There ought to be something worrisome about the ruling party’s seeming apathy to restructuring, a major plank of its campaign in 2015.
Although politicians have made moves to sell themselves to the electorate, the opening bell has been rang for campaigns to commence across the country. President Muhammadu Buhari made his next level campaign launch on Sunday. November 18, 2018. The President says he is poised to take the nation to the next level, prompting his critics to seek to know if the current level of poverty, insecurity, insurgency, nepotism and general malaise in the land was not enough. His critics dread the prospect of elevation of the current state of despair in the land to another level. They dread the prospect of another round of loss of jobs, which has been rather unprecedented, making them despise the next level campaign slogan of the President. But the President’s supporters say the president has put the nation on the right path, and it was in the general interest of the country to proceed to the next level of that trajectory. The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, says the government has an affinity with the ordinary people, which is why it has such programmes as school feeding, Trader Moni, Market moni and N-Power. The critics say the programme, which has seen the vice president going round markets in the country to sensitize traders on how they can benefit from the soft loans, is a device for vote buying given that it is being intensified as elections draw close. The move is perceived as an indication of acceptance that hunger ravages the country. People seem to have seen little of achievements to which this regime can be credited with but the supporters say there are lots of things to point to, including the ubiquitous second Niger Bridge. Again, the ruling party seem to be on a long road to recovery from the unresolved issues of its primaries. In places like Imo, Ogun, Zamfara and few other places, the party has serious cracks in the wall, such as could affect its electoral fortunes in those states.
There is no debate about the presidential elections being a straight duel, as it were, between President Muhammadu Buhari and former vice president Atiku Abubakar, who, like Buhari, has been consistent and unrelenting in his pursuit of the presidential seat. The ruling party is still reeling under the outcome of skirmishes pervading its primaries which may cost it positive outing in the affected states. There is no arguing that the presidential elections is between Buhari and Atiku, in spite of the emergence of other contenders. Little wonder when Atiku launched his campaign document, the All Progressive Congress [APC] supporters went after him. His plan he, has said, is ‘to get Nigeria working again’, a clear indication that the nation has not worked in his view. The former vice president dwelt on issues but his traducers attacked him on his perceived corrupt tendencies. His plan, they said, was to loot the nation blind and take corruption to another level. The ruling party has tried hard to plaster Atiku with the mud of corruption. But Atiku’s supporters say no court has convicted the man, and no investigation panel has indicted him. Atiku’s supporters’ accuse the APC of hypocrisy given that they never pointed accusing fingers on the former vice president when he was in their fold. When he doled out huge sums to support Buhari’s bid in 2015 his slate was clean. His crime was to have left the party when it became clear the President Buhari would renege on an alleged promise to do one tenure. Those who have defected from other parties to theirs are not corrupt. As they say, there are elements of war in politics, not in physical terms, though some political thugs carry weapons about, but in terms of using whatever would put you in advantage against your opponent. Going by that, the ruling party just wants to bring the opponent down. The campaign should move away from that trajectory and bring issues to the table. There are such issues as restructuring . There ought to be something worrisome about the ruling party’s seeming apathy to restructuring, a major plank of its campaign in 2015.
The party made moves to give impression of seriousness when it constituted a committee, headed by the cerebral governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai. The committee did a report and submitted to the party leaders. As Nigerians waited for its implementation, the nation’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, said restructuring was not Nigeria’s problem. It was the height of double speak for a man whose party advocated the change in that respect. Some of us strained our ears to be sure we heard him right when President Muhammadu Buhari said ‘People were talking lazily about restructuring’. The implication is that the President does not know what restructuring entails, and those advocating same are not on the same page with him. When his party anchored on it in 2015, the president probably did not understand what they meant, or he allowed them to get the electorate with the juicy promise. The party has shown clear signs that it was a mere political talk when it anchored its electoral campaign on that promise. There is also a tendency that President Muhammadu Buhari does not want any such thing, and top members of the party have to tow his line.
Now Atiku has said in the first hundred days of his regime, he would set up a team on the ‘devolution of powers’. If the president does not understand the matter, he may begin with devolution of powers. If he continues not to understand what it means to restructure the country, he may have confirmed the derisive name opponents have given his party, namely, All Promises Cancelled. Restructuring must be brought to the table for this elections. To sideline it as seem to be done now is to postpone doomsday. The nation is not sustainable on the current trajectory it is heading. Let the campaign proceed on issues.