President Goodluck Jonathan started well in advance. His opponents
were still busy fighting over the adequate running mate and the
suitable format of an impressive campaign train. Architect Sambo had
long become a household name in the realms of the incumbencyís
after the other, the opponents of the President pulled one
disappointment in systematic succession. The voting populace often
greeted every action with consternation and endless frustration.
Buhari pulled the first surprise in his choice of a running mate.
Observers expected anyone, but not an extremely inexperienced
celestial megaphone of mock-politicking. The preacher man who was well
known and perhaps most desired in the theatre stage of playing the
political conscience of a visionless playground, was suddenly declared
a Vice Presidential candidate. A candidate to whom the destiny and
future of Nigeria should be entrusted in the event that something
happens to incapacitate Muhammadu Buhari Ė assuming he wins the
Presidency! Tunde Bakare is a Preacher man and the head of a celestial
church called Latter Day Rain, known for prophesies, visions and militant prayers. He heads a
church that is a symbol of the credibility crisis rocking the
Christian religion of todayís Nigeria. A section of society filled
with fake prophets, prophesies, visions and mass deception.
Buhari had a different mindset and followed a different line of
reasoning. He had carved out a profile for his VP to be. A Southerner,
non-Muslim (to shed the persistent media ballast of portraying Buhari
as a Muslim fanatic) and a well exposed radical! But Buhari considered
little of the credibility angle. The first voices that unleashed venom
on the BB Ė for Buhari/Bakare Ė team (now ridiculed as Bed and
Breakfast team) accused Bakare of having used the status of the man of
God with visions and prophesies (that were not always true) and vocal
frontliner of the Save Nigeria Group as a launching pad for political
ambitions. Some saw it as blasphemy. Many admirers however, see his
inexperience as an asset that keeps him off the line of fire since he
has no track record of stealing government funds. All-in-all, Buhari
pulled a surprise that was not pleasant to an overwhelming majority of
political analysts and learned observers.
ACN quickly followed suit. It denied zoning the Presidency to Northern
Nigeria. Yet it had no single candidate from any other geographical
region to color its intra-party voting routine. Candidates were
imposed at different levels by party leaders in a mafia commando
style. And they did not deny it. They came out openly and tried to
make sense of all the awkward actions. Dramatically, all candidates
pulled back and only one Presidential candidate was left. His name was Nuhu Ribadu. I jubilated personally and praised the day that this man
was given to the common voter. But my joy soon gave way to shocking
sobriety. News made the round that the beneficiary was someone else.
His name was Asiwaju Tinubu. He led his party to working assiduously
with a view to fusing up with Buhariís CPC. The reckoning was to have
Tinubu as Buhariís running mate, while Ribadu would have stepped down
the end, personal association with Nuhu Ribadu would have boosted his
credibility rating while Ribadu himself would have gotten the exposure
he needed and three good birds would have been killed with just one
stone. Tinubu was a man of the game. But Buhariís obstinacy and
commitment to principle stood in Tinubuís way. Tinubu then ate the
humble pie and let Ribadu be. But not before opening another
controversial chapter. I was sure that Nuhu Ribadu would be a
formidable opponent for President Jonathan. I thought he and the
people around him were serious about the business of becoming
President. They messed it all up in their choice of a running mate. As
if they had taken leave of all their senses, they settled for a name,
which I still do not know as I am writing and today is Sunday the 27th
of March 2011. A few days away from polling and there are many more
like me! For the handlers of Ribadu, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was too
strong a personality to work with and therefore, does not qualify for
a running mate. In plain language, it means she is too strong to
manipulate. That was the day they began to kill Ribadu in
installments. Nuhu Ribadu finally killed his candidacy when he began
to attack Jonathan for not honoring the zoning arrangement and thus
contesting the Presidency.
one, it was a Party affair that concerned the Presidentís party and
not Ribaduís ACN. Secondly, as a gallant figure widely perceived as
detribalized, Ribadu should have known better if he had to express an
opinion on the issue at all. I, as a campaign adviser, would have
cautioned him to be deliberately ambiguous in any public statement on
zoning. He should perhaps have criticized Jonathan alright but never
fail to add too that the North should as well take a back seat having
ruled Nigeria for so long. This singular message would have endeared
Ribadu to the heart of very many admirers from different camps given
his previous antecedents. Ribadu should have fought a campaign
deliberately reminiscing on John Jerry Rawlings for public perception.
But his advisers misled him into focusing on efforts to position
himself as an alternative Northern Consensus candidate following the
clearly foreseeable demise of Atiku Abubakar who killed and buried his
presidential dreams in his Harakiri fight of 2006. Ribadu was misled
into suddenly attacking Jonathan rather than concentrating on
issue-based campaign and promoting himself with all seriousness.
While all these were happening, Jonathanís campaign train was already
reaching out into several corners of the country attracting followers
and patronizing traditional rulers in chameleonic costuming. It does
not help much that faint-hearted attempts were made to capitalize on
Jonathanís blunders of addressing people as ďRascalsĒ. The campaign
gift of the release of Bode George and the frenetic reception accorded
him by a party seeking to be taken seriously as a redeeming leader
came too little and too late for the opposition parties because the
opposition parties were too clueless on how to capitalize on the manna
from heaven. The fracas in Ogun state was obviously not recognized by
the opposition as an issue that could have been reflected, exemplified
and exacerbated to mould an adequate picture of a party that is tied
with the multi-directional figments of conflicting interest groups.
Buhari did not use it. Neither did Ribadu.
few days ago, President Jonathan rounded up his campaign and the
Presidential debate boycotted by Ribadu and Buhari (by prior
announcement) will be the finishing line.
the campaign trail leaves a path of blood that has been spilled in
broad daylight by careless campaigners. Powers are usurped in
government and in opposition. The stateís monopoly of force and power
is openly challenged by thuggery and private armies and militancy. A
trail of arson, looting and maiming is the track that we can see.
Vehicles burnt and houses set ablaze. It is a bad omen for the target
date of April 9, 2011.
spite of all that though, there seems to have been an involuntary
collaboration to handover the Presidency to Goodluck Jonathan.
Buhariís seeming arrogance, taking for granted that the voters know
his antecedents in the hope that a pastor's followership will be of
help and Ribaduís absolute amateurish organization and campaign
movement all represent a virtual handover on a platter of Gold, of the
Presidency to Goodluck Jonathan.
does not matter at all that the self-imposed Northern eldersí forum
led by Adamu Ciroma is withholding its support for Goodluck Jonathan.
The time is simply too short for any meaningful harmful manipulation
to stop a Jonathanís victory. The President was now confident enough,
having consolidated his hold on power over the past few months, to now
defy the northern mafia and call off negotiations with them in their
bid to secure assurances from the President. Who would have imagined
that in November 2010 when the cabal held sway with the Ciroma mafia
hovering in the background?
painful belly-landing suffered by Ciromaís mafia group that trailed
the defeat of Atiku in the PDPís primaries will now be followed by
another demystifying humiliation of everything Ciroma and his archaic
group stands for. I honestly, cannot see Goodluck Jonathan losing the
presidential election, rigging or not!
Anything outside a Jonathanís victory on April 09, 2011 will be a huge
upset and absolutely unexpected.