external, non-committed observers like us, it was not difficult to see
that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had garnered not only a
sound majority of votes leaving the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) a
distant second, but also secured a geographically almost evenly
distributed mandate. The PDP left even the second-placed ACN seeming
like a footnote in the scheme of things that should only be taken
cognizance of. Instant thoughts reflected on one single chance that
the opposition stood to pose the minimum possible challenge to the PDP
of forcing a run-off election between the ruling party and the
eventual runner-up of the Presidential election.
like the period in the run-up to campaigns and the election proper, it
was Buhari's inordinate obstinacy in a sage-like know-it-all fashion
that ultimately torpedoed every effort to create a formidable power
block. They had no objection to an alliance with the ACN in a deal
that would have secured the minimum target of a run-up election. Alas,
they were not prepared to make any sacrifice for such a major deal.
Buhari wanted the Presidency, come what may. Tunde Bakare had dreamt
one of his false prophesies that God had ordained him a background
leader in the Nigeria of his booze-induced vision. Else no one can
understand some weird comments credited to Tunde Bakare shortly before
the election. Bakare – a stern critic of Olusegun Obasanjo strongly
attacked for declaring (with good reasons) that his electoral battle
of 2007 was a do-or-die battle - saw in the April 16th
presidential election, a make-or-break affair. I thought the Press
would have rebuked him quickly enough for such utterances. But nothing
happened. Explaining his reasons for not consenting to ACN overtures
to have him step down from the office of Vice President (no matter at
what point in time), Bakare remarked that he rejected that compromise
because compromises lead to captivity.
Experienced political observers did not wonder if they were in the
wrong movie or simply day-dreaming because politics is simply
unimaginable without compromises. Else the United States under Barrack
Obama and the hostile Republican Congress would have long been up in
flames. Britain and Germany too! The political reality in Bakare’s
evil vision is unfortunately, one without compromises. He has simply
become a stunt actor in a manipulative game of regional
Buhari was warned that the choice of Bakare was wrong. But he thought
he was courting Christian votes and over-estimated Bakare’s following.
Jonathan and PDP had long launched their campaign combing every nook
and corner of the country while Buhari and ACN were busy bickering
over their failed strategic alliance. Edo ACN now boasts that it has
delivered Jonathan and voters should now return to vote ACN in
regional Assembly elections. In other words, they have taught Buhari
his lesson for inordinate obstinacy.
Bakare grumbled before the presidential election that the ACN had held
secret negotiations with President Jonathan and demanded key
ministerial positions in return for helping the President win votes.
Bakare cited this as a key reason for declining ACN's overtures. In
other words, Bakare, Buhari and their CPC saw the potential risk of a
sweeping Jonathan’s victory if they failed to strike a deal with the
ACN. So where the hell was Muhammadu Buhari expecting to garner all
the necessary votes to make him President of a Nigeria that he had
already ruled with the bullet and the barrel?
Flashback: The role of the Kaduna Mafia that surrounded Olusegun
Obasanjo in 1979 is still fresh in the memory of every observer who
lived to experience those days of Shagari’s ascension. The decision to
block a Yoruba man (Awolowo) from succeeding another Yoruba man (Obasanjo)
ended up costing Nigeria dearly in terms of strategic and intellectual
Kaduna Mafia then was heard about but never seen. We all knew the
power wielded by Shehu Musa Yar'Adua (Chief of Staff, Supreme
Headquarters allegedly “under” Olusegun Obasanjo) and Theophilus
Danjuma (a senior figure in the administration allegedly “of” Olusegun
Obasanjo). Ibrahim Babangida was the unspoken hero of every
neighborhood, who was believed to be the invisible key behind the
success of every coup d’etat. No coup was believed to stand the chance
of any success without the blessing of Ibrahim Babangida. But the
Kaduna Mafia was the talk of the town and no one knew their faces.
That was way back in 1979.
Kaduna Mafia metamorphosed into a stronger cult and the actors were no
longer concentrated in Kaduna. When Dele Momodu traveled to Vienna to
consult with Rilwanu Lukman in 1999 over the nomination of Olusegun
Obasanjo for the presidency after the demise of Sani Abacha, Lukman
told him pointblank that the decision to make Obasanjo President had
been taken by some very powerful forces and there was nothing anyone
could do about it. But we know that Ibrahim Bademosi Babangida and
Atiku Abubakar played the key roles in installing Olusegun Obasanjo
who had been tried and tested in 1979 as a compliant doll of some
scripted Muppet Show. But in 1999, the phrase “Kaduna Mafia” had
disappeared from every dictionary.
Shortly after, the declaration of Sharia came en vogue in
northern states and everyone knew that powerful background forces were
the mastermind. We did not know the face of this mafia. In 2009
however, when the demise of yet another northerner stared Nigeria in
the face with the potential consequence of the ascension to the
Presidency by a Southerner that was not bargained for, the mafia began
to throw caution overboard.
Emissaries with vested interest in the Nigerian project (meaning
Nigeria’s oil) flocked into Nigeria to broker some smooth sailing and
peaceful co-existence. One frequent port of call by the American
Deputy Secretary of State for Africa, Ambassador Carson and even Tony
Blair of the United Kingdom was the hilltop mansion of Ibrahim
Badamosi Babangida who was not in power in any official function. Then
the mafia was gradually beginning to wear a face.
the vegetating remains of Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was brought into Nigeria
in a cloak and dagger operation under the cover of darkness, we do not
know till today, who ordered regiments of soldiers into the street
without the knowledge of the Vice President (acting constitutionally
in the absence of the President).
desperation that however greeted the zoning debate in the ruling PDP
finally uncovered the most active operatives of the background power
in the northern establishment. The reality craftily engineered by
Olusegun Obasanjo over several years as a ruthless civilian President
(with the paramount good of the nation at heart) finally bared open
the impending loss of power that these northern powerbrokers did not
bargain for. They finally threw caution overboard and names like Adamu
Ciroma, Ibrahim Babangida, Atiku Abubakar, Aliyu Gusau emerged to
confirm what observers had always suspected.
Suddenly it was Atiku Abubakar, Ibrahim Babangida and Aliyu Gusau with
the blessing of Adamu Ciroma again, who emerged in the run-up to the
presidential election of April 16th, to mediate between
Muhammadu Buhari’s CPC and Bola Tinubu’s ACN to help them form a
formidable block to eventually defeat the PDP (their own party). It
was the last straw they could grab in their desperation. They failed.
Muhammadu Buhari failed and power did not return to the north.
Ibrahim Babangida hurriedly advanced to congratulate the winning
party. Atiku Abubakar thrust forward to condemn the ensuing violence
in northern Nigeria. Muhammadu Buhari chose not to pretend to have
anything against the violence until pressure was mounted on him to
speak out conditionally. But the violence has been wreaking undue
barbaric havoc as usual in times of crisis in the north of Nigeria.
The infamous saying by Atiku Abubakar that “whoever makes peaceful
change impossible, makes violent change inevitable” started taking
concrete forms and has so far, only been falling short of a coup
d’etat to force power back to the north.
intricate game of manipulations and contrivances are all too obvious.
Tunde Bakare is an unwitting tool in the hands of strategic players
with the deceptive vision of personal ambition. He has, till the time
of writing, refused to speak out in condemnation of the violence and
criminal attack on Southerners living in the north. He has not even
uttered a word against the burning of churches while no one burns
mosques in southern Nigeria.
is time to wield the ax. Until the central government in Abuja summons
the constitutional strength and courage to deal the northern mafia a
final blow to kill and bury all its future aspirations on the
political drawing board, Nigeria will never know peace. If we do not
seek to split Nigeria into the Arewa Republic and the Rest of Nigeria,
Muhammadi Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida, Atiku Abubakar, Adamu Ciroma,
Aliyu Gusau and many more members of the secret Brotherhood known to
Olusegun Obasanjo and no doubt, Jonathan as well, should be arrested
and kept in detention now while investigations proceed. Everything
else will be cowardice and the postponement of the final day of
Frisky Larr is author of the book “Nigeria’s Journalistic
Militantism” probing into the poor role of Journalism in Nigeria!