A lot of things will be tested in the 2015 general elections, well beyond the teeth and tongue fights that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its main rival, the fiery All Progressives Congress (APC), and their respective candidates, President Goodluck Jonathan and his challenger, former Head of State, retired Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, are currently exchanging. Despite the claims and counter-claims of the parties, public perception of what each the candidates represent matters. Many Nigerians don’t even believe in the PDP or APC. Here, for example, is how elder statesman, Chief Olu Falae, rationalised their formation of Social Democratic Party (SDP): “We want to present ourselves as the credible alternative to PDP and APC. It is our view in the SDP that PDP and APC are two sides of the same coin. They have the same rigging tradition. “Nigerians now need an alternative in terms of morality, corruption, and centrality of the wealth of the people in the affairs of government.”
Jonathan is going into the election asking for a second term, telling the electorate that he has acquired experience, grace, presence and confidence. His party, PDP, is saying that it will serve the country better to use what is known than what is not.
Buhari is coming with an image of stiffness, toughness and incorruptibility. His party, APC, adds a can-do confidence, and that the country needs his rare type at this time or it is finished.
It is fairly obvious that the Southwest and Northwest will be battlegrounds in the election. The Southwest, with tradition of sophistication and a bastion of resistance of conservatism, is a zone whose electorate behaviour will be of great interest. To be determined here is how far it will support return of power to the North.