Last Updated on June 30, 2022 by Memorila
It will be extremely difficult for the ruling APC government to hand over power to itself except it is able to crack the seven hard nuts presented by Muhammad Mansour Ibrahim
The deadline for all political parties to conclude primaries elections and submit their flag bearers ended on the 9th of June, 2022. As it is, most of the 18 political parties of Nigeria, APC and PDP inclusive, have concluded their primaries and submitted flag bearers for the 2023 general elections.
Despite reducing the number of political parties from 92 in the previous election to 18, only a few of them still make headlines.
Some of the heavyweight champions are the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) which chose Bola Ahmed Tinubu as its flagbearer, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with Atiku Abubakar, Labour Party (LP) with Peter Obi and then the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) which has Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
Briefs of flagbearers
Ahmed Bola Tinubu was the former governor of Lagos state between 1999-2007 under AD cum AC cum ACN.
Meanwhile, Atiku Abubakar was a former vice president to Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999 to 2007. He contested for the presidency under the ACN in 2007, PDP in 2011 and 2019 and APC in 2014.
On the other hand, Peter Obi was a former governor of Anambra state between 2006 and 2014 who later became the running mate to Atiku Abubakar in 2019 under the PDP.
Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso on his part, was the former governor of Kano state from 1999-2003 and 2011-2015. He also contested the 2014 APC presidential primaries alongside Atiku Abubakar and President Muhammadu Buhari, but was defeated by the latter.
Hence, from the foregone, one can draw a conclusion that there are no greenhorns among the major presidential gladiators.
How can APC retain power cum 2023?
If the APC wants to retain power at the centre beyond 2023, it will need to put its house in order by cleaning its Augean stable. How can they achieve this? These are the toasts:
1) The choice of a viable Christian vice president from the North
Considering the fact that the states with the largest voters’ turnouts in the North West (Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Kaduna, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi) are predominantly Muslims, a Muslim-Muslim ticket can fly.
And this is a political calculation the APC can explore and possibly win. The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, did not also forbid it.
But this political gimmick may prove to be self-implosive.
2) Internal fence-mending
The ability of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the APC presidential flagbearer, to rally and persuade the runners-up of his party’s primaries to support him is key. And being an astute political player, this phase seems to be going on already.
The aspirant was reported by major news sites to have embarked on fence building visits to his primary election opponents. This action could go a long way in clinching the Aso Villa for him.
3) Governors’ powers
APC is currently in control of 21 states, while the PDP holds 14 states. The strengths of governors to canvass support for their parties is key. Of the 19 northern states, only Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Sokoto and Taraba are not in the APC’s pocket. This means APC is stronger in the north.
Down to the South, APC has Lagos, Osun, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo, Imo, Cross River and Ebonyi, while the PDP states include, Edo, Delta, Port Harcourt, Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Abia and Bayelsa. Only Anambra state is run by the APGA.
The APC may further make some inroads in the South.
And with governors in charge of their states, the possibility of the APC overrunning the PDP in their realms of power is not to be toyed with.
4) Political structures
The political structure of APC is stronger than PDP. This was further exemplified in the last APC convention where the northern governors insisted that the position of president be zoned to the South. They backed this up by mobilizing their delegates to vote in line with their resolutions.
This was a different experience in the case of PDP where the governors led by Nyesom Wike wanted one of them to pick the ticket. But their position was sent to the dustbin when Atiku Abubakar outmaneuvered and outspent everybody to pick the party’s ticket.
5) Personal clouts
Both Atiku Abubakar and Ahmed Tinubu are members of the old PDM led by late Shehu Musa Yar’adua. Both of them are also Muslims. And they both have financial muscles. And they are not stingy to marshal their financial resources for their electoral pursuits.
Despite the fact that Atiku Abubakar is from the North East, Tinubu has more political clouts in the north. This was crystal clear and seen during the last APC special convention. Furthermore, Tinubu’s contributions to humanity across all creed is acme.
Tinubu’s personal structure is stretched from federal, states, local governments, wards and units across the country.
But on the flip side, Ahmed Tinubu of the APC may be affected if ethnic card is played. That is, a Hausa man might prefer Atiku Abubakar, a fellow Fulani brother over Ahmed Tinubu who he might see as an alien. This can change the narratives.
Otherwise, APC has the chances of retaining power beyond 2023.
Peter Obi of Labour Party on the other hand is only on ground in the South East. But even his own home state, Anambra, is ruled by APGA. So, he might fade quickly into the background, considering the fact that Atiku Abubakar is stronger in the South East, the PDP stronghold.
Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso on his part, brought in a party that is extremely new. He might make impact in Kano state considering the fact that Kano is his base and he has large followers. However, the PDP or APC may take the state.
Furthermore, Kwankwaso and Obi don’t have the financial muscles to withstand Atiku and Tinubu.
6) Sympathy votes
In the 2023 elections, sympathy votes may also play a role. This is a case where people will vote for their own sons and daughters across the nation.
If this appears to be a factor, then a northerner can take the lead by virtue of their population strength.
7) Economy and security
Conclusively, another hard nut for the APC is the current economic situation and security challenges of the country. Being the ruling party, it will count against them. But their ability to defend their campaign using issues base will put them above other parties.
The APC should be ready to tell the electorates what they achieved in their eight years of stewardship and what they will bring to the table when reelected in 2023.