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(From Vanguard (Nigeria) - AAGM)
Byline: Bolade Omonijo, Deputy Political Editor
UNTIL January 1 when the old year rolled away, replaced by a brand new one, 2007 was regarded by many as a magical year. A year when the missing points in the politico-economic equation of Nigeria would be supplied.
No one could afford to be indifferent. As the all-important polls, the first time there would be an attempt at transition from a civilian leader to another approaches, there has been a remarkable increase in the temperature of the polity.
What does 2007 represent - progress or retrogression, continuity or change?
Has there been a change in the tactics and strategies of the ruling party to hold on to power?
What are the strategies of the major opposition parties to wrest power from the ruling party?
Based on the experience of the past eight years, Nigerians have come to know what the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, represents. Its performance in office at a time it massively filled the political space is now very well known. As the party in power at the centre with a highly centralised political system and about three-quarters of the states and local government areas of the federation, what the PDP did or failed to do reflected positively or negatively on the polity. It attempted some form of political reforms, what became of the package would define performance in that respect.
In what ways has the PDP government, in eight years, effected needed changes or improvement in the electoral system?
Does the electoral arrangement for the 2007 polls excite confidence in the people?
Is INEC seen as more credible today than it was 1999 or 2003?
In the socio-economic sectors, has the PDP performed above average? In this, beyond the theory, has there been a marked improvement in the standard of living of Nigerians if such critical issues as employment, availability of potable water, power supply, quality of road network, quality of education and health care are assessed?
These are the questions that the ruling party would be confronted with at the 2007 polls nationwide. The electorate, if the issues are clearly defined, the lines drawn and INEC made to conduct credible elections would then enter their verdict on PDP's performance.
On the other hand, it could be asked: …