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2015: Presidential race in slow but steady build up

| January 6, 2013 More

•Buhari campaigning during the 2011 general election.

The 2015 presidential election is about three years away, but the countdown has indeed begun for what promises to be a keenly contested race, writes Remi Adelowo

It several fora in the last few months, President Goodluck Jonathan has diplomatically parried questions on whether or not he will be seeking re-election in 2015.

According to the president, he is still pre-occupied with the challenges of delivering the ‘dividends of democracy’ to Nigerians, while adding that it is rather too early for him to talk about seeking for another term in office.

But will the president ask for another mandate from Nigerians in 2015? For most Nigerians, the president’s ‘body language’ strongly suggests so.

It’s Jonathan versus others

When the president finally declares his reelection plans, as it is being strongly speculated, what are his chances to win his party, PDP’s ticket and the general election? According to some political pundits, the president’s chances seem bright.

Observers who argued that way said within the context of party politics in Nigeria, it may be almost impossible to defeat an incumbent office holder, particularly the president and governors. Against this background, it is generally assumed that it will be hard to beat the President in the race for the PDP presidential ticket.

At the moment, no party member has indicated interest to vie for the ticket, even as speculations are rife that interested aspirants are closely studying the situation on ground before formally declaring their interest.

Can Atiku upstage Jonathan?

Former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, has never hidden his ambition of ruling the country. In 1993, the ex-VP was an aspirant in the presidential primaries of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP), but lost to late Chief M.K.O Abiola. In 2007, Atiku also contested the presidential election, this time on the platform of the then Action Congress (AC). He lost to the PDP candidate, Umaru Yar’Adua in the general elections.

For the third time, the former VP again lost to President Goodluck Jonathan in the race for the PDP ticket. Would Atiku break that jinx in 2015?

Sources revealed that while the Turaki Adamawa, as the former Nigeria’s number two man is also called, is determined to battle Jonathan for the PDP ticket, he is also alleged to be working on a ‘Plan B’ in the event of losing to Jonathan for the PDP ticket.

But another source said that contrary to alleged claims that Atiku’s plan ‘B’ is to float another party in the event of losing to Jonathan at the PDP primaries, the former vice-president is not thinking along that line, at least for now.

The differing claims aside, The Nation learnt that for Atiku, a massive mobilisation for the 2015 presidency project has already begun. A source said his coordinators for each state in the country will be appointed by the second quarter of this year.

The Nation gathered that Atiku has allegedly received the endorsement of a former president, while a former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, will coordinate the South-West plank of the Atiku campaign. In the same vein, another former governor of an oil-rich South-South state, who was schemed out of the PDP 2007 presidential ticket, has also been brought on the board of Atiku-for-2015 project.

Will Lamido, Yuguda, Babangida challenge Jonathan?

Speculations that the Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, will contest the 2015 presidency has refused to abate in the last few months, even as the governor has not made any categorical statement on the issue.

Just a few days ago, members of the Jigawa State House of Assembly unanimously passed a resolution, urging the governor to contest for the exalted seat, a development that further lend credence to the widely held stories that Lamido is only ‘waiting for the right time’ before throwing his hat into the ring.

Another northern governor alleged to have a presidential ambition is Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State. However his quiet disposition on the political scene in recent times may have put paid to this claim.

Yuguda’s posture is in sharp contrast to that of the Chairman, Northern Governors Forum (NGF), Aliyu Babangida, who by virtue of his dual, privileged positions, has never ceased being in the news. The outspoken governor, it was learnt, is also allegedly interested in the 2015 presidency.

However, his alleged ambition may not fly, as most major northern stakeholders, according to some sources, are not convinced about his suitability for the job.

Northern governors not on same page

Persistent calls for power shift to the north may run into a brickwall, as northern governors are alleged not to be on the same page on the issue.

Sources revealed that the governors are believed to be working at cross purposes, even as some of them are only half heartedly committed to the project.

The Nation gathered that two of the governors alleged to have presidential ambition are also lobbying to be picked as Jonathan’s running mate in 2015. A source said, “These governors are aware that it would be difficult to wrestle the PDP ticket from Jonathan, so they won’t mind being chosen as running mate even if it will affect the collective interest of the north.”

The opposition also battle ready

The ongoing merger talks between the leading opposition parties-Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) if it eventually succeeds, has raised hopes that the 2015 polls may not be a stroll in the park for the ruling PDP.

Unlike merger plans that failed to see the light of the day in the past, the opposition parties this time around, are determined to put all their differences aside and form a strong political platform that will give PDP a run for its money in the next general elections, said some insiders.

If everything goes as planned, according to Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim, a member of ANPP, the merger talks will be finalised by March this year.

From this point, attention would shift to who will most likely be picked as the presidential candidate of the proposed party. One of the possible candidates is Gen. Mohammadu Buhari, the former presidential candidate of the CPC.

Given the permutations on ground and expected and unforeseen developments that may likely crop up on the political scene in the next one year, the 2015 presidential race, from all indications, sure promises to be interesting.

Category: Bauchi State News

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