Personalities, institutions that’ll shape politics in 2024

Going by predictions of political analysts 2024 might turn out to be a year of great politicking amidst preparations for the off-cycle elections, among others. In this report, KEHINDE OSASONA gives more insight into personalities and institutions that will shape the year.

President Bola Tinubu

More than anyone else, the Nigerian President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu would play a big role both in his capacity as President and father of the nation, and as an astute political strategist.

Tinubu, a staunch member and co-founder of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was the party candidate in the last election. He was declared a winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), after he defeated three other candidates to occupy the Aso Rock Presidential Villa.

His journey to the peak of his political career was not a walk in the park, as it was fiercely fought for.

One of his many battles that readily comes to mind is “emi lo kan”, a political slogan that later transmuted into a very powerful political statement.

A few months after taking the mantle of leadership in Nigeria, the former Lagos state governor has continued to demonstrate capacity that he has been known for.

Not only has he rolled out policies capable of shaping the nation’s political and economic landscape, he has equally demonstrated to all that governance is serious business; just as he has promised to turn Nigeria’s economy into a $1 trillion economy.

Tinubu hit the ground running when he appointed ministers capable of manning critical sectors of the economy.

He followed it up by pursuing his eight-points agenda christened ‘Renewed Hope’ with focus on poverty alleviation, food security, job creation, economic growth, graft fight, access to capital to aid businesses, enthronement of rule of law, inclusion among others.

As a foremost political activist, the ‘Jagaban of Borgu Kingdom’ as he is fondly, is expected to churn out more policies and make some pronouncement like he did with the fuel subsidy regime.

More importantly, Tinubu, who recently played key roles in ensuring that the Kano and Rivers imbroglio does not result in a fracas of any kind appears to be working towards entrenching a democratic culture buoyed in enduring political ideologies as obtained in America and other European countries.

It would not be out of place to say that Tinubu is in charge of affairs in the country and will play major roles that will shape politics in the country this year.

Atiku Abubakar

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 presidential election, is another political figure poised to make a difference in 2024.

An avowed political war horse and game master, the Turakin Adamawa as fondly called by admirers, is a typical cat with nine lives in the political fraternity.

After losing out to Tinubu, both in the field and at the Supreme Court, the Adamawa state-born politician has continued with criticism of government policies, while proffering alternatives.

Aside from faulting Tinubu’s plan on the proposed palliatives to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal a few months back, he also cautioned PDP National Assembly members-elect to discharge their responsibilities according to the provisions of the Constitution and not become “rubber-stamp legislature”.

Although some have argued that Atiku will, as usual, run to Dubai to look after his businesses after losing the election, he is still in the country. It remains to be seen how he strikes a balance between business and being a viable opposition figure.

Atiku, a rallying point in PDP any day, has continued to calling for a viable opposition to wrest power from the ruling APC come 2027. So, he is a man to watch out for.

Peter Obi

Not many people gave him a chance to get to where he is today, however, Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra state and presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 general elections, has not only proved his mettle in the politics, his last outing rattled political heavyweights where he demystified ‘structure’ as a hype lexicon in politics.

Interestingly, rather than recoiling back into his shell, Obi has lately demonstrated that he would still be around to justify the good outing recorded during the presidential contest was not a fluke.

Just recently, as a pointer to his readiness to play the role of a viable opposition leader, Obi faulted the signing into law of the N2.17 trillion supplementary budget by President Tinubu, arguing the president failed to consider certain emergencies and pressing needs of the country.

While also underscoring the nation’s challenges, he attributed the failure of successive administrations to priorities expenditure on critical areas like national development and security, expressing regrets that it was weighing down the nation.

Obi by his current disposition is here to stay and would be play a big part in what goes where politically.

Kwakwanso

Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, is another former presidential candidate in the 2023 general election. Kwankwaso who flew the flag of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) has grown over the years into political heavyweight and one of the most sought-after politicians.

Kwankwaso, who is also a former governor of Kano state and an ex-minister of defence, had it well last year when he successfully extended his political tentacles to other parts of the country, where he got sizable votes outside his stronghold in the North-west region.

The recent pronouncements by the apex court affirming that his protégé, Engr Yusuf Abba-Kabir, won the last governoship election in Kano state has further conferred on him an opportunity on him to consolidate his winning streak, especially in Kano where he has a strong base.

Aside from unleashing his political prowess to shape the polity in the coming months, Kwakwanso’s next political move in 2024 will surely make headline news.

Shettima

Vice President Kashim Shetimma is no doubt an asset to the Tinubu-led administration. He is one person that is underrate at your peril. This ‘enigma’ who mobilised the North heavily for the Tinubu/Shettima joint ticket will no doubt play more prominent roles politically, and in other spheres.

As a governor in Borno state, like Tinubu he left a lasting legacy both in terms of bridging infrastructural deficits in their states and choosing a capable successor.

Very tactical, blunt, and loyal, this former banker-turned-politician dwarfed his opponents with his brilliant submission during the vice presidential debate preceding the 2023 election and at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) conference held in Lagos.

His disposition according to some political pundits may have helped swayed votes to the ruling APC in the 2023 election.

Shettima has proven over the months that he was a good choice for the APC.

Come 2024, Shettima, who has also been traveling within and outside the country to shop for investors, market and brand the country’s image will surely play a big role in the nation’s polity.

Akpabio

Despite coming from a state being ruled by the opposition, the current Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, is a game changer par excellence.

Close associates claim that politics without bitterness, a trait that has endeared him to the Akwa-Ibom people and Nigeria as a whole has remained his watchword.

Akpabio a few days showcased his readiness to play a key role in 2024 and beyond to ensure that APC, his party produces the next governor in the state come 2027.

Speaking at a meeting of the APC leaders in Uyo, the state capital, Akpabio said: “It will be an aberration for the number three citizen not to have a governor from the same party at the end of an election.”

Wike

The Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Barr Barr. Nyesom Wike, is a former governor of Rivers state and a member of the PDP. However, he played a key role in the emergence of the Tinubu, who was the APC presidential candidate in the 2023 elections.

Wike, last year, dismissed speculations that he could revive his presidential ambition in 2027, saying that as a man who abhors disloyalty he cannot contest against his boss, President Tinubu.

Wike said he remained committed to the successes of the Tinubu administration,

He said, “Tinubu made me the FCT minister and I won’t allow anybody to crumble our political structure. No!”

As a pointer to Wike’s vow, some assemblymen and foot soldiers loyal to him recently dumped PDP for APC, a scenario tilting to the possibility that he may be joining APC or working for the party.

Ahead of the 2023 election, the quest for justice over zoning of the presidential position led to six governors: Wike (Rivers state); Seyi Makinde (Oyo state); Samuel Ortom (Benue state); Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia state); and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu state); all of the PDP to form the G-5 group, who canvassed that power should shift to South after former President Muhammadu Buhari who is from the North.

Although the group had a reunion a few days back, for now, fingers crossed as to how things play out in months to come.

PDP

The sustenance of democracy no doubt requires vibrant opposition and with the look of things, the main opposition party in the country has through its stance over the month demonstrated readiness for such a role.

CNPP

The Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) recently charged President Tinubu to reduce cases of corruption and abuse of office among ministers and civil servants for the masses to breathe.

In an open letter addressed to the President and dated January 8 and released in Lagos, the CNPP listened to Tinubu’s New Year message and observed the various responses from Nigerians to all promises.

The letter, titled: “Reduce Corruption in Your Administration”, was signed by the Secretary General, CNPP South-west, Oloye Adegboyega-Adeniji,

Adegboyega-Adeniji urged the President not to forget years of struggle as a veteran activist and opposition leader from the days of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida’s transition process that culminated in the annulment of the June 12, 1993, general elections.

With the look of things, therefore, it appears CNPP is poised to play a big role in 2024.

Judiciary

The judiciary is one of three arms of government and has been in the eye of the storm in recent times. While speaking at a 3-day retreat for Justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, organised by the Attorney General Alliance-Africa (AGA-AFRICA) in collaboration with the National Judicial Institute (NJI) in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state capital, last year, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, charged the judiciary to be neutral arbiters and sustain the ethos of democracy to gain public confidence.

The CJN, who was represented by Justice Helen Ogunwumiju said the theme of the retreat, “Achieving Efficiency and Effectiveness in Judicial System in Nigeria” was apt, saying it would serve as a constant reminder to judicial officers of the crucial role they play in the society towards the attainment of a stable polity.

Apart from helping to settle disputes occasioned by the just concluded elections across the board, it is obvious that the third arm of government has more crucial roles to play in 2024 and beyond.

Media

Free Press had from time immemorial been an anchor through which democratic governance thrives.

Apart from setting agenda for successive governments, practitioners in the fourth estate of the realm have argued that democracy cannot thrive without effective media.

Going forward, the media’s role once more cannot be overemphasized as we usher in 2024.