Analysis by Ranti Sowemimo
This weekend, the opposition People’s Democratic Party is set to nominate a candidate that would fly the party’s flag at the 2019 general election. Ultimately, whoever emerges from the convention would contend against incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari at the 2019 general elections.
President Buhari’s key weapon Is anti-corruption. His administration has created built up a messaging architecture around this narrative. Buhari gets hawkish on this theme and threatens to jail looters at will. Opposition politicians have had to defect to the ruling party, a popular theory that postulates that they do this to avoid getting clamped down on by the EFCC, Nigeria’s leading anti-corruption agency. Now that the 2019 elections are around the corner, analysts are expecting that the administration would get more brutal in a bid to delegitimise the opposition aspirants.
Among the crowded field of aspirants of the PDP, here are some of the high-profile candidates within the PDP who can scale through this brick wall
1. Aminu Tambuwal
The incumbent governor of Sokoto state has managed to avoid any serious corruption enquiry into his personal affairs throughout his high-profile government career occupying key leadership offices including the Speaker position at the House of Representatives for about a decade. With the constitutional immunity in place, it is impossible to prosecute Tambuwal or subject him to any form of inquiry until he vacates office in 2019. Tambuwal, a lawyer has been outspoken about ending institutional corruption and has opened up his records for any of the anti-corruption agencies.
2. Ibrahim Dankwambo:
The incumbent governor of Gombe state also has constitutional immunity. He has been the Accountant General of Federation and now second term governor and has managed to avoid the corruption agencies in person. Dankwabo’s experience as an accountant goes a long way to convince that he understands the importance of accountability and probity in managing the nations affairs.
3. Ahmed Makarfi
The former governor of Kaduna state has come under scrutiny of the anti corruption agencies during his time at the Senate but nothing has come out of the case. He has also challenged the anti graft agency to provide evidence of corruption against him which is something they have not responded to.
A number of aspirants in the PDP currently have pending and ongoing local and international corruption cases and they might be vulnerable to the attacks from the various arms of the administation which would not only significantly weaken a functional level but which would also hurt their chances with the fatigued Nigerian public who might be dissatisfied with the incumbent but would not willing to embrace individuals with strong perception of corruption. The PDP would do good to have a candidate who can inspire every Nigerian.