Cauging by current happenings in the polity, it is safe to bet that the 2023 election, if it comes to be, will result in yet another monumental political fiasco in the country.
The two major political parties, the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) both riddled by intractable internal wrangling, are hurtling towards inevitable implosion. And this is not helped by the high stakes riding on the 2023 elections for both.
For the PDP the rallying cry, which forms its overarching objective for the 2023 elections, is: win the presidency in 2023 or face inevitable death. For the APC on the other hand it is: retain the presidency or die.
This is what is at the root of the push-shove controversies raging within both parties and which is leading them to the abyss.
In the PDP, the strategic calculation all boils down to having former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the party in 2023. Two considerations are behind this; no single individual in the party can match the combined political and financial weight of Atiku Abubakar. But even more importantly the PDP hopes to put up Atiku Abubakar as a counterweight to a possible Southern presidential candidate that the APC may field. The calculation here is that being a Northerner of considerable political and financial standing, Atiku Abubakar will likely attract the massive swing votes from the North thereby tipping the scales against the APC Southern candidate.
This political outlook of the PDP plays nicely into the calculations of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, who is so bent on muscling his way to become Atiku Abubakar’s running mate in the 2023 elections that he does not mind upsetting the applecart in the party. This is one of the strong reasons for the spate of defections by PDP governors and other top PDP figures to the ruling APC party. It is also the main reason why Governor Wike wants the party chairman, Uche Secondus, whose loyalty to his ambitions he cannot vouch for out. Governor Wike wants to forcibly install his candidates to party positions in order to realise his ambitions.
The APC faces a somewhat different outlook. The party juggles with three interrelated issues; the Buhari question, the Tinubu question and the retention of power question.
Of the three, the Buhari issue is the most significant. President Buhari is the main reason for the APC coming to being. He has been the source of party’s sustenance since 2015. People say it was Bola Tinubu who made Buhari. But if Tinubu had not cast his lot with Buhari on the run up to 2015, he would have been steamrolled by the PDP machine had then incumbent President Jonathan won. For Tinubu and others like him, supporting Buhari in 2015 was equivalent to the ‘’Hail Mary pass’’ in Basketball; when you are surrounded by opposing players closing in to take the ball off you, you pass it on to somebody who is free to shoot. Tinubu’s support for Buhari in 2015 was a clever act of political self-preservation
President Buhari’s DNA runs overwhelmingly through the APC and when he goes in 2023, it will no doubt leave a big gaping hole. It is this hole that Tinubu wants to fill.
Tinubu not only thinks he can; he expects the APC to hand it to him for his contributions to the party. But not everybody in the APC thinks so. A good number of APC grandees disagree with the claim that Tinubu made Buhari. They think it is grossly exaggerated and belittles the contribution of others who equally made valuable efforts to bring in Buhari from the cold in 2015. Those who hold this view in the APC have made strenuous efforts to block Tinubu’s attempt to control the party in order to actualise his ambition of succeeding President Buhari in 2023.
It is a trapeze act for the APC coping with these issues while trying to hold on to the power it got in 2015 in the race to 2023. President Buhari, whose aura brought the party to power and has been its mainstay, will vacate the office. Tinubu who expects the party to give him its presidential ticket is not enamoured on by a large chunk of the party. And to worsen the matter for APC, there is the looming threat of Atiku Abubakar should he as seem likely, clinch the PDP ticket.
It does not seem likely that the APC will rally fully behind Tinubu to beat Atiku Abubakar in 2023 as they did to President Buhari in 2015 against President Jonathan. And should the APC not offer full support for Tinubu then the likelihood of a defeat and loss of power in 2023 is real.
The projection is that the boiling cauldron within both parties will spill over in the coming months. As elements within both parties and the parties themselves seek to cancel each other out through shenanigans, the dissatisfied members will want to coalesce and form another party. And they will be encouraged by significant others who will opportunistically wade into the fray. But this will be too late in the day to make any significant impact on the political scene. And the new party will face possibly the same issues of both the APC and PDP from whence its members came. Let us not even rule out the fact that the new party if it came to that will not be sabotaged by both the APC and PDP.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the courts will have their hands full trying to sort out the electoral and legal imbroglio that will accompany this potentially combustible political situation.
Meanwhile, as the political elite focus their attention on matters political, banditry, kidnapping, threats of secession exacerbated by poverty and widening of fault lines etc will morph from one level to another. The armed and security forces will be increasingly engaging the non-state actors occupying the ungoverned spaces in the polity.
Can the political elite square the 2023 circle? I doubt much because our political elite clearly have not learnt from our past experiences. With the present happenings in the polity, it is clear that our political elite are once again planting and watering the seeds of their self-destruction as happened in our political history. The present trajectory of political events in the country can only lead to a chaotic and anarchical situation in 2023. And as power abhors a vacuum in a polity, it certainly cannot be ruled out that other more organised institutions of power will move in to fill the void.
Credit to Dailytrust