Our Nation_Politics of 2019 Presidential Elections_Dying Throes of A Privileged Class.

Take another look at these pictures. A motley crowd eager to gain the approval of former President Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ), apparently at the behest of the presidential nominee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (Atiku).

I am also not surprised though with the images showing some ‘clerics’ in the mix. They will try to explain it away that they ‘only facilitated the meeting’. Na so! 🤣. But I digress.

Despite having sworn by his ‘faith’ never to support Atiku’s presidential ambition, OBJ in his presser after the event went on record to officially reverse himself by endorsing Atiku’s candidacy. According to the former president, Atiku, having purged himself of his ‘sins’ is now a fit and proper person to become Nigeria’s No. 1 citizen.

First, all is fair in politics. Every politician has a legitimate right to seek endorsements. Even President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) sought OBJ’s endorsement in 2015. So, I do not agree with anyone who lashes at Atiku for seeking OBJ’s endorsement, or at OBJ for giving it. Truth is, if things had not gone awry between them, I am sure PMB himself would have made that pilgrimage to OBJ. In fact, not that he didn’t try.

Second, OBJ reserves the right to endorse anyone for any elections, just as you and I. It remains his inalienable right. So, I equally disagree with anyone who feels OBJ is dated and irrelevant. That, is beside the point. His lack of worth to some, equals his bag full of worth to others! It is his right. And it is really not about electoral value.

So, what is my point, exactly?

What just happened in Abeokuta is the privileged class of Nigeria’s rent economy banding together to forestall total annihilation that a Buhari 2nd term portends for them. If you do not see this, trust me they do! And they are panicking.

It is an Hail Mary (desperate) move. The possibility of PMB’s continuation in office in 2019 threatens their personal economies, endangers their lifestyles, built on free access to government patronage, which has been slammed shut since June 2015. It is a dire attempt to present a ‘united’ front against one common ‘enemy’. And that exposes their futility of these attempts. Let me explain.

It is really not about the masses of our people. Forget the rhetorics. It is pocket book economics – for those who still mourn the loss of their access, post 2015 presidential polls. Yes, there must be justifications – in comes ‘nepotism of appointment of service chiefs’, ‘herdsmen killings’, ‘illiteracy of the incumbent’ et all.

Yet again, these conglomeration just gave PMB a plausible campaign theme: “THEM (read those who caused the morass of our country with their self-cantered privileges) against US (every common man, the talakawas!)” Now, I‘m sure you just sniggered!

Listen, there is no one who truly knows OBJ who will believe he is not running scared! Trust me! As with the motley crowd. OBJ, for instance, knows that he stepped on the tiger’s tail when he took on PMB. Why? Because of the manner of PMB’s sharp retort, particularly the questions PMB raised thereafter! What else would one make of statements like, “if anyone tries to jail me, I will open my mouth and expose…”?

Of all the things this class has thrown at the incumbent, nothing seem to have given them the assurance that PMB has been dealt the knock-out blow they had hoped for. So, what to do? You got it right – the enemy of my enemy becomes a friend! Band together to save the privilege.

Will it work? Well, it well might, if the incumbent fails to do the needful.

Whether it works or not, I am certain that this will happen:

This camaraderie will ultimately unravel – woefully. If this does not implode now, it surely will if Atiku wins the presidency. Why? Because their interests are at the same time complimentary and contradictory! Recipe for chaos; and because you cannot cage the kind of power the 1999 constitution invests in a sitting president! OBJ ought to know this because it has failed him thrice now – with the Yar’Adua, Goodluck and Buhari presidencies!

Just watch out. For now, it is open season on alliances and realignment of forces, and there is nothing immoral or illegitimate about it. One thing remains constant though – elections cannot be freely rigged as before!!!

I am smiling in Egun language! 🤣😂

©Adewale Adeniji. 11/10/2018.

Our Nation_Politics_2018 PDP Presidential Election Primaries. Winner: Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

Total Votes Cast: 3221

Total Void Votes: 68

Candidates & Authentic Scores:

Atiku Abubakar: 1,532

Amin Tambuwal: 693

Bukola Saraki: 317

Rabiu Kwankwaso: 158

Aminu Dankwabo: 111

Sule Lamido: 96

Ahmed Makarfi: 74

Taminu Turaki: 65

Attaihiru Bafarawa: 48

David Mark: 35

Jonah Jang: 19

Datti Ahmed: 5

All eleven (11) other aspirants scored 1621 votes amongst themselves, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar scored 1,532.

His nearest opponent, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State scores 693 votes. Atiku Abubakar’s votes more than doubled Tambuwal’s votes!

Whatever comes out later as to how this result came out this way, none of the aspirants can claim to hold a candle to the acceptance of Atiku Abubakar by the PDP. I watched majority of the voting and counting process. I saw no underhand play in the open.

For avoidance of doubt and with due respect to all the other political parties and personalities, the coming 2018 presidential elections will be between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and it will be a close run thing!

So, barring any unforeseen circumstances the occupant of Aso Rock come 29th May 2019 will be either the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari or the a former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. There will be no neophyte in power in Aso Rock come 2019, that is for sure.

One hopes this will be a campaign of issues. Watching Atiku’s speech at the PDP convention and that of President Muhammadu Buhari at the APC convention (also yesterday) where his nomination was confirmed, it may well be. Both outlined their visions. Atiku, what he believes the APC administration has got wrong; and PMB what he believes his administration has achieved in the past 3 and a half years.

We know who the running mate of PMB would be. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, it should be the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibajo. Whoever Atiku chooses, the coming campaign will indeed be mouth watering for political buffs!

For my recent posts on these two Nominees, please read:

Our Nation_Our Politics. WHY PMB SHOULD BE EASILY RE-ELECTED IN 2019 SERIES, Parts 1-5 & Our Nation_Political Permutations for 2019 Presidential Elections Series_Atiku Abubakar_Can He Overcome His Miscalculations? All published in September 2018.

© Adewale Adeniji. 7th October 2018.

Our Nation_2018 Independence Anniversary_Commemorative Poem_ “Loud Silence”

Deep breaths

Furtive head shakes

Moaning sighs

Vacant looks.

Breath, breath boy!

What’s gwan?

Darting looks, here, there

Still not a word!

Is it cowrie issues?

No? Oh, a maiden?

Or, or idea troubles

No? Now, what ails you?

That deep sigh again…

And bowed head

With Furrowed brows..

What now in Iroko’s name?

All entreaties done

Silent you remain

No comments?

Or Complaints?

Very loud indeed,

this studious silence.

Birth something, a sign..

Nothing? Oh well.

Come anon, reveal.

Expose the labyrinth

of your mind; thoughts

that a weakling make

of valiant veterans.

That time of the year again.

To look back. What could’ve

been. Well, we press forward.

© Adewale Adeniji. 01/10/2018.

Our Politics_ 2018 APC’s Lagos Gubernatorial Primaries.

Ambode et Tinubu
 
APC’s Lagos Nunc Dimitis is being sung by the incumbent. The gloves are off. Even if Ambode loses the primaries tomorrow, Sanwo-Olu has just been dealt a fatal blow!
 
Arrested in the US nite club for spending fake dollars? O wow!
 
A man that is down needs fear no fall! He is going down screaming and kicking. Even if he is now impeached, the damage is done.
 
Oh wow!

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.