By Michael West….
It is needless to recapitulate the fact that all is not well with the rank and file of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) as political activities towards the 2019 general elections are gradually taking shape. The determinant factor that will silhouette the failure or survival of the APC in 2019 and beyond is President Muhammadu Buhari.
If he ventures to run, then, the game is over for the party! I think Buhari should not run, at least, in the interest of his party. Let me acknowledge here that Buhari is not a typical Nigerian politician. He is too straight to bend for anybody and for any reason; and this attribute may not work in his favour come 2019.
There are three major factors – age, health and performance – that might render Buhari unsellable if he ventures to run again. First, his age. He will, God willing, be 76 years old in 2019. He will not be doing himself, family, and party in particular any good if he should go for presidential contest again. Baba should please not dare the move. He will be getting too old to endure the rigors of nocturnal meetings and the stress of traversing the length and breadth of the nation on campaign trips.
The second factor is his health condition. Mr. President does not need his doctors’ counsel to know that he should not run. Five months out of power on medical vacation is not a joke in the life of a country. Mr. President will need more rest as he ages with grace.
The third factor is his lacklustre performance in office so far; perhaps due to his ill-health. Between now and 2019, I don’t know the magic that this administration would perform to placate or convince Nigerians that it could do any better if granted another four years of opportunity in power. This administration would be remembered as the first in history to spare just three slots for the entire Southern part of the country in the top security positions while the North comfortably cornered 14 out of 17.
Like no other before it, lopsided political appointments were brazenly done! Even those who invested their resources into the electioneering that brought this party to power are now in penury; many of them were hoping that board appointments would compensate for their loyalty but 30 months after, there’s nothing to show for their support.
Blurred economic vision for the country has earned the people hunger. The Naira steadily declines, despite the Central Bank of Nigeria’s regular intervention, the exchange rates are still unreasonably high. These, to mention but a few among the several inactions of this administration, will not help the APC should Buhari run again in 2019.
The President is yet to indicate his desire to seek re-election but there’re conflicting signals coming from his party, the All Progressive Congress (APC), and the President’s loyalists. Listening to sycophants and remaining rigid in his approach to party affairs won’t help both Buhari and APC at all.
Can Buhari be so sure that Bola Tinubu, Bukola Saraki (not to mention Atiku Abubakar whose political aspiration has gone beyond the realm of speculation) and even other minority stakeholders in the APC project would support his re-election in 2019? Those who contributed the blocks with which the APC structure was moulded are almost on their way out clutching their respective blocks. By the time these people quit the party, in addition to those that would still leave; I wonder how a feeble APC can withstand electoral contest with reinvented, revitalized and fortified political parties that would soon emerge on the horizon. It will be inglorious for the APC to lose power to the PDP in 2019.
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari.
I believe the APC should still garner necessary legitimate strength to retain power at the centre. The President should scout for a competent hand to succeed him. A man with great potentials for leadership, probity and service. If PMB, as he’s fondly called by his aides, fails to maximize this unique opportunity, Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida or even Goodluck Jonathan will outsmart him and present a successor.
Buhari should embark on a true reconciliatory process by placating aggrieved chieftains of the APC. He should begin to correct his one-sided appointments by giving more slots to the South in the outstanding appointments. For instance, in case he eventually drops Ibrahim Magu as Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as chairman nominee, he should look southward for a replacement.
Mr. President apparently has trust issues with people. That’s why he surrounds himself with his tribesmen and lackeys. If Nigerians in their millions could believe him enough to entrust their collective destinies to his care, he, too, should learn to accommodate and trust others. The task of nation-building is collective.
He should also discard his military mentality of ‘rule by fiat’ and put on the toga of a ‘born again democrat’ he had professed to be; knowing that democracy is about the rule of law. The approach to fighting corruption by this administration is largely selective. Democratic nuances and processes are deepened with strong opposition in place. This is necessary for checks and balances as well as offering the electorate an alternative platform for good governance.
Since the anti-graft and security agencies were let loose on the suspects of sleazy funds, the suspects’ public images have been vilified, privacy encroached upon, bank accounts interdicted at will and suspects are incarcerated while investigations that ought to have preceded their arrest or detention would then continue, if not begin afresh.
•West writes via: firstname.lastname@example.org