TOWARDS 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS: BETWEEN ATIKU AND BUHARI?

The old order is not completely old and the new one is not powerful enough to displace it.

By Ayo Mike.

In less than a month, the people of Nigeria- the most populous black nation on the globe will be going to the poll to elect a new president that will pilot the affairs of arguably African most popular and volatile political kingdom for the next four years. Unlike the 2015 General Elections that produced the incumbent president, President Muhammadu Buhari when virtually all the major opposition parties in the country came together to form a grand alliance  known as Alliance for Progressive Change ( APC) against the former president, Dr Good Luck Ebele  Jonathan’s  People Democratic Party( PDP).

This time around, there is the infiltration of more political parties in the system. According to the country’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria has 91 registered political parties with 51 of these parties fielding presidential aspirants that will be slugging it out with President Muhammadu Buhari at the poll on the 16th of February this year.

Honestly in the beginning, the registration of more political parties by INEC was greeted with adulations and enthusiasm as Nigerians viewed this as an opportunity for the masses to come together and bring in an entirely new set of leaders that will send the old and highly corrupt political maggots in both APC and PDP to oblivion. Fortunately enough, some of these new parties pushed forwardcredible and powerful Nigerians like Dr Oby Ekwensili, Donald Duke, Omoyele Sowore, Dr Adesina Fagbenro – Byron,Alhaji Ahmed, Sakil , Major Hamza Almustapha  among others to battle the old and  serial contestants  called General Muhammadu Buhari and  Alhaji Atiku Abubakar presented by both APC and PDP respectively to Nigerians.

This sounded a warning signal that the people were really tired of the two major political parties with this development. APC which rode to power about four years ago on the back of its well- pronounced and widely- embraced slogan of change has fallen out of favour with the Nigerian masses. The nation’s struggling economy which they promised to get back to its feet has become worse under Buhari- led administration. To have him as president for another four years is what many Nigerians are not prepared to witness. At the same time, the choice of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the candidate of PDP is understandably annoying to many Nigerian electorates. To them PDP seemed not to have learnt their lesson. Atiku Abubakar is an old brigade who is believed to be very corrupt- an allegation which his former boss, ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo attested to in his book, MY WATCH, volume 2, page31-32, ’The money Atiku stole when he was my vice is enough to feed 300 million people for 400 years.’’ Thus, the entrance of some of the aforementioned aspirants from other parties into the race was a welcomed development as Nigerians would be able to bring new and progressive faces into the seats of power in Aso Rock.

Unfortunately, the enthusiasm has fizzled away today as the reality has dawned on many Nigerians that it is still one of the oldies- Buhari Or Atiku that will be sworn in as Nigerian president by the 29th of May  this year. The reason for this assertion is not far fetched. Barely 40 days to the general elections, no new party has been able to prove to the electorates that it has the wherewithal to wrestle power from APC or defeat Alhaji Atiku at the poll.Apart From Oby Ekwensili, and Sowore (who is more visible on YouTube) who are making frantic efforts to convince Nigerians to do away with both APC and PDP. Unfortunately for the duo, demographic, party and financial factors which have become major considerations in Nigerian politics do not just favour them. Both of them are from the less-populated southern zone and belong to political parties that do not have formidable structures cum weighty financial muscles to match ’Sai Baba’ or the ’Atikulated’ fat campaign purses.

Interestingly, in the course of writing this piece, reports have already filtered in that the ACPN Presidential Candidate, ’Madam Due Process’, Dr Oby Ekwensili has just thrown in the towel; while her party has pinched their tent with APC and President Buhari.

The other aspirants have just proved to Nigerians that their major interest was to see their names appeared on ballot papers- that which they have now achieved. It is quite pathetic that when you mention the names of many of these presidential aspirants as contestants to many Nigerians, they will quickly ask you if you are very sure they are really contesting. The reality is that they are not on ground . They are more of jokers to Nigerians than serious contenders. Nigerians are now disillusioned, they don’t expect these political clowns to pose any threatto the two major contenders- Atiku or Buhari?. Some political pundits have even alleged that they are in the race to strategically front for either of them.

Except for the unexpected which is likely not to happen, Nigeria will still be ruled by familiar foes for the next four or eight years. Our president will be an elderly man in his 70s who will emerge from either APC or PDP, and you can also be sure of this one thing: his colleagues and cronies will be there in the Senate or House of Reps to give him maximum support to keep promoting the same old ideas that may not bail Nigeria out of the wood for the next 20 years.

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