The Political Drama Begins

January 14, 2022/CSL Research

This week, former governor of Lagos State and APC kingmaker, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, formally declared his intention to contest for the Office of the President. He was reported to have paid a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari to inform him of his intentions before doing so at a press conference. Shortly after his visit, the current governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, also visited the President to inform him of his intention to contest for the office. Nigeria’s 2022 presidential elections will be a keen contest. Though there will be many other candidates from other parties, we expect the presidential battle to be between the candidates of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC). For the APC party, the power of incumbency no longer confers the advantage it should.

A. combination of weak macroeconomic conditions, worsening insecurity and perceived nepotism (and/or ethnic considerations) in making appointments has caused PMB’s popularity to wane significantly. Only its control of agencies, including the Nigeria Police Force, confers a clear advantage to the APC. It is, however, interesting to note that Nigerian political parties do not have clear cut ideologies, and it is almost impossible to forecast the policy path that either an APC or a PDP win will take. What is easier to tell is what individual candidates are perceived to stand for.

A few other names have been rumoured to be in the race, such as former President Goodluck Jonathan, incumbent Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, former Senate President Olubukola Saraki, governor of Sokoto State and former speaker of the house of representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, and afew others. There are lots of views being voiced. Many believe the contest at the APC primaries will probably be between Asiwaju and Osinbajo, and the popular view is that  Asiwaju will most likely take the ticket. For PDP, there are indications that Atiku, Saraki and

Tambuwal will probably be the contenders, and a few others will throw Goodluck Jonathan into the mix. One thing the first three candidates have in common is that they are all Northerners and considering the current level of division in the country across ethnic and religious lines, one would wonder if the country will be willing to tolerate another Northern President especially as the winner will likely seek a second term .

That said, it is still early stages, and one can safely assume that the playing field will likely change before 2023. Nigerian politics is not based on competing ideologies, but rival interests and ambitions. It is not uncommon for a politician to leave his or her party for another, simply because he has been passed over for the party ticket in a forthcoming election. In times past, we have seen long-time political adversaries come together in power-sharing arrangements which ensure that both sides win. Overall, we believe ethnicity and religion will be a big factor in the upcoming elections.

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