OPINION: 2023 And The Bello Force

The 2023 general elections will no doubt, produce uncommon and unreal scenarios. And the unusual will emerge from the waves going through the major political parties.

It is normal to think there will be a 3rd Force somewhere, there won’t be at the end of the day. Even the 2nd Force will be dwarfed by the overwhelming power of the party in power.

The main opposition, People’s Democratic Party, would have provided a veritable platform to ask the ruling All Progressives Congress questions about its failings, especially in the areas of security and very unsound economic policies. But the PDP has lost her swimming skills in the middle of the pool.

Nigerians may not dwell more on the promise of a competitive poll. All eyes will be on the ruling All Progressives Congress. The next President might just be emerging from the Presidential Primary Election of the APC.

Why do I say that? The PDP is surely not getting its strides with whispers of Alh. Atiku Abubakar coming back. Nigerians do not see any magical Messianic wand in Atiku Abubakar. Is Bukola Saraki any better? He has been swept clean from the Kwara roots. The likes of Aminu Tambuwal and Nyesom Wike might prove some financial nuts to crack. But I think APC still hold the ace.

The APC Rumble

The All Progressives Congress is currently in a battle of wit. Between the North and the South; between the old and the young; between the old CPC and the ACN and even the neutrals; it is becoming a cut throat competition in such a dangerously quiet manner.

The battle for the Presidential ticket of the APC is a straight fight between Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Yahaya Bello. The contest promises to be keen with the experience of a BAT and the dexterity and dynamism of a GYB.

The debate on Direct and Indirect Primary has further opened the flanks of the two main camps. While the BAT Camp led by his henchmen in the National Assembly and a few Governors are making Direct Primary look like the surest bet for BAT, Governor Yahaya Bello has come out openly to say he is not afraid of any mode of Primary to be adopted. He however felt political parties should have the freedom to choose the mode each of them prefers. GYB won this argument. Our constitution shouldn’t be tailored towards satisfying narrow interests.

It is easy for the proponents of Direct Primary to say it will improve participation. But many other factors have been left unattended to. How many parties have credible membership registers today? How will security agencies and INEC cope with conducting primaries simultaneously in close to 8,500 Wards across the nation?

Are we also thinking of a pandemic like the Covid-19? How will people vote in such circumstance?

Now back to the titanic battle between BAT and GYB, they both have their strengths and weaknesses. While BAT is believed to have created a fortress of successful men and women around him, how many of those blocks are ready to build his castle now?
He will be asked so many questions about a lot of things. I wish him the best of luck.

As for GYB, his strategy has been youth based. His argument is that it is the turn of the youth to turn the nation around. While a good number of young people may not agree with him, majority of them are with him and his ideologies.

What GYB has succeeded in doing is to use the Kogi opportunity to launch himself into the Nigerian opportunity. Youth and women across the nation have seen what the GYB effect has done to their counterparts in Kogi State.

His capacity to maintain security in a central location like Kogi State has kept Nigerian believing he could do same at the centre. He has also united his multi-ethnic state the way Nigerians want Nigeria to look like. He is young and agile. BAT might be brilliant, but can he match the presence factor that GYB possesses?

It is also looking very much like the All Progressives Congress won’t zone their presidential ticket. The party is ready to throw it open. That is the position of the Constitution, at least for now.

If APC doesn’t want GYB, BAT is not the man to stop him. The party may need people of his age to give him a good fight. Zoning or electing a National Chairman from the North Central still won’t stop GYB from contesting. He told members of the Guild of Editors that whatever happens on the national Chairmanship of the party will not influence his response to the clarion call on him to run for Presidency.

Between BAT and GYB, who will blink first?

– Andrew Iyinoluwa is a Political Analyst and writes from Ado Ekiti.


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Disclaimer: This article is entirely the opinion of the writer and does not represent the views of The Whistler.

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