To beat the 18th of this month deadline given by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for submission of candidates’ names, Nigerian political parties still searching for running mates to their flag bearers are covertly submitting names in a placeholder capacity. In contrast, the search for substantive candidates continues.
As there has not been any convincing move towards alliance by the small-size parties, it is becoming more likely that the next Nigerian President will either emerge from the APC or the PDP. These are the major parties with structures across all the states in the country. Separating the candidates from their parties, these two major parties have been tested and know the Nigerian political scene too well. However, they both parade abysmal results to show for the mandates Nigerians entrusted them with over the years.
Besides Bola Ahmad Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar, who are the flagbearers of the APC and PDP, respectively, other candidates that will be on the presidential ballot next year include:
- Peter Obi using the Labour Party’s platform
- Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso for New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP)
- Chekwas Okorie for All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA)
- Okwudili Nwa-Anyajike for National Rescue Movement (NRM)
- Christopher Imumolen for Accord Party (AP)
- Dumebi Kachikwu for African Democratic Congress (ADC)
- Dan Nwanyawu for Zenith Labour Party (ZLP)
- Malik Ado-Ibrahim for Young Progressive Party (YPP)
- Adewole Adebayo for Social Democratic Party (SDP)
- Hamza Al-Mustapha for Action Alliance (AA)
- Yabagi Yusuf Sani for Action Democratic Party (ADP)
- Omoyele Sowore for Action Congress (AAC)
- Kola Abiola for People’s Redemption Party (PRP) and
- Sunday Adenuga for Boot Party (BP)
Politicians fail to learn from history; Kwankwaso is a known name in northern politics, but the numeric strength of his followers cannot be compared with that of the then Buhari’s CPC, yet, he couldn’t get him to the presidency. Peter Obi’s supporters’ base is growing by the day but winning the presidency in this very first attempt is a dream too unrealistic. The spread of his support base so far is arguably inadequate.
Obi is likely to get block votes from the South-eastern states, and the son of the soil factor will work strongly in his favour. APC sees this as an advantage because before the Obi’s factor; the PDP enjoyed massive support from the zone. Kwankwaso will give an intense fight in the North-West, and this might also stand as a spoiler to the votes that should ordinarily go to the PDP.
Imagine an alliance of the Labour Party and New Nigeria Peoples’ Party, and perhaps with some other parties that believe in the possibility of a new Nigeria; this would have given a viable alternative to many Nigerians that are tired of the shenanigans and charades of the two major parties. Moreover, this alliance would have sent shivers down the spine of the major parties that hitherto felt indifferent.
Aspirants in these parties need to stop wallowing in their presidential fantasies and align with like-minds to form a more formidable force that can help free Nigerians from the heavy clutch of tested and failed parties. They would have welcomed more disgruntled politicians from the PDP and APC who they could christen and use to get to power. The G5 governors that left the PDP for APC in 2013 are not likely to have gone if the merger of CPC, ACN, and part of APGA had not happened. Politicians like to see a glimpse of victory before leaping.
We can only wish them all the best as they have all decided to fancy their chances.