The plethora of opposition movements in the country may just be the factor that would hand victory to President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 general elections, if the lessons in the book, “Against The Run of Play: How an Incumbent President was defeated in Nigeria”, are not taken.
Author of the book, Olusegun Adeniyi, suggested this in Ibadan on Thursday after a Book Reading session which was organised for the book by the Ibadan School of Governance and Public Policy (ISGPP), Ibadan.
Notable academics, policy experts and public affairs analysts were present at the event to review the book which discussed the factors that led to the defeat of then President Goodluck Jonathan.
In the book, Adeniyi, who was presidential spokesman to former President Umaru Yar Adu’a, identified massive corruption in government; revolt of PDP governors and key members; Boko Haram and Chibok girls crisis; the role of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and clannishness, as factors that led to Jonathan’s ouster.
Adeniyi however stressed that the major deciding factor was organised, united and focused opposition because a fragmented opposition would have given victory to Jonathan as it has always done to incumbents in a lot of cases.
He stated that for incumbent Buhari to be dedeated in 2019, the opposition must be organised and cohesive.
His words: “The challenge for the opposition is that they have to get their acts together. I keep saying, by the end of 2012 for instance, we already knew who was going to challenge Jonathan in 2015. You can’t say the same thing today. And you need a cohesive opposition to defeat an incumbent. Right now, if you are asked who would be the next candidate, you can tout many names but you are not sure”.
He said the number of opposition movements in the country would end up working in Buhari’s favour.
“For me, there are only two political parties right now,” he said. “There may be others in future, but now it’s either APC or PDP. All these Red Card, Third Force, and all those things… all that they help is the incumbent because the incumbent has the support base. It is the opposition that is being divided along all these lines.
Adeniyi also posited that though the current “Go get Your PVC” campaign was good, it is ot enoigh to create the 2015-kind of upset.
“What I think basically is that Buhari’s biggest challenger today, is “Go and Get Your PVC.” That is not a candidate. Yes. People will get their PVC but who are they voting for? Its also important. I like the awareness, I like the consciouness, people are really ready to go out and vote, but it also matters who they are voting for and the platform and what those people are bringing to the table. Because I know in 2015, there are people who voted, not for Buhari but just against Jonathan. We may end up with the same situation.” he said.
Those who reviewed the book at the event include Prof. Ayo Olukotun (Oba Sikiru Professorial Chair in Governance, Department of Political Science, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun state), Prof Lai Olurode (former National Commissioner, INEC and Professor of Sociology, Unilag), Dr. Irene Pogoson (Department of Political Scoence, UI), Dr. Festus Adedayo (Member Editorial Board, The Nigerian Tribune) and Mrs Yemi Alabi, a public affairs analyst.
Chairman of the occasion was Prof Adigun Agbaje of the Department of Political Science, UI.
Also present were renowned historian, Prof Bolanle Awe; Professor of Theatre Arts, Femi Osofisan; Prof. Akin Mabogunje, Chairman, ISGPP; Dr. Tunji Olaopa, Executive Vice Chairman, ISGPP, and Prof Olabode Lucas, Chairman, ISGPP Book Reader’s Club.