’s 2011 primaries losing to President Jonathan. That he has been able to overcome the odds before him to earn his best chance at the office he’s sought since 1993 is testament to the President’s unpopularity. Essentially, just as Jonathan’s misgovernance made Buhari palatable, Buhari has done the same to Atiku.
The age factor should not be an issue if we go by Atiku’s promise to do one term. On paper, Atiku is probably the strongest candidate in the race. Going by his big business credentials, he has the resources to make the tough decisions needed for optimal economic growth. His views on the NNPC and restructuring are also well known. The problem, however lies in holding him to his word. One of Buhari’s shortcomings has been in the failed promises. Why would Atiku be different?
APC’s campaign would be anchored around Atiku’s perceived corruption while Atiku and the PDP’s will focus on the economic militancy of the government of the day. The problem with the focus on corruption is that while the Buhari administration has weaponized the EFCC and can boast of fleeting successes, the patronage system around the President’s inner circle isn’t exactly a secret and ultimately, does not reflect well on him. Expect to hear a lot about Atiku’s American issues in the coming months. The state of the current Nigerian polity means that Nigerians are willing to turn a blind eye to the corrupt excesses of the government of the day, if they can deliver economic growth. For Atiku to succeed, he has to earn our trust. For someone who has spent the last couple of years essentially pandering, this won’t be an easy task.
Mr. Tinubu’s influence has been on the wane since 2015. He sought the Vice Presidency as a reward for his support of President Buhari but was met with opposition on the basis that a Muslim-Muslim ticket was a non starter. He was allowed the indulgence of nominating the eventual Vice President and the vague but important sounding role of APC National Leader. In Buhari’s first term, it became glaring that his influence was overstated. He sought to influence the run of play in neighboring South West states like Ondo and Ogun and saw his lackeys chased out of town. As if that was not enough, he was given the fool’s errand of reuniting the party this year and failed to record any success of note. He essentially used it as a platform to kick the former APC National Chairman, John Odigie- Oyegun out. He assisted the bumbling Adams Oshiomhole who has largely done his bidding. The suspicious victory in Osun saved his face. The manner in which he oversaw the overthrow of the current Lagos state Governor for a candidate of his choice highlights his overbearing influence on the state. His comeuppance is surely nigh but for a man who’d essentially been relegated to local champion status, he’s had a decent couple of weeks.
From unknown to candidate of the ruling party in the country’s economic capital. It’s the stuff of dreams.
It took a hot while but there’s a credible opposition party in town. The purported deal between the candidates to respect the Primary results should bode well and see a strong consolidation effort similar to the Coalition of the Disgruntled that oversaw Buhari’s victory. Also helps that they’ve pragmatically backed the best candidate. The party which boasted of ruling Nigeria for 50 years might just be back.
Nyesom Wike and Udom Emmanuel
As the Governors of two of the PDP’s crown jewels, the duo’s combined efforts have put life back in the party. The failure to secure victory for their preferred candidate notwithstanding, succeeding at what’s largely been a thankless task should give them the fuel in the tank needed for the journey ahead. Seeing erstwhile friends and godfathers off in Rotimi Amaechi and Godswill Akpabio will be an added bonus.
Oil Big Boys turned Politicians
Dapo Abiodun and Tonye Cole are seeking to channel their extensive experience in the private sector into political wins. In Mr. Abiodun’s case, getting the ticket in spite of Governor Amosun’s contrary plans speaks to some form of political nous. Mr. Cole is backed by Rotimi Amaechi as he seeks to carry out the unenviable task of unseating Nyesom “Mr. Projects” Wike.
The greatest indicator of Mr. Ambode’s diminished stock was that by the end of his ordeal, a man who’d shown himself to be of the pettiest and most vindictive variation was universally pitied. And that was even after last week’s attempt at display of strength. The greatest indictment of his term as Governor is that it’ll ultimately go down as one of the more forgettable tenures in the state’s history.
“Comrade” Adams Oshiomhole
Documented as meddling in the State primaries. The Freudian slip made with reference to the Osun state elections was telling. Has a tough job keeping the APC in power and seems to have done nothing but compromise himself and those chances.
He essentially sold the South West out when the PDP Chairmanship was zoned to it in favor of his bid for the VP slot. The rumors that the slot could end up with the South East don’t look good for him.
For someone who’s done a good job hiding from the Nigerian press, there’s no chance President Buhari agrees to a TV debate. There’s no chance Atiku agrees to debating the Vice President, instead. And that’s going to be that.
Good riddance to Ben Murray Bruce and his obnoxious brand of “common sense” politics.
Equality/ Representative Politics
Nigerian politics is not as yet ideologically matured to evolve naturally. Some ‘guidance’ is required. Predominantly male delegates will ordinarily not vote a woman unless they’re ‘guided’ to reach that decision. 2019 is not looking good for women in politics.
— Sam Hart (@hartng) October 5, 2018
Buhari’s spokesman was essentially absorbed from Atiku’s campaign office to assist the party after the 2014 primaries. Mr. Shehu served Atiku as spokesman on and off from 2003 to 2014. He’s largely tried to avoid any conflict with his ex boss but things could get a little spicy.