By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
With 410 days away from the next Presidential Election, it is not out of place to assert that the pace and pattern of governance for most of the year 2018 will be shadowed by political considerations.
But even before the 2019 presidential election on February 16, 2019, a test of political might will be done this year in two crucial governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States.
Those two elections, however, will only act as a shadow of what is to come in the federal and state level elections coming up in February and March next year.
Undoubtedly, eyes would be on the All Progressives Congress, APC administration as its fortunes or foibles rub off on its aspirations for a second term in office at the federal level.
The APC is expected to hold its long overdue mini national convention which is now two years late expectedly in the first quarter before it commences preparation for the congresses that will lead to the 2019 elections.
Failure to hold the convention in the first quarter would further expose the ruling party to ridicule as it would be tagged a party that does not adhere to its constitution on statutory meetings.
Both parties would later in the year hold congresses to choose delegates to elect candidates for the various federal and state level elections in 2019. Given the significant roles of the delegates, political chieftains who lose out in the delegates’ election are bound to seek vengeance either within or outside their political parties.
The congresses would lead many level political chieftains, especially at the state levels to defect to other parties they believe their aspirations would be better projected.
2018 is going to be a year for massive defections by political gladiators as they try to position themselves in better political platforms for whatever aspirations that they are likely to have.
Atiku Abubakar was the first to leave the APC for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP arguably in pursuit of his presidential aspiration. His action followed the body movement of President Muhammadu Buhari of his readiness to seek a second term in office.
Given the fact that some other political gladiators in the party are also considering running for the presidency, eyes would be on those who like Atiku it is believed cannot wait for the end of a probable second term of the Buhari presidency.
Among those many believe will defect is Senator Rabiu Kwankwanso, the former governor of Kano State whose presidential aspiration is far too rooted and organized to be stopped. The intentions of Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State remains sketchy given the fact that he remains a darling to many in the PDP with many PDP and APC stakeholders across the country nudging him to run for the presidency if Buhari is not seeking the contest. However, the fact that many PDP partisans are also organizing for him has drawn attention to him as one of the governors who may defect to the PDP. His move is likely to be largely influenced by his broader political family which has Senator Aliyu Wamakko as head.
Meanwhile, many PDP zealots, especially those who served in the past administration would continue to defect to the APC as they seek cover from prosecution. It is the suspicion that the anti-graft agencies would increasingly be used just as by some previous administrations for political purposes to nudge many politicians to bury their ambitions.