Tag Archive | Bola Ahmed Tinubu

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 4.


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_Defection Blues

It is amusing, is it not, that there appears to have been a 180 degrees emotional reaction to the recent spate of defections going on in the Nigerian political space?

It began with the defection of a swathe of National Assembly members from the ruling APC to the PDP. The emotional out pouring then was that at last the APC administration of President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) is finished! Then the governor of Benue State defected; and on and on went further comments and analysis along the same line.

Every counter argument that these defectors were looking for a platform to contest the next elections since they are most unlikely to find comfort in their current party was met with derision and cat calls. No! It shows his former allies became the ‘tyranny’ of this President, they screeched!

Then the defection of the Senate president, Bukola Saraki, and the governors of Kwara and Sokoto state. The racket retched up! Now, of a truth PMB cannot surely win Re-election (A wi wi wi fun ko gbo. Ko wa tan ni di alaseju?! But we warned him, now see, he is exposed!) Saraki is a master strategist, they sang! He has knocked down the final nail in PMB’s loss, they chorused!

Even the PDP got on this emotional bandwagon. It went to town with how this is a confirmation that the ruling party had squandered its political capital! They were returning to power, bla bla bla.

All of a sudden came first as a rumour, then confirmation of the impending defection of Godswill Akpabio, senate minority’s leader and former Governor of Akwa Ibom, a South-south state, from PDP to APC has changed the emotional fervour! (Cue: PDP’s electoral calculus had always been a solid South-South and South-East and the hijacking of enough votes in the North and South-West to wrestle power from the Ruling APC!)

It is as if the gates of hades were unlocked! Now, it is that PMB’s toured anti-corruption drive is a ruse; that it is quite clear Akpabio is being blackmailed (How I hate that word! Why not ‘whitemailed’? 🤔). How can a sensible person move in the opposite direction? Bla, bla, bla! Now the PDP warns the APC to stop poaching its members!

There are also rumours of impending avalanche of defections from PDP in a part of the country that had been the bastion of opposition to PMB – South East. And there is abundant panicking in the once rejoicing horde! The scratching of heads have made many heads sore! What could be going on? Rumours also have it that some who had earlier defected are now ‘regretting and recanting’?

Well, let me tell you what many have lost sight of – many who profess to understand politics and the game of it, and who freely tout same in absolutes, really need tutorials on this art; a sine qua non for holding political power. One small tip: the more adept ‘smoke’ out the less adept to show his hands; then swoop in to check mate!

The game is still not over, the chess play continues; the pendulum can still swing and I fully intend to keep my front row seat still! 🤣😂

©Adewale Adeniji. 8/8/2018.

Our Politics_Of Images & Nuances

Politics in Africa is often said to be a game of images and nuances. Meaning it’s all about public relations more than substance (what we call EFIZI) in Nigeria. No matter how much serious policy wonks disagree with this, unfortunately we see it manifest everywhere, everyday!
But this particular legislooter, this sinator (Nigerianese for thieving senators) takes it to uncommon realms – from his absurd dressing to his garulous vituperations! But now he has topped himself (as if that were even possible) in ridiculous behavior with these photographs splashed on social media.
Anyway, could anyone who has access to this sinator remind him of one Yoruba adage: the child that abuses the Iroko tree and looks back should know that the Iroko tree takes its time to exact revenge! 
In other words, revenge is best served cold! I have a feeling he just messed with the wrong goon, and by this very act sang his own nunc demitis! 
He will surely be Jagabaned!!! He should ask alumnus of that genus who have had brush-ins with the man of Bourdillon..🏃🏾
I may very well be wrong. Only time will tell, wouldn’t it?
© July Adewale Adeniji.