What I observed in two weeks that presidential aspirants began a campaign to win their parties’ primaries are (1) alignment of the body of political elite, (2) syndicated opinion polls, and (3) individual strategies of the aspirants to lobby the delegates.
The alignment of these political elements is what I will define as the “forces”, the power brokers in the parties, which according to my findings has favoured the former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu over other in his party.
The polls, some of which were sponsored by bodies of intellectuals and the media, tilted towards Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. These two aspirants have come from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
In the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, is enjoying himself with his high public rating as revealed by the opinion polls.
As a matter of fact, a poll by the African Independent Television (AIT) scored Obi about 80 per cent while the next in line Atiku Abubakar polled about 20 per cent.
However, Obi’s jubilation over the result was short-lived as AIT abruptly took the poll down. The station gave no reason but I learnt that the exercise boomeranged because it was not going as expected.
The political forces in the PDP were against it. It would have been better if Atiku had the highest polls so that Obi could grudgingly accept the running mate role later.
We should not be surprised to see some media platforms being used for this exercise. That is a strategy but it is not going to work because the real forces know where they are going.
There are some media houses that have been listed to do this while emergency groups will emerge in the like of the “Association for Better Nigeria” of the 1990s to sponsor polls.
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, and Obi will enjoy more of this type of campaign because they belong to the intellectual class that will come up with economic statistics to melt the hearts of many Nigerians.
However, this does not translate to victory at the party primaries or election proper where the real forces will lead the direction. Tinubu has concentrated more on the forces as shown by his movements across the country and his influence to garner the endorsement of over 300 delegates and 12 governors. That does not mean that he has no template to improve his opinion rating.
In fact, he will dust all other aspirants when that begins but I do not think he will want to do that even though he controls two strong media platforms, the Nation Newspapers and TVC.
Such a strategy is too simple for a man that is destined to solve complex problems. He said during his meeting with Kaduna State delegates that he did not know where other aspirants were running to but on his part, he was running to occupy the presidential seat at Aso Villa. President Buhari’s resignation order to his ambitious cabinet members is steadily separating the real aspirants from the fake ones. Some have resigned, and some withdrew from the race.
Tinubu has concentrated more on the forces. He is not leaving President Muhammadu Buhari out of the equation as shown by his recent visit to the villa.
Of course, there are different forces. They are all human beings who will remain in their state of rest except if an external force acts upon them. Tinubu, just like other aspirants is a force on his own that is acting on other forces to change.
At the crossroads, these forces will determine first, the opinion polls and later the outcome of the real election in this country where the larger percentage of the social media users do not have voter cards.
The forces that are pulling former Goodluck Jonathan is a force, which for me is dead on arrival because so many other forces are waiting to oppose it.
Kunle Awosiyan is a public affairs analyst based in Lagos