With INEC publicising the timetable for general elections in the country from 14th February 2015, Nigeria has further jumped over one big hurdle. With that declaration, the national conference should be laid to rest as futile, inconsequential, waste of time and money; and also any session bid is neutralised as whoever will attempt to divide the nation now will be committing a treasonable felony. Nigeria is a nation of various ethnic groups and different religious and ideological fellowships bounded by a covenant to stay united in peace.
The next two big hurdles are conducting a peaceful free and fair elections and the acceptance of all of such verdicts. If any quarter will resort to rigging or manipulating elections with the resultant violence ensuing from it, such people are primarily responsible for the human blood that will be spilled. They will be cursed to eternity. This because the populace is still politically immature to be able to seek redress from any injustice in the court law that it does not believe in – in the first place. There is at the present a widespread melancholic feeling against the government, the security and the judiciary. People are all yearning for a change. Fortunately the wind of change is already blowing.
The PDP with its new chairman should come out truly democratic. Let the Party elect officials that are votes-getting nationwide. Let them not be muzzled by personal ambitions of unpopular politicians. This will go in a long war to avert disaster and repair the bad image of the party.
The APC should also uphold internal democracy. It should monitor what INEC is doing or not doing and warn the populace. Apparently with any choice of candidates, the APC has greater chances of winning a free and fair election because of the PDP fatigue and the Jonathan effect.
Even in a worst case scenario projection, the Muslim North with no options left can vote a SW Muslim president / amicable northern Christian ticket with a land slide victory. Truly the region is tired of hypocrisy. This may –as a benefit- finally put to death the unconstitutional ‘rotational presidency’ that is racking the national political life and producing unsuitable, inapt and incompetent leaders.
The SW with about 14,298,356 registered voters out of the total Votes of 67,764,407 (i.e. in 2011 elections) is very significant because of its block voting pattern. The NW voting power of 18,900,543 registered voters is the determiner. This weight is what PDP should consider while fielding their presidential candidate. 2015 will be entirely different from 2011 because of the benefits of doubts enjoyed then by Jonathan and the religious polarisation his conduct of governance has aggravated. Now the picture is clear and nobody can be fooled again.
But better, a new generation NW or NE or NC / SW or SE or SS ticket with a minority senate leader is the good option for healing. It is a decent formula for a stable polity for both parties. There are other good options also, but it’s important that the Muslim North is soothed and immediately.
In cognisance, the Buhari factor which is very contentious, my view is that it can virtually solidify the Northern votes giving the region an unprecedented power but like Jonathan who got the overwhelming support of the Nigerian Christians in 2011, the aftermath of such a victory has too many antagonists chiefly because Buhari does not have an equivalent partner of such political weight among the southern Christians to help stabilise the polity. Another SS ‘boko haram’ may resurge. It’s now purported by the forces of destruction; North Vs Jonathan, then these same forces will allege; South Vs Buhari.
In the recent turbulence of political struggles and what lies ahead, Buhari, as a political mentor and the father of uprightness and accountability is a better role since it is the only ‘position’ conspicuously vacant in the whole national political life. The stabilizing Moral role Mandela played for the young democracy of SA. Buhari should then never retire from politics but undoubtedly from active one.
As the democratic process matures, then each region will take its proper position in the polity where minority rights are fully protected and Nigeria continues on the path of peace and tranquility.
May Allah show us the way out of our predicament. AMIN.
Abdoulrasheed H. Tapheeda