• Monday, July 15, 2024
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APC and the difficult choice for stability

Nigeria, Vietnam to deepen relations in digital economy, agric, others

With the eventful emergence of Prof. Yemi Osinbajo as a candidate for the APC’s Primary it becomes clear that the race has heated up.

The New Electoral Act has created a 12 month lame duck session at the State and Federal levels.

This lame duck session while not any better for Governance presents less risk for State Governments than it does for the Federal Government.

Prof Osinbajo is an accomplished candidate. An accomplished lawyer, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a sitting Vice President and Chair of the National Economic Council for 7 years+. These are only a few nuggets in a vast CV.

Security is an underlying risk to the economy and social fabric of our country that must not be discounted in this transition. Good risk analysis requires us to assess the probability and possibility of worse case scenarios and guard against them.

It is arguable that the only candidate APC can pick if a proper national risk assessment is done, is Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Risk 1: Two Royal Courts and the associated risks
If the Presidential ticket goes to anyone outside the Aso Rock Villa we can expect more drift and a worsening of policy direction. Imagine having a lame duck President and a disappointed Vice President for 12 months. In an election cycle of 5 months this is not as big of a risk (i.e. Primaries in November as we had before the new Electoral Act). Nigerian Politicians and Political Appointees (include heads of MDA’s) are like Sharks. When they smell blood in the water they attack. Lagos or any other location for a non Villa Presidential nominee (for the ruling party) will become a Mecca. For 12 full months we will have 2 Presidents. An official one and an unofficial one. Everyone will be tripping over themselves to gain favour with the presumed incoming President.

This could have disastrous consequences for Governance and Security (see below). As it stands now the Central Bank of Nigeria, NNPC and even INEC can become unwieldy institutions. These institutions were created to caters to their interests first (in the presumption that Nigeria’s interest is the same). This is how these institutions were designed. These institutions only work when there is clear policy guidance. Without this we can have significant challenges for our citizenry in terms of Governance output.
For Mr. President, the only safe way for his powers not to be significantly eroded is to maintain status quo and the Villa’s supremacy by selecting his deputy to succeed him.

If the Presidential ticket goes to anyone outside the Aso Rock Villa we can expect more drift and a worsening of policy direction

Risk 2: Security
The security threats in this country continue to evolve from the Northwest to the Southsouth to the Southeast. The lengthy time between the Primary and the transition needs extremely careful management. Remember that Nigeria use to be a hotbed of Coup de’ Etats. We have seen a resurgence of non elected transfers of power across West Africa (quite worryingly). If the security situation worsens due to a lack of coherent political leadership it’s not scaremongering or far fetched to think that some groups could start getting ideas.

An alternative route of selecting the VP could see more collaboration between Mr President and his Deputy in the Villa to consolidate on all the security investments and planning to ensure that prior to elections the various threats we are facing as a nation can be doused. It does not take much to have a pretext to a Coup.
A united and coherent administrative leadership is needed to give us a chance at better security this year. The threats from a distracted transition portend risks that could tumble Nigeria back 25 years and erode our hard earned democratic gains. Clarity is needed now, not distraction.

Risk 2: The Economy
The choice is very simple. Do we want investment this year or not. Investors invest based on risk-reward assessments. We have seen countries in transition (where the transfer of power trajectory is clear) where there is a spike up in investment in election years. We have also seen countries where investment dries up. Continuity is usually viewed positively by the Business and investor community. Not because the love continuity but because they can quantify the risk. Prof Yemi Osinbajo is also viewed positively by the Business and Global community. If the perception is he has a good chance at succeeding President Buhari you will see investment. If the outlook is shaky … no one will come in this year until after the transition. Nigeria needs to much investment to waste another year in limbo.

Risk 3: Infrastructure Continuity
Despite what criticisms one has of the Buhari Administration there have been record breaking investments in Roads, Aviation, Rail and Power across the country. This Administration has commissioned more major projects than all the PDP Administrations combined. We need these investments to spur economic growth and jobs. The AKK pipeline will be incomplete, Mambilla will be incomplete, Abuja – Kano Road will be incomplete and many others. Any disruption in the completion of these projects from a lack of coherence this year and either an intact APC administration or a PDP administration could set us back.

Transition
It should be clear to everyone in the APC that even if the APC stays in Power, a new President not currently inhabiting the Villa will slow down the APCs programs. Even if the APC eventually loses, the stability of the country in 2022 is better secured if power is maintained in the Villa. Despite many threats, the comfort (or fear) that President Jonathan was running kept many in check. We all recall how the Inspector General Suleiman Abba was unceremoniously sacked for “over” mingling with the unelected President.

In a country where we need significant and copious amounts of work and projects to be done, it is shocking that the political class allowed for an electoral cycle of 12 months in a 48 month administration (25%) To be introduced into the new Electoral act.

It is clear that Prof Osinbajo is a front runner on his own merit, but it should also be clear that he may be the only sensible and logical choice for the APC within our current national constraints.

The ruling party must choose wisely.