The past year was a watershed year for Nigeria and 2018 promises to continue on this path. 

At first glance, 2018 might not seem like a major pre-election year in Nigeria, but the year is filled with several major political events that will have serious ramifications both domestically and abroad.

With that in mind, here are the top 5 political events to watch out for in 2018.

1. Campaigns For 2019 General Elections Officially Start In 2018

One of the biggest political battles of 2018 will be the aggressive race to secure the tickets for the various elective poisition of various political parties.

The contest will be more intense for the presidential tickets and governorship tickets in states where the incumbents are serving their second term.

The race would also be more intense in two biggest political parties, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

For the presidential, the atmosphere in PDP is already charged as the battle for the ticket has already kicked off. Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has publicly declared to run for the coveted office.

Former governors Ibrahim Shekarau and Sule Lamido of Kano and Jigawa States, have also indicated interest to run.

Former vice president Atiku Abubakar, who just joined the party, is also interested in seeking the party's ticket for the election. 

Others PDP stalwarts likely to throw their hats into the ring are former governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, former Senate President David Mark and former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa.

In the ruling APC, most party leaders have considered President Muhammadu Buhari the only one who could win for the party if given the ticket.

The President is yet to officially declare for a second term, but his body language has indicated he will.

But in the event that Buhari declines, former governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State and Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, will likely contest for the ticket.

2. Season Of Cross Carpeting

If you have not noticed it already, a new season has dawned in Nigerian politics. That season is one of carpet-crossing. The trend is expected to continue in 2018.

Senators and members of the House of Reps may move from one party to the other in order to secure a fresh ticket to return in 2019 if there is any threat to their ambition.
Already, the seats of some senators are being threatened by the ambitions of second term governors.

Five second-term governors, including Kashim Shettima of Borno State and Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State are said to be eyeing the Senate in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.

Tongues are already wagging as to whether former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso will dump the APC for another political party in 2018.

It is widely believed that if Kwankwaso decamps, many heavyweight politicians, will join him. Kwankwaso’s feud with his successor in Kano, Abdullahi Ganduje, has so far defied mediation efforts. As 2018 rolls along, all will become clear.

Many PDP leaders, especially those who served in the past administration would continue to defect to the APC as they seek cover from prosecution.

3. APC Convention

The tenure of the APC National Working Committee (NWC) led by John Oyegun ends in June 2018.

Despite express provisions of its constitution, the APC has refused to hold its statutory meetings, particularly the National Executive Council (NEC) and convention.

But under the current situation, the APC may have to organize one convention by May 2018 since the possibility of holding two separate conventions, non-elective and elective, may not be feasible because of cost.

The party will as a matter of urgency, fast-track all activities towards conducting its much-anticipated convention which cannot be held any time later than June 13, 2018, the day the tenure of the current NWC members will expire.

The frictions within the party will escalate in 2018 as those who want Oyegun to go will mount pressure.

Hence, the ruling party is expected to witness fresh and aggressive campaigns for the soon-to-be-vacant positions in the NWC in 2018. This will certainly be a battle.

The name of Governor Adams Oshiomhole may come up again as the possible successor to Oyegun.

4. Ekiti Election

Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State's tenure ends on October 15, 2018. A new governor is expected to take over the helm of affairs in the state.

By INEC’s timetable, the Ekiti State governorship election will hold on July 14. The commencement date of campaign for Ekiti poll is on April 15, 2018.

The contest still remains between the ruling PDP and the opposition APC. Some say that the PDP may lose, following the adoption of the Deputy Governor by Governor Fayose and the disenchantment of some people towards the administration’s style of governance. 

Others, however, believe that the PDP may still win as long as Fayose calls the shots.

Having lost the Anambra governorship poll to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the Ekiti poll will serve as a barometer for the chances of the APC in the 2019 general election.

Leaders of the party have tried to close ranks and worked harder to woo more defectors in the past few months.

5. Osun election

Osun State Governorship election will hold on September 22, 2018 according to INEC. Campaigns for the election will be as from June 24, 2018.

There are fears that the APC may lose the poll to any of the opposition political parties, going by the outcome of the Osun-West senatorial district election.

But some pundits, however, believe that the ruling party may still win if it mends fences with the aggrieved labour unions. The APC, some sources added, will enjoy the support of the farmers and other areas localities who fear that another government may abandon the on-going developmental projects within their domain.