Many followers of Nigeria‘s political development are worried about the year 2015. The prophets of doom have serious doubts about the future of Nigeria as one country before or after the 2015 elections. Many think that the year 2014 (when Nigeria will be 100 years old as a nation) would certainly foretell what the events would look like in 2015. Those who are planning for the centenary celebration are yet to be unanimous on what the celebration would represent- success or failure.
In a situation where the security situation is shaky and the poverty condition worsening in spite of the seeming steady progress of the transformation agenda of the Federal Government, it looks as if there should be a re-assessment of the condition of the state of the nation. It is not only the pessimists who fear the state of anarchy, also, the incurable optimists fear the steady march into the deep valley of a “failed state”.
The `pull` from the gorge of anarchy and uncertainties has now become a lively debate among many lovers of Nigeria, foreigners included. It is not that the present Federal Government is not trying, but its best seems not good enough to withstand the overwhelming forces of modern governance in a plural society and rural economy.
The present struggle of smaller parties to merge into a strong opposition is one of the democratic ways of providing an alternative government to the present one. This does not stop the agitation of the enlightened minds to engage in a constitutional dialogue to find ways on how Nigerians would work together peacefully in a prosperous country.
Many supporters of democracy place higher hope in the possibility of a better government in 2015. In short, some in their wildest imagination, hope that the yet-to-be registered All Progressives Congress (APC) would produce better programmes to run an effective and progressive Federal administration. But how possible it is to have an alternative government without defeating the present one? The answer is quizzical.
If the political question is put directly, can the present Federal Government be defeated in the 2015 elections by the combined strength of the opposition parties? I guess the answer would harp on the possibility of the defeat of any ruling party that fails to work in the interest of the people in a fair and clean election. But the problem is, can there be a free and fair election in an atmosphere of corruption and nepotism? And where money seems to be the arbiter in any dispute: Nigerian politics is money and money facilitates politics and politicians are rich because of politics. Thus, a perfect atmosphere for political contests is yet to exist in the country.
However, the present position of the PDP as the ruling party in the Federal Government; and its 23 Governors (out of 36) in the country looks unsalable. Judging by the circumstances of 2011, the position of President Jonathan (if he wants to contest in 2015) seems too strong for any opposition. Looking at 2011 Presidential election result, President Jonathan scored 22.5 million votes against all others with 15.7 million votes including the merging parties of CPC, ACN, and ANPP of about 15.2 million votes.
Apart from heavy votes of PDP in the South South zone, there was concentrated PDP support of over 5 million votes in the South Eastern zone. While the opposition votes were heavy in the North West and North-East zones, the results showed considerable show of strength by the PDP in these areas.
If the merger of the smaller parties becomes a reality; it means the opposition would expect to shine in the North-West, North-East and South-West zones of the country leaving the PDP to garner support from the South South, South-East, and the North Central zones in any possible election. The difference is that the opposition parties are very weak in the areas where the PDP is very strong, but the PDP has a strong base in areas where the opposition is very strong. It looks as if by relying on 2011 results, (which are not free from rigging), the PDP looks like the party to beat any day, year 2015 inclusive.
I must agree that the above analysis relying on 2011 election results looks simple but unrealistic. A cogent argument states that voters for President Jonathan in 2011 were not only PDP supporters but included thousands of those who envisaged a new change from the older military regimes and political hegemonies of Hausa/Fulani and the Yoruba.
Also, the high (turn-out above the normal 40-50%) in some specific areas suggested foul play and manipulations. The prediction of easy victory of PDP in 2015 ignores the persistent crisis within the PDP and the growth of the opposition parties and increase in political enlightenment of the present day Nigerians. Political enlightenment is represented in the careful examination of performance of any government in power and the ability of that government to carry the people along.
The present political enlightenment takes into consideration the drive by the Ibo to have one of them as the President of the country. This calls for their expectation of the Yoruba to repay the Ibo for the political support given to Moshood Abiola (whose election as President was annulled) and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who took the two slots allotted by the PDP to the Southern part of the country. There is Ibo solid block of about 6 million votes which could not be neglected in any race to the Aso Rock.
There is no doubt that in a situation where the Hausa/Fulani, the Yoruba have failed to produce the necessary tonic on Nigeria’s development and prosperity and the Ijaw man is in the midst of a turbulent sea, the campaign for the call for election of an Ibo President seems reasonable and desirable. Analysts who think that the place of one’s birth should not dictate the rise to political leadership belong to those Nigerians yet unborn.
Many Nigerians feel, and justifiably so, that any governing party that fails to solve the Power problem (with electricity supply in constant epileptic state); where poverty is endemic; where economic growth is not reflected in rising employment; and where insurgency is rife, it is possible to think and work for a democratic change. This may be the main reason why the PDP as a party may find it difficult to succeed itself in 2015, especially with its internal crisis and the general stamp of inefficient and ineffective management of economic and human resources.
However if the problems of governance is rooted in the deficient structure of the polity, there is no reason why the present leadership should not see the wisdom of forming a genuine national government and also initiate a Discourse on how Nigerian people could live in peace and prosperity with one another in a stable and prosperous polity.