By Mansir Lawal Kaware
Beginning from the last ten days of January to the first week of February, 2018, the Nigerian political atmosphere has been charged, a pointer to the battle ahead for 2019 general elections. Within the average of these two weeks, controversial statements, comments and actions filled the air to the hearing and seeing of not only Nigerians but all those keenly following political developments of Nigeria across the globe. Nigerian Press having accepted personality as its most important source of news was a gog with the stand taken by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, through his letter which attack the present leadership and suggested for a formation of third force by name Coalition of Nigeria (CN). The Kwankwaso planned visit to Kano, the House of Reps and Senate change of the order of elections, the submission of APC restructuring committee report and the reactions that followed to the Akpabio tug of war with his Akwa-Ibom successor and what have you, are all on the scene.
The NTA 9PM Network News of Thursday 1/2/2018 was really rich as it brought the registration of Obasanjo as the 1st registered member of the CN, there was the meeting of South-South leaders over APC committee restructuring report and the interview granted by Tanko Yakasai and some others also on the APC restructuring committee report.
From all indications something is wrong somewhere, because going by the outcome of the committee’s report the North was not properly represented in it. It is surprising that with Nasir El-Rufa’i as the Chairman of the committee, it could come up with such recommendations. The point is this it is generally believed that Nasir El-Rufa’i is an intelligent strong headed and critical kind of a person and wondered how a committee under his Chairmanship could come-up with such a report that throws the North into the dust. Certainly, this could only happen under three or four reasons. It is our thinking that Nasir El-Rufa’i might have either been intimidated, deceived, bought over or may be nursing political ambition in the future national political gamble and is preparing for that by trying to impress the South. The fact that Tanko Yakasai said 80% of the APC restructuring committee report is in tandem with the 2014 confab report, it means the committee has not done any work but adopted the 2014 confab report resolutions in a different language. That makes it irrelevant to those of us from the North because the composition of that confab membership was lopsided in favour of the South and Christians. This is an open secret because the complaints were taken to the then President Jonathan but he refused to make amends. It is also important to remind the APC as a ruling party, our Southern brothers and those who concur with them that all the contents being talked about in the report are nothing but recommendations which are subject to acceptance or rejection and are not by any means a final decision.
Still on the restructuring, the South-South leaders under Edwin Clerk and Bayelsa Governor Sirieke Dickson met and resolved that only Presidential Candidate that accepts the APC restructuring committee report on true federalism is to be voted by the Ijaw nation. This is an empty threat which cannot frighten us as far as election fortunes are concerned. Have they forgotten so soon that their refusal to vote for Buhari in 2015 did not stopped him from winning and their votes for Jonathan could not get him across, even with deliberate delay releasing election results from Delta State.
After all, they may only be bragging about unity but in practical terms they are not united because the bye-election in Rivers State and the elections in Bayelsa exposed them looking at the way they were falling over themselves killing one another in a do or die affairs of acquiring power. Note that it is an election via party lines everyone has an interest to protect. Those talking are PDP members and will not support anybody outside their party, the APC members in that zone must be careful against that deception.
Coming down to Obasanjo and his chameleon posture, we wish to state that his registration with CN, is sending signal to us that despite our consideration of his nationalists character, we may not rule out the possibility of some hidden powerful hands remote controlling him to act. However his action will now give Nigerians the opportunity to know his weight there by knowing how much he is worth politically by judging the score of the candidate he may decide to field under it for the 2019 general elections. In 2007, Atiku Abubakar got two million votes as sole candidate of AC out of about 35 million valid votes cast, while Buhari got 12 million votes in 2011 as sole candidate of CPC out of about 38 million valid votes cast. It is not clear if the statements made by Obasanjo are the real reasons for his decision to go against Buhari and APC even though he is not expected to rejoin PDP because Atiku is already there. The hands of the Candido might have forced him to do so, and that may give the reason behind Kwankwaso’s trouble shooting in Kano. One wonders what Rabi’u Kwankwaso wants to show by creating something out of nothing in Kano APC. Rabi’u Kwankwaso is only one Senator out of 108 Senators and even in Kano there are three Senators, why is it that he is the only one causing problems in the name visiting Kano. If it is about being a former Governor in the Senate, there are many former Governors in the Senate, if it is because he has problem with his successor similar running battle is going on between Akpabio and his successor in Akwa-Ibom, but he never made his visit to Uyo an impossibility and a source of controversy.
Be what it may, like a cobra, the masses who voted for Buhari in 2015 are there lying low for the election day who ever wants’ to contest under any platform could go ahead and do so. The most important thing for the Government and INEC to do is to maintain the use of card reader and the present INEC order of election. Whoever failed to use card reader under any guise should have the election cancelled and that cancellation should not affect the election results. There is no reason why some people would see themselves as being above the law and continue doing things in their own way. The National Assembly members change of the order of election to enable them return to office is surprising. This order of election was not introduced by Buhari, all of them were elected through that system, then why are they not comfortable with it now.
If it is about scheming to stop Buhari the national assembly members and their sponsors should better stop wasting their time, if there is election today Nigerians will give Buhari majority votes and so will it be tomorrow. No matter the odds, he will get 25% of the total votes in no less than five to six out of the 17 southern states of the country. A similar episode is happening in Katsina, where the Governor Aminu Masari administration is being attacked by intra and external opposition members, but if we take statistics his performance has earned him the support of the people. The critics of Aminu Masari like those of Buhari are the same people using different amplifiers to deceive listeners as if they are many.
Therefore, President Buhari should ignore the threats over restructuring or third force and go ahead with his contest for the 2019, so also similar advice goes to Aminu Masari in Katsina. On the other hand the National Assembly members from the North must work to defeat the APC restructuring committee report because it is to the detriment of the North which they represents otherwise they will be among those to be consumed.
Mansir Lawal Kaware writes in from Katsina State.