Political election in Nigeria has always been an interesting event due to the series of propaganda and blackmails which political actors used to attack their political opponents in order to gain political scores. The media are the major contractors hired by the politicians to launch media attacks, blackmails and misleading the public through dissemination of FAKE NEWS’ as election draw nearer. Other major participants in this business are some entrepreneurs like printers who enjoy every moment of the months that precede the election D-day as they are on the high patronage of brandings, billboards and posters while others like print media, radio and television companies attract huge demand of advertisement orders and so on.
In Nigeria, general elections will start on February 2019 which is slated for the presidential office and various offices in the National Assembly. More than 40 candidates have tossed their hat into the presidential race, though the number may likely drop as we approach February, particularly with several smaller parties already discussing merger agreement with the leading political parties.
This is the election that we should all care about, as the candidates for the two leading parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP), have not exactly satisfied the masses’ expectations. The APC and PDP are the only two parties to have won the Nigerian presidency since the end of military rule in 1999. The APC is led by the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, and the PDP is led by Atiku Abubakar, who was the Vice-President under former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, from 1999 to 2007.
Other interesting contenders in this year presidential election include:
Donald Duke – Social Democratic Party, SDP
Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim – Alliance for New Nigeria, ANN
Omoyele Sowore – African Action Congress, AAC
Oby Ezekwesili – Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, ACPN
Obadiah Mailafia – African Democratic Congress, ADC
Kingsley Moghalu – Young Progressive Party, YPP
Chris Okotie – Fresh Democratic Party, FDP
Hamza Al-Mustapha – Peoples Party of Nigeria, PPN
Habib Mohammed Gajo – Young Democratic Party, YDP
Olusegun Mimiko – Zenith Labour Party, ZLP (Contesting for Senatortial instead)
John Gbor – All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA
Davidson Isibor Akhimien – Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria, GDPN
Ali Soyode – Yes Electorate Solidarity, YES Party
Ike Keke – New Nigerian Peoples Party, NNPP
Sunday Chukwu-Eguzolugo – Justice Must Prevail Party, JMPP
Eunice Atuejide – National Interest Party, NIP
Hamisu Santuraki – Mega Party of Nigeria, MPN
Edozie Madu – Independent Democrat Party, IDP
Peter Nwangwu – We the People of Nigeria Party, WPNP
Ahmed Bee Buhari – Sustainable National Party, SNP
Tope Fasua – Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party, ANRP
Ade Fagbenro Bryon – Kowa Party
Moses Shipi – All Blending Party, ABP
Yahaya Ndu – African Renaissance Party, ARP
Chuks Nwachukwu – All Grassroots Alliance. AGA
Habu Aminchi – Peoples Democratic Movement, PDM
Yabagi Yusuf Sani – Action Democratic Party, ADP
Babatunde Ademola – Nigeria Community Movement Party, NCMP
Ezekwesili creates intrigue because she is a former Vice-President of the World Bank’s Africa division and was the 2018 nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. Still, Duke and Ezekwesili face a tough challenge to unseat Buhari or beat Atiku, who have strong political party machines backing them. The main difference in this election may be the change in perspective of the respected former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, who is now endorsing Atiku.
In the first instance, Atiku’s rise to become PDP’s candidate is impressive, considering the fact that he was one of the founding members of the PDP before he then switched to the APC, and then came back to the PDP. Secondly, Obasanjo, who endorsed Buhari in 2015, wrote an open letter to Buhari in January advising the president not to seek a second term, adding some very harsh language such as:
“I knew President Buhari before he became president. He is weak in his knowledge and understanding of the economy, but I thought that he could make use of good Nigerians in that area that could help…”
Backing Atiku, Obasanjo seems to unseat Buhari, but Obasanjo’s famous statement in August 2018 will not be forgotten:
“If I support Atiku for anything, God will not forgive me.”
As far as the discussion on campaign issues goes, it also looks like 2015 again: poverty, insecurity, poor economic management, nepotism (all other issues were also highlighted in Obasanjo’s letter to Buhari). The Boko Haram insurgency remains an issue while the recent conflict between herdsmen and farmers has claimed thousands of lives. Infrastructure requires more investment, the currency is fragile, the expectation of positive change is quite low; unemployment is killing the youth on daily basis, while political thuggery and criminals act are means of survival for the youths.
Who will win the election jackpot?
Ordinary Nigerian youth cannot contest in election because election in Nigeria is becoming quite expensive. Youths seem uninspired by this election because of the demand for money from electorates whom should have exercise their civic right in good faith and correct the wrongful act of the past leaders by voting and making their vote counts without being bribed or brainwashed.
Hopefully, a consensus candidate will emerge to win the ELECTION JACKPOT, possibly adding some energy and excitement of post-election to a country that remains Africa’s biggest opportunity for most entrepreneurs. I wish the winner would have a positive impact on Nigerians when emerges as the number 1 citizen till 2023.