20180519

"Only Formidable Opposition Will Defeat Buhari In 2019"

The former Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, has said only a formidable opposition would defeat President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 election.

Adeniyi stated this at the review of his book titled: “Against the Run of Play” at the Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy (ISGPP).

Addressing the gathering of academics and other professionals who attended the book reading, Adeniyi identified fragmented opposition as the most important factor that makes incumbent candidates win elections all over the world.

He recalled that ex- President Goodluck Jonathan lost in 2015 because the opposition parties came together to form a strong force against him and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Adeniyi said that kind of development is rare in other countries of the world but is required to defeat any incumbent.

The ex-presidential spokesman said he was yet to see a formidable opposition strong enough to defeat Buhari, pointing out that the All Progressives Congress (APC) was already solidly on ground more than one year before the last election.

He said: “I don’t expect anything different in the 2019 elections. I expect that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will perform better than it did in 2015. I also expect that whoever wants to be president, either the incumbent or challenger, should challenge the process and at the end of the day, we’ll see what happens.

“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. And for me, there are only two political parties right now; 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.”

On if the massive campaign for Nigerians to get their Permanent Voter Card (PVC) will help the opposition in 2019, Adeniyi added:

“Yes, it can play a part, but 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? It is also important. I like the awareness, I like the consciousness, 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. I know that in 2015, there are people who voted, not for Buhari but just against Jonathan. We may end up with the same situation.”