Osibajo Vs Obi: Implication Of The Choice Of A Running Mate


Manwu Samuel



The deadline given by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC for the submission of Candidates names for various elective posts for the forth coming general election next year elapsed on Thursday, 18 October, 2018 and all the registered political parties have submitted the names of their parties' flag bearers for various posts. In the same vein, the deadline for substitution of candidates' names for Presidential and national assembly posts elapsed on a day before the day campaign began, 17th November 2018. And from all indications, it is obvious that the names submitted for APC and PDP's presidential position remains unaltered as the two big parties, People's Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) submitted Atiku Abubakar & Peter Obi and Muhammudu Buhari & Yomi Osibajo as the names of their flagbearers for Presidential position respectively.

The events that have proceeded from the choice of running mate has left some political implications for both sides. Therefore, I will be ex-raying both parties' choice and its consonance implication.

Looking at the political configuration in terms of the geopolitical zones where the incumbent President, President Muhammudu Buhari and the major opposition party's flagbearer, Atiku Abubakar came from, though the former from North west and the latter from north east.mathematically,one will obviously assert that both Candidacy will sell in the north at least in a 50-50 ratio if all things being equal but it seems some factors is working against the possibility of both candidates attaining equilibrium in the partition of the 19 states votes. Some of the factors on Buhari's side are unfulfilled promises especially in the area of Job creation (he promised 1m Npower jobs but succeeded in achieving 500000, development of Aja Okuta steel industry but didn't, construction of refineries but did not)`, Insecurity issues (the statistics of death poll that Fulani herdsmen attacks in addition to the havoc caused by Boko Haram shows greater danger in terms of security of lives and properties when compared with the past government `,biaseness in the fight against corruption, lopsided in political appointments',hardship,the current APC intra party crisis which has torn the party apart e.t.c.while Atiku's Achilles heel may include his minority group extraction, perceived questionable integrity and general evaluation of his performance as Vice President during Obasanjo's administration.

From the above listed deficits in the current administration, it will be politically deduced that  even if the northwest and the northeast decides to unanimously vote for Buhari/Osibajo candidacy base on Atiku' weaknesses, it will not sell in the north central because this zone have been at the receiving end of the Fulani herdsmen crisis which has impoverished and devastated them.There will be a serious votes partitioning between the two zones as the northeast will put aside the deficiencies in Atiku and give him their votes, the same for Buhari in northwest. non of the zone will want to allow the other to rule especially the northeast will not want the northwest to rule again since Buhari has rule and this being an opportunity for them to be in power.

Then coming to the southwest, having Osibajo as a running mate will sell but some factors will endanger APC the chances of getting total victory from the high voting zone. The factors include Obasanjo's endorsement of Atiku which is a serious threat to the Jagaban's influence in the zone some of  APC states' power house like Ogun State and Ondo State crisis over imposition of candidates coupling with the current indictment of VP Osibajo of corrupt practices.the fact that Atiku's wife,Titi is from the west which is obvious that among the various other ethnic groups wives ,she will be the First Lady should Atiku be elected will endear Atiku to some electorates in that zone .These are some of the factors that will work against the Buhari/Osibajo candidacy in the Southwest should the game be played according to the rules.

In the Southsouth, there is no doubt that the zone is one of PDP's strongholds. The fact that all the states in the zone except Edo State are PDP states and all the efforts of APC to permeate into the zone remains a herculean task that even the one state of the six controlled by APC, is under threat as a result of the overbearing power of the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole who has turned himself to a dictator but of course met a surprise resistance including from women in the state which is very dangerous because in politics,the efficacy of bottom power can not be overemphasized. Though, a Critical analysis of the aftermath effect of Senator God's Akpabio defection to the ruling Party may stir up the fear of losing Akwa Ibom to APC at the general,but looking at the falling and rising of Political Godfathers in Nigeria,Akpabio may not succeed in delivering the state to APC because his inability to exert his will on former Political Godson and the party and his final defection to the Ruling Party because of State Protection from the Anti-graft agency shows that he has lost his place  as to who determines who gets what, where ,when and how in the state.

Then finally, in the East, the zone is no go area for the APC as a result of many factors which some were not in manifestation before 2015 general election and some eminent but were overlooked because of the desire to try another government which though was considered strange but was decided to be given a chance to prove itself otherwise. This led to the partitioning of votes in the zone between PDP and APC with greater portion to PDP but this time around, a lot of factors will make it possible for PDP to emerge Victorious with ease in the zone. Some of these factors are the behavioral attitude of Buhari towards the zone both in terms of appointments and security disposition,the failure of The only APC state in the state (Imo state where iberiberism is the order of the day),abandonment of second Niger Bridge and the emergency of Peter Obi as the running mate of Atiku.

The Southeast is a Confederal zone where  no particular party dominate the whole political empire this is as a result of the acephalous nature of the zone,this is visible by the partitioning of the five states among three parties -APC, APGA and PDP, with PDP controlling three and the two parties one each. But one unique thing about this zone is that when it comes to pursing a common goal especially in this situation they find themselves in, consensus in supporting their man becomes imperative even if the current administration has not shown a hostile gesture. In other words there is no doubt that the Atiku / Obi candidacy will be patronized in the Southeast.

The Game is set, in less than 95 days Nigeria will decide. But the beauty of any game is when the contenders abide by the rules governing the game.the question is ', is it always easy to abide by the laws of the game when you are at the verge of losing and with the consciousness that the instruments to subvert Justice are at your beck and call? Find out in the next article "Electoral Umpire and Security Operatives: path to ensuring free and fair elections in Africa "

Note: It is duty of a public spirited individual to analyze issues of public terrain especially being a political scientist makes it impossible for one to be politically apathetic visible in unconsciousness in the political discourse gathered from behavioural dispositions of political actors. Therefore, my view here is not a propaganda geared to glorify one party above the other but an effort to contribute to the contemporary political discourse. God bless Nigeria.