By Adediran Adedayo Abdullahi Recently there have been outcries about…
By Abdulkabir Olatunji
That President Muhammadu Buhari rode to power on the crest of amazing goodwill and political euphoria is not in question. However, what is in question is whether or not he has done enough to meet the aspirations of Nigerians considering the environment in which he is operating having succeeded 16 years of what many have characterized as a period ‘PDP misrule’.
There are 3 Major Groups into which most Nigerians would fall if you look at perceptions of President Buhari:
Those Who Believe He is a complete disaster as a leader and never voted for him.
This group comprises of those against him from the onset and never voted for him in 2015 or before then in 2007 and 2011. They do not believe in him and probably never will.
2. The Disillusioned
Those who voted for him but have become disillusioned with his leadership style. They accuse him of a lack of dynamism and an inept approach to solving Nigeria’s problems. From the economy, to herdsmen/farmers clashes to the anti-corruption war, this group feel President Buhari has not done enough to earn their continued support.
These are people who believe in President Buhari and have a great deal of empathy for him, believing that the odds are stacked against him and he is trying his best. They excuse his flaws which include an inability to always communicate effectively with Nigerians and his rather slow decision-making process as part of the things that make him who he is- an incorruptible patriot that wants the best for Nigeria.
What might determine the future direction of Nigeria is population of these 3 classifications of Nigerians come 2019.
The Anti-Buharists are largely domiciled in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), with people like Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Alhaji Sule Lamido and others. This group feel they lost big at the federal level in 2015 and want to make this right in 2019. Perhaps, their resolve is strengthened by different accusations of corruption and for some of them, like Fani-Kayode and Lamido ongoing trials that could attract jail time if convicted. They are fervently looking for allies within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). So far, their attempts have not been successful to the point that they can confidently hope to regain the presidency for their party in 2019. Their case is not also helped by the creation of what has been called the ‘3rd Force’.
Some of those disillusioned including former President Obasanjo, Prof. Pat Utomi, Aisha Yesufu of Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) campaign are not ready to join the PDP. Yet, they do not want President Buhari to return. This group of individuals are seeking to promote a ‘3rd Force’ either by forming a new political party or joining one of the existing ones outside of the APC and PDP but their clout as serious political deal-makers and potential winners remains suspect.
The Buharists, like Governor Nasir El Rufai, Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amechi.and others mostly from the APC have been mobilizing their associates to work for a return of President Buhari in 2019. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu also falls into this category not because he shares the Buhari philosophy 100% but because their political destinies seem intertwined. Each needs the other to make headway and achieve their ambitions with the APC as the party to keep them in power and for Tinubu land a shot at presidency in 2023 with strong potential to win.
This last political calculation in addition to the number of governors and federal legislators that need the APC to get reelected still make President Buhari a strong favourite to win a 2nd term in 2019. A major caveat might be his health which remains a source of concern for many of his supporters. The recent attempt by the National Assembly to change the order of 2019 general elections to ensure National Assembly elections holds first with an ammendment to the Electoral Act is likely to be frustrated as the Executive might do all in its power to maintain the current schedule which has the presidential election holding first.
12 months to the presidential election in 2019, the political calculations remain very interesting to put it mildly.