Nigerian Politics 2023: A Horoscope - By Shuaibu Kabiru Usman

Introduction

Knowledge of the unforeseen, the future occurrences does absolutely belong to God, the omniscient. Politics, the complex activity of all humans, leaves no or few chances for prediction or forecast. It is only through rigorous reasoning, correlation of indices, research and discourse that can future political trends be predicted.
However, I do not think, I have much to write today, as there is no much to write about as far as the chosen topic is concerned, for, things are yet to unfold. I will try my best to rumble on and present what I see the future of Nigerian politics possibly holds.

People Democratic Party: Full death or Revival
However, the opposition party lost to the ruling party in the recent Presidential Election, it still augurs well for the People Democratic Party that, it may likely regain momentum and wide support as it had before. This perhaps, is first, because of the fact that the party has in the recently concluded elections, won some gubernatorial seats which shows signs of comeback. Second, the party will try to woo more political echelons from all around the country, as horde of opportunist and frustrated party members of the ruling party may possibly purge themselves of the party before the Presidential poll in 2023.

Thirdly, if the party is able to maintain a truly strong party cohesion and plug the loopholes within it, in the sense that frustrated or rather aggrieved members, particularly Presidential aspirants who were sardonically defeated in the Presidential Primary Election, such as Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Sule Lamido of Jigawa and the rest, are appeased or soothed so that they do not leave the party or work against it, the party will have higher possibility to grab the presidential seat in 2023. Suppose the party has made these inroads, I doubt less the victory of the party in 2023 Presidential contest.

On the contrary, the party may likely meet its waterloo and be uprightly out of Nigeria's political battle terrain due to latent disunity and poor or lack of commitment of the party members which could lead to the party be deserted as was the case in 2015, and be reduced to mere "toothless political hound". It will be what I call 'full death' of People Democratic Party, when it cockily rests on its laurel that it has wide support and maintains internal unity and cohesion, and it does not need to caution Presidential Candidate of the party to watch his tongue during sloganeering, campaigns and manifestation of manifestoes, as this has had immensely contributed towards defeat of the opposition's candidate in 2019 presidential election.

All Progressive Congress: Defeat or Survival

As inevitable as it seems for the ruling party to win, so is it unbelievable as it sounds for the ruling party to lose the Presidential Election in 2023__Malapropism or a contradiction it sounds? No, do not be astounded. Doubtless, the ruling party, APC may inevitably lose the Presidential Election in 2023, considering the electorate's shocking crackdown on the party, leading to sordid loss of gubernatorial seats to the opposition. Secondly, President Muhammadu Buhari enjoys love and trust of the citizens more than any other politician from the onset of flimsy democratic regime in 1999 to date. Mr. Buhari is not running again, this will be a great setback, an albatross to the ruling party. Thirdly, without an ounce of doubt, Buhari will really endorse and support the candidate of his party, will campaign and canvass for him. But this will hardly thrive. This is because there has been an improvement in voting-behaviour of the citizens as 'vote-for-person' phenomenally overrides 'vote-for-party' as experienced in the recent General Elections. This earmarks the declining years of staunch party blindfold. Thus, Mr. President can point at whom he wants to be voted and the masses do otherwise as they consider qualities of the candidates. Fourth, it is perspicacious, divides may soon or sooner grow in the ruling party, then the hidden-disunity will blossom, party cohesion loosens and that will be foreknowledge and presages of loss before contest.

Fortunately, the ruling party can survive and win in 2023. First, the party needs to woo estranged politicians with sweet promises and ensure their true loyalty. Second, the party must work hard to tighten the loyalty of the masses or the electorate and fix a candidate suitable for the position in terms of qualities and support he has across the country. And divides in the party, if at all cost are thwarted, the party gears towards victory a bit ahead of the opposition party in 2023.

Candidacy: Politics of Region and Alliance

The ruling party flaunts having three geopolitical zones as strongholds. Hence, front of the ruling party, APC, is no more than a synergy or fortress of North-West, North-East and South-West. This means Presidential Candidate must come from either of these three geopolitical zones and the running-mate from another zone from the three. The Presidential candidate under platform of the ruling party in 2023 must expect higher number of votes from these three geopolitical zones. Nonetheless, APC may likely face a setback as the opposition party, PDP will definitely have a Presidential Candidate from the North, particularly Northwest or Northeast. This, when happens, will be a disadvantage to the ruling party as the votes in the zone will be significantly shared among the two parties.
However, PDP will maintain stronghold in North-Central, South-South and South-East, and no matter what, the party will get higher number of votes from South-East and South-South. The PDP presidential running-mate will come from South-East, as the zone has proved to be a quite strategic zone for the opposition party. Remember, the ruling party has no gubernatorial seat in South-East, and this will favour PDP to gain wider support from the zone. I also argue, South-South will be divided among the two candidates, though PDP will gain larger share, and same applies to Northeast, provided PDP Presidential candidate comes therefrom. Even if PDP candidate comes from Northwest, the share for both will be significant.

Prospective Merger: PDP and others

Do not be startled, if PDP as the major opposition party merges with some parties to form a new party. In retrospect, this was what brought the ruling party, APC into power in 2015. When this happens, the support, popularity and strength of PDP may likely shoot up by half and will have more chances of winning the election.

Conclusion

As confessed in the introduction, only God has knowledge of what is yet to happen, ours as humans, is prediction and that does not mean the absolute truth. Thus, prediction is a product of reasoning. And we all reason.

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