By Bala Ibrahim.
The Third Force is claiming to be a movement that is coming as a political alternative to the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. The aim they say, is to rescue Nigeria from the misgovernance of the two major parties that have been in control since 1999. To achieve that, the movement is going into alliance with prominent people across different political parties, amongst whom are Prof. Attahiru Jega of the People’s Redemption Party, Prof. Pat Utomi of the Labour Party, Senator Saidu Dansadau of the National Rescue Movement, and Eng. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigerian People’s Party.
With the exception of Prof. Attahiru Jega, who migrated from the classroom to the national electoral umpire, before mutating to the new status of a practical political actor, the rest have all had attempts at contesting elections, with Eng. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso as the most tested among them. Yes, Kwankwaso was a Deputy Speaker House of Reps, Governor, Senator and now the Presidential candidate of the New Nigerian People’s Party. So as far as political positions are concerned, he has more mileage than all of them.
But how far can they go, looking at the complexities of the Nigerian political terrain, especially as some of them are just theoreticians, who have been looking at Nigeria’s political problems from the text books only? Do they have the capacity to change the narrative, or is it going to be a farce that may end up as a fiasco fight?
With the exception of Kano, where Kwankwaso is waxing strong, almost everywhere, the alliance is yet to attract the needed traction, or the ambience of a political force that can change anything, despite the engagement of the leadership of the Labour Movement and the Labour Party, including the NLC President, Mr. Ayuba Wabba and the President of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, Quadri Olaleye.
Through alliances and mergers, especially with the NLC, the third force is having the ambition of benefitting from the coming together of various political interest groups and supporters nationwide, who, if things work according to plans, are expected to combine their strength to rescue power at the centre and the periphery.
“We are particularly enthused by the nonpartisan strategic nature of the Labour Party, as a People-centered, Pan Nigerian political platform that can inclusively serve the interests of all Nigerians irrespective of their ethnic, religious and social inclinations; in uniting the country towards a momentous development that can accommodate and serve the diversities of Nigeria.”-a member of the third force.
If we go by previous experiences of such alliances, particularly with what had happened in Kano, which is a good political laboratory for many experiments, only the naive, with evident lack of experience, wisdom, or good sense of judgement, would submit to the likelihood of success in such an arrangement. History has always made such alliances to end up as a farce and fiasco of a fight.
There is a particular cliché that is circulating in the social media, perhaps embellishing the weakness or authority of such alliances and their relevance to successive elections in Kano. The cliché says, if you’re not from Kano, it will be difficult to understand Kano politics:
“In 2015, it was Kwankwaso + Ganduje against Shekarau.
In 2019, it was Shekarau + Ganduje against Kwankwaso.
In 2023 it’s going to be Kwankwaso + Shekarau against Ganduje”.
If we go by the antecedents of the above arithmetic, we can see that where there is no crisis of confidence and credibility, no matter the collective power of the coalition, the people always vote according to the dictates of their conscience, which is always in support of credibility.
With the choice of Gawuna as the candidate for governorship in Kano, and his commendable credibility, humility and attested modesty, the force of the third force against him may turn out to be a farce.
But, depending on who emerged as the candidate for the Kano central senatorial zone in the APC, where Sardaunan Kano, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau is going into the contest for the second time, this time under the platform of the third force, with his huge credentials of credibility, yes, the force of the third force may force a pre-eminence. It would only take a candidate of high moral and ethical credentials to defeat the Sardauna at that election. Anything to the contrary, is a goal for the third force.
However, unless Kwankwaso is banking on something out of the ordinary, if we are to work with the visible and conventional electoral indices, the chances of the NNPP wrestling power at the presidency can at best be described as a farce, and at worse a fiasco.
But again, there is always the silent factor in Nigeria’s elections.