"If your cornfield is far from your house, birds will eat your corns." Congolese proverb.
Staying abreast of developments in the two major political parties can leave you breathless. There is not a day that passes without a new drama or a major twist to an on-going drama. It will be comforting to believe that both are adjusting to thoroughly unfamiliar, reversed roles, but this will be grossly deceptive. The APC is a new phenomenon in Nigerian politics, even though it captures fragments of historical dynamics to challenge PDP's hegemony. PDP's spectacular spiral into oblivion began as far back as its decision to betray itself over its zoning arrangement in 2010/2011.It lost substantial political clout and territory, and its resort to pillaging the commonwealth to buy another mandate from Nigerians is coming back to haunt its attempts to survive as a party. APC is attempting to govern a nation under the most challenging economic environment with a political platform that shows a tendency to be weakened further. In political terms,2019 is about one year away. It is not a total waste of energy to speculate over the possible impact of current state of the two parties on the elections of 2019.The latest twist to the PDP's laboured struggle to move on appears to have deepened its woes. Complete with direct threats if its orders are disobeyed, a High Court has halted plans to hold a National Convention being planned by the faction under former governor Ahmed Makarfi. The level above this faction that has sympathies for it says it has extended its life for another year. No one should expect this to be a solution. Whatever gains this setback to the party appears to bestow on Makarfi's faction, it will be challenged and trashed by governor Ali Modu Shariff's posse. Shariff is the PDP's worst nightmare, a creation of the highest traditions of a party that grew by subverting its own and all other rules and standards. Virtually every member with influence has been dragged into a fight that neither office nor huge amounts can resolve. If the PDP cannot use the weight of public office or massive financial inducements to settle fights or buy off internal opposition, it is virtually finished. This is the only way it knows how to play politics.It will be difficult, but not impossible that some accommodation can be found that will slow down the PDP's degrading process. A truce of sorts could be engineered if the party can rediscover its time-tested ability to buy -off real solutions with short-term, opportunistic concessions. In the end, what will determine the fate of the party will be perceptions of interests regarding the 2019 elections. Between its thirteen governors and a considerable number of federal legislators, it could create a bloc that could provide a major facilitating role in regenerating the party, but most of these are haunted and distracted by past sins and an atmosphere that dictates survival to the next pay as premium political wisdom. There is too much distrust among major players who know only too well that words mean little, and an agreement lasts only until it is replaced by another that is more convenient to any of the parties. The ground is also continuously shifting, such that it is increasingly difficult to build a longer term, sustainable strategy for cumulative recovery. For now, major initiatives by interests around chairmanship of the party from the south west, or presidential ambitions from the north could put together some sort of ceasefire that will last only until another group feels left out. The biggest stimulus to a rediscovery of party unity and the spirit of compromise within the PDP will be concrete evidence that APC will literally commit suicide before 2019.Even then, it is unlikely to be the PDP as it is presently known that will move in to capitalize. The scramble for spoils will fragment the PDP along many lines, because many PDP chieftains and younger members with tall ambitions will prefer to wear a different toga to the party.It says a lot about the depth of the crises within the PDP that its loudest voices are raised in complaints over interference from an administration which itself is attempting to find a firm ground to stand on under the debilitating legacies of the PDP, massively-raised expectations and an economy which does not encourage pronounced sustenance of loyalty from the poor and an increasingly alienated middle class. Its loony fringes are monopolized by people like Fayose and Fani-Kayode who make many PDP people cringe when they make occasional forays on behalf of the party. In other parts of the country where the party has substantial muscle, electoral violence has been used substantially to limit the presence of the APC.The PDP mainstream limits itself to murmurs over partisan disposition of law and order agencies and unfair execution of the anti-corruption war, while it prays that the economic hardship of the people will get worse. Like the PDP,APC is also enjoying a virtual free hand in determining its current state and its future. Its coalition of myth, hard-headed political calculations and popular faith that democracy under the right leadership can make a difference in lives of the poor has been under intense pressure to reveal its identity from the moment President Buhari became its candidate way back in late 2014.Monumental changes have occurred in the nature of the APC, most of them covered by controversies and disputes over what it represents. Some of its building blocks have grown and hardened, while others have shrank or melted. The fights over its soul has been waged with almost the same passion as the fight against the PDP, only it has involved mostly its own members. The administration and the party are also involved in fights to limit the disastrous economic recession which is visiting widespread hardship of citizens in a nation that is poorly-prepared to deal with adversity of this nature and scale. It is fighting on many fronts to roll back the threats to lives, the economy and integrity and survival of the Nigerian nation. It does not appear to have raised its eyes from these titanic fights to see the challenges it will face, come 2019.By the end of the year 2018,the APC administration would not have fixed the economy to a point where most Nigerians will feel less of the pains of their present circumstances because the future will be better. It would have recorded notable successes against insecurity, but it will need a lot more than two years to improve the state's capacities to deal with threats and reinforce faith of citizens in the utility of the Nigerian nation. It would have made major incursions into corruption, but rebuilding values and institutions that will sustain the fight against corruption will take years and sustained political will to accomplish. It will need to demonstrate real achievements in the face of unprecedented economic meltdown. The party at all levels will have to be re-invented and reintegrated into the governance process. The towering image and presence of President Buhari will need to be captured and reflected in routine governance within his vision and values. Its limited capacities for strategic communication will need radical improvements to engage Nigerians to share in its mission, vision, setbacks and achievements. It will have to find a way to limit its tendency to allow messy fights within its ranks to fester and threaten party unity and its character as a coalition of the eager, the faithful and the desperate.Neither the PDP nor the APC will participate in the 2019 elections in their current forms. PDP could make amends for its legacies and capitalize on the record of an APC administration that was popularly cheered into the ring with its hands tied behind its back. This is unlikely, however, because many ambitions will ditch it and align with other elements from APC and other parties to give Nigerians another option, long before 2019.APC will get to 2019 with some achievements, elaborate blueprints and containers of excuses for the promises it could not deliver on. It will do this without many of its members who bear scars of the fights to determine which interests it served. APC's biggest challenge will be to avoid the "one chance" trap and seek another mandate to consolidate on changing the basic nature of the Nigerian political economy. PDP's challenge will be to survive its current travails as a party and avoid a damaging scramble for the door which will rob it of any chance to recapture power. The challenge for the democratic process will be to survive a desperate political competition involving parties that will face virtual extinction if they do not win the 2019 elections.