The standard bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Saturday’s presidential election, President Muhammadu Buhari, has predicted his victory ahead of the contest. He made a similar prediction in 2015, which eventually came to pass. Some Nigerians believe that the president is on the verge of winning again, given his soaring popularity and performance.
A political analyst, Dr Baba Aliyu, said the president was right to say he would win, because there was no credible opposition that can match his personality and integrity. Aliyu said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is in disarray. He said other aspirants who contested for the ticket with Atiku Abubakar who eventually won the primary have not supported his bid.
Aliyu said: “The likes of Rabiu Kwankwaso, Sule Lamido, David Mark, Ahmed Makarfi, Aminu Tambuwal and others have distanced themselves from Atiku’s campaign. The opposition party is weak; there is no unity of purpose among the leaders. It shows that they are not pleased with the emergence of Atiku as the PDP flag bearer.
“I could remember that Makarfi warned his party (PDP) not to give the presidential ticket to the highest bidder. He said the party should present a candidate whose integrity could match that of President Buhari, because the president is still very popular in the north. Makarfi warned that if the moneybag emerged as the presidential candidate, the PDP should just forget 2019 presidential election.”
Aliyu observed that all the 24 states controlled by the APC have adopted Buhari as their presidential candidate. He said: “Even in states like Ogun, Imo and Zamfara, where there are intra-party crises over governorship primaries, they have pledged to work for Buhari’s victory. In states controlled by the opposition parties, some of them are working for Buhari. He will improve on his performance this year in the Southsouth and Southeast, where he scored about five per cent in 2015.”
Civil right activist, Comrade Moshood Erubami, agrees with Aiyu. He said the absence of a credible opposition is an added advantage that that will make Buhari win the other parties hands down and make them to lose their deposits.
The President of Nigeria Voters Assembly (VOTASS), a civil society group, said there two kinds of opposition parties presently. He added: “There is the PDP, which remains its own problem; its past has been blotted by its antecedent of robbery and empting of the treasury, clueless sense of good governance. The leadership of the party is bereft of character that can convince Nigerians to vote for the PDP to win again in the next elections.
“There are some of them in the legislature that are marking their last sojourn in the parliament. Some will contest their elections in detention for their offences against the state. Some will not come back to continue their leadership position in the 9th National Assembly. All these will add up to make it easy for the president to win and run good government in the coming dispensation.”
On Buhari’s achievements, Erubami said the government has now shown leadership in the construction of roads and railway lines. He said there were verifiable achievements that cannot be denied, which will win him election in 2019. He listed some of the road projects as follows: Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway; Yola–Hong-Mubi road; Umuahia-Ikot-Ikpene road; the construction of the second Niger Bridge; Bauchi-Azare road; Kano-Jigawa-Maiduguri expressway; dualisation of Yenegoa road junction-Kolo-Ituake in Bayelsa and the rehabilitation of Alesi-Ugeb road in Cross River State.
Others are the rehabilitation and expansion of Lagos-Ibadan highway; the rehabilitation of access road to Apapa/Tincan port; the reconstruction of Nasarawa-Loko-Alushi road; the emergency repairs of collapsed Tatabe bridge, along Mokwa-Tegina road in Niger State; the reconstruction of Benin-Ofusu-Ore-Ajebandele-Sagamu expressway; the rehabilitation of Gbogan/Kwara State border road; the construction of Pankshin-Tapshin-Gambar-Sarka-Kal-Gindiri road in Plateau State; the Bodo-Bonny road with bridges in Rivers State and Kaduna eastern bypass.
They also include construction of Nnewi-Uduma-Uburu road in Ebonyi; the construction of Lokoja-Benin expressway; the rehabilitation of Enugu-Onitsha dual carriageway; the construction of Efon Alaaye-Erinmo-Iwara road in Ekiti; the reconstruction of Gombe-Numan-Yola road; the construction of Ikot Ikpene border-Aba-Owerri dual carriage way; the construction of Tsakuwaran-Galambi road in Jigawa; the repairs of Kaduna-Abuja express road; the dualisation of Kano-Katsina road; the rehabilitation of Zaria-Gusau-Birni Kebbi road; the reconstruction of Sokoto/Tambuwal/Jega/Kantagora/Makera road and the rehabilitation of Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa- Birni Gwari road.
For the rail project, he said the Buhari administration has completed Kaduna-Abuja rail line started by the PDP government and that the Warri-Aladja rail line has also been completed and being test-run, while the Lagos-Ibadan rail will be ready for commissioning next month.