Ayantunji Benjamin Gbenro (PhD)
The 2019 general election is just few weeks away. Unlike the previous elections since the advent of the current democratic dispensation, this campaign season has been relatively quiet. Election period during President Obasanjo’s era was a do or die affair. For President Jonathan, despite the superficial declaration that his ambition doesn’t deserve shedding of blood, his body language and actions points to the contrary. He was hopping from one pulpit to the other by this period in 2015 to show that the election is Christians Vs Muslims. The militants were threatening fire and brimstone. OPC was terrorizing ordinary citizens in Lagos. Governance was completely halted. The vault at CBN has been thrown opened. Dasuki had metamorphosed into Santa Claus. Artistes were having swell time and bloggers were acquiring properties in Banana Island. Fast forward to 2019 and the atmosphere did not depict an imminent important election. The President and his Vice are going about their usual business as if they are not facing reelection. Even the opposition party are confused on whether to campaign or not.
What could give a President that is portrayed in the media as desperate and utter failure such confidence? I present ten factors in this article that guarantee that Buhari will win the 2019 election without hassle:
The major factor in Buhari’s political adventure is Buhari himself. There is no politician in Nigeria that has a guaranteed pool of loyal voters like Buhari. He developed his reputation over years and he is trusted by his support base. His legendary integrity is a plus any day. His reputation cannot be impugned no matter how much the opposition tried. You can call Buhari any name but not a thief. His sincerity of purpose can also not be questioned. Though he is not infallible, majority of the electorate are always willing to tolerate him because they know he is sincere. This is not the case with any of his challengers. Contesting against Buhari is like having a deficit of over ten million votes before the real voting. How does any candidate want to cover for such deficit?
Vice Presidents have always been appendages necessitated by constitutional requirement, this is not the case with Prof. Yemi Osibajo. No VP has handled more responsibilities than him in our political history. His loyalty and competency as displayed when the President was indisposed has also endeared him to many. Today, there many voters that will vote for Buhari/Osibajo ticket just because of Prof. Yemi Osibajo. The seamless manner in which he interacted with people from different strata of the society is also a big draw. The PDP seeded the VP slot to SE to attract votes from that region. That can also work positively for Buhari/Osibajo ticket in the SW. Like a Yoruba adage asserts, you can not have a child with a wonderful waist and you adorn another man’s child with waist bead.
Fight Against Corruption
Despite the noise from the elites suffering from the actions of Buhari in blocking their access to our common patrimony, majority of masses appreciate Buhari’s fight against corruption. Rather than the noise working against him, it is energizing the masses to vote for him more because they still have hope that General Mohammadu Buhari will come out in full force in his second tenure. The masses also appreciate the recovery of looted funds and prosecution of hitherto untouchable elites. Majority of Nigerians who wanted a working country will reward Buhari with their votes come February 16th 2018.
The effort of Buhari’s administration in the area of infrastructural development is evident across the country. Though the noisy few may be jumping up and down to deny what is evidently clear, silent majority are waiting patiently to speak with their votes at the poll. This festive period has also opened the eyes of ignorant cynics to developments across the country. From roads, to rails, to airports, to improve power supply etc. The development from State to State and from zone to zone. There is no State of the Federation were Buhari’s administration is not doing at least, one major project. These former cynics will also speak loud at the poll.
Social Investment Program
The Buhari’s social investment programs: Npower, School feeding, Trader Money, Market Money, GEEP, CCT etc have directly touched millions of lives and many more millions indirectly. These Social Investment Program is unprecedented in Nigeria. This is the first time in Nigeria’s history that a government is putting money directly into the pocket of the masses. A government that cares for the masses will definitely be rewarded by the masses comes the election day.
The agricultural revolution under this administration is evident to all. The revolution in rice production that reduced our rice import bill by over 90% cannot be discountenance by any reasonable individual. “A farmer is a king” has been regarded as a cliché before Buhari but farmers are truly kings now. The revitalization of several fertilizer blending plant is also a positive. Farmers now have access to fertilizer at the right time and at an affordable price. No wonder that 12 million farmers came together to donate to Buhari’s reelection bid. They will speak louder at the poll.
Despite a lot of friction that characterized APC primaries, none of the party members have been seen to be openly working against the reelection bid of President Mohammadu Buhari. Even in States like Ogun and Imo were the governor is known to be sponsoring candidates in other political parties, the commitment of the governors and their political family to Buhari’s reelection cannot be questioned. Rather than the disaffection within the party working against Buhari, what has been witnessed are candidates on the platform of other parties jostling to have Buhari on their campaign insignias. The APC currently controls 24 states in Nigeria and all the governors and their political structures in these States are all working for the President.
The PDP’s candidate, Alhaji Abubakar is biggest campaign material for Buhari. Alhaji Atiku has developed a notorious reputation as an endemically corrupt individual, thanks to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, his indictment by both US and Nigerian Senate and the unexplainable metamorphosis from a civil servant to a stupendously rich bourgeoisie. Putting Atiku side by side with Buhari makes the angelic character of the later more conspicuous. Atiku is a reflection of what Buhari has opportunity to be but chose to identify with the masses as against the lure of material wealth. Atiku against Buhari is a no contest. Atiku and his handlers have also not helped their cause by trying to dress corruption in an angelic garb. This shows that they have no remorse for the rape of our country. Their tactics of trying to smear Buhari in a bid show he is also corrupt is not sticking, Buhari is too pure to be tainted. It is rather showing Buhari a more sparkling white angelic attire.
Unlike Prof. Yemi Osibajo, the running mate of Alhaji is a political liability. The expectation that his nomination will galvanize support for Atiku in SE and SS has not worked as plan. Rather, his nomination has alienated PDP leaders from these regions, especially the governors, from Atiku. This is evident in the fact that these leaders have avoided Atiku’s campaign till date. Also, you don’t see them associating with him in any of their campaign insignia. Some even prefer to use President Buhari alongside their picture for campaign materials or openly display Buhari’s reelection lapel. The choice of Obi will also work against Atiku among the masses in the north due to his past as the Executive Governor of Anambra State where he demanded that people of Northern origin most carry identification card. His many verifiable lies have also made him an anathema among the educated elites in Nigeria. His utterances, like, the recent declaration that Lagos – Ibadan expressway been constructed by the Buhari’s administration after 16yrs of neglect by PDP, is not a key project will also alienate him, his principal and his party from the people of the SW. His pro IPOB stands makes him difficult to be trusted by patriotic Nigerians.
PDP and other Parties
PDP was terrible as a ruling party but worse as opposition. The party has never gone into an election without the national treasury and the other instrument of State except this and it is obvious that they are confuse. The party has not been able to convince Nigeria that it is a better alternative even where APC goofed. The party’s choice of lies as campaign strategy has also not worked because Nigerians can see through the facades. The inability of the party to organize a well-coordinated campaign is also a minus. The latest is the postponement of the SS zonal campaign. The other political parties have also not been able to organize themselves to challenge APC mostly due to resources and ego. If the other 97 political parties have put their resources together and line up behind a candidate, they will probably make an impression. PDP and other political parties by their incompetence are indirectly working for the reelection of President Buhari.