Five broad issues seem to be fueling upheavals surrounding the buildup to the 2023 election cycle, which is less than two years away. These issues include President Muhammadu Buhari’s performance and leadership style, arguments for and against zoning of the presidential slot, simmering crisis within the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), mutual suspicion within the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and calls by ethnic nationalities for restructuring the governance organogram of the country.
Despite the general climate of insecurity arising from banditry and kidnapping across various parts of the country, calculations and scheming by politicians have continued to fuel suspense and uncertainty in the country.
Governance would soon take the back seat, especially as state governors engage in round-the-clock politicking and deliberating about who goes where in 2023. The situation has become so tensed that penultimate week, no less than three northern state governors relocated their weekly state executive council meetings to Abuja.
But as the politicians scheme, some citizens express worry that 2023 may not turn out peaceful, particularly given recollections that democracy had not gained much-needed experience and traction in terms of strengthening the institutions.
Furthermore, strident calls for restructuring by ethnic nationalities, especially plans by the Middle Belt or North Central geopolitical zone to align with the South on the issue of restructuring make the horizon cloudy as far as 2023 election is concerned.
It could be against the background of this threat of dissembling by the North Central that immediate past President of Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, declared recently that the geopolitical zone would determine the future of Nigeria.
Although Saraki was alluding to the huge economic potential of the geopolitical zone and its contribution to Nigeria’s development, he contended that the North Central region deserves every consideration that others expect, noting that the zone should also be seen as belonging to Nigeria and not a mere numerical appendage.
Yet some commentators expressed the view that the North Central geopolitical zone does not possess the cohesion and political stamina to determine the future of things in the country. Those who doubt North Central’s ability to serve as the pilot of Nigeria’s future point to the existence of disparate cleavages, including the Middle Belt Forum and the North Central Peoples Forum, as denying the zone of the necessary unity to assert itself decisively.
However, as the North Central, which ordinarily helps the north to exercise dominance, has decided to take its destiny in its hand, it is possible that no single zone would arrogate to itself the power to do and undo things come 2023in Nigerian politics.
Consequently, even if the NCPF panders to the political whims of the North and the MBF tags on with South, the balance of political forces would without doubt force the stakeholders to the discussion table. That, to an extent is a pointer to the possibility of more alliances and mutual assurances.
In the last analysis, every calculation for the 2023 presidential poll points to the reality that partisan inclinations would continue to generate heat as the days go by.
NOTHING evidences President Buhari’s performance in office than the plethora of aspirants rearing to succeed him and the level of insecurity in the country. When he campaigned to be president, Nigerian electorate believed that as a former military officer, the President would deploy his military expertise to dislodge the Boko Haram insurgents. That was after former opposition politicians rallied round his famed integrity to build a multi-party alliance to gift him with a consensus presidential ticket.
Five years in the saddle as President, despite health challenges that defined his first term, Buhari has not battled Boko Haram and corruption to a standstill, but succeeded in raising the country to the despiteful height as the world’s poverty capital.
Without alluding to his performance, President Buhari had, during a National Executive Committee (NEC) of APC, warned his fellow party faithful to be careful and ensure that the party did not unravel after his tenure in 2023. Ever since he made that observation, state governors elected on the party’s platform began moves to possess the party structure as well as model it in such a way as to make it remain competitive for the 2023 electoral battle.
The governors’ schemes not only led to the dismantling of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) that was elected in August 2018, but also the coupling of an unconstitutional National Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (NCECPC) led by one of them, the governor of Yobe State, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni.