Less than a month after takeoff on November 18th, the 2019 electioneering campaign in Nigeria is getting more and more interesting in a way that complicated might not be a terrible word to use. Those who thought that the word ‘cabal’ will only come to play on February 16th, 2019 in the minds of each voter as he or she casts the vote got the shock of their life when Aisha Buhari, one of the two original authors of the concept in relation to the Buhari regime came back to the subject matter last week. Unlike her previous engagement with the concept, the president’s wife added a ‘call to action’ to it this time when she told a women leadership summit on December 6th that Nigerian men were nowhere to seen contesting the two men she says have seized her husband’s mandate.
As if on cue, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former president and the ultimate Generalissimo of Nigerian politics, declared frontally on December 10th that “only a fool will sit on the fence or be neutral when his or her country is being destroyed with incompetence, corruption, lack of focus, insecurity, nepotism, brazen impunity and denial of the obvious”. The chief, said the statement from his media aide to that effect, does not belong to the category of a fool. That is his own way of saying that he is on the trenches to ensuring that President Buhari is voted out of power next February. He was reacting to what is now a misrepresentation at a previous outing that suggested that he is playing neutral in the politics of 2019. Rather, he is standing shoulder to shoulder with his former deputy, Atiku Abubakar, now the presidential candidate of the main opposition party so far.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) has been adding salt to the brew. It has stepped up caressing those it sights on its radar on corruption, however defined. The most notable is what rapidly came to the public as arrest of two sons of Atiku Abubakar. Whether the public has accepted the EFCC’s explanation that the twosome was not its target is still unclear. The timing might make such comprehension difficult unless and until time also proves the EFCC correct.
There is a small but still very interesting dimension about to play out. It concerns the reported meeting of the National Christian Elders Forum to decide on a Consensus Candidate out of some half a dozen candidates who are already the flag bearers of their different parties. That could provide those not comfortable with the existing dominant candidates an alternative just as it could be disruptive in terms of religion and politics in Nigeria, depending though on how it is handled.
The mother of them all might be the president’s disinclination to sign the Electoral Bill at a time when the intention is bound to be read mostly as the unfolding of his last card. The president argues that there are provisions there that could create confusion. But confusion is a subjective term which someone should have advised the president against. There would have been nothing t it if the legislature could muster the required number to overturn the veto but can that happen now? And if that doesn’t happen, then what happens? 2019 seems rapidly getting more and more interesting. Can it go out of the ordinary too?