OPINION: There are only TWO PRINCIPAL challenges to free and fair election in 2019

AGADA IKECHUKWU

The service chiefs and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should not relegate history and posterity ahead of 2019 general elections. Posterity will award a very low score to them should they collaborate in disenfranchising Nigerians through rigging the elections.

Smartness is the word, chess is the game, intimidation and harassment are the language; popularity is gradually taking the back seat in Nigeria politics. In this iPhone era politics, smartness and not popularity decides; ask many popular aspirants who could not secure their party tickets.

What cannot be helped must be endured, so goes a popular adage, but even endurance has its limits. Like the Californian wildfire, blistering and unquenchable in its wake, the bright flame of friendship between the Aso Rock cabal and these agencies (INEC and security) burns brilliantly across the lattices of the corridors of power. Unlike two peas in a pod, these agencies and the opposition political parties belong to two different and very distant worlds.

They could be likened to water and oil which nature and science preclude from mixing. Posterity knocks on the doors of these agencies which are key players to the general elections not to betray the people as they have failed the simple test of trust and confidence in a political quality control laboratory using the recent elections as case study. Except by divine intervention, the will of the masses may be trampled upon.

Traveling through the possible outcomes of 2019 elections will definitely present series of surprises. The bandwagon voting system of 2015 might likely play out. The party that wins the presidency being the 1st election, will most honourably grab majority of other national assembly and gubernatorial seats. Like clams and corals gravitating in the deep, towards the tide without a storm, many people will naturally flow with the river (party) with the presidential flag based on experience.

Many governors and national assembly members who are die-hard critics of the present administration will heave a sigh of relief with Atiku’s victory because Buhari’s success at the poll will not only eclipse their ambition but might likely take them through the gates of prosecution.

Like a whirlwind that comes with a thunderstorm, the presidency will use every weapon at its disposal to ensure that some PDP heavyweights like Saraki and some governors lose their elections(except where secret deals to decamp to the APC is sealed) to punish them for daring the APC administration if Buhari wins the presidential election.

The international community is watching but might be helpless should the rigging travel digital lane using INEC as the denominator. Their intervention will be most sought after in the likely events of postponement, inconclusive declaration of 1st ballot and possible crisis.

The military bloc led by the quartet of Obasanjo, IBB, Abdulsalami Abubakar and TY Danjuma will also play pivotal roles in influencing the outcome and international endorsement of the results based on their connections. These kingmakers whose homes have been turned to consulting clinics by the political players since the appearance of the election in the air are at the forefront of this campaign. They have at different times criticized the present administration on many fronts.

They have accused President Muhammadu Buhari of not being the best foot forward, if we put him on the scale of things in Nigeria and picked holes in his policies. They frown at the unabated killing of Nigeria gallant soldiers by Boko Haram under the headship of an ex-soldier. They are also peeved by the religious and ethnic proclivities of the Buhari administration. In response, they are walling behind and chesting out for Atiku ahead of 2019 presidential election.

Politics is fluid, dynamic, slippery and full of uncertainties. The Aso Rock cabals have their power nucleus in the presidency and are determined by all means to ensure the success of their principal in the 2019 presidential election. The service chiefs and the INEC head honcho are willing tools to the consternation of many dyed-in-the-wool faithful of free and fair elections. The service chiefs should concern themselves on issues of security and not partisan politics. 2019 presidential election can make or mar Nigeria’s democracy. RIP gallant soldiers.

IKECHUKWU WRITES FROM LAGOS

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