BY Ibrahim Ibrahim
The Presidential Primaries of the two major parties, APC and PDP, have come and gone and we are saddled with the question of the right choice of running mates for the flag bearers, especially for the ruling party, APC, Presidential Candidate.
BAT MUST EXAMINE AND FOCUS ON HARD FACTS ONLY:
The APC Presidential Flagbearer, Bola Ahmed Tinubu(BAT) must not fall into the trap set by CAN or any religious body for that matter. He should try to be smart and expedient, not subject to sentimental call for imaginary political justice. Must look at the hard facts on ground. No northern Christian aspiring running mate, Lalong, Boss Mustapha, or any of them, can garner for him the required votes to win 2023. Christians do not constitute more than an overall 16.5% of the predominantly muslim Northern Nigeria.
EL-RUFAI IS BAT’S BEST OPTION:
Perception matters a lot: In the predominantly muslim north, which holds no less than 63.2 % of this country’s total votes and over 81% of the region’s votes, the blunt truth is ,BAT himself is, at best, percieved as a fringe Muslim beholden to a Christian wife. While, his christian wife could appease the Christian north, hard facts and the vast northern public perception requires that he picks a Muslim running mate, especially from Kano, Kaduna or Katsina states–the KKK axis, which delivered most of the votes in the 2019 presidential poll, according to INEC results. Even within the KKK, El-Rufai is unquestionably the best in terms of competence, intellect, experience and political capacity to deliver the most votes. Alhough, Governor Ganduje’s Kano delivered the highest number of votes in 2019, but his political control of Kano has recently been torn to pieces by the state’s three political titans, namely, Shekarau Kwankwaso, and Ganduje himself. It was El Rufai’s Kaduna state that delivered the second highest number of votes in Nigeria’s 2019 Presidential poll.
THE NORTH MAY NOT SUPPORT A CHRISTIAN RUNNING MATE FOR BAT :
Moreover, experience has forced people in this region to begin asking the somewhat unpleasant or even indecent, but politically unavoidable question: What if the sick-looking BAT picks a Christian running mate, wins 2023, but later goes the Yar Adua way? To be saddled with a northern Christian President?The implications are obvious. The truth is northern muslims are far more comfortable with a southern christian President,than a northern Christian . When it seemed that Goodluck Jonathan was going to contest 2023, it was wellcomed in many northern quarters.In Kano, it was jubilated with Songs and Postals.As glaring lessons that informed the phorbia, northern muslims point to the kind of politiccs in some christian controlled-States in the north: Plateau State,despite a sizeable 40% muslim population, no Muslim is allowed to emerge Deputy Governor. Same goes for Benue with over 24% muslims. But, the most striking of all, is theTaraba State lesson.The state, has no less than 55% muslim majority. But, once, a Christian, Jolly Nyami, became, the first Governor , by chance, from 1999-2007, the Christians have kept a tight monopolistic and completely exclusive control of the state’s highest Office till date. Even when a Plane crash, in 2012, completely incapacitated Governor Danbaba Suntai, for about 3 years, his muslim Deputy, Garba Umar (UTC),2012-2013, was never allowed to take over as the substantive Governor.He was impeached and replaced by another muslim, Abubakar Sani Danladi, 2013-2015. Danladi was also disallowed from taking over as the substantive Governor . And, when election time came round and it was noticed that he was enjoying support of 80% of the delegates, the primary election was inexplicably moved from Jalingo, the State Capital, to Abuja, where the Acting Governor, Danladi, was schemed out at the instance of the state’s Abuja-based, rich and influential retired Army General.
However, it was the Kaduna State example of the late PDP Governor, Patrick Yakowa, that became the most dreadful lesson for all: In the 2011 elections, he made successful, though very bloody effort that returned him to power at all costs, despite being a Christian and tribal minority. Villages under General Buhari’s popular opposition party, CPC, were attacked, houses burnt, people maimed and the election rigged. Kaduna was littered with refugees, mainly muslims. Alas ! On the 12th December, 2012, Divine justice caught up with Yakowa in a Plane that exploded in mid Okoro Forest of Niger Delta. No help was possible !!
BAT’S SOUTH-WEST MIND SET AND NORTH’S REALITY:
Perhaps, given BAT’S South -West mind set, he may not necessarily understand the political reality of the North. Suffice it to say that, religion and politics are highly intertwined in this part of the country and related issues are taken very seriously . While, in the South-West, it is tribe that matters, in the North it is religion that counts most. So, BAT must be expedient and meticulous in his choice of a running mate from the region. Politians may be circumscribed by political self interests and pecuniary considerations in discussing the matter with him, but as consultants, we have to say it as it is.
(Ibrahim Ibrahim is Abuja based Iņtellignce and Security Consultant )
BY Ibrahim Ibrahim