The various political parties drew curtain on their primaries to produce flagbearers for the 2019 general elections on Sunday with Pointer that the real contest will be between the representatives of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition party, People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The two who appear to be equally matched, are heading to the contest with profiles that rode highest among the representatives of all the political parties in contention for the most exalted office of the nation.
Buhari, a former military ruler is also the sitting president on the platform of the APC while Atiku who had at different times moved in-between the PDP and the APC, was the deputy during the former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s eight year reign of 1999 to 2007.
Although the two have no clear cut manifestos, they however, alongside other flagbearers will canvass for the votes of the 66.9 million eligible voters sanctioned for the 2019 elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after the conclusion of voters validation exercise that ran from April 2017.
Breakdown of the 66.9 million voters in the INEC register shows that 18.9 million voters are from the North West while the North East has 10.038 million eligible voters. From the North Central comes 7.675 million voters while 8.937 million voters are from the South-South. The South-West has 14.298 million eligible voters while from the South-East are 7.028 eligible voters.
Henceforth, the nation will witness various strategies including thuggery, violence and money to woo the electorates between now and the months to come.
Buhari has prided himself on a pyrrhic victory of his administration against the Boko Haram insurgencies which have left the North-East and neighbouring North-West states in ruins, thousands dead and millions fleeing, the $44 billion foreign reserves, the 8,000 megawatts of power generation and the Central Bank of Nigeria led Anchor Borrowers Programme which with other acclaimed incentives, are to attract two million Nigerians back to agriculture.
His inability to deal with cabinet members whose corruption allegation hang on their necks is one dark spots on his administration.
The electorates will await Atiku’s promises in addition to his restructuring promises which Nigerians see as deception.
In the area of economy, Nigerians are still in the dark about the better of the two as Nigeria exited recession last year while the CBN at the last Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting raised alarm that the country is again on the path to recession, the second in four years of Buhari. Again, the rising debt profile is another area of concern.
Although the Olusegun Obasanjo administration in which Atiku Abubakar served as the Vice President would be remembered for some economic strides such as the pension reform, telecom reform amongst others, the privatisation exercise under the direct purview of Atiku which served as the main measure of his economic management however left a bad taste.
Majority of the flagship transactions such as Nicon Insurance, Daily Times, Ajaokuta Steel Mills, and host of others are back to comatose while litigation has stifled Aluminum Smelter Company Of Nigeria In Akwa Ibom state.
Nigeria is plagued by several vices including advanced fee fraud otherwuse known as Yahoo-Yahoo or 419, terrorism, insecurity, and lots of others, it is however interesting that they got to an alarming level in the 16 years of PDP rule and have grown untamed.
Nigeria has plunged deeper into poverty under the administration of Buhari but memories of the financial recklessness of the PDP led government is still scary.
Other parties will also go to the drawing tables to map out strategies for the forthcoming elections, analysts feel they are still paper-weight considering the financial muscle of both PDP and PDP. Also because Nigeria democracy is still far behind those that run on ideology, those with capabilities for stomach infrastructure like the PDP and the APC will still dominate the terrain.