Our Nation_Political Permutations for 2019 Presidential Elections Series. Atiku Abubakar_Can He Overcome His Miscalculations?

 

img_2194(Warning: Long Post)

On the back of my series on President Muhammadu Buhari, how I feel the odds favour his re-election if he is a contestant, someone suggested that maybe I should consider some of the other presidential gladiators. I would like to take up that challenge. 

In this series, I shall endeavour to examine some other eminent Nigerians who have indicated their intention to contest in 2019 and share how I see them going into the 2019 Presidential Elections ‘pre-season’, to borrow a sports metaphor. I would like to begin with our former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

I strongly believe that by this election cycle (2019), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar should have served out two terms as Nigerian President, but for his miscalculations. Decisions he has taken that will continue to dog his quest for this political Golden Fleece.

That he is still running for office of President is his first major political mis-calculation. I will explain. I used to be in awe of Alhaji Atiku’s political manoeuvres until the run-up to the 2003 Presidential election season.  Remember MKO Abiola and the cancelled June 12 elections? Atiku was one of Abiola’s rivals for the SDP presidential ticket. He slugged it out with Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe in Jos. And what a delight that contest was! 

In this 3rd Republic, Atiku came into the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) with a bloc group of the Shehu Musa Yar’adua machine – the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM). So, he did not come alone. He came with many powerful politicians. For example, Chief Tony Anennih (a.k.a the Fixer), who went on to be a powerful pillar of the PDP was of the PDM political family. Atiku was elected Governor of Adamawa State, but before he was sworn in, President Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ) tapped him as his running mate. Long story short, he was elected Vice President in 1999. 

That the then sitting Vice President had the structure of his party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in his vice grip (even though he was not the official party leader),  was not in doubt. In his inimitable way, Atiku had successfully out-foxed his boss, OBJ in cornering the support of majority stake holders who will decide who flies the party’s flag in the 2003 presidential election. – the PDP state governors. They were ready to go to the PDP convention and change the headship of their party’s ticket. And with no viable opposition in sight, who ever had got that ticket would have been elected President (as it eventually panned out).

OBJ realised this, and because of what had happened between him and Atiku during their first term (story for another day), he knew Atiku had him over a barrel! And Atiku knew he held the aces! But he made his first, and perhaps brutal mis-calculation of all. Instead of fighting for the ticket within his grasp, he vacillated between OBJ and Alex Ekwueme, who to support. He eventually gave in to OBJ’s ‘begging’ (accounts have it that OBJ in fact knelt down to apologise to Atiku for slights real and imagined during their first term!) instead of seizing the moment for himself!

Now, you do not trade strength for weakness – a truism about power! No matter what Obasanjo may have promised, Atiku, with respect, was naive not to press his advantage! Worst case scenario, both himself and OBJ would have contested for the ticket, and even if OBJ had got the ticket, Atiku would have proved too strong to ignore, too connected to be shafted; and would have still been on that ticket, albeit in a stronger position! By yielding so easily, he lost face with the state governors who had been banking on Atiku to protect them from OBJ’s over bearing sanctimony. That was when OBJ knew he had Atiku. Students of Nigerian political history know that OBJ still has Atiku. Otherwise, how does one explain Atiku’s belief that he has to perennially ‘beg’ OBJ  for support. He, who was once a strong man of PDP politics. The rest, they say is history! 

Not only was he super marginalised during his second term as Vice President, it was made abundantly clear to Atiku he had no future in the party his PDM group co-founded . So, he had to leave the PDP. And then he made his second mis-calculation.

What I regard as Atiku’s second misstep was the party he joined after he was ‘forced’ out of PDP. Now follow me. Atiku had always been a man of immense resources (this piece is not about the source or purity of those resources, please). He had always been a money man. One should wonder then, why with all his resources and immense contacts nationwide, Atiku chose to join the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), which was then a regional party in truth, rather than form a national based party where his word will be final? Now remember that this was the route the present occupant of Aso Rock (President Muhammadu Buhari) took when he was shunted out of old All People’s Party (APP). He simply formed the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), went on to win a state – Nasarawa – and get his supporters into the National Assembly. You couldn’t ignore Buhari thereafter. One couldn’t therefore but wonder at Atiku’s tactics, post PDP. But I suspect why he chose the APC option, rather than form a party of his own.

Atiku wanted a ready made platform, rather than build one from the ground up. Why? Because that requires time, patience and gritty work. Precious inputs he was impatient to wait upon. Yes, it would have taken time to build a formidable party to drive his ambition and perhaps delay its realisation, but it would have shown Atiku to be a man of conviction, ready to put his money where his mouth is. Rather, many saw an opportunistic politician – only looking for a ready made political vehicle. This makes him one of the motley crowd, not the primus inter pares image he needed to portray! Same is playing out with his full-circle return to the PDP for this presidential election season! *sighs* 

And Atiku’s chosen modus is so strange because that was not Shehu Musa Yar’adua’s play book. For the uninitiated, the late General Shehu Musa Yar’ardua (elder brother of late President Umaru Yar’Adua) is acknowledged as Atiku’s political patron.  In all his years in politics (except for when IBB ‘corraled’ the political class into two groupings of SDP and NRC), Shehu Yar’Adua had always built his political movement from the ground up. Atiku apparently tired of his patron’s playbook.

Atiku’s third mis-calculation is encouraging the senate presidency of Senator Bukola Saraki. Now, before you dispute it, this fact is now so common knowledge that those involved and in the know accept its truth. Having lost out to PMB in the APC presidential primaries in 2014, many thought Atiku would have pulled out of APC to look for another platform. But he did not dare, then. For these reasons: First the primaries were so transparent and his ‘betrayal’ by Bola Ahmed Tinubu (Jagaban) so well planned that it would have been seen as sour grapes. Secondly, it was obvious to the knowledgeable that PMB was the man of the moment, given the bumbling

of the then incumbent. Going against him would have been political suicide. Thirdly, Atiku did not even come second in the APC primaries! He came third behind PMB and Governor Rabiu Kwakwanso of Kano, whose second was even distant! Remember that Atiku lost to two northerners in that primary. So, how could he now go and run as a ‘northern alternative’ to President Goodluck Jonathan? I digress again, sorry.

So, to remain relevant and act as unofficial opposition within the APC, Atiku leveraged on Saraki’s ambition and ‘contributed’ to the emergence of both Senator Saraki and Honourable Yakubu Dogara as presiding officers of the two chambers of the National Assembly, in flagrant disobedience of official party preference. 

So far so good, yes? No! He was blind sided by Saraki’s own grand plan! Take this from me, if Atiku has read Saraki’s play, the latter would not have become senate president! 3rd miscalculation, and the last I would discuss.

In conclusion, Atiku, for me, has not shown enough political deftness, the like that would bring him his desired result – Nigeria’s presidency, when by now he should have become a former President! He had it all laid before him, but wrong political choices continue to deny him. I wish him well in his on-going quest.

© Adewale Adeniji. 20th September 2018.

Our Nation_Our Politics. Why PMB Should Be Easily Re-Elected In 2019, Part 5.

Nigerian Economy, graphics, 1

Reason Number 4: THE ECONOMY. WHOSE ECONOMY?

(Warning: Long post)

This should be the final part of this series – Why President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) should be re-elected in 2019 despite the array of disaffection (many justified) with his stewardship so far. Till date, I have discussed three reasons – PMB’s deft use of red herrings to deflect and confuse, the state of the viable opposition party and the support of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and its effect in the political calculations for 2019’s presidential elections. I round it off with what should ordinarily have been the major determinant of any incumbent’s re-election prospects, but which sadly will not play a determinant role in 2019 – an economy superintended by an incumbent. 

Depending on whose side of the political divide you are on, your take would be either that the economy has deteriorated under the PMB led APC government, or that the economy is being retooled for better prospects in the future because this government inherited a ‘bankrupt’ rent economy from its predecessor. I believe there are merits in both sides of this argument. The decider therefore is who is better able to marshal its side of the argument. 

First, the truth is that Nigeria’s mono economy has always been a rent economy, of taker ‘landlords’ who amass wealth directly or indirectly from state resources with little or no backward investment to further grow that economy. Most of the investments and/or savings of these rent seekers are taken overseas, which develops those foreign economies at the expense of the source economy. Those foreign economies in turn ‘lend’ to our economy at exorbitant cost, ‘our resources’ that had been ‘flighted’ overseas! 

And because the Nigerian economy is mono-centric on oil, the only viable data past leaders have truly gathered and watched have been those related to Brent crude and OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) indices. So, the economy’s relative competence depends on the price of crude, and the vagaries of that market. It is for no other reason that many within and outside government see the Federal Government’s oil vehicle, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), as the cash cow that that must be milked, little or no questions asked. This for me is the real reason why attempts to reform the NNPC by statute will continue to falter and fail. Too many selfish, entrenched interests. Unless … (Story for another day)

Now this over reliance on oil has stymied whatever growth could have happened elsewhere to expand and grow the Nigerian economy. It is therefore not surprising that given this rent mentality, even the infrastructure of our dependent product has been left to decay – refineries, pipelines, depots and others in its value chain. Yet you get this cyclical argument – who is the better manager, government or the private sector? Over and over again – debating a solution PROCESS to death! So, whether it had still been the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or any other political conglomeration that had won in 2015 Presidential elections, the economy would still have needed urgent and PAINFUL fixing. I suspect that even those who malign the present government’s handling of the economy would agree with this reducible minimum. Even the economy’s manager under the last administration now admit this much. So, the only question being how honest and competent any attempt at fixing the Nigerian economy would have been, based on which side of the political divide was in charge. 

And this is where again the ENTIRE political class (yes, of all shades and hues!) failed this economy. First there was this inordinately long delay, which confirms the argument the APC as a party and perhaps PMB himself was ill-prepared for office. Or how else would you campaign that the economy needs fixing, yet ‘watch’ its slow bleed for over 6 months after taking office, while at the same time attacking the fundamentals of the same economy as known to foreign investors?

Eventually after PMB named his economic team, rather than begin to interrogate the policies or lack of it from the team, most commentators and opinion leaders outside of the ruling party (the official opposition was AWOL all this time, remember?) focused on the qualification of the dramatis personae, comparing for instance, the ‘qualification’ of PMB’s (now ex-)finance minister with the immediate past occupant of the office! How she had only being a ‘commissioner for only 4 years’ before her appointment, while the former had been ‘a world renowned financial juggernaut’! And this went on for months, trying to score cheap political points, unfortunately further sending wrong signals to investors. The president himself did not help matters by his old-fashioned comments on state control of the economy! Not even within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) did we have any decent dissent about how to move the economy forward! Even at the official level, the ruling party did not for once engage in any meaningful debate on this! Our political class – long on slogans, short on nous! I digress, sorry. 

So, the economy would still have needed re-tooling, whoever had been in charge in 2015. The point being a fundamental rethink who have been needed. The truth is that such an overhaul cannot be successfully carried out in 8 years, regardless of the APC’s unguarded pre-election rhetorics of 1 or 2 years! And honest, non-partisan economists will confirm this. The first world economies, when the need arose for reconstruction, despite the MARSHAL plans and the likes of it, took decades to recalibrate and rebuild. This is another verifiable fact. 

This is yet another area where the media managers of the ruling party let the country down. Rather than focus lightly on what was done wrongly in the past, and now begin to sensitize about the painful choices ahead, they rather dwelt of the mistakes of the past! Why else did they reckon Nigerians got rid of the former ruling party in the first place? Nigerian political class – long on slogans, short on nous!

Now, with the forgoing, one should think that re-election would be difficult for the husbandman of this economy. No? But again, because the opposition, although loud about the criticisms of the ruling party, has been short, very short on well thought out alternatives, if at all, they have cut the APC a lot of slack! A bad economy should have been a platform for the opposition party to seek to re-launch its seriousness for office, by in-depth critiques, by the offering of alternatives. How many seminars or colloquium have the Nigerian political class organized on the economy, for instance? Most recently, you see a spattering of comments and critiques here and there. But these are just uncoordinated efforts by political contestants to gain the ear of the electorate for votes, nothing deep. Nigerian political elite – long on what is wrong, again, sadly short on what is needed!

This is where I think PMB’s government has been allowed wriggle room to score another masterstroke, albeit on the sly. What is the government doing? Pandering to the class that is most hit by the re-tooling process with its several palliative measures – the N-power program, the school feeding programs, ‘Tradermoni’ initiative, and the like. 

Yes, those in the lower and upper middle classes may scoff and ask ‘where is the proof of the impact of all these programs’? They cannot see it because it could not have impacted them directly. Rather they should ask those at the lower, most vulnerable base of the consumer economy. It is only then that you will appreciate this master stroke. And of the electoral mass, which segment has the highest voter pool? You guessed right! But why do I call these initiatives sly? Because they are long on impressions, sadly too little a drop to envelop the masses of the people. But, hey? “E go better, e go better – no be im dey make poor man tey for city?” Right? You catch my drift!

So, yes, many will argue that the economy is still very weak, that the policies of this administration could have been better thought out, and the execution of it better managed. Yes, yes and yes! But what would still have been the result after just 4 years, is the question many have not provided answers to!

I believe it is too early to call out this APC government on the economy, knowing as we do that the fundamentals of a decentralized economy takes more than a 4-year cycle anywhere in the world. So, I suspend judgment, not being a ‘disenfranchised’ beneficiary of the rent economy! 😉

In other words, what should have been the Achilles heel of PMB’s government has suddenly become a get out of jail free card! You do not believe me? Wait until after the coming gubernatorial elections in Osun State, Saturday next (22nd September 2018).

Because of the palliatives this government is handing out to the most vulnerable economic class, left, right and centre, I believe it would be given a renewed mandate by electorate at the next presidential elections. WHOSE ECONOMY? ECONOMY OF THOSE AT THE BASE OF THE PYRAMID!

To round up this series, it is my firm belief that the 2019 presidential elections is President Muhammadu Buhari’s to lose. I wager he should win re-election if he is on his party’s ticket; even if the race is tight, as it might well be, depending on who the PDP picks as its nominee.

FINAL WORD: It is often said that one week is a long time in politics. All my permutations may change overnight. So, let’s say my views are valid for today? Ok? Ok! In essence, please do not take this as a political advisory! Enjoy the coming election season! 😎

©Adewale Adeniji. 17th September 2018. 

Our Nation_Our Politics. Why PMB Should Be Easily Re-Elected In 2019, Part 4.

Jagaban!

Our Nation_Our Politics.
Why PMB Should Be Easily Re-Elected In 2019, Part 4.
(Warning: Long post)
 
Reason Number 3: BOLA AHMED TINUBU.
 
This is the penultimate installment of my series on why it is probable that President Muhammadu Buhari will be re-elected, when in truth, it should not be easy at all. So far, I have discussed two reasons – PMB’s political intelligence and PDP’s long defeat hangover. This piece in PMB’s re-election jig-saw puzzle is Bola Ahmed Tinubu (let us call him Jagaban).
 
Soon after his “I belong to everybody, I belong to no one” phrase in his inaugural address, new friends began to coalesce around the new president; and the process of freezing out one major architect of the political calculation that brought PMB back from the political doldrums began. Many would be justified to ask, what about the defectors from the PDP – Bukola Saraki, Waziri Tambuwal, Rotimi Amaechi et all? Did they not contribute? Sure, they contributed to the success of the APC, but go back and look at the political map of the 2015 elections, and at PMB’s margin of victory over President Goodluck. PMB scored 15, 424,921 votes to President Goodluck’s 12, 853,162, a difference of just 2.57 million. You will realize how narrow a victory it was indeed. Many will justify that it was because President Goodluck was the incumbent. May be, maybe not. I digress, sorry.
 
Interestingly, and contrary to popular belief, that difference of less than 2.6 million votes did not come from Lagos, or the Southwest! The difference came from the Northwestern states of Kano (where PMB got 1,903,999 votes to President Goodluck’s 215,779), and Kaduna (where PMB scored 1,127,760 to President Goodluck’s 484,085). Remember that Rivers States (despite Amaechi being sitting governor) had given President Goodluck 1, 487,075, while PMB scored a paltry 69,238 votes! In reality, PMB scored 2, 433,193 votes in all the six Southwest States of Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Ogun and Ekiti, while President Goodluck had 1, 821,416 votes, the difference being just 611,777 votes.
 
My point being that it was NOT the votes PMB scored in the Southwest that gave him the presidency. So, why was his success attributed to Jagaban more than the others mentioned above, and many more not mentioned? Simple. Because a coalition was made possible in the first place, when Jagaban led the APC (suspicious, screaming and protesting) into it; and because at the APC presidential primaries, Jagaban swung the ticket PMB’s way, over deep-pocketed and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and well organized and sitting Kano State, Governor Rabiu Kwakwanso!
 
But more importantly because Jagaban can be a spoiler, if he chooses to! Many do not recall, but during the 2011 presidential election, something strange happened. Jagaban was of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), which had a presidential candidate in Nuhu Ribadu, former EFCC boss. Remember? But President Goodluck of the rival PDP swept the Southwest, when the PDP could not be accused of being popular in that region! The APC won the presidential election in only one of the 6 Southwest states and it was not Lagos! Ribadu won only in Osun state. In fact, in Lagos, President Goodluck had 1, 281,688 votes, while Nuhu Ribadu came a distant second with just 427,203 votes! However, during the gubernatorial elections that followed JUST A WEEK later, the APC won comfortably in the Southwest!!!
 
Many still theorize as to what happened just before that presidential vote took place! I know, but will not tell .. at least not here! So, if Jagaban had not been part of that coalition that birthed the APC, President Goodluck would have won Re-election – pure and simple. And before you say no, PMB himself acknowledged so much. Surely we cannot know better that the ultimate beneficiary himself, can we now?
 
So, naturally, Jagaban felt entitled, based on previous agreements and undertakings. But, as with power, the president (some say those around him) pushed back after a while. Also a perfectly natural political instinct. All these would have been understandable and manageable if 5th columnists (with an eye on weakening PMB for 2019) had not sought to take advantage of the situation to “cut Tinubu to size”. And being the political animal he is, PMB hedged his bet, watching to see how far this play would go. Well it didn’t play out as the president thought it would!
 
Tinubu’s response? He went AWOL on the party! He stopped attending meetings, his body language suggested he was preparing to go solo again with his craft! He even dropped the honorific “leader of the party” that he so loved! Then Atiku’s defection from APC happened, and the president’s handlers read the danger in that immediately. What danger, you might ask? Perception is that on any good election season, Atiku will have abundant resources to deploy, and many who have been ‘hungry since PMB happened’ will naturally be drawn to him. And many of these people could come from the Southwest if there is no bulwark capable to stem that tide. So, in comes Jagaban’s ‘rehabilitation’.
 
Yes, Atiku has the resources, but Tinubu can not only match him in that area, but also has this uncanny street wisdom that works in the Nigerian political terrain. That Jagaban has decided to play along is the President’s saving grace, and I believe this was another of Atiku Abubakar’s miscalculation for 2019. (The story of Atiku’s several miscalculations for 2019 will be the subject of another series, soon) The game plan was to frustrate the relationship between PMB and Jagaban, then go for their joint jugulars! I am sure you will have read recently Candidate Atiku regretting not ‘taking Lagos’ from Jagaban in 2003? Okay!
 
I do not know what concessions PMB afforded as consideration for Jagaban’s support for his re-election project (and please do not even think there was nothing like that, abeg 🤣), but whatever price he has paid, or signed on to pay, it will turn out to be the best political price the President will have to pay in his political career. Why?
 
Now, who ever gets the PDP ticket (with due respect to the other parties, PDP is still the only viable opposition for the simple reason that it has sitting Governors with deep pockets and organisation. #Ifyouknowyouknow) will automatically have a block of votes that President Goodluck had in 2015 from big voter states like Rivers and Kano (yes, even Kano still). Add Cross River, Bayelsa, Benue (read herdsmen), Kwara (forget that thing – Saraki’s money will speak), Enugu, Abia, Imo (forget Iberibeism!), Gombe (Dankwabo effect), Adamawa (If Atiku is PDP’s nominee), Taraba, Ebonyi as sure bets for PDP. Whoever is PDP’s nominee will get at least 25% of valid votes cast in Sokoto, Kaduna, Bauchi, Niger, Kogi, Plateau, Nasarawa, Anambra (more than 35% if APGA does not support PMB as is being negotiated), Akwa Ibom, Edo and Delta (If James Ibori leaves PDP as I suspect he is angling for. If not, Delta moves into the sure bet corner above).
 
PMB is expected to be dominant in the North. Even in 2011 when he was not an incumbent almost all his 12 million plus votes came from the North. Sure bets for him as at today for more than 50% should be Katsina, Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, Kano, Nasarawa, FCT, Sokoto (yes, in ‘Tambuwalland’ even if Tambuwal is PDP’s nominee), Niger, Kogi, Zamfara, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Anambra (if APGA adopts him). He surely will get at least 25% of votes in all the other northern states; 25% threshold is also possible in Cross Rivers, Imo, Abia, and Anambra (if APGA ditches him).
 
With this picture as painted, the ‘beautiful bride’ will still be the Southwest. Cue: Jagaban and to a lesser extent the Vice President (if he remains on the ticket as I fully expect him to be). Now, many will not admit, but the Southwest is a dicey ball game. For the simple reason that many in the Southwest loathe Jagaban’s grip and want to carve out a piece of the pie for themselves. A PDP nominee like Atiku will know how to exploit the fault lines of the Southwest (he is after an in-law 😝. Expect to see Madam Titi Atiku Abubakar on the trail if her husband becomes the PDP nominee) but the game changer, the force who will decide how majority of the 6 Southwest states will vote remains Jagaban. There are other pretenders, but he remains the vote counting don.
And this will be easier during this election cycle because the backing of the establishment is guaranteed. (Read: 2018 Ekiti gubernatorial election!)
 
So, my reading is that Jagabann’s support for PMB should tilt the election in favour of the general from Daura; even though I expect the contest to be close, very close indeed.
 
Last installment will be titled: The Economy, What Economy. Strangely, I see it as a factor that should give PMB a second term, even it the indices do not portend so!
 
©Adewale Adeniji. 13th September 2018.

Our Nation_Our Politics. Why PMB Should Be Easily Re-Elected In 2019, Part 3.

pdp-1

(Warning: Long post)

In parts 1 and 2, I begun a series on why President Buhari should have an easy Re-election in 2019. Last week, I mentioned a reason – that PMB is a master of deflection using red-herrings as a tool. Today, I want to discuss another reason – unfortunately one that is an own goal by the president’s main opponents. 

Reason number 2: PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDP).

It is no longer news that after being in power for 16 straight years, the Nigerian electorate kicked out the PDP in 2015. And that in itself is not strange in a democracy. It has been the way of life in all multi-party democracies, musical chairs of governing. Also, as we can see from those advanced democracies, losing power ought not to be a death knell for a political party.

But for Nigeria’s former ruling party, I suspect it may well be, sadly! (Apologies to many who wish and hope otherwise!) But the following facts are true, are they not?

PDP allowed itself to be painted with the permanent marker of corruption! For many months after its defeat, the party went about as if it had done no wrong! Rather than take stock and seek to make MORAL amends, the party went into a tail spin for almost two years after its loss. It was seriously hung over when it’s ‘pot of soup’ – the presidency – got taken away by voters. 

First, it was to do with itself out of power – be gallant in defeat, or sulk? It chose to sulk – big time. Grave error! It even attempted to rail road it’s flag bearer in the 2015 elections, President Goodluck Jonathan to retract his concession of the election! That singular act showed up the party as arrogant! Remember it had already boasted to rule for 60 years? How did this show arrogance? It shows the party as thumping it’s nose at the electorate who (for good or ill) had rejected it once after voting for it in 4 election cycles! It’s like saying, “How dare they vote against us!?”

You wonder what should have been the first act of such a party? Acknowledge that Nigerians had spoken, that they get the message; and promise to get it right if trusted with power again. Go and check again, that is what all serious-minded political groupings do in established democracies when they lose power. Why? Because the outcome of any election is about the governed, about their governance preference. Never about the contestants! There was an attempt by a group within the PDP led by Dr. Raymond Dokpesi that issued an apology akin to contrition on the outcome of the elections. But even that was disavowed by official party line. Another manifestation of arrogance!

So, PDP could not manage its defeat. But other series of faux pax soon followed. For example, it practically abandoned the public opinion space to the new ruling party to declare a bankrupt treasury, kept pointing the finger at PDP and its bed fellows unchallenged. The APC simply waited for the ink of tarnish to run permanently dry! Not a meaningful whimper from the PDP. Notice how it was that PDP’s mouthpiece was arraigned for corruption charges. You have mouth odor and you want to speak at a close-up gathering? And people still think that APC does not know how to place politics o! Choi.

Apart from the Publicity Secretary, other leading lights of the PDP were charged with one corruption offense or the other? Rather than face the issue headlong by (a) condemning corruption in all its ramifications, (b) urge the new government to go after corruption for the sake of Nigeria sparing no one, (c) while offering robust legal support to its members to keep party cohesion, and (d) wait for the slow judicial system to make mincemeat of the judicial process (as it obviously has now done); PDP went on defending the indefensible! Does it matter if there are rogues in the ruling party? Does it make it better that corruption is not exclusive to your party? Come on!

To make matters worse, who then became PDP’s de facto major mouth pieces against the new government’s corruption crusade? Governors of one south-western state and a South-south state who themselves have credibility issues! Like a lamb to the slaughter, PDP offered itself as cannon fodder to an APC government that was obviously ill-prepared for office (the truth be told, please!) It wasted the opportunity to go on the offensive – another law of power that opposition parties have used to good effect before! You keep sniping at government’s heels. Something will stick, and you start early before that government settles down!

Free counsel to the PDP: Where people hurt as they obviously were so much that they voted against your party, guess who will be easy target for their anger? Those who had charge over them before, anyone who can be painted as having caused the problem in the first place! And people will still say PMB is not a good politician o, not good at deflecting o! Just as it is easy for many to blame he APC government for its perceive incompetences now. 

AND IT IS IMMATERIAL TO THESE HORDE OF VOTERS THAT THEY HAVE IN THE RULING PARTY PEOPLE WHO ALSO SHOULD BE FACING CORRUPTION CHARGES, which appears to be the feeble defence PDP offered to the APC’s unrelenting onslaught on its credibility! And people reckon APC’s media managers are not up to their jobs! 🤣

Other opportunities at being a credible opposition were wasted or mishandled by the PDP. Take for example the spate of PROJECT completion by the APC administration. PDP’s response? It claims all that these were projects PDP government started! Really? PDP did not know governance was a continuum? APC can rather position itself as a party that ensures projects are not abandoned, and get all the accolades.

How should the party have handled that good news (good for the economy of Nigeria – for all irrespective of party affiliation) you would ask? How about congratulate government for finishing up projects that PDP’s foresight begun, but place emphasis on the bloating loans portfolio it is taking to get these projects done; and task government to explain how it plans to structure the repayments in a way that will not affect spending on other sectors of the economy that impact on people’s lives? No o! That is too intellectual. APC must be bereft of ideas since “they are completing our projects” was all the party could muster!

PDP’s resurgence of late has only come with the realization that another national elections cycle beckons, and the need to show a presence. 

Even the recent spate of inter party defections has not in my view given the PDP any added advantage. The way I see it, it would have been better if the notable defectors to the PDP have not by their antecedent, action and/or utterances been shown to be after self gain, rather than the corporate interest of Nigeria! How, for example, do you explain to the discerning voter the reasons given by rAPC, and even the Senate President for leaving the ruling party? What they did not get? Come on!

The former Ruling party made itself easy pickings for the APC, and it should prepare to lay on its bed so badly laid, even when it could have exploited APC’s internal inconsistencies to advantage. All PDP kept hoping for was that “APC will soon implode”, “APC will soon implode”, forgetting that the allure of power easily closes ranks and attract other strange bed fellows with electoral clout, as it did for the PDP for years! Reason why APC cannot implode! To the Nigerian politician, a bird in hand with the ruling party is truly worth more in the forest of opposition!

And that is what is playing out with the several cross-carpeting of our professional politicians! When many rejoiced at the defections to the APC, and the ruling APC seem not to bother, but rather heaved a sigh of relief, I knew immediately something was afoot! Then came the defection of the senate minority leader – there probably goes Akwa Ibom, a jewel in PDP cap. Then if you “Kwakwanso me, I will Shekerau” cross carpeting happened. Suddenly Kano is off the calculations for PDP! From recent movements, Delta State, another jewel in the PDP crown (oil producing state) is now shaky. Many people forget that Ex-Governor Uduaghan is a cousin of James Ibori, and both are tied at the political hip! 

Another free lesson: The upper hand will always belong to the party in power, so whether the Senate president jumps ship or not, whether a trickle of state governors leave or not, and regardless of the massive financial war chest they may come with; in this game of chess, the standing Rooks, Bishops and Royalty in this game of chess will always lie with the party in power! 

In part 4, I would like to discuss another reason why PMB has a front row seat to winning the next presidential elections – and his name is Bola Ahmed Tinubu! Should make for interesting reading, I reckon! 

©Adewale Adeniji. 10th September 2018. 

Our Nation_Our Politics. Why PMB Should Be Easily Re-Elected In 2019, Part 2.

 

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In my introductory part, I gave a background of my politics and voting record so far in Nigeria’s 3rd Republic. 

Today, I want to share one the many reasons I have come to the conclusion that the 2019 Presidential elections is for President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) to lose. I hope to share some of these reasons one after the other before I conclude this series.

First reason. President PMB is a master of red-herrings! 

Now, many people (especially his many opponents and traducers) convince themselves that PMB is not a good politician! I chuckle at their naïveté! Well, they would be right if they rather say, “he is not a usual politician”!  But I find him a politician, smarter than most in this clime. I accept that his tactics may not resonate or work in a more advanced democracy, but no one can accuse Nigeria’s democracy of being that yet. Sorry, I digress.

The key to PMB’s successful deployment of this tool is that most of his opponents realise it too late; the smart ones, before it becomes too too late . What is it they realise late or before it becomes too late? The truth that PMB is indeed a consummate politician, albeit of a different genus. 

For those who still do not accept this theory, listen up. It is informative, is it not,that those who realise it before it became too late become his most vocal converts. No, I am not winking in any particular direction, thank you very much! 😁. Did I hear you say of littoral states? 🙈😁🏃🏿

But seriously, let me use the initial rallying point against PMB for instance – his military background and the fear of despotism.

Since 2003 when he began to run for president, the easiest weapon deployed against his candidacy had been that give him power and PMB will become a despot. 

His traducers referenced his 18 months in power as military head of state, statutes like decrees 2 and 4 and the many trips to jail by politicians of the 2nd republic and some media personnel. By way of information only, even I was also a victim in 1984 as a Student Union president! And to think that a few weeks before that I was foolishly shaking PMB’s hand on our campus when he visited! 😁. Only to go and publish “What Is Wrong With Nigeria”!

President Obasanjo used it against PMB during his Re-election in 2003 and Yar’Adua’s campaign in 2007, when PMB was the main opponent to PDP. Obasanjo’s use of this mantra is ironic given OBJ’s own military rule and his Ita Oko detention camp palava! Sorry, I digress again.

President Goodluck used it successfully in 2011 when he rode the ‘indigent boy’ sympathy wave to election in his own right, but unsuccessfully in 2015 when the ‘Despot’ got a winning coalition behind his swan song bid. And since his election, this has been the to-go mantra for those opposed to President Buhari. Despite this constant pounding, this incumbent seem on the verge of re-election when it ought to be a struggle for him! I run ahead of myself again, sorry.

But what is the reality about this ‘despot’ appellation? In almost 4 years in office, PMB has not been any more ‘despotic’ than previous leaders before him! So, why does it appear to be the ‘go to’ tactic? 

Because, interestingly PMB stokes this narrative himself! Some may think he does so unwittingly (because they will tell you “he is ‘illiterate’” – siddon there, you hear😁)! I have come to realise, however, that it is deliberate – throwing this red herring that he knows cannot stop him from retaining his lock on millions of votes – any day.

This even became an issue, emerging from the just concluded 2018 Nigerian Bar Association Annual General Conference, when in his conference opening speech, PMB again threw this classic red herrings before an audience that he knows will not let it slide! I even thought I saw a smirk on his face when he said it! My imagination? Oh, ok! 😃

What exactly did he say? He had the temerity to say to a packed audience of lawyers already put off by him that in the national interest the rule of law may be suspended, plying a Supreme Court decision that can be interpreted both ways! Choi! 

Predictably, most who heard him or have read the reports of this speech – educated and/or learned alike – have jumped on this band wagon, and taken this ‘song’ to town. Even our Noble laureate is now reported to have said a win for PMB in 2019 will lead to despotic rule! 🤣. 

Pray, how does all these discuss  dent PMB’s political fortunes? We do not have demographics of our elections, but I wager this bet: PMB’s core (and massive) majority of besotted supporters care less about all this ‘turenchi’! Why is that even so, you may wonder, can they not think? 🤣. Let me let you in on a secret.

How does this campaign of a lurking despot resonate with the poor and downtrodden who view PMB (rightly or wrongly) as the only one who understands their pains and therefore able to salve them? 

You are not likely to find PMB’s ardent (mind this word, please) supporters amongst the learned lawyers of the Nigerian Bar, or in the privileged clubs and homes in the land. No! His electoral lock comprises of those who feel left out since before independence, and guess who they blame for it? 

Before you dispute this, answer me this question: HOW ELSE DO YOU THINK ESTABLISHED POLITICIANS HAD BEEN URGING, PRESSING PMB NOT TO SEEK RE-ELECTION? Because unlike many arm-chair, social media politicians, they know the score on the ground – they can hold no candle to PMB’s ‘natural’ popularity! Take that to the bank, and the only viable opposition – PDP – have themselves to blame for this. Explained in Part 3 of this series.

That my dear readers is why PMB deliberately stoke the fire with his red herrings! Throw something to the horde to chew on, that will resonate with his core constituency that PMB is for us, while his critics are against us! How you may ask? Who would be afraid of a despotic Leader other than the guilty? Getting it now? Ask the redoubtable President Obasanjo, after his last caustic letter? What has he been up to lately sef? 🤐

Welcome, my friends to one reason why PMB should be easily re-elected next year!

Another reason will be explained in Part 3.

©Adewale Adeniji. 6th September 2018. 

Our Nation_Our Politics. Why PMB Should Be Easily Re-Elected In 2019, Part 1.

If you follow me on social media, you should know my politics by now. If not, let me be clear.

I am, if you prefer categorisation, a centre-left oriented political animal. I believe in government creating an enabling environment to help citizens get a fair shake in life. While that is liberal leaning, I equally believe in fiscal responsibility as a means to ensuring that resources of the state are not unduly wasted . To some, that is conservative. So, I regard myself as a centre of left.

I did not start there though. In my political formative years I was a dyed-in-the-wool communist sympathiser. Beret wearing, lingo speaking comrade! 🙈. But I was weaned of this with the collapse of the communist system and the inequalities it could not cure. So, to my many friends from way-back, ‘life’ happened to my ‘aluta’!😀

I need also to state that despite my love for politics, it is not a vocation I can take up anymore, for reasons I’d rather not go into. So, this series is not about angling for political office (elective or appointive).

But I remain and intend to remain an active voice in the politics of my country – to contribute to the narrative, and hopefully to national development – as a non-partisan voice, but free to make choices as they arise for the development of my nation.

Since the beginning of Nigeria’s 3rd Republic, I have voted in all presidential elections. And since I am putting all my cards on the table, let me tell you how I have voted over the years, because in this series, I want to show why I will be voting the way I will next February, if God permits:

1999 – Olu Falae (APP/AC Coalition)

2003 – Muhammadu Buhari (ANPP)

2007 – Nuhu Ribadu (AC)

2011 – Goodluck Jonathan (PDP)

2015 – Muhammadu Buhari (APC)

So, you can see that with the exception of 2011, I had always voted for the anti-establishment party because I always believed that the establishment party had produced candidates I couldn’t support. So, why did I vote for Goodluck, the establishment party candidate? Because I hoped that with the election of a president who did not come from privilege, may be he will place the under privileged as the centre of his policies. We are all living witnesses to how that panned out!

Enough of my political conviction and my voting background. I needed to put that out of the way to answer several questions I have got in my in-box from readers who wonder why I seem to support PMB now.

In this series therefore, I will be putting across my views of the 2019 presidential elections and why I think President Muhammadu Buhari should win it (please note my choice of ‘should’).

So, please join me for part 2 next time.

Comments are welcomed, even when you disagree. I believe we can disagree without being disagreeable. But please if your comments are abusive and are based on premordial sentiments of religion and ethnicity, or pure, unreasonable hatred, I reserve he right to delete and block!

©Adewale Adeniji. 2nd September 2018.

Our Nation_2019 Election Hustings

Weh done o, putative candidates for office. I dey see your moves, your paros! 😀

You go on TV, on social media and yap about all that is wrong with your country, bla bla bla; yet you offer no single solution or alternative route. My friend you at nothing than a clanking cymbal. You are part of the problem.

Without offering plausible alternatives or solution, you offer no sensible reason why anyone who discerns should listen to you.

You have no solution to our issues, you are only trying to ride a justifiable wave of discontent to office.

You will be quite worse than those you want to replace. #ourmumudondo!

Offer me workable solutions, maybe you can change my mind. Rehash what I already know are issues you are wasting your time with me. Why? I can think!

Show me the road map to a better life for the masses of our people, yes I will consider your candidacy. Come to me with primordial, religious hog wash? Repackage what is disguised hatred for a personality you disagree with, I have already moved on from your space!

Anyone ready to join me?

©Adewale Adeniji. 29th August 2018.