Alliances, Agitations Threaten Buhari


With deft political calculations and moves 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; maintaining that Buhari’s standing and rating in the people’s opinion poll is appreciable and appreciating. In their prejudiced minds’ eyes, 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 development and democracy lessons 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 that will brave the onerous task of shocking pundits and pulling off the rug under the ruling party’s feet come 2019 general elections. Forefront gathered on good authority that in spite of present unsettling moments that have kept the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s coin spinning on full scale, 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 elections as a potent force to wrestle power from APC. Proposals on name change for the ‘Peoples Democratic Party’ (PDP) to some other, it was gathered, is based on the imperative of adopting a name meant to capture the mega concept that will translate into the new Party. It was also learnt that some top politicians in favour the change of name, believe ‘PDP’ as a popular brand suffered acute mercantile damage which depleted its electoral value and manifested its eventual rejection and humiliation during 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; as well as issues and values to be tabled and canvassed by frontiersmen of groups seeking to promote the coalition and alliance as a pan-Nigerian party. Having been trounced in the last general elections, the PDP looks set to recruit, revamp and re-invent itself through thriving mergers. Party insiders, who are also upbeat of the return of a reinvigorated party, say merger talks are already going on, and the option is a critical remedy and salvage operation aimed at repairing the damage arising from the ‘distractions and distortions’ caused by the Ali Modu Sheriff’s group. The source cited the party’s zoning of its presidential slot to the North of the country as part of the political horse-trading, maintaining that the issue bordering on which part of the North should produce the presidential candidate is among knotty issues to be sorted out based on the principles of internal democracy, justice, fair play, and a level playing ground for all within the new group. “All these issues will be supreme in the manner the transformed PDP conducts its affairs in the build up to the general elections”, the source volunteered. It was learnt that a political group in the North, propelled by an undying Yar’Ádua faithful, and the formidable Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) structure, is already agog and strategizing on the way forward to achieve its set goals. According to reports, the PDM political machine has been on steaming mode, mobilizing across the North and the South-west geo-political zones of the country. So far, the group’s war cry has been drumming away the failures of incumbent APC government of Muhammadu Buhari, harping especially on the deteriorating economy and apparent inability of the administration to have focus and sense of direction that can translate into improved welfare for Nigerians. Seen as being favourably disposed to the leadership and presidential ambition of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the PDM is said to be delivering its campaign points sentimentally from burning sensibilities of the marginalized and the sustained crises of true 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’s military junta, sources hinted the PDM apparatus is quite appealing to some serving APC governors and lawmakers across 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 South-western part are already 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 Alliance for Democracy (AD), a registered political party that held sway, won the 1999 general elections overwhelmingly and fortified the South-west against outside political influence, 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 Ondo gubernatorial campaign rally of the APC that 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 allegedly been 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 cocoon with ethno-cultural stronghold that will give the region an identity, a voice and power to negotiate for high stakes in the proposed mega-party arrangement that will hopefully 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 in the Middle Belt area are insisting that enough is enough and they are tired of playing the second fiddle in the national scheme of things. This was the expression recently when a North Central based geo-political group that has come together under the aegis of Action Democratic Congress (ADC) submitted papers to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for registration as a political party, ahead of 2019 general elections. Explaining its background and cradle, interim Chairman of the association’s Board of Trustees, Senator Joseph KN Waku said the North-central geo-political zone has not been faring satisfactorily in the national political balancing act, noting that most of the time; the zone has had to sadly play second fiddle after every electoral process. According to Waku, there is obvious need and consensus among the region’s political gladiators to turn the table around 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 due time as events unfold. He said the ADC, as proposed to the INEC, has what it takes to go the whole hog as a distinct political party and win the next general elections. However, he contended the party, with clear-cut negotiations and bold terms, will go into alliance with the PDP and form a mega party that will not only take over power at the centre and the states but sack the APC which has thoroughly disappointed Nigerians and is not showing any prospects of taking the country to greater heights of socio-economic prosperity. With the looming alliances and stalking shadows, the APC and President Buhari may indeed be facing the fiercest challenge ever for an incumbent to 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 on all front that Buhari and the APC will not remain the same immediately before, during and after 2019.

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