In a recent television interview, New Nigeria’s People’s Party (NNPP) Presidential candidate and former Kano State Governor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, attributed the failure of his party’s merger talks with the Labor Party , and its presidential candidate, the former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, to the “Northern mood”. In his words, “What I’m telling you is that if someone from the Southeast now, under these circumstances, becomes the presidential candidate for our party or any other party, the implication is that due activities and other issues that are really on the ground, northern voters will definitely opt for their northern candidate and another party, so the thinking is not whether I like it or not, the fact remains that everyone will lose. He will lose and I will lose.
To support his position, the former governor gave a brief lesson in political history to the effect that continuing any other political maneuvering in the current election cycle would be politically inopportune. According to him, “there is what we call the ‘mood’ in any electoral cycle. In fact, if you look at it in 1992/1993 when MKO Abiola contested to be the president of this country, the mood at that time was for us to support the south and that was exactly what we did. In 1999, I was governor-elect when Obasanjo, Ekwueme and others ran. Abubakar Rimi was there and he wanted to become president. We all thought he was qualified, but the mood was for the presidency to go South. We went to the convention in Jos and we voted 100% for Obasanjo.
The same in 2003. Right now, the mindset in the North today is that the presidency should be in the North. That’s why I couldn’t agree to be his running mate.
For most political pundits, Kwankwaso’s recent remarks indicate the first signs of regret over the loss of a huge political opportunity, given his cult following in the North. But, for others, this writer included, it’s either his tea leaves falling off or he’s suffering from a case of bad political stew, brewed with two adamant political vices of overweening ambition and self-interest. personal. Perhaps the potency of his political stew dampened his political vision.
A common code among most Nigerian politicians in the present era is that politics is a game of interest, but my question is which interest should come first – the interest of one or the interest of all? Unfortunately, one’s interest is the mainstay of Nigerian politics. Earlier this year, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and now the People’s Democratic Party presidential candidate, held a meeting with the PDP board to discuss the imperative of winning the 2023 presidential election; and while hinting at an imminent candidacy, he said: “Your Excellencies, friends, brothers and sisters, we are now at a crucial moment in this country. Many of you here are either retiring together or moving on together.
As a former Vice President of the PDP Platform, and as a founding member of the party, he was fully aware of the provision and spirit of Article 7(2) (c) of the constitution of the PDP which states: “In accordance with the principle of fairness, justice and equity, the party shall adhere to the policy of rotation and zoning of the party and public elective offices. Apparently, most of the political elites in the North are also studying the same tea leaves, including the national chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu. This may have explained her early romance with the former vice president, according to Kassim Afegbua, a PDP leader and spokesman for Nigeria’s former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, who alleged that “the Ayu-led executive had worked for the realization of Atiku Abubakar’s ambition from the inauguration.
That’s mainly why sales of presidential ticket forms took off even as the 37-man zoning panel had yet to come to a decision on the matter. Moreover, without the dishonest reading and interpretation of the PDP’s constitution, the question of zoning could not have arisen, given that the current president is from the North, and Fulani for that matter. How difficult is it for Atiku and his entourage to tell the difference between 62 and 41, 41 being the total number of years in power in the North since independence?
The desperation of a privileged few in the North dislocated the constitution of the PDP which was midwifed by the G.34 of which Senator Iyorchia Ayu was a member. This is political duplicity, and I feel sorry for the PDP National Chairman who was part of the team that drafted this very inclusive G.34 document, which tried to lay the foundations for a better Nigeria, where no one is left behind. The PDP’s desperation that has led to its current stalemate was succinctly described by a former Deputy Senate Speaker, Ike Ekweremadu, when he said that “the PDP is desperate to return to power and Nigerians also want a change of government. So the PDP in desperation is ready to have anyone from anywhere as long as the person wins the presidency. Sometimes they neglect the justice of the case.
Northern oligarchs, such as Atiku Abubakar, regularly advance the idea of a monolithic North in pursuit of a homogeneous political destiny. Of course, everyone knows it is in their interest to maintain this line of thinking, even if Nigeria burns to ashes. Unfortunately for them, the current political posture of a large electoral bloc in the middle belt does not support the next president coming from the North. Even more, of Fulani origin, especially after the chaos of the last seven years. Nigeria as a nation would be on the verge of extinction if indeed Kwankwaso’s reading of the tea leaves were to be correct. Because, the clear message to the South would have been, “to your tents, O Israel.” This would mean that the people of the North were in fact born to rule. Fortunately, this is not the case, in fact, this is the opinion of a few people at risk in the PDP and other political parties, such as Kwankwaso’s NNPP.
It is sad that the politics of lies, self-interest and exclusion has replaced that of truth, fairness, fairness, justice and nation-building. This style of politics is unethical and completely devoid of patriotism, it breeds cronyism, corruption and incompetence; and the result is the breakdown of trust among the population and weak institutions that are unable to meet the needs of the people or fulfill the primary duty of government, which is to protect lives and property.
Under President Buhari’s government, days of good news have been very rare, and a report released last week by Jihad Analytics, an international research/analytical group specializing in collecting data on terrorist activities around the world, has added to the bad news. According to their semi-annual report, from January to June, Nigeria is now ranked the second most terrorized nation, after Iraq. The report calls into question the credibility, truth and assertion of the Buhari administration that terrorists in the country have been degraded. In fact, alluding to the “mood of the nation” in a recent speech in Lagos, at the Never Again conference, hosted by Nzuko Umunna and Ndigbo, Professor Banjo Akintoye noted that the mood in Nigeria today is similar to what it was in the months before the 1967 civil war.
He said: “The government is run in a way that makes it look like the preserve of a particular minority. There seems to be an ongoing program to establish this minority in all command positions in the executive, administrative, judicial and security services of the country”. “The voices of the majority continually register protests and are continually scorned and ignored. The rule of law is clearly subsumed to the needs of this agenda, with seriously detrimental effects on human rights. These situations inevitably maintain, among the peoples of the Middle Belt and the South of the country, the feeling of being reduced to the status of conquered peoples of Nigeria.
The current mindset of the country does not neglect issues of equity, fairness and justice; rather, it is concerned with the ability, competence and credibility of whoever will become the next president. The mood in the nation is for a president who can bend to all religions, tribes and languages, but who remains firm in defending the territorial integrity of this nation; and reverse the economic situation of this nation by 2023.
By: Raphael Pepple