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Friday, 15 February 2019

Politics Africa: Which party will emerge the favourite to steer the ship of Nigeria for the next four years, APC, PDP?


Which party will emerge the favourite to steer the ship of Nigeria for the next four years, APC, PDP? 
Following the directives of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), for the suspension of all campaign activities, the 2019 general elections campaign activities came to a halt this week and considering the mammoth of crowd that thronged the rallies of both All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who then will emerge winner of the Saturday polls?
In some States like Rivers, Taraba, supporters of the ruling party died as a result of stampede, while many were left injured.
The large crowd witnessed during the campaigns can be seen as a mixed multitude and this brings to the question on whether the followers are actually true party supporters or just onlookers or what in the film industry is called “waka pass.”
Speaking with DAILY POST in a recent interview, the President of the Arewa Consultative Youth Forum, ACYF, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, made it clear that crowd at campaign venues do not win elections.
Analysts are of the opinion that most Nigerians trooped out at the campaign venues mainly in search of money. There’s the general belief that political parties share money during rallies. Most of these people at campaign rallies may not have their Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, but may have gone out to be part of the sharing.
However, one thing comes to mind which is, will the so-called large crowd actually determine the outcome of this Saturday’s elections?
DAILY POST, however, sought the opinions of Nigerians on this. While some are of the opinion that most of these Nigerians were mobilized by State Governors to show the President how hard they are working towards his victory, others believe that the crowd would also go along way to determine who wins at the end.
Our correspondent met Kenny Oluwadare, an Entrepreneur, who believes that, “Interestingly, the large crowd says a bit about the outcome of the elections. It however only tells us that regardless of the number of political parties involved, and the number of candidates contesting, only 2 parties and 2 candidates are in contention for the presidency. But there is a high probability of them having voters cards.
“And of course, we know that these politicians would not do their dirty jobs themselves so the thugs come in handy at this period.”
Also speaking, Omotolu Isaac, said, “The large turnout may not clearly indicate what direction the election will swing. The turnout at most of the rallies has been very similar. In the build-up to the 2015 elections, political parties focused on crowd and people mobilization only, meaning that a lot of people who turned up to rallies then, and many supporters on social media didn’t have voters cards. The outcome was disappointing for most candidates.
“Political parties now, having learnt from the past mistakes are focusing on crowd organization – which involves ensuring the people being mobilized have their PVC’s and are eligible to vote. As such, we can say to a high extent, most of the people being mobilized do have their voters cards.”
Speaking on the development, Victoria Aklo said, ”Talking about the crowd, lets take Lagos for instance, where the turnout was similarly average, or Katsina, where the current president is from, with huge crowd turnout for both parties. But are we sure if they all have PVC’s? I honestly doubt that.
“However, Political thuggery always plays a role in politics. Fear and voter intimidation are the major tools used in thuggery.
“It also largely depends on the neutrality of security forces on Election Day as the thugs are supposed to do the dirty works for the politicians such as ballot snatching, vote buying, voter intimidation etc. There successes, however, will largely depend on how effective as neural security forces are in curbing or stopping any attempt.”
For Kelvin Musty, ”It is quite possible that the same crop of people turned out for both parties campaigns, especially with unconfirmed reports of cash inducement to attendees.
“I can say that most of them do not even know what a PVC looks like, but you see them in every campaign rally as long as they can locate the venue.
“If the security forces favour a political party, then they would most likely descend on the thugs employed by the opposition.”
Tata Iso also believes that, ”Those crowds are hired, they are paid to show up and most of them appear in both the PDP and APC rallies. They are just there for the money and 70% of them will not even vote.
“The use of thugs can only have effects if it’s done in polling units, and I don’t think thugs can affect people’s opinion or choice of votes.
“Both parties have thugs and they only fight themselves.”
From the sample of the opinions collated, factors such as the current economic realities in the country; perceived independence of the electoral umpire; the need for the change of alleged bad leadership; ethnic sentiments (especially with the VP’s); weak security measures; power of incumbency; neutrality of security forces; vote buying and rigging may at the end determine the outcome of the 2019 presidential election.

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