Last minute bickering over a deal between the Congress for Political Change (CPC) and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) means it now looks unlikely the opposition parties will field a joint ticket candidate against Goodluck Jonathan.
The move, which the two parties have been in talks over since November last year, is the only realistic chance of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) being defeated in this Saturday’s presidential elections.
Opinion polls in the run-up to elections have, by and large, predicted a Jonathan victory. As Think Africa Press has already analysed, neither party alone, through respective leaders Muhammadu Buhari and Nuhu Ribadu, can match the nationwide support base of Goodluck Jonathan. While strong in their core regions of the north and the southwest, neither will garner many votes outside these areas, while Jonathan will gain votes in all regions in addition to his strongest area - the south of the country.
While reports last night – Tuesday – suggested a deal in which Ribadu would stand aside for Buhari because he wants to “avoid being seen as the stumbling block on the road to the historic defeat of the PDP” was “hours away”, this morning it is suggested that the ACN and CPC have failed to reach an agreement. Punch reports that the ACN “argued that based on its performance at the National Assembly polls, its candidate, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, should be fielded as the joint presidential candidate of both parties”. However, the CPC, with days left to the election is arguing it is “still premature” to pick a candidate. Unsurprisingly, the Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF) is pressuring Ribadu to step down.
Elections results remain yet to be published in full. At present, for the House of Representatives, the PDP has won 140 out of 263, while the ACN and CPC have 52 and 35 respectively. Of 91 senatorial election results officially declared by INEC, the PDP has won 59, the ACN, 14, and the CPC six. The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) has seven seats.
Deputy Leader of the Senate, Victor Ndoma-Egba of the PDP, while predicting a Jonathan victory admitted the House of Assembly results will usher in a new configuration in Nigerian politics.
“The PDP will still hold a substantial majority in the National Assembly, but we are going to have more colours because we are going to see the presence of new parties CPC, DPP, APGA and others,” he said.
“That on its own will impact on our own internal politics. It means we have to form alliances within the National Assembly.”