As Nigeria moves closer to the 2023 general elections, the nation's two major parties, the ruling All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party, are groaning under the weight of "chronic" internal crises.
The legality of the APC leadership
The ruling APC was about to crumble mid-2020 under the Adams Oshiomhole leadership when the party's National Executive Council (NEC) came to the rescue by setting up a caretaker committee led by Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe state.
The committee was originally given six months to put the party back in shape and organise the national convention.
However, the committee's tenure has been extended at least twice as it tries hard to settle the crisis rocking the party at different levels.
The legal landmine
The APC crisis took another turn recently when a minority judgement of the Supreme Court on the 2020 Ondo governorship election held that the APC caretaker committee arrangement violated the Nigerian constitution.
The minority judgement stated that it was wrong for Buni to hold two executive positions, Yobe governor and APC caretaker chair, at the same time.
This made some APC chieftains, including Festus Keyamo (SAN), call for the dissolution of the caretaker committee.
However, some other members of the party, including Professor Tahir Mamman (SAN), said the committee arrangement does not violate the constitution.
Before going ahead with its congresses, the APC has to cross the legal hurdle before it in order to avoid electoral battles that may spell doom for it even it wins the 2023 elections.
APC crisis: The PDP's failure to take advantage
After spending almost eight years as an opposition party, one would think the PDP would tactically take advantage of the crisis in the APC to return to power in 2023.
However, the party's chances are continually being threatened by its internal crisis which has made it lose top members, including serving governors, to the APC.
Ahead of its national convention, the PDP at the national level has now been torn into two factions.
One faction wants to keep Uche Secondus as the national chairman, another wants him out and replaced by an interim committee.
APC, PDP's Leadership Crises: A good chance for the third force?
Recently, the immediate past chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmud Jega, advised Nigerians not to vote for either APC or the PDP.
With the crises currently rocking the two parties, is the time ripe for a third force?
In 2019, Nigeria toiled with the idea of a third force which was partly championed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
However, the idea tumbled when Obasanjo himself threw his weight behind his former deputy and candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar.
In 2023, it does not look like the story will be different; the battle is still between the APC and the PDP, in spite of the crises currently tearing them apart.
The youths who could have taken advantage of the crises to take over power are not currently politically organised to pull off such a task.
They also do not have the financial muscle to prosecute and win a presidential election in a nation like Nigeria where politics is heavily financial-driven.
APC vs PDP: The consequences of the crises
In summary, despite their internal crises, the 2023 general election is still mainly between the APC and the PDP.
The current crises boggling the parties will only lead to defections and legal battles which will decide the dynamics of the next general elections.