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QuickRead: Wike forecloses truce between G-5 and Atiku. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter



The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, last week ruled out any last-minute truce between the G-5 and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar ahead of this week’s election.

This and four other stories we tracked dominated public discourse last week.

1. Wike forecloses truce between G-5 and Atiku

On February 16, Wike said he was not prepared to sit down with any Atiku supporter to mediate a settlement between the G-5 and the party’s national leadership.

The governor, who stated this in a media chat in Port Harcourt, said: “No, we can’t do that; it’s over! We have said it and there is nothing anybody can do about it now. They believe they can win the election. I am not ready to sit down with anybody again.”

Why it matters

Wike‘s remark has ended all hopes harboured by PDP leaders and supporters to bring back the renegade governors to the party’s fold in time for the election.

What this implies is that the party that once prided itself as the biggest in Africa will be heading into next weekend’s election as a fractured unit.

This inadvertently may have sounded a death knell on the PDP’s hope of reclaiming power at the centre for the first time since 2015.

2. Buhari’s directive on old N200 notes

President Muhammadu Buhari on February 16 extended the validity of the old N200 notes till April 10.

The president, who announced this in a national broadcast, also declared that the old N500 and N1000 notes had ceased to be legal tender in defiance to the Supreme Court which had previously held that all the naira notes remain legal tender pending the determination of a suit filed by some All Progressives Congress (APC) governors against the redesign of the banknotes.

He said: “I have mandated the CBN to deploy means to educate and easy access to cash while also making deposits.
“The old N200 banknotes should be released back to the public with the new N200, N500, and N1,000, and from February 10 to April 10; the old N200 will cease to the legal tender.
“We will continue to monitor the implementation to ensure Nigerians are not burdened.”

Why it matters

The president’s directive disregarding the Supreme Court’s order on the naira swap has once again called into question his well-trumpeted respect for the rule of law.

The order is a clear violation of the existing order of the apex court which had already maintained the status quo on the currency swap and an invitation to anarchy in a country where the citizens are groaning under the weight of the controversial policy.

The crisis trailing the redesign of the naira again highlights the current administration’s inability to initiate or effectively coordinate policies aimed at tackling the country’s challenges without hurting the citizens.

3. Ortom’s adoption of Peter Obi

The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on February 17 confirmed the Labour Party presidential flag bearer, Peter Obi, as his adopted candidate in this week’s election.
Ortom, who spoke at a Town Hall meeting addressed by the LP in Makurdi, promised to work for his success in the election.

He said: We have come to a time where we must leave out sentiments and save Nigeria by looking at individuals who can lead with the fear of God and provide gainful employment for the youths.

“So, this is not about the party, I am not in Labour Party but I am working for Peter Obi. Peter Obi will make sure that we sleep with our two eyes closed. These unnecessary killings that are going on in our country will stop.”

Why it matters

Ortom’s adoption of Obi following a similar step by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and two leaders of the Southern and Middle Belt Forum (SMBLF), Edwin Clark and Ayo Adebanjo speaks to the rise of the former Anambra governor as a third-party candidate.

It may have also confirmed insinuations that the inability of the G-5 members to settle for one person between the LP candidate and his All Progressives Congress (APC) rival, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was the reason they didn’t announce their preferred presidential candidate last month.

READ ALSO:QuickRead: Osun tribunal’s sack of Adeleke. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter

4. Adamawa APC crisis

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Adamawa State was hit by a crisis last week following the suspension of the party’s governorship candidate in the state, Aisha Binani, by the party’s executive committee in Yola South local government area.

However, in a statement issued on February 18 by APC Secretary in the state, Raymond Chidama, the party described Binani’s suspension as unconstitutional.

The statement read: “The attention of the members of the state working committee was drawn to a publication purporting suspension of the governorship candidate of our party, APC, Distinguished Senator Aishatu Dahiru Binani (Binani).

“We want unequivocally state that this is unconstitutional, null and void, and is of no effect. It is callous, unguided, divisive, diversionary, and unnecessary. This cannot emanate from members of our party. We urge all faithful party members to disregard the same.”

Why it matters

The dispute arising from Binani’s suspension by Adamawa APC again points to the inability of players in the country’s space to learn from history.

It also shows that the quest for political power will always be dictated by personal interest, especially in election season.

5. Poll prediction on Tinubu, others

A survey carried out by a civil society organization, Enough Is Enough (EiE), and a research firm, SBM Intelligence, has predicted a possible victory for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in this week’s election.

The report of the survey carried out among 11,534 respondents across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was published on February 17.

It read: “The path to Aso Rock has been riddled with permutations and scenario planning primarily because, for the first time since the era of parliamentary democracy in the 1960s, there are three competitive political blocs, broadly distributed along the eastern, northern, and western regional divides with a smattering of swing states where they must compete for absolute votes and vote share. Unfortunately, there isn’t as much interest in the down-ballot races.
“Turnout will increase in the elections, but some states will experience a low turnout. Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar will score 25 percent in at least 24 states.
“Depending on turnout in Kano, Lagos, and a few other states in the NW and SW, Bola Tinubu could win the popular vote, setting Nigeria up for a runoff election for the first time ever.”

Why it matters

The survey illustrates the shift in Nigeria’s electoral system from a two-horse race to a more competitive process with the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, at the centre of it all.

The likelihood of a first-ever presidential election run-off in Nigeria’s history speaks to the gradual advancement of the country’s democracy with the citizens increasingly becoming aware of their rights to freely elect their leaders through the ballot.

It also speaks to Nigerians’ crave for a new order following the failure of the old-breed politicians in the last few decades.

By Hamed Shobiye

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