By DR IBRAHIM UMAR –
At the moment in the nation, only few critical issues assume national attention and discourse; one of such is the 2019 election and the choice of the right candidates for the opposition, Peoples Democratic Party,PDP. Other pressing issues includes the health of Mr. president vis a vis suitability for 2019 presidential race, the state of the economy, the issue of insecurity ala hate speech, boko haram resurgence, agitations of ethnics group as well as the activities of separatists groups in the polity. Each ones are interrelated but given prominence to a critical factors that impacted the latter; the choice of president come 2019.with the “resurrection” of PDP, the ruling APC is facing a new challenges of political realignment that is aimed at maintaining the status quo. to many political stakeholders this is not the time to rest on their oars. This is actually the time to up their game and winning strategy, taking into consideration the increasing high turnover of political office holders, as seen in the senate and the House of Representative.
This is time to learnt from the mistakes of the past that worked against incumbent office holders preventing their re election. It is equally a time to restrategize to ensure the victory of the incumbent president or an incoming president. In Nigeria scenerio,it is time that we will choose another president. It is not a question of whether President Buhari will contest again as the issues of his health may not allow him to do so, despite the fact that some proponent of Buhari second term presidency has repeatedly proclaimed that he is now fit to contest, even with the bold proclamations by some ministers in the present dispensations, to work of Atiku Abubakar. Thus with this realization the ruling APC will be strategizing to bring in a formidable candidate-this time around without the overbearing inputs of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu,the acclaimed political godfather, who obviously have been politically emasculated by the faceless cabal of Buhari presidency. The big joker then is that amongst the All Progressive Congress political stalwart, who perfectly fits to be the next presidential candidate? this is a tall order-in view of the keen interests of many of them in the plum post and in the anticipatory protest votes against the ruling party across the nation due to the perceived below the average performance of the party in power. The only way the APC can overturn the angers of Nigerians come 2019 is to field a presidential candidates the still enjoy the confidence, trust and goodwill of majority of Nigerians..Honestly i can think of any of such personality in the ruling party for now, we may not rule out the emergence of a dark horse. This realization along with self appointed internal opposition within the APC itself confers a strategic electoral advantage on the opposition,PDP.
This may also contribute to lessen the energy and resources the PDP may require to dislodge the ruling APC in the 2019 presidential election. The fact of the matter is that Nigerians are angry and hungry. They are angry with the disappointment of so much touted change agenda which the APC had promised Nigerians and desired a true change. The general verdicts of an average Nigerians on the Buhari government is that they would want him to return them back to the living conditions he met them when he assume presidency if his government could not improved their lots.
It is now left for the PDP to put its house in order and bountifully reap from the dividends of the anticipatory protest votes against the present government by discontented Nigerians. the massive turn out and solidarity which the PDP enjoyed during the last non conventional election at eagles square in Abuja clearly shows that the party is now set and fully ready to send the ruling APC out of the presidential villa come 2019.the PDP had taken the right steps in the right direction. This is a bold and courageous steps. Away from the defeat of 2015.away from the recent internal wrangling instigated by some lotus eaters who are out of the party today. The party has regain itself and no one can stop its mission to salvage the nation from hypocrisy and despondency of the ruling party. Away from the 14 months of legal tussles and directionless. back to reckoning and renewal. Back to take the centre stage of governance, back for e renewed and determined march to the presidential villa in 2019.
While the party is determined to take over power in 2019,it is conscious of the fact that such a vocation is not going to be a tea party or an easy job. Apart from putting its house in order, it must also be keenly strategic about the emergence of a truly consensus, sellable and winnable presidential candidate. The zoning done in PDP zoned it presidential candidates to the north, the Vice presidential candidates to the south and the party chairman to come from the south west. The north’s challenges in this regard is reaching consensus between the north west, north east and north central. This may not be difficult decisions to reach in view of the internal mechanism put in place to ensure internal democracy in the party. Despite zoning the presidency to the north, we have seen the emergence of some presidential aspirants from the south, people like Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State, many more may crop up in the future.
While conscious of the need to select a PDP presidential candidates that will replace president Buhari in 2019,its stakeholders must bear in mind the to select a presidential candidates with strong personality, character and integrity at par with those of president Muhammadu Buhari.
it must choose a man with superlative qualities’ servant leader, incorruptible, a global player; a presidential material who is cerebral, accessible, hardworking, decisive, visionary of sound mind and health bridge builder, not too old or young to run and a father to all Nigerians irrespective of their religion, tribes or status. These and many more are some of the qualities Nigerians wants in who become president come 2019,having realized the short coming of the past occupant of the post and having taking into considerations the demands of the future and the needs for the nation to catch up on the underdevelopment of the past.
Many prominent political stalwarts from the PDP has shown interest in taking a shot at the presidency and many more may come up in the future. Names like Atiku Abubakar,Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso,Ibrahim Shekarau,Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, Sule Lamido, Ibrahim Dankwambo have at one time or the other bandied around as potential presidential candidates on the platform of the PDP. The more the merrier for now, but not the screening and sieving process that will separate boys from men. The needs assessments of Nigerians must be the driving force of the choice of the presidential candidates in PDP. While all the men are eminently qualified to hold the position, the reality on ground dictates narrowing down the choices..PDP must select a presidential candidates that can outmatch the acceptability of president Buhari in the north and still command measures of followership beyond north. The party must be conscious of the need to choose a man of impeccable moral character and integrity. not men who had establishes ignoble reputation of being a regular tenant of the nations anticorruption agencies or on the watch of the Interpol. it must be conscious not to choose men who had established reputation of corrupt enrichment or fraudulently liquidated a national bank.
It must not choose men who had in the past helped plunged their state into irredeemable debt and infrastructural deficit. It must be conscious to choose a man whose record in office will boost global confidence in the nation’s economy and development agenda. It must choose a man that can reverse the nations slide into anarchy. It must choose a man who is transparent and do not have a case of corruption or any skeleton in his cupboard, it must choose a man whom the international community will have confidence in. It must carefully choose a man that had not dip his hand into the commonwealth and stole the nation blind. Here in lies the relevance and appropriateness of Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi,a former university lecturer, a former commissioner for finance in Kaduna state, a two time senator a party leader and a man whose leadership and national policy input has become a reference point in Nigeria.
He is a man that has shown that he has what it takes to be the president of Nigeria. he is a loyal party man, a bridge builder and a man whose achievements while in office as governor and senator has continue to be a reference point. If the opposition is desirous of having a presidential candidate that will truly give it a winning edge, that will not engender anti party activities and would enjoy massive supports of all stakeholders it need not to look far but within the party. To trade off a credible and acceptable candidate is to give a leeway to the ruling party to continue with the purported change agenda or to throw away the prize to an independent candidate. The international embarrassments Nigerians are facing on the account of leadership challenges must not be allowed to linger on for too long. We as a people must demonstrate our resilience and ability to recover from setback of any kind.
– Umar wrote in from Kaduna
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