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In a dramatic turn to a tightly contested race, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar emerged as the presidential flag-bearer of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the coming 2019 elections. Atiku, the Wazirin Adamawa, beat 11 other candidates in a keenly contested but openly democratic process which cast a positive note and drew positive reactions from diverse quarters of the electorate.

President Buhari also clinched the All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket uncontested, to run for a 2nd term in office as president. Realistically and naturally, President Buhari, by the Nigerian implication of his incumbency, would be too big to have anyone contest against him for the party ticket. The hold presidents have always had over their political parties in Nigeria is often so totalistic that a second term in office is often considered a birthright.

Now the real politicking begins four months to the polls. It is a short time but in politics, it is a long time. Four months is long enough to do great damage to an incumbent government or successfully sell the successes of an incumbent administration. Four months was long enough for APC to do enough damage to the government of Goodluck Jonathan back in 2014/15, finishing up some strategic propaganda which had begun even before APC was completely set up.

Now, alliances would be made by diverse parties and groups. More temporary enemies will group and regroup as their selfishness and altruism dictate. Every man, every politician, to his whims and caprices.

Hence, in the real sense of the propaganda that will follow in the months ahead, facts, lies, real news, fake news and data of various origins and proportions will be thrown back and forth by warring parties. Again, as long as politics of acrimony nor that of violence is not the order of the day, all these are welcome development too.

Introspectively, however, the record and performance of the incumbent federal government in the past 3 years has been disappointing actually. To say the least, security of lives and property has been poor, the economy has been woeful, and our corruption record is not getting better. But can Atiku effectively use all these against President Buhari’s government without it boomeranging on him? Owing to the fact that Atiku Abubakar himself was once part of a widely criticized government in the Obasanjo administration, he can barely escape not being measured by the abysmal performance of that regime too.

Some say it is now a case of choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea. Nigerians are now faced with the hard choice of queuing behind Buhari to continue another four years or the uncertainty in the lofty promises (mainly restructuring) which Atiku canvasses in his evolving manifesto.

Some fillers from the public also paint a picture of wanting to abstain from the polls after the dramatic show of force and ‘federal might’ which the APC deployed in winning the recently concluded polls in Osun State. It is good to note that it is when the electorate can unflinchingly beat their chests about the non-partisanship of INEC; when they can vouch for the integrity of the political umpire, then they will be willing to come out en masse exercising their suffrage even more freely and without being brow-beaten into voting.

But whichever way it goes, whichever direction the swing votes go at the polls, it is definitely not going to be an easy ride for either Atiku or Buhari. They both have a lot of ‘convincing the public’ to do. When national and local politics is this competitive rather than an excessive dominance by a single political party, it indicates a maturing mindset of the electorate and a positively evolving polity. It reassures that again, we are gradually gearing towards issue-based politics rather than a mere endorsement of usurpers posing as leaders by desperate power brokers.

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This article was first published on 8th October 2018


Macaddy is mostly a farmer in the day who also dabbles into technology at night, in search of other cutting edge intersections. He's on Twitter @i_fix_you

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