The Road to 2019: Flashpoints to Watch (XXII)

Written by on May 18, 2016

With just a week to the presidential and national assembly elections, the equations are no longer fluid, writes Olawale Olaleye

For the most of last week, the moist had begun to significantly clear off the hazy coast for the general election as the countdown to February 16 inches closer. The two leading parties and their candidates, APC’s Muhammadu Buhari and PDP’s Atiku Abubakar also closed the week with message rallies almost all-week.

But before rounding off the week with their message rallies, the week had also witnessed both candidates visit crucial swings states, where they keenly competed with crowd and also showed strengths in terms of popularity. In fact, the turnout at each of the rallies had also confirmed speculations that truly, the presidential election is going to be tight and tough.

Amid all these, however, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) also extended the dates for the collection of PVCs to tomorrow and at the same time, vowed never to postpone the elections. In other words, INEC is more than ready to do Nigeria and the world proud by delivering credible elections at all levels.

Whilst both candidates continued to enjoy staggering endorsements from different quarters, including the one from the Social Democratic Party (SDP), which had caused serious disaffection within the party as a result of the indiscretion of a few to abandon their own candidate, Donald Duke, the United States, on the other hand had dismissed insinuations that it had preference for any of the candidates.

Related to this is the allegation by the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) that the ruling party had planned to frame up Atiku and other leaders of the party as part of their strategy to emasculate the opposition.

It is also interesting to note that the First Lady, Aisha Buhari has since been back from her medical treatment abroad but it appears she had been prevented from being a part of the campaign as she has maintained a genuinely low profile.

The news of the burning of the INEC office in Abia was another obnoxious development that set the rival parties in the state against each other. No fewer than 15000 PVCs were reportedly lost to the fire, which many reckoned was not unconnected to sabotage.

Above all, the week was largely marked by some interesting polls, mostly by renowned international pollster, which clearly stated that the election was Atiku’s to lose.

Although THISDAY had set the ball rolling with its state-by-state analyses, which suggested an Atiku advantage, the follow-ups by Williams and Associates as well as Teneo, two international pollsters was an icing on the cake for the opposition, a development that has naturally changed the tenor of campaigns ahead of the polls this weekend.

It was also not unexpected that some of the extrapolations at the state level focused more on their participation in the presidential and national assembly elections, since as the first round of elections they would largely define the way for others.

That notwithstanding, some of the crucial states are still battling with many internal but peculiar contradictions.


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