2019 Campaign Trail: The issues

2019 Campaign Trail The, issues2019 Campaign Trail: The issues.
By Charles Kumolu, Deputy Features Editor The road to Nigeria’s 2019 general elections may not be literally rough but it would be dramatic with reverberating effects.The actors, actions and rhetoric signpost a race to be shadowed by peculiar issues and others not too common with election cycles in Nigeria.Like past election periods when traditional factors took the country to the brink, chances are that current narratives may further diminish Nigeria.It is yet to be seen whether the conversations and events, so far, are capable of edifying the political culture in Africa’s most populous country.This may be dismissed as a doomsday prophecy, but some determinant elements synonymous with elections in the country cannot just fizzle out so long as Nigeria remains a nation of weak institutions.Key issues After all, Nigeria, like every other country, has its historically-based electoral practices that determine the actual nature of its political system.For instance, any analogy of elections in the country can be termed incomplete if the influences of ethnicity and religion are wished away.In the current race, their place has not been displaced by any indicator but Sunday Vanguard observed that they are not key issues.Going by the mood of the nation, the debate over 2023, performance, sycophancy, insecurity, federal might/security agencies, corruption allegations/role of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, global human development ratings and lip service on restructuring would prominently impact 2019 conversations, especially the presidential race.Surprising wave of support Conversely, it is unlike the 2015 race where President Muhammadu Buhari won through a surprising wave of support, economic fears, ethno-religious divisions and overcoming poor perception of his human rights’ record.This time, the indicators observed by Sunday Vanguard will dot the political scene in ways that could pose a new test to those things that bind the country.In that process, divisions would be exacerbated across the states, just as the prospects of positively shaping the political landscape would remain slim.To fully appreciate the issues observed by Sunday Vanguard, consider the following: Federal might Anyone thinking that federal might is not an issue in this election cycle probably belongs to those who consider the excessive use of federal power normal.That line of thought is possibly illusionary since federal power has been a permanent fixture in Nigeria’s elections since the 1964 federal elections which were marked by manipulation.Writing about that exercise in Nigerian General Elections: 1951 – 2003, Ahmad Kurfi explains: “In all regions, the campaigns for the elections were characterised by arrests and imprisonment of political opponents by agencies of regional governments and denial of permits to hold public meetings or processions.”Indeed, findings by Sunday Vanguard also show that the 1979, 1983, 1993, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 polls were no
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