Barring divine intervention, that President Muhammadu Buhari will contest the 2019 presidential election is not in doubt, as he has himself declared that he would be running for a second term, unless he changes his mind in that regard.
What has, however, been subject for debate is whether or not he would emerge victorious in the important election. Many analysts, both genuine and armchair, have come up with various reasons why the President may come back or not. Some, who are vehemently against President Buhari’s return to power have pointed out that Nigerians under the Buhari administration have not fared well under the current Buhari-led All Progressives Congress, APC, administration.
But many indices on ground have actually pointed to a possible Buhari return, in the 2019 elections, to the seat of government, the Aso Rock Villa.
To start with, the string of victories for the ruling APC in recent gubernatorial and bye-elections are marginal pointers to what to expect in the main polls come 2019. The APC, against all odds, won the Ekiti State gubernatorial election on July 14 and also coasted to victory in two senatorial by elections in Katsina and Bauchi states and one federal constituency election in Kogi State.
Demographically, the North East has always produced the highest votes cast in every election since 1999 in Nigeria and with available data, it will remain the largest producer of votes cast come 2019, and from all indication, a large chunk of the votes will go to President Buhari.
The South East, which in 2015 did not support the President and the APC, is already singing a new tune as 2019 approaches. The permutation and the game changer is the fact that it is in the interest of the Southern part of the country for Buhari to return to power in 2019, so that power would shift to the South in 2023, which gives the South East a better chance of taking a shot at the Presidency, rather than supporting a new candidate who would want to remain in power for the next eight years, till 2027, before power could return down South and by then, the chances of the zone would be slim.
Also, it is on record that in terms of infrastructural development, the South East, with all its support for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in its 16-year hold on to power, never had it so good under the PDP as under the Buhari administration, despite not supporting the President in 2015. Same with the South-South geopolitical zone.
According to a top politician, Buhari’s return for a second term in 2019 is a fait accompli. He said that the 2019 presidential election is going to be a tug of war between Northerners and so far, none of those aspiring to become President possess the popularity enjoyed by Buhari across the three geo-political zones in the North.
He also disclosed that traditionally, the South-South and the South-West have always aligned with the north at election time, adding that why this was not so in 2015 in the South-South was because a son of the soil in Goodluck Jonathan was on the ballot.
The defection of former Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, to the APC from the PDP, whichever way it is looked it is a big boost to Buhari’s chance in the 2019 election. Many federal lawmakers and a few governors from the opposition have also allegedly perfected plans to defect to the ruling party as well.
Another pointer to a Buhari return to Aso Rock Villa come 2019 is the expected implosion that may follow the emergence of the PDP presidential candidate. Recall that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar defected to PDP from the APC, when it was clear to him that he may not clinch the APC presidential ticket, to pursue his presidential ambition and he is rumoured to have penciled down the incumbent Ekiti State governor as his running mate. Senate President Bukola Saraki also defected to the PDP ostensibly to pursue his presidential ambition with Ike Ekweremadu, who is expected to galvanise the support of the South-East for him, as a potential running mate. Fortmer Speaker of the House of Representatives and incumbent governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, also defected to the PDP to pursue his presidential ambition with an Nyesome Wike running mate.
Same goes to immediate past governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwakwanso , whose presidential ambition is an open secret. This is just as other members of the PDP, who had remained in the party through thick and thin and are nursing presidential ambitions, among who are former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido and former governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Makarfi, who have also vowed not to allow new comers hijack the party’s ticket from them.
From all indication, the post primary implosion expected to rock the opposition PDP may signal the beginning of the end for the party, as it is yet to be seen how the party would manage the expected crisis.
And finally, the fact that despite all being peddled on the social media for or against the President as 2019 approaches, the Nigerian electorate has continued to be more and more enlightened by the day and can no longer be bamboozled by any rhetoric from politicians and their hatchet men.
Although it is yet early in the day, and in politics, it is not over until it is over, the possibility of President Buhari returning to power come 2019, is on a high.
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