The PDP surprised me and confounded all the pre-convention prognostications about a Wike-Tambuwal project and a rancorous convention of clashing political egos and personalities.
Apparently, the primary was transparent, even if probably heavily lubricated by dollars (all PDP-APC primaries conducted through the delegate system tend to be). The party dodged a major bullet by not allowing Wike to triumph and by giving the ticket to arguably its strongest candidate.
That may not be enough to defeat Buhari, given the factor of incumbency and the likely extension of the Ekiti-Osun template to the rest of the nation, but at least the former ruling party didn’t self-destruct as some people feared they would.
If the losing aspirants rally round Atiku, this could be 2015 all over again. And our democracy would benefit from it because it would only deepen our democratic practice if incumbents know that they can lose if they fail to deliver.
As for candidate Atiku, this is the only chance he’s had to test his electoral strength on the platform of a major national political party, all previous attempts at doing so having failed. He is going up against a very vulnerable president who has underperformed and underwhelmed, so he can have no excuses if he fails to win–unless of course we see a national iteration of the Osun rigging methodology.
Two issues are going to be critical to Atiku’s campaign–messaging and the running mate pick. Get those two things right and he has a good shot.
Bloomberg News recently interviewed me on the 2019 election and asked me to comment on the chances of each of the PDP aspirants. I told them that I believed Atiku had a good shot given his instant national name recognition and in spite of being dogged by allegations of corruption.
My position was that the corruption issue will play a minimal, if any, role in the election given the many major corruption scandals that have plagued the current administration and Buhari’s indifference to, and sometimes complicity in, them.
I told Bloomberg News that when it comes to corruption, it’s a wash between APC and PDP, which means that other issues, such as the dysfunctional economy, insecurity, power, infrastructure, and national unity may dominate the election.