2019 Presidential Election: Buhari Coasting To A Landslide Victory, By Ayantunji Gbenro (PhD)

2019 election is barely two months away, the umpire has declared the campaigns open and the gladiators are already on the field across the country. There are currently over 20 candidates jostling for the highest job in the land. These candidates can be categorized into contenders, pretenders and “I also run”. The contest is seeing by majority as a direct fight between the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling APC and Alhaji Abubakar Atiku of the major opposition party, PDP. The pretenders are Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, Mr. Donald Duke and Prof. Kingsley Moghalu. Despite the effort by the pretenders, the fact that the candidates’ names are more popular than their platforms speak volume. The lack of financial resources and political structure across the country is a serious impediment to the genuine and laudable aspiration of these patriots to chat a different political course for the country. These candidates could have probably been better if they aspire to go to the National Assembly on the platform of any of the two major political parties and commence the gradual ideological change the country so much needs from inside. The other candidates are the “I also run”, in my opinion. It’s difficult to understand the motivation for most of these candidates to run for Presidents when their names hardly heard even in their wards.

I will try to justify the above prediction on the outcome of 2019 presidential election by considering the chances of the incumbent president with his major challenger, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. The prediction will be done by examining factors such as: the strength and cohesion of APC and PDP, the character and political reach of each candidate, the performance of the incumbent and the electoral value of the running mate to each candidate.

Both APC and PDP experienced crisis after the primary elections. The APC experienced mass exodus before the presidential primary when it was obvious that Buhari was propped to be the only candidate. However, the presidential primary itself didn’t lead to any issue and the affirmation of Buhari as APC’s candidate was a smooth sail. APC also experienced crisis during the legislative and governorship primaries in many states, with Imo, Ogun and Zamfara been the most affected States because the sitting governors couldn’t have their ways in installing their preferred candidates. These states have experienced mass exodus from APC by the supporters of the sitting governors.

One thing that is instructive however is that, even in States where aggrieved APC members moved out of the party, the decamping didn’t translate to either withdrawal of support for Buhari or support for Atiku by hitherto. They have largely remained committed to working for the success of Buhari in the presidential election. Contrary to APC’s experience, PDP’s Presidential primary was a battle royale. Among the contenders at the PDP presidential primaries, only Senator Bukola Saraki can today be said to be totally committed to Atiku’s campaign. Other contestants have gone under the radar. Even when some of them appear in the public once in a while, the body language cannot be said to be encouraging. Also, the commitment of the likes of governor Wike of Rivers State, whose State financial and electoral strength appears non-comital.

The fact that new decampees into PDP appear to be calling the shot is not sitting well with Majority that stayed to build the party after 2015 defeat. The SE PDP governors and legislators also appear to have developed cold feet on Atiku’s candidacy as a fall out of the choice of running mate. If the structures that Atiku’s campaign will rely on are non-comital to his candidacy two months to the election then there is cause for alarm. The PDP may want to garnish its outing at the recent NW (seven States) zonal campaign, which was the commencement of it campaign but when measured by the turnout of both supporters and party leaders, the outing was a monumental failure and probably a pointer to what to come. Judging from the perspective of party’s cohesion and commitment to candidacy, Buhari appears to be miles ahead of Atiku. PDP can still put its house in order but time is running out.

President Mohammadu Buhari is a man of impeccable character and integrity, even his fiercest detractors will agree with this summation in their closets. He has over the year proved his integrity and this has given him a cult like following among the masses, especially in the north. The person of Buhari alone guarantees, at least, 12 million votes without any campaign in a free and fair election. This cannot be said of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Either real or imaginary, he has been projected as a symbol of everything wrong with our society over the years. This has caused a lot of loathing for him among the masses especially from the north, even in his Adamawa State. Atiku as a candidate cannot withstand Buhari in any northern State even if PDP controls the States’ instruments of coercion talk less of a situation where the State apparatuses are out of their hands.

PDP has also done little or nothing to reduce Buhari’s political influence in the past three and half years it has been out of power. If anything, the age, religion and ethnicity that PDP employed over the past three and half years to de-market Buhari in some part of NC, SE and SS has further enhanced his standing in his traditional support base and alienated Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. The story of Jibrin from Sudan, which is obviously been promoted by PDP and Atiku’s camp has further dent their claim that Buhari has no strength to withstand the rigor of office while the inability of Atiku to visit USA despite recent desperate efforts further confirm the assertion made about his person by many but majorly amplified by his former boss, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. While PDP has not been able to make any significant inroad into Buhari’s support base, APC and Buhari have made significant inroad into SE and SS where they are hitherto considered an anathema.

On performance, though opinions may differ depending on the yardstick employed on whether Buhari has done excellently well or not, one thing that cannot be disputed is that he has done more when compared to PDP’s performance in 16yrs vis a vis the available resources. The various infrastructural developments across the nation will be a testimonial Buhari will flaunt to the electorates in seeking for re-election. I don’t know how PDP and Atiku will want to deny such verifiable evidences knowing fully well what was done by them in 16yrs. The security across the country has greatly improved under Buhari when compared to PDP’s era. Boko Haram have been pushed to the brinks of lake Chad compare to when it threatens to overrun the whole of Northern Nigeria and Abuja.

The herdsmen crisis and kidnapping which a section of the media tried to amplified beyond reasoning has been largely curtailed in recent time. The economy appears to be on the rise compare to the free fall state Buhari inherited. Pensioners owed over years are been paid. This and many more are things Buhari will point to and it will be compared with the 16yrs of PDP. The Buhari’s anticorruption crusade is yielding results when high profile convictions, forfeitures and fear to engage in corrupt practices under the current administration is compared with 16yrs of PDP when corruption became synonymous to Nigeria.

Another area the Buhari Administration will score big is its Social Intervention Programs. This has been thoughted as the most ambitious Social Intervention program, ever, in Africa. The over three hundred engaged in Npower with thirty thousand monthly stipends have relatives and PVC and will make a statement at the right time. I am sure that they will speak for Buhari at the poll comes 16th of February 2019. The three hundred thousand captured in the conditional cash transfer also posses PVC and relative. They will speak at the right time for Buhari. The over nine million children enjoying the school feeding and almost ninety thousand food vendors also have PVC and relatives. The two million that would have benefitted from Trader money also have PVCs and relatives. Market money, Anchor borrowers etc beneficiaries will also speak when it is time. These people are the neglected of the society by the successive government who are prioritized by Buhari’s administration. They will all make their opinion known at the poll.

The choice of running mate is usually to compliment the candidate in any election. The choice of Osibajo in 2014 was to balance the religious card and to bring the Southern voters on board. The choice worked perfectly well. The choice of Peter Obi is doing the opposite to Atiku’s candidacy. First, the choice has caused a lot of disaffection among the political elites in the SE. If SE, which is considered the major support base of PDP and Atiku singing a discordant tune, then, an obvious threat to his success is brewing. In addition to this, some actions of Obi as Anambra State governor which was viewed as anti-Muslim and anti-north is now been brought back to remembrance. This will further alienate Atiku from northern voters. Osibajo on the other hand has gone beyond just a compliment to Buhari, to what many analysts refer to as Political “Star Boy”.

His connection to the ordinary man on the street has extended the cult like followership of Buhari among the masses beyond the north to other regions of the country. His loyalty during Buhari’s sickness has proven his Christianity beyond rhetoric and endears him to people of other religion. His competency has been applauded by all and the synergy between him and his principal is what the nation has never witnessed at that level of governance. The more PDP try to throw mud at him the more they make him popular a leader without stain. When compare to each other, Buhari’s running mate is million of light years ahead of Atiku’s in terms of what he brings to the political table.

When the factors discussed in this article are married with other factors such as voting population by States and the standing of each candidate in each State vis a vis the standing of his party in the States, I will make bold prediction that Buhari will not only win the 2019 presidential election but he will do so with a margin that exceeds that winning margin of 2015 presidential election. Except something catastrophic happens, Buhari is coasting to a landslide victory in the 2019 presidential election.

 

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Revealed: Letter To Buhari: Obasanjo Plotting Kwankwaso/Ezekwesili For 2019 Presidency

The recent outburst by former president Olusegun Obasanjo, where he spoke against the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and asked him not to run for a second term is part of a game plan to return back as the godfather of the occupant of the number one seat of power, reports have shown.

According to reports, the plot with the former President at the Center is to push for the former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso to emerge as the next President of Nigeria with former minister of Education, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili as the vice.

But for the plot to discredit Buhari at all cost and coerce him into jettisoning any idea of running for another term, a source in the know revealed that the former president would ordinarily have sought audience with the incumbent president or at the least write him a private letter like he has done to past leaders, but Obasanjo this time around choose to do it via what he called a special statement released to the public.

There are reports that Obasanjo has been holding meetings with a group of centrist politicians who constitute members of the new political formation known as the Third Force and which will later metamorphose into a full fledge political party or align with existing political parties any moment from now.

Findings have revealed that the Press statement issued by the former President against President Buhari was to run down the Present government in his characteristic manner and pave way for the emergence of a new political alliance in the making.

The coalition being championed by Obasanjo with other arrow heads such as former president of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Chief Olisa Agbakobo, Mr. Pat Utomi, former presidential spokesperson, Akin Osuntokun, Former minister of Culture and Tourism, Frank Nweke Jnr., former governor of Cross Rivers, Donald Duke and Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso to mention a few birthed since the health issues of the president became public knowledge in early 2017.

Kwankwaso as the presidential hopeful for the new group was the minister of defence under the second tenure of Obasanjo, why Ezekwesili served as Minister of Education and Solid minerals under the same govt.

The former Kano governor, who has since positioned himself as the political godson of Chief Obasanjo had since his emergence as second best in the 2015 presidential primary elections where Buhari clinched the APC ticket that eventually fetched him the four year mandate as Nigeria’s president, fancied himself as a force to reckon with and capable of becoming President.

The plot had started with the ill-health of President Buhari when he was twice admitted at a London hospital for a yet to be disclosed ailment. The calculation was that the president upon his return was never going to be fit enough to even nurse the idea of a second term, let alone have a go at it. This will then pave the way for Kwankwaso whom former president Obasanjo hope will align with his agenda of being able to call the shot despite leaving office several years ago.

The plot had suffered a setback after the President regained full health, and started waxing stronger by the day, a development that has prodded Nigerians to start urging him to run for another term of four years.
Insiders had revealed that it was when the initial plot to repress the President on his ill health had failed that a new plot to rubbish him was hatched to attract attention to the new coalition, by moving attention away from the ruling APC.

The plot to have a new political alliance wrestle power from the present govt is the reason Chief Obasanjo in his letter knocked the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as having lost what it takes to move the country forward.

According to plans, the new coalition being planned would be built around disaffected members of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and other political parties, all expected to mass into it as a formidable political group in Nigeria.

The many gaffes of President Buhari which includes allowing a cabal of unelected people to be calling the shots on critical issues of appointments and patronage, refusal to accommodate party faithful’s who have worked for his success, inability to rejig his cabinet to do away with dead woods within and the marginalization of certain sections of the country in the citing of projects and then the mother of all, the Fulani herdsmen issue have provided a fertile ground for the plot to discredit the president and throw up the duo of Kwankwaso and Ezekwesili.

The herdsmen issue is particularly being milked and been amplified across board to sway the so-called middle belt Christian votes as well as dividing the votes in the South West. They are in alliance with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), socio-political groups like the Ohaneze Ndigbo and some members of Afenifere amongst others.
Sources, however, revealed that the Obasanjo’s letter is just one of many plots by the brains behind the new alliance to get Buhari out of power in 2019 and install the duo of kwankwaso and Ezekwesili.

In essence, Obasanjo’s letter is particularly to test the waters following which other plans will be released in due course.

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We Brought Ezekwesili, BBOG Members To FCT Police Command To Forestall Breakdown Of Law And Order, Says Spokesman

The Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) Police Command has denied stories going round the social media that it arrested former Minister of Education and Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) campaigner, Obiageli Ezekwesili and some members of the group.

In a statement by it spokesman, DSP Anjuguri Manzah said they were only brought to the Abuja command to forestall breakdown of law and order.

“The FCT Police Command wishes to clear the air and set the record straight that it did not arrest or detain Prof Oby Ezekwesili and some members of the Bring Back Our Girls group (BBOG) as being speculated on some social media platforms.

“It is pertinent to state that they were only brought to the Command to ensure there was no breakdown of law and order as some members of the group reacted violently and broke down security barriers set up by the police to restrict their protest to Unity Fountain”.

“The members of the group were addressed by the Commissioner of Police FCT, CP Sadiq Abubakar Bello who reiterated the commitment of the Command to protect lives and property and enjoined the Bring Back Our Girls members to go about their lawful businesses.

“After the briefing by the Commissioner of Police, the members of the group left the Command”.

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Ezekwesili To Chair Women In Leadership Conference

Former Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and newly-appointed International Institute for Electoral Assistance’s Democracy Ambassador, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, will chair the Women in Leadership Conference set to hold on Saturday, November 25th, 2017 at the Golden Gate, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Themed ‘Revolutionary Thinking: Shaping the future for Nigeria’, the event features a Power Breakfast with season leaders, networking lunch, interactive panel sessions, and expert commentaries through anecdotal case studies, workshops, with a line-up of exceptional women will provide the insight, advice, inspiration, and support required for new heights.

Organised by Savvy Women’s Circle, a social enterprise that focuses on fostering a community of successful women leaders, highlights from the event includes strategies to leverage women as key agents in driving the nation-building agenda – an issue spearheaded by the wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osibanjo – and exploration of opportunities for collaboration to bring the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to fruition.

Other speakers at the event are Adenike Ogunlesi, CEO, Ruff ‘n’ Tumble; Dr. Tunji Olugbodi, Executive Vice Chairman, Verdant Zeal, with Mofoluwaso Ilevbare, Kemi Oyesola, Emeka Nobis, Bukola Babajide and others as members at the panel sessions.

These industry leaders and executives will provide insights on creating a national culture that supports women’s brilliance while providing an opportunity to dialogue with relevant corporate, community leaders and government partners in the development of a national agenda.

For registration and more information, visit www.swilglobal.org

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Ezekwesili, Kofi Annan, Laura Chinchilla, Others Announced As Democracy Ambassadors For International Institute For Electoral Assistance

Nigeria’s Oby Ezekwesili, former Vice-President, World Bank and Co-founder Transparency International, including world leaders such as Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations; Laura Chinchilla, former President of Costa Rica and Dr. S. Y. Quraishi, former Chief Election Commissioner of India have been announced as Democracy Ambassadors by the International Institute for Electoral Assistance (International IDEA).

This is ahead of the Global State of Democracy publication to be launched in November 2017.

In the past 40 years, democracy on a global level has made tremendous progress, but this progress has slowed down as critical challenges have emerged. To contribute to the global efforts to protect democracy, International IDEA has developed The Global State of Democracy publication.

The Democracy Ambassadors are tasked with putting the spotlight on challenges and developments in global democracy that are highlighted in the publication – joining International IDEA’s mission to support and safeguard democracy.

Other Democracy Ambassadors appointed by the institute include Emine Bozkurt, Dutch politician, former Member of the European Parliament; Jan Eliasson, former Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Chair of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI); Vaira V??e-Freiberga, former President of Latvia and President of Club de Madrid, Global Round Table, Titi Anggraini, Executive Director, Perludem-Association for Election and Democracy, among others.

The official launch of publication will take place on 15 November, 2017 in Stockholm. Additional launches will be held in Geneva, New York, Brussels, Oslo, Cotonou, Lima and New Delhi, among other locations.

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Oby Ezekwesili To Feature In Forbe’s TV Series

Nigeria’s former Minister of Education and Convener of the Bring Back Our Girls Group (BBOG), Oby Ezekwesili, is set to feature in the first episode of  Forbes Woman Africa Television series.

The women empowerment show, Against The Odds with Peace Hyde is set to premier on Friday June 30th 2017 on Pan African Business Channel CNBC Africa Channel 410 on DSTV.

The show is designed to tell the story of some of the most influential women in West and South Africa who have achieved remarkable feats whiles defying the odds.

Ezekwesili, will be discussing about her harrowing experience in fighting corruption in Nigeria from her early days as the co founder of Transparency International to the shock and horror of finding out about the abduction of over 270 girls in Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria.

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