2019 and battle for soul of Nigeria

There is a different face of the battle going on for the soul of Nigeria that they are only at the fringe of, even if they are paying attention to it and attempted to embrace or hijack it in the name of a poorly-cobbled together coalition that predictably collapsed before it could even take off.

The real battle for the soul of Nigeria is at the other end of the spectrum. A gap has been rightly identified, interpreted by some as the need for the ‘Third force’. Early this year, there was much fuss about such force. The excitement was palpable in some camps – avowed opposition forces to the present leadership were beyond happy at the coming of the Third Force. Some, yesterday-supporters of the present, unimpressed by the performance of the government embraced that as the possible alternative.


Indeed, we had predicted the birth of a third force far back. Early in 2016, I submitted that “The contradictions within the PDP resolved itself in favour of Nigeria, leading to a paradigm shift towards a little to the left. If contradictions within the governing party are not speedily resolved to the satisfaction of its progressive tendency, it will only hasten the birth of a strong opposition outside of its control. The APC will then find itself pushed to the right, for the opposition of the future to take its place, further to the left of the spectrum.”

Not sure if the APC will still end up to the right as I had projected, as the left-leaning side might have pushed the right-leaning side out. I had thought the left-leaning tendency within might be forced out, but the defections happening now are largely right-leaning, which might just help post-2019 to push the party towards the left, for the new aligned forces to take to the right.


I had wanted the progressives outside to team up with the remnants within APC to shape its thought and philosophy with a view to causing a paradigm shift within, but I am not sure many of them see that as the way to go. Even outside, the progressive tendency is simply unable to coalesce, to die to the self, forge a consensus to take advantage of the vacuum to the left. Each one thinks it is all about forming a new party, not realising that it only splinters progressivism and weakens the collective.

So, rather than the right as we used to know it to die now, it is being handed another chance at life, courtesy of the contradictions within the left and an apparent lack of foresight and strategy. The political space abhors a vacuum. Since the left will not take its place, the right sees the gap but it is misreading the opportunity. Yet, I maintain, on the strength of a dialectical extrapolation, that the future is still to the left, even if the form it would take remains unclear, for now.


Simbo Olorunfemi, Lagos

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