For nearly one month, Nigerians waited with bated breath (Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice”), suspended animation and cryogenics, as to who would be the presidential candidate of the PDP. The APC’s presidential candidate, sitting president, Muhammadu Buhari, had been known for over six months.
I had predicated long ago, even before he indicated interest, that no one in the APC would dare contest against Buhari. It was simply inconceivable that mere mortals would dare contest against their sacred deity, nay, their “sinless” and “stainless” god, at whose altar they worship daily and offer sacrifices, atonement and oblation. Buhari’s cult-like followership, especially in Kano, conceives him as “the lamb of God who taketh away the sins” of Nigeria. They believe, most simplistically, that he is imbued with redemptive messianism.
Buhari’s party, the APC, as presently constituted, is nothing but a fierce, ruthless concoction of strange bed fellows, ensconced in a cabalistic coven (like witches and wizards), that broods no opposition, dissent, or plurality of opinions. Any perceived disagreement by a member is treated as high treason against the bacchanalian gods and patriarchs of the party, and which must be ruthlessly squashed and vanquished.
TURNING AMBODE TO NOBODY
When Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State took the unusual detour of challenging his godfather and benefactor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, it was simply the hubris and swagger of a man stupidly wrestling with his personal Chi. I knew what the outcome would be, and I said so loudly. I knew that the Jagaban would reduce Ambode from “somebode” to “nobode”.
Tinubu had been bitten twice; once, in Ondo (Akeredolu’s emergence against his will and his preference for Olusegun Abraham); and second, in Lagos (Fashola’s three-ministeries- in-one cache, just to humiliate him). He knew that no tested General loads the gun, cocks and lowers it, without shooting or firing, just because of genuflections and pleas by interested parties.
Such a General would have displayed his weak archiles heel, and his opponents would pierce it with éclat and flourish. So, Tinubu detonated the “Ogbunigwe” bomb against Ambode, in an election in which Ambode stood no chance at all (never mind his later “gra-gra”, swash buckling, and chivalrous grandstanding). Notwithstanding his name calling of Jide Sanwo-Olu as a fake dollar fraudster and psychiatric patient who went through rehabilitation), little known Sanwo-Olu scored 970,851 humongous votes to silence Ambode’s miserly 72,901. The very APC NWC panel which had been sent from Abuja to supervise the election, cried blue murder. Former Cross River state Governor, Clement Ebri (a gentleman par excellence), who headed the castrated panel, sulked and literally wept.
He cried foul, arguing that the very ballot papers and membership slips which were to be used for the election had not even been distributed. But, the APC Lagos state chairman, Tunde Balogun, demurred. He urged Lagosians to go and vote with only APC membership ID Cards, a step Ambode had kicked against, as he argued it would disenfranchise his teeming supporters. In politics, anything goes. Fair is foul and foul is fair (witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth), Act 1, scene 1). Ebri had nonetheless gone ahead and courageously invalidated the primaries, as he posited the NWC never authorised the exercise. He said it violated laid down modalities, including the turning in of the list of officials that would supervise the election.
What gentleman Ebri did not reckon with was that the fight was well beyond him. It was dirty “roforofo” fight for the soul, heart, pulse and more importantly, purse, of Lagos state, the richest state in Nigeria; a state whose monthly IGR alone is enough to cater for the entire annual budget of some other states. It was a fight for power, influence, and more significantly, relevance in 2019. So, Ebri was crippled enough to eat his words, bite the humble pie, and later cajoled, to personally declare Sanwo-Olu the winner of the controversial election.
The APC leadership had made it clear to him he was sent to Lagos to merely “supervise” and not to “organize” the governorship elections. Semantics? Well, that is Nigerian politics, sorry politricks. Such is the intoxicating effect of power, an inebriating stimulant and aphrodisiac (Henry Kissinger). With power, you can access cheep money, fame, wealth and still, more power. Power is influence. Said Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of USA, who preserved the Union during the US Civil war and brought about the emancipation of slaves on January 1, 1863, “nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power”.
X – RAYING THE APC AND PDP PRIMARIES
Rewind to Atiku and Buhari. Let’s first inquire into the mode of emergence of Buhari and Atiku as presidential candidates of the APC and PDP, respectfully.
The former’s primaries was vulgar, outrageous, ugly. It insulted the sensibilities and selfesteem of Nigerians. Buhari, the sole candidate, against whom no serious person dared contest, allegedly polled 14.8M votes to emerge the candidate.
Even Aisha, his wife, has since pooh-poohed the APC primaries, describing them in very strong words as “unfair and lacking in integrity”. Asiha, who is 2016, had cried out about a powerful cabal holding her husband hostage, and in 2017, described the abysmal lack of health facilities in the Aso Villa Clinic, wondered how “such impunity could take place under his (APC chairman’s) watch”. She immediately dissociated herself from “such unfairness, be neutral and speak for the voiceless”.
Aisha should know better, even if PMB merely regards her as the woman “in za oza (in the other) room”. More significantly, she advised: “It is important for the populace to rise against impunity and for voters to demand from aspirants to be committed to the provision of basic amenities such as portable drinking water, basic health care… education within conducive and appropriate learning environments”. Literal interpretation: her husband, PMB, has not provided these to the Nigerian people!
This is not all. A coalition of five other APC presidential Aspirants have also decried Buhari’s victory. Nigerians have been gasping for breath to decipher how Buhari could have singly-handedly harvested a bumper 14,842,072 vote at only APC primaries, which was merely affirmed by only 7000 delegates at Eagle square, Abuja.
Nigerians are wondering how Buhari polled a colossal 2,931,235 votes from only 484 wards of the 44 LGAs of Kano State alone.
Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state had told a bewildered nation that Kano state which had posted only 1.9 million votes for Buhari just a little above 3 years ago), suddenly, now has 3,720,000 registered voters, out of which Buhari alone garnered a galactic 2,931,235 votes in a mere uncontested primary! Nigerians wonder how one million voters could have suddenly metamorphosed in only three years.
Nigerians are scratching their heads because, in 2015, the entire votes Buhari scored in the nationwide election were 15,424,921 (53.95%). And 3 years later, we are being told he is getting from his party alone, humongous votes which are a mere 582,849 less than his 2015 entire national haul? Haba! Many Nigerians are contending that the rigging of 2019 election has actually commenced and is being fast-tracked. They are waiting and ready to counter it.
Next week, we shall be evaluating the PDP primaries that took place at Port Harcourt, Rivers state; the emergence of Atiku Abubakar and why and how he can easily defeat Buhari.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
“Leadership is about vision and responsibility, not power. (Seth Berkley).
Nigerians, please continue to engage me in the national conversation, whilst awaiting explosive topic of Sunday Sermon on the Mount of the Nigerian Project by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, OFR, FCIArb, Ph.D, LL.D.
• Follow me on twitter @ MikeozekhomeSAN
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