Let us even concede two more South-West states – even though that will be highly unlikely. If Buhari or APC gets more than 25 percent in four South-West states, the tally will remain at 12 states lost out of 37. That is a cliffhanger, given that there are borderline states in the vast north of Nigeria – starting from the Middle Belt – where he and APC will perform woefully.
Forget it; APC can no longer form a government at first vote in 2019. There may even be a stalemate. Ask me how.
Just as in 2015, we had to test the constitution when one party handed over to another for the first time in Nigeria at the national level, in 2019 we may likely have to test the constitution again because already from my own projections, we will have at least a rerun at the presidential level, for the first time ever. Not even the attempt to have the presidential elections first can help this situation. If things pan out in another way, Nigeria may be looking at a Government of National Unity, and so now is the time for hard work.
Let me explain.
A president needs 25 percent of votes from 25 States to form a government at first instance. Now that may look easy, judging from our past, but that is no longer the case. Sometimes the past fails to predict the future. Let’s take a walk through Nigeria presently. The instrument of poverty is still available, yes, but so also has the anger and disenchantment among Nigerians increased to stratospheric heights, with the disappointment with all our politicians and our president in particular. Also, awareness is sharper than ever before. Technology is here to rescue us all. Information flow is now seamless, even in our villages. This dulls the effect of the poverty instrument which has obviously been deployed by Nigeria’s wicked power elites over decades. Yes, millions of Nigerians can still be easily confused with a few dollars worth of food, but millions have also arisen to rescue a country rendered adrift – in spite of relative poverty.
APC should forget getting 25 percent in any South-Eastern state for starters. Not even in Imo State. What is there to vote for in APC in Imo State? Rochas was able to manage a narrow win in 2015 on the basis of his personality traits, and in the last presidential elections, APC’s Buhari only managed to clinch 19 percent of Imo votes. Now that Nigeria has seen more poverty and crisis, he should expect a lot less. More so, Buhari’s leadership at the centre has now totally alienated the average South-Easterner, plus the fact that Rochas’ ideas that are driving him crazy have not helped. He is trying to install his son-in-law as the next governor and has also granted amnesty to a gang that summarily wasted 25 people at Omoku, Rivers State on New Year Day. Add that to his statue-installation binge. The voting public has taken notice and will show their revenge shortly. In short, APC cannot obtain 5 percent of the votes in ANY South-Eastern state.
I wager that things have only changed for the worse in these states since 2015. These states may be controlled by the APC but people are likely to vote for a better presidential candidate, irrespective of tribe, when the time comes. I believe the APC will get about 25 percent of the votes in only two South-West states.
The South-West is in distress. Well, for me, all I’ve always seen in this region is mass poverty and suffering – apart from on Saturdays when some of our people roll out the drums to waste some billions of naira at ‘owambe’ parties. Those who make the money here are musicians and wine traders. In most of our cities, South-Easterners control the economy. We have not really been very enterprising, and this has led to that part of Nigeria relinquishing the advantage of higher education as well – for you need real money to sustain the educational advantage. Buhari was largely supported in this region in 2015, out of a mixture of sentiments, illusions, and effective ‘packaging’ by Bola Tinubu, but the tide has turned today. Except by a sheer miracle or magic, the APC government will get a very nasty feedback – a bloody nose – for letting down this region, by 2019. Nothing is happening in most of the states of the South-West, apart from politics anyway, and the tight confederacy among our politicians, many of whom have been crisscrossing from APC to PDP and back, only got tighter.
For instance in my Ondo State for instance, half of Akeredolu’s cabinet was inherited from Agagu, a former PDP governor. Ondo is one of the more prosperous of the lot, but outside the major cities of Akure, Ondo, Owo, what you get is mass financial distress – you drive through those towns and villages and see people stuck in a time warp, looking lost for what is going on in the world. The point is that the economy has ditched millions of our people who don’t know what to do to survive in a frenetic ‘winner-takes-all’, crony-capitalist society, which is Nigeria, and a robotised, artificial-intelligence run global community where machines and capital is rendering human beings – especially in Africa – almost totally jobless, and useless. Yes, we get a handful of people creating businesses in some nice sectors, and making money therefrom, but in the majority, most of our people wake up with no clue on how to catch up with the new economy and remain relevant. Most of our able bodied boys end up in sports betting houses or manage to find a motorcycle to ride around for peanuts. Even those in farming are having to wait in vain for salvation.
Some of the indicators of how 2019 will pan out are also already emerging. One Ibrahim Bunu asked rhetorically on Facebook that now that the president has asked Bola Tinubu to reconcile APC big wigs, who will reconcile Buhari with the alienated and disappointed citizens of Nigeria? That is cause for real concern to those working for the president.
The politics of thievery and thuggery will be defeated in 2019 just by the sheer vigilance, anger and numbers of the people. Also, political entrepreneurs should be put under notice. Anyone who is putting themselves up as presidential candidate should know that 2019 is serious business in a country that needs to be rescued from the cliffhanger.
Before I continue, let me state that whereas the space is likely to be crowded in 2019, with so many people jostling to be president of Nigeria (there are over 100 people in that space presently), that also has its advantages. Even if we get as many as 30 or 50 presidential candidates, 2019 will be the year that every candidate will try to pull their weight. This means that the vote will be stretched so thin that no one, not even Buhari, can see it as a stroll in the park, like it used to be. That means that obtaining a 25 percent chunk in many states will be extremely difficult for anyone, including Buhari. That means that there will be more eyes guarding the votes, thereby reducing rigging. I am also putting out this strategy/scenario in the open with this article in order to put the ruling party under notice. They should know that we know, and that we know that they know. They shouldn’t be thinking of cheap hanky-panky in 2019; neither they nor PDP, their sister platform. The politics of thievery and thuggery will be defeated in 2019 just by the sheer vigilance, anger and numbers of the people. Also, political entrepreneurs should be put under notice. Anyone who is putting themselves up as presidential candidate should know that 2019 is serious business in a country that needs to be rescued from the cliffhanger.
And so, just as in the South-East, the six South-South states will certainly not deliver 25 percent to the APC – with the exception of maybe Edo State (and even there it will be a struggle. In 2015 Buhari scored 40 percent of the votes in Edo and the State has nothing to show for it today). Already, we have 10 states (six South-Eastern, and four South-Western) that I have here predicted will not deliver 25 percent for a Buhari/APC presidency. Even a Kwankwanso or Tambuwal may not get that percentage if given the chance. Why? Because the mismanagement of the policy by the government presently has led to great distrust. When I hear christian pastors preaching fervently and vehemently against Buhari, I also see a groundswell of religious and tribal hardening going on. It scares me. Under the Buhari government, everyone seems to have dug into their tribal and religious enclaves the more. That is not the way to make a country better. It is highly unfortunate to say the least. This means that for now, people are likely to vote for charismatic candidates of their own religion and tribe, thereby splitting the vote. Well, if APC or Buhari does not achieve 25 percent in 5 South-South states, in addition to the previous 10 states, then we already have 15 states in which that result is not achieved. This is 15 out of 36 states. Check! Not yet checkmate.
Let us even concede two more South-West states – even though that will be highly unlikely. If Buhari or APC gets more than 25 percent in four South-West states, the tally will remain at 12 states lost out of 37. That is a cliffhanger, given that there are borderline states in the vast north of Nigeria – starting from the Middle Belt – where he and APC will perform woefully. There will surely be some surprises up north – like in Adamawa, Benue, Plateau, Taraba… Again, I see no reason why the South-West will not seek a better life and will remain in the poverty and filth of the present. Lagos and Ekiti States seem a sure massive loss for Buhari.
The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria says when this scenario happens, a run-off election should be conducted WITHIN SEVEN (7) DAYS. This is where the danger is. Will Nigeria be able to get its act together within seven days? The law is assuming that we will all be gentlemen and agree on results within a few days, while new ballots are printed and distributed in a couple of days.
Let us look at the north.
Will Atiku get a PDP ticket or be duped once more? If he does, he may be able to lock down Adamawa and Taraba for himself. He may even strike deals in Benue and Plateau. Saraki’s ambition is yet unknown, including what he has in stock for Kwara, where he still holds them by the jugular – pending when ANRP will unshackle the people there. Tambuwal’s name is being peddled as a likely candidate, meaning he may influence Sokoto and maybe Kebbi. Sule Lamido was in the news recently trying to convince people – quite shockingly – not to vote for Buhari because the latter is not a full-blooded Fulani! No one knows if he will also get a ticket and how this will water down Buhari’s massive influence up north. The bottom line is that surprises may be sprung, and if Buhari or anyone APC fields – even if from the north – loses a couple of states up north, a government cannot be formed.
The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria says when this scenario happens, a run-off election should be conducted WITHIN SEVEN (7) DAYS. This is where the danger is. Will Nigeria be able to get its act together within seven days? The law is assuming that we will all be gentlemen and agree on results within a few days, while new ballots are printed and distributed in a couple of days. The constitution wasn’t written for the Nigeria and Nigerians of today. We have become so selfish, disorganised, combative, distrustful, untrustworthy, litigious, and unpatriotic. Our leaders have also not shown the right examples. What I haven’t been able to confirm in all of this though, is what happens if the votes are really close together, or if the second, third and fourth candidates in the election results are really close together in their scores. Chances are also that many of the presidential candidates will head to court to truncate the whole process.
All said, my advise to political parties including ANRP, is to understand the enormity of the task at hand and to work extremely hard to make a mark. At ANRP we have our job cut out for us, and we understand that to make a profound dent and catalyse Nigeria’s much-needed progress, we need to keep working on our structure and in general, the asset side of our political balance sheet (membership, branches, hierarchy, discipline, culture, transparency, accountability, good will etc), as well as our cash flow through membership contributions. Many of the other parties are relying on the frauds that define the past but it will not work this time. Nigerians are sick and tired of being sick and tired.