By Uche Mbah
By now, it is expected that the polity will be charged with electrifying campaign gatherings public debates, but unfortunately, there has been lackluster activities in the political scene. True, the President was in Kano for political rally, but this was occasioned by the need to shore up confidence in the presidency after the barrage of criticisms President Buhari has faced due to the recent massacre of Nigerian soldiers by the Boko Haram terrorist group.
After a barrage of criticisms, the President was forced to invite Security Chiefs forty-eight hours later, and was said to have dispatched one of them to Chad for consultations with the Chadian President. One week later, he was in Borno where he got red carpet reception-an odd thing to do considering the prevailing circumstance of the killings.
Apart from Oby Ezekwesili, the former convener of the Bring Back Our Girls, and Omoyele Sowore, Publisher of Sahara Reporters, who have been making feeble attempts at campaign (Sowore was in Kano recently but drew no crowds), the two major political parties, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the All Progressives Congress, APC, are far from making any serious attempt at campaigning. Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate pf the PDP, was said to, according to plan, have been in Lagos for Campaign, but there was no sign of that. In Lagos, posters of Buhari Osinbajo floods the Metropolis but none from the PDP and Atiku. Only recently, the Vice Presidential Candidate of the PDP, Peter Obi was on Channels Television morning show.
What could have been the cause? Suggestions from informed sources indicate that the PDP is being careful due to the alleged determination of the ruling party to use the security agencies against the opposition. According to sources, they are prepared to unleash all security apparatus on the opposition to cripple their campaign. “See what they have reduced governance to. No one wants to stick out their neck in any direct confrontation, no matter how issue based the campaign maybe. You know the ruling party has nothing to offer as achievements. Is it not surprising that a party that has been in power for almost four years are still campaigning with ‘I will’ instead of showcasing what they have done? Their viciousness in election rigging is legendary”, said a PDP chieftain earlier this week.
That may not be the only reason. Palpable confusion in the polity on the conspiracy theory on the identity of the President is also heating up the polity. The Guardian of 28 November 2018 had carried an analysis of the conspiracy. This has been a bone of contention particularly in the South east where campaign to stop the boycott of the election has been yielding little fruit. The fact that the presidency has no clear cut policy statement on the issue did not help matters. The major reaction from the Presidency has been threats by the DSS to arrest and prosecute any one carrying the rumor.
By December first, the campaign for other positions apart from the presidency is expected to kick off. Whether the present lackluster attitude will persist then remains to be seen. It it continues, then this, indeed, are strange times. 2019 may have a bleak outlook.