In 2015, politicians from the main opposition parties, the All Nigerians Peoples Party, ANPP; the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, and the Action Congress of Nigeria, CAN, aligned to form the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The quest to defeat the then President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, saw men with different ideologies join forces.
For instance, a national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and Muhammadu Buhari had to put aside whatever ideological and political differences they had in a bid to defeat a common enemy, Jonathan.
The plots against Jonathan were well hatched, and the fact that Nigerians wanted a replacement for Jonathan made it easy for the ambition of the plotters to be realized.
Barely three years after, a similar scenario is playing out. There is no President Jonathan to remove this time around but President Buhari. Three years in the saddle, the president has fallen out with some of his prominent supporters in 2015. His friends have turned enemies and members of the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP are coming together for the sole aim of unseating him.
A high profile political realignment happened two weeks ago when a former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, paid a visit to Jonathan at his country home, Otuoke Bayelsa State. The visit, it was gathered by The Next Edition had everything to do with the 2019 general elections, especially the one on to choose a new president.
Jonathan, apparently delighted with the visit, later wrote on his Facebook page: “I am firmly of the view that Nigeria will progress faster when great leaders, like President Obasanjo and other statesmen, plant trees whose shade they know they may never enjoy.”
He posted on the social media site photos of himself and his guest, Obasanjo, beaming with smiles.
That visit has made many Nigerians to recall that Obasanjo was a thorn in the flesh of the Jonathan led-administration as he constantly criticized its policies.
He wrote an 18-page letter with many weighty allegations. One of such was that the government was training snipers ahead of 2015. Their relationship went so bad that the former president from Bayelsa, Jonathan, fought back, describing Obasanjo as “a motor park tout.”
In short, Jonathan became an enemy and Buhari became a friend at the time.
Obasanjo tore his membership card in public to further show that he no longer had anything to do with the party the president belonged. He sang Buhari’s praises , describing him with the best epithets anyone can find in the lexicon.
Two years into Buhari’s regime, Obasanjo became disenchanted. He wrote a letter condemning Buhari’s style of leadership advising him not to run in 2019.
He has now teamed up with Jonathan to see that Buhari is not re-elected.
Two former sworn enemies have also become friends in the name of power. Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and Ibrahim Shekarau, both former governors of Kano State have mended fence ahead of 2019.
Kwankwaso was one of the 15 senators to dump the APC three weeks ago. It was barely two weeks after he left the APC that he visited Shekarau in his Asokoro residence, Abuja.
Although, the duo met behind closed doors, it was gathered that the two leaders agreed to put the state and the PDP above their respective interests even as they resolved to bring Kano back to the fold of the PDP.
Shekarau who was a member of ANPP joined the PDP in 2014 and since then, he has remained a member of the party. All efforts by the state governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, to win him over, proved abortive.
Apart from Kwankwaso’s presidential ambition which does not align with that of Buhari, many political analysts are of the view that his grouse with Ganduje is another reason he reconciled with Shekarau.
The Next Edition gathered from a reliable source that an arrangement that would see the lawmaker representing Kano Central keep 51 per cent stake, with Shekarau taking 49 per cent has been made in order not to have problems in the future. That shows how determined they are to achieve their aim.
The political re-alignments taking place across board highlights the popular notion of ‘no permanent friend, but permanent interest’ in the country’s politics.
However, whether history will repeat itself and the incumbent president will be sacked following the joining of forces by key political actors in the country is what many Nigerian are eagerly waiting to see come 2019.