Alliances, Agitations Threaten Buhari


With political calculations already underway, CHAMBERLAIN ODEY reports that, like the proverbial one-legged cricket setting forth before its folks, alignment of opposition alliances are also well afoot, with a huge propensity to close in on, and threaten the APC-led Government of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019

Perhaps inadvertently, the Presidency blew the whistle to confirm that it is already business time for 2019. In an unnecessary and idle reaction to a well-earned and well-thought-out criticism that “Buhari will stand alone in 2019”, some Presidency Men Friday insisted that the ‘critics’ are no more than some waspish doomsday prophets with a no less doomed spiritual speculation which has no basis in the truth; insisting that Buhari’s standing and rating in the people’s opinion poll is appreciable and appreciating. The Presidency, however, failed dutifully to acknowledge in the same swipe that on the other side, the opposition political army is milling, advancing and menacing, in a determined march to capture Aso Rock, capitulate its present occupants, and foist a new regime and order there.
Inspired and spurred by political developments and democracy lesson that change is indeed possible, and that increased electorate awareness is fast demystifying incumbency invincibility, opposition actors are mustering and muzzling to harmonize perspectives and programmes to brave up to the onerous task of pulling the rug off the feet of the ruling party in the next general elections.
Forefront gathered on good authority that in spite of the
unsettling moments that have kept the coin of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) spinning, it is still regarded as a credible and invaluable rallying point for other opposition brackets who hope to reach a work accord with the PDP and go into the elect ions as a collective and wrestle the APC out of power. Proposals relating to changing the name from the ‘Peoples Democratic Party’ (PDP) to some other, it was gathered, is based on the imperative of adopting a name that will capture the mega concept that will translate into the new Party. It was also gathered that some who favour a change of name, believe ‘PDP’ as a brand name suffered acute mercantile damage which depleted its electoral value and manifested its rejection and humiliation in the 2015 general elections. But whether the name would be changed or not, according to sources, depends on the position and conviction of the custodians of the conscience of the party, on the one hand; and the issues and values to be tabled and canvassed by the frontiersmen of the groups seeking the coalition and alliance.
Having been trounced in the last general elections, the PDP looks set to recruit and revamp from mergers. Sources in the party who are also upbeat of the return of a reinvigorated party say merger talks are already going on, and that this option is a critical remedy and salvage operation that will service the damage caused by the ‘distractions and distortions’ caused by the Ali Modu Sheriff group.
Citing the party’s zoning of its presidential slot to the North of the country, the source also continued that the challenge of which part of the North produces the presidential candidate is part of the knotty issues that will be sorted out as the principles of internal democracy, justice, fair play, and level playing ground will be supreme in the manner the renewed PDP conducts its affairs in the build up to the general elections.
It was learnt that a political group in the North, propelled by an undying Yar’Ádua faithful, and on the horse back of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) is already agog and strategising. According to reports, the PDM political machine has been steaming and mobilizing across the North and the South-west geo-political zone of the country. So far, the group’s war cry has been drawing from the failures of the incumbent APC government of Muhammadu Buhari, harping especially on the deteriorating economy and the apparent inability of the administration to have a focus and sense of direction that can translate to improved welfare of the Nigerian masses.
The PDM, which is said to be favourably disposed to the leadership of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is also drawing its campaign points sentimentally from the burning sensibilities that sustain crises of federalism in Nigeria. Boasting of structures and followership in most parts of the country since the hazy and truculent days of the General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida military junta, the PDM arrangement is said to be appealing to some of the serving APC governors in different states, with the implication that a successful alliance and merger with the PDP will see these governors seeking re-election on a new platform, other than the APC. Analysts say this portends grave dangers for the ruling party, especially as its fortunes in the Western part of the country are also being threatened by a resurgence of derelict platforms and political accords that make recent APC success in Ondo State gubernatorial election to look like a mere chimerical maneuver.
The Action for Democracy (AD), a registered political party that held and fortify the South-west from the political influence of other political parties and won the 1999 general elections in the zone overwhelmingly, is also being serviced and repositioned to enter the alliance and merger talks as a bloc and formidable political entity.
This development accounts for and accommodates the deliberate and tactical absence of Bola Tinubu and other APC big wigs in the region from the recent campaign rally of the APC in the state which had President Buhari in attendance, but with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo skillfully missing out of the occasion. Apparently dissatisfied with the Buhari administration and how the president has been allegedly caged by a hegemonic clique of the old fashioned Hausa-Fulani establishment, the South-west, led by Tinubu, is mobilising its members, and making a tactical retreat into a political platform with ethno-cultural stronghold that will give the region an identity, voice and power to negotiate its stake in the mega-party arrangement that is hoped to consume and
neutralise whatever war chest Buhari and his APC would muster in 2019.
A similar song of self-assertion towards self-actualisation in 2019 is also being sung in the North-Central geo-political zone where the disparate elements of the Middle Belt area are insisting that it is enough of playing the second fiddle in the national scheme of things. This was the expression recently when a geo-political group that has come together under the aegis of Action Democratic Party (ADP) submitted papers to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for registration as a political party, ahead of the next general elections.
Explaining its background and cradle, interim chairman of the association’s Board of Trustees, Senator Joseph KN Waku, revealed that the North-central geo-political zone has not been faring adequately in the national political balancing, noting that most of the time, the zone has had to play a second fiddle after every electoral process.
According to Waku, there is obvious need and consensus among gladiators of the region to turn the table for a fairer and more equitable political arrangement. In applying for registration as a political party, he explained, the region wants to have its unique identity and platform to participate actively in the processes towards 2019. How this will play out, he said, is subject to options and variables that will occur in the process. He said the Action Democratic Congress, as proposed to the INEC, has what it takes to go the hug as a distinct political party and win the next general elections.
However, he contended that the party, with clear-cut negotiations and bold terms, will go into alliance with the PDP and form a mega party that will take over power at the centre and the states and sack the APC which has disappointed and is not showing any prospects of taking the country to greater heights.
The All Progressives Congress and President Buhari, with the looming alliances and stalking shadows, may face the fiercest challenge an incumbent could contend with in a general election after serving just a term in office. Ambushed from without and a shrill buoyancy from within, like Europe after a system of alliance and counter alliances, it is arguable that Buhari and the APC will remain the same immediately before and after 2019.

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