2013: Animating the landscape for 2015

| December 30, 2012 | 0 Comments

Animating the landscape for 2015

In 2013, the political scene will be animated by new moves and possible realignments of forces preparatory to the 2015 general elections, writes ALLWELL OKPI

The future is rooted in the past. In about 48 hours from now, 2013 will set in.

However, entombed in the outgoing year are political strokes that may define the trajectory of the new year and beyond. 

For instance, the Independent National Electoral Commission conducted successful governorship elections in Bayelsa, Edo and Ondo states. There was a resurgence of pocket of ‘republics’, evident in Goodluck Diigbo declaration of political autonomy for Ogoniland, attempts to revivethe Biafran Zionist Movement and some states having anthems, flags and coat of arms. Some felons also challenged the authority of the state, evinced in the unrestrained bombings and killings of innocent citizens in some parts of the country.

Yet, political actors, with eyes fixated on 2015 have started revving their political engines.

Therefore, political organisations would in more definite ways, regroup and show overt inclination toward 2015 struggle for political power.

Some of the 2015 preparatory events include:

Peoples Democratic Party Board of Trustees Chairman

Perhaps, the first event that would set the political tone for the coming year is the election of the Peoples Democratic Party Board of Trustees Chairman on January 8.

PDP’s constitution stipulates that the BoT chairman and secretary shall emerge from the party’s BoT membership made up of 102 members. This means that those who are not members of the party’s BoT are not qualified to contest for the positions.

At the last count, 20 aspirants had picked forms, including non-BoT members.

Prominent among the aspirants are Second Republic Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme (South-East); a former Minister of Works, and one-time chairman of the board, Chief Tony Anenih (South-South); a former PDP National Chairman, Dr. Ahmadu Ali (North-Central); a business man, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu (South-East); Senator Onyeabo Obi (South-East); former Senate President, Chief Ken Nnamani, (South-East) and former All Nigeria Peoples Party Board of Trustees chairman, Chief Harry Akande (South-West).

While many of the BoT members are in favour of South-East producing the next chairman, President Goodluck Jonathan is said to be rooting for Anenih, who is from South-South.

Nevertheless, whoever emerges BoT chairman would to a large extent play a key role in deciding whether Jonathan could emerge as the party’s presidential candidate, should he decide to run for another term in 2015.

Possible cabinet reshuffle

As 2012 runs out, there are indications that the President Goodluck Jonathan might reshuffle his cabinet in the first quarter of 2013. It is believed that this move would be geared towards positioning Jonathan for 2015.

In the reshuffle, the positions of the Minister for Power and Minister of Defence are expected to be filled.

A prelude to the major cabinet shake-up, was the swapping of position by former Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Hajiya Zainab Kuchi, and the former Minister of State for Power Darius Ishaku,

It would be recalled that former Minister of Defence, Dr. Haliru Bello, was sacked in June alongside the then National Security Adviser, late Gen. Owoye Azazi (retd), in June, following worsening security situation, while former Minster of Power, Prof. Bart Nnaji resigned in August.

Constitution amendment

Going by the promises of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, Nigeria may get an amended constitution in June 2013.

If all the issues raised are treated on their merit, the new constitution would alter the country’s political structure.

Prominent among the issues raised in the over 100 memoranda submitted to the National Assembly,  are the immunity clause, police reform, local government administration, creation of states, devolution of power, removal of NYSC Act and Land Use Act from the constitution and zoning of public offices.

ACN, CPC and ANPP merger

The planned merger of the three major opposition political parties – the Action Congress of Nigeria, the Congress for Progressive Change, and the All Nigeria Peoples Party is gathering steam going by the pronouncements of the gladiator involved. The success of the merger would no doubt be the biggest threat to the ruling PDP.

Despite the fact that the leaders of the different parties have expressed optimism over the merger, indications have emerged that they might not agree on the terms of the relationship as soon as expected.

Recent reports have it that the parties have problems agreeing on a name, symbol and other identities for the proposed mega opposition party.

The three parties were said to have set up separate committees to ensure that the merger plan materialised. The committees were mandated to prepare the position of their parties for an enlarged meeting of all the three committees.

The committees, whose members are working in secrecy, are also to suggest a name, logo, symbol and slogan for the proposed party.

However, it was learnt that one of the parties was insisting that any new party resulting from the merger must bear its name and have its symbol.

Peace talks with Boko Haram

The handling of the poor security situation would remain a major parameter that would be used to measure the success of Jonathan administration in 2013. Hence, finding a lasting solution is likely to be the administration’s preoccupation.

While denying having any form of talks with the militant Boko Haram sect, responsible for several bombings in the North, the Federal Government has maintained that it is ready to take the negotiation option.

It is believed that if Jonathan’s administration succeeds in quelling the incessant violence in the North and kidnapping in the South, he could regain the confidence of many Nigerians.

Takeover of Labour Party

Apart from the PDP, and the possible merger of ACN, CPC, ANPP and others, the Labour Party is likely to emerge as the third formidable political platform in 2013.

This is because of the plan of the Nigeria Labour Congress to fully assume ownership of the Labour Party ahead of the 2015 general elections.

NLC had complained that the political hypocrites masquerading as progressive politicians could no longer guarantee workers’ rights and protection.

Citing the example of Labour Party in Britain, NLC had announced that it had sent out its technocrats across the 36 states to scout for seasoned politicians who would be labour-friendly and willing to churn out the true benefits of democracy to Nigerians.

The NLC is also involving other labour unions in the move, which is expected to materialise next year. 

Deregistration of more political parties

The deregistration of political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission stirred the polity in the last weeks of 2012.

With 31 political parties already deregistered, INEC promised to continue the exercise- an indication that more parties would cease to exist in the coming year.

This lends credence to speculations that INEC intends to reduce the number of registered political parties to about 10 by 2015.

Northern consensus candidate

Though President Jonathan’s declaration of intention to run for second term, which he has scheduled for 2014, would affect the plans of other candidates, efforts to get a consensus presidential candidate for the North is likely to reach advanced stage in 2013.

Several meetings would hold in the coming year to harmonise the interest of northern politicians eyeing the presidency, which include at least seven serving governors – Sule Lamido of Jigawa State, Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State, Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State, Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State and Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State.

All these governors who are serving their second term in office are of the ruling PDP, alongside President Jonathan.

APGA crisis

The perceived rift between the Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State and Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, if it continues in 2013, would most likely bury the All Progressive Grand Alliance, the political party to which both belong.

While Obi would end his second term in 2014, Okorocha is in his first term.

If the present crisis persists, members of the party are likely to defect to another party, and this will be how not to immortalise the late Ikemba Nnewi, Chief Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, who was the father of the party.


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