President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar
As a political scientist I have taken time to study Nigeria election 12 years back, so I can do a comparative analysis of the forthcoming election in 10 days time.
In 2007, the PDP won in 2011, the PDP also won while in 2015, the APC defeated the PDP after retaining power for 16 years and winning the election 5 consecutive times,1999-2011.
During the campaigns of 2015, the PDP and other watchers of Nigeria Political parties accused the opposition candidate of dictatorship tendencies while the APC accused the PDP of bad governance. The question begging for an answer now is, "have they both parties proven to be different today?"
Let me delve into succinct analysis of the strength of both the APC and the PDP in 2019.
STRENGTHS OF APC
Without doubt, APC's highest strengths are:
1. INCUMBENCY: The power of incumbent is one of the key factors in African politics. Drawing lessons from Nigeria, Ghana,Gambia, Liberia and Congo etc. where incumbent presidents lost to opposition parties, one may tend to play down on this factor,but it matters. The APC controls all the powers and commands absolute loyalty from all departments and agencies. This makes it to be ahead of the PDP.
2. BUHARI DOGGED FOLLOWERSHIP IN THE 12 CORE NORTHERN STATES:
The APC presidential candidate is a man that is loved by his people. No matter what one say about his candidature,the downtrodden don't care. They will still vote for him. This is a critical point.
3. LOYALTY OF POLITICAL APPOINTEES 2015-2019: Let it be on record that everyone appointed by the president in any agency must work for victory. This has been the culture since 1999. But in his case, his appointees sees him as a man of character and are willing to vehemently work for his victory.
4. INTEGRITY PERCEPTIONS OF BUHARI: This point account the minds of all his followers in the six geopolitical zones. They see him as the man who meant well for the nation and will do their best to vote him back.
WEAKNESSES OF BUHARI
There so many thoughts about this point. But what you call a weakness is a strength to others. Some of the weaknesses noticed include:
1. Insecurity; His government's inability to fix the security challenge it inherited which was one of the points of his campaign in 2015. The security challenge in Northeast (Boko Haram) northwest (Bandits or banditry) and the activities of Killers herdsmen in North Central Nigeria.
2. Economy: Most Nigerians believe that the economy is not doing well in this regime.
3. Political appointments: Critics and followers of Federal Character principle tend to see the appointments as one sided. This may play a role.
4. Security chiefs appointments and unable to change them despite pressure from the public.
STRENGTHS OF ATIKU
The former Vice President is a man that have a long way in politics. This is his 12th year in seeking to be president. Recall that the president won in 2015 after his 12th year attempt. The following you seems to be his strength.
1. EXPERIENCE: Many believe that the PDP presidential candidate has the experience needed to occupy the office. As a former Vice President of Nigeria, and a retired custom officer,that he is well equipped to lead the nation.
2. INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY SYMPATHY: There is a raising affection from the international community to the PDP presidential. One is his ability to enter the USA despite rumors of resistance in the past. In record, almost all leading world leaders seems to be giving him a green nod to victory.
3. PARTY UNITY: The PDP after it's presidential primaries became more united. People like Musa Rabiu Kwankwaso,Sule Lamido, Aminu Tambuwal, Ibrahim Dankwambo,Dino,Saraki etc. remained committed to the party. This is a huge success and strength to PDP.
4. A ROBUST MANIFESTO AND HIS POSITION ON RESTRUCTURING: To some people in the southwest Nigeria, restructuring is key. Afenifere said they will support any candidate who believes in restructuring.
His good manifesto has made a lot of sense to some people. They believe that his plans will make Nigeria work again.
WEAKNESSES OF ATIKU
The former Vice President is one of the most investigated politician in Nigeria. The reports has mare his image negatively yet he wasn't indicted.
1. Obasanjo comments about him: Even though he has retract most of what he said about him. Some people still hate Atiku because of that.
2. Atiku's roles in privatizing some key sectors in Nigeria as vice president: So many people believe he sold the establishments to his friends and to himself. This make them to believe that he will sale the nation.
3. PDP 16 years quagmire: What is hindering Atiku mostly is the position some Nigerians have taken against the PDP. But with much hard work,he may overcome.
4. Capitalism: Some see him as a capitalist. That he will do of business than governance if elected.
Note, the following points will also work for Atiku in the 2019 election: the selection of his Vice President from the Igbo extraction, his three wives engaging women all over the nation, his vice President campaign activities in the south and west..., The sympathy he is getting locally, elites consensus, education and exposure, acceptability, transitional memories of Nigerians and the perceived dismal performance of Buhari.
FEARS OF MOST NIGERIANS
I try to talk about the nostalgic views of both the APC and PDP over the election.
To some, no matter who wins next week election,the nation will remain in a state of permanent Concern because of the present state of the nation.
Particularly, if the incumbent president returns to power, will the opposition be allowed to have their say?
While others are nursing the fear that if PDP return to power that they will not leave aso rock again because of the mistakes they made before and the shame they faced in 2015.
While Nigerians are divided over whether the economy is booming or dooming, there is fear of the unknown.
INEC and security agencies are other fear factors of Nigerians. They seem to believe that the security will work for the interest of the APC and that INEC is prepared to conduct inconclusive elections to enable the ruling party win at all costs.
Finally, in my thoughts, I want Nigerians to be positive and brace up for a better future. The issue of vote buying is what the two political parties are doing indirectly and directly. But with faith in the Nigerian project, we will move this nation to the future it deserves.
The vote of the core north maybe divided 70% to Buhari and 30% to Atiku because of massive loyalty to him.
Invariably, the north central, Northeast and South South may give Atiku bulk votes while the southwest votes maybe 50/50 or 60% for Buhari/40% to Atiku. Again, the southwest may decide to give 60% because of perceptions.
Either ways, fingers crossed while waiting for the outcome. One good thing about this election is, there won't be violence because Nigerians are wiser than before. No need dying and fighting for politicians.
I will also advise the PDP not to solely depend on the international polls results. Hard work is what brings victory.
Federal University of Kashere,
Faculty of Humanities, Management and Social Sciences,
Department of Political Science