Race To Aso Rock..the Return Leg
By Richard Imhoagene
The stage is now set for what may turn out to be the tightest contest in the history of Nigeria's democracy. The nation is caught in anticipation as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has set aside February 14 as the date for the event that may change the course of Nigeria's future forever.

It seems like Nigerians will yet see a rematch of what played out in the 2011 Presidential election as the two major contenders, President Goodluck Jonathan and General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) have yet again clinched the ticket to contest for the most exalted position in the land after a convention was held simultaneously by the ruling PDP and the opposition APC last week.

Barring any unforeseen development, President Goodluck Jonathan of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) of the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) may once more be engaged in the electoral battle that will determine who eventually emerges the indisputable winner of the presidential election slated for Saturday, February 14, 2015.

From all indications, the forthcoming presidential election will be the most crucial of all the presidential elections held in Nigeria since the return of democratic dispensation on May 29, 1999.  The Peoples Democratic Party, which arrogantly claims it is the biggest political party in Africa, has been in control of affairs at the federal level, as well as in most of the states and local governments. But in spite of this, the citizenry, most of whom are poverty-stricken amidst abundant natural resources, are yet to benefit from the dividends of democracy.

There is no doubt that the participation of Jonathan and Buhari in the 2015 presidential race will be a keen and interesting contest. The factor of incumbency still portends great advantages for the President. However, unlike in 2011 when Obasanjo stood solidly behind Jonathan to ensure he not only clinched the party's ticket, but emerged President, the current frosty relationship between the duo can affect the president's chances.

The recent prolonged volcanic crisis that rocked PDP, which inevitably led to the shameful exit of the immediate past National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, and the defection of five state governors and others, were indications  that may have stalled Jonathan's chances in the primaries which many have described as a coronation ceremony, they are factors that may affect his reelection bid.

When Buhari contested on the ticket of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in 2003, he was defeated by Obasanjo of PDP. Again, Buhari of ANPP was defeated by Yar'Adua of PDP in 2007, while Buhari of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) was defeated by Jonathan of PDP in 2011.

But, following the recent devastating crisis that befell PDP and the incalculable consequences thereafter, the emergence of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a veritable formidable political opposition group is capable of seriously threatening the position of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.

Unlike in 2003, 2007 and 2011, when Buhari sought election on tickets of weak political parties, he will in 2015, be standing on a strong foundation represented by APC, which now stands as the major opposition party in Nigeria, just like the Republicans in the United States.

As Buhari contests against Jonathan in 2015, there are chances he may win overwhelmingly. In 2011, he defeated Jonathan in 12 of the 19 states in the North, while Jonathan won in the remaining seven states. Incidentally, two of the seven states - Kwara and Adamawa -  now belong to APC, thereby reducing the chances of Jonathan, especially in the North.

Besides, the appeal which the incumbent president enjoyed in the 2011 election may not work for him this time around. He, obviously now has shoes to wear and did not live up to the expectation of the common man who saw himself in jonathan, a situation that made him emerge victorious in most parts of the country, including Lagos and Edo states.

As Jonathan, in spite of the opposition his nomination attracted, especially in some parts of the North, finally emerged candidate of PDP, it was a wise tactic in the interest of APC to ensure its presidential candidate for the 2015 election is from the North in view of its strategic importance. The candidate must also be of impeccable character.

An unrepentant advocate of zero tolerance for corruption and indiscipline, as well as tested and trusted leader worthy of emulation, Buhari is seen by many as a person that if given another opportunity, will sanitise the country to enable it regain its lost glory for the benefit of the citizenry living in abject poverty in the midst of plenty.

Jonathan, on the other hand, seems to enjoy the support of most parts of the South-South and South-East. Some states in the South-West, not under the hold of the APC and Asiwaju Tinubu

About Author / Additional Info:
Richard Imhoagene writes passionately in view of the coming presidential election in Nigeria.