Opinion

Who Wins Tomorrow’s Presidential Election?

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WHO WINS TOMORROW’S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION?

Nigeria’s presidential election slated to hold tomorrow may feature more than 70 candidates but it is ultimately expected to be a head-to-head between former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and seating President, Muhammadu Buhari.

 

-Bashorun Jide Kuforiji

 

In this detached analysis, we restrict our observations and suggestions to the two leading candidates – President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress and A​lhaji Abubakar Atiku of the People’s Democratic Party. We employ the following twin parameters in our deductions and expect you to draw your conclusion(s).

  1. Restructuring as a mass mobilization tool and Presidential campaign theme.
  2. Geo-political balancing (or lack of it) and its electoral implications.

 

Restructuring:

Regionalism was the mutually agreed style of government at Nigeria’s independence. An examination of its previous use and present day application firmly indicate it will solve over 80% of our country’s political and administrative challenges. The assumption purveyed mainly by Southerners and accepted by generality of Northerners is that restructuring will benefit the south more than the north. But the North is as rich as the South; and the verifiable economic facts to support this will be supplied.

 

Southerners have already bought the devolution idea. If either campaign had strived to convince Northerners that dividend will equally redound to them because they are as endowed as the south, one leg of that campaign’s candidate would have been in Aso Rock. Alhaji Atiku did this initially, and then trailed off; perhaps sensing the negative chord it strikes in the North.

 

Between 5 and 10 years after we restructure, remarkable changes will occur in all the 6 zones/provinces/regions mainly due to inter-province healthy competition. As a sampler, take a look at these post-devolution projections for the North West (Danfodio?) province.

 

Political:

The zone produced the highest number of Nigerian leaders with 3 presidents and 3 military Heads of State (counting Buhari twice). With the greatest number of states (7) and the largest voting population of 20 million registered voters – 18 million of whom collected, it certainly cannot be ignored or short changed in the scheme of things.

 

Social:

Compared to those of the Tukulor Muslim Movement of Al Hajj Umar and Sekou Ahmadu of Macina, Caliph Usman dan Fodio’s Sokoto jihad was by far the most extensive in the Western Sudan, successfully using Islam to integrate the Hausa and Fulani populations.

 

Economic/Industrial:

This province includes Kano, the business and financial hub of the north. The regional economy can thrive on agriculture and solid minerals what with a preponderance of gold and an unbelievable array of other precious stones.

 

Sokoto: Phosphate, gypsum, limestone.

Zamfara: Zinc, iron ore, lead, manganese, barite and gold

Kebbi: Manganese, gold

Kano: silica sand, columbite, gold

Jigawa: Silica sand

Kaduna: Rutile, bismuth, gemstones, feldspar, columbite, gold

Kastina: Manganese, Kaolin, gold.

It is evident that any enclave so blessed has no reason to fear resource control. And  – wait till you see what both the North Central and North East zones have locked up under their territory begging to be exploited.

 

Financial:

(a) The seat of the caliphate is a world-renowned destination guaranteed to attract petro dollars from the Muslim world.

(b) Unity bank and Jaiz bank will be the zones financial giants practicing interest- free banking and takaful insurance.

 

Legal:

Full sharia law will be adopted leading to social harmony and low crime incidence.

 

‘India makes more money from ICT and Malaysia more from tourism than Nigeria makes from oil.    – Tribune 23rd June. 2018.

 

 States request for bailout funds – Paris club balance  –  Punch 18th October 2017

 

Outgrowths of the economically retrogressive and politically stifling administrative set up we run. Zones that are supposed to leverage on their various resources and create wealth for the nation are reduced to mendicant, beggarly units dependent on central government hand outs procured (about 90% )from oil-derived revenues.

 

Maintaining this over-centralized system is an invitation to backwardness and perpetual stagnation. Properly structured with a diversified resource base, we will be an African powerhouse.

 

Either of the leading political parties could have ridden to power performing the agenda-setting function of highlighting the dividends of devolution.

 

Geo – Political Balancing:

Muhammadu Buhari has positioned himself as a proponent of “big government”, promising to create 10 million jobs and other transport infrastructure. Atiku Abubakar has outlined a number of free-market reforms.

Democracy being a game of numbers compels politics of inclusion. In a winner takes all  affair, electoral success depends on the extent to which your candidates appeal to varied segments of the population.

 

PDP zone its chairmanship position to the Southwest, Presidency to the North and running mate to the South East. That was until Governor Nyesom Nwike said ‘Yorubas do not deserve leadership of the party. Governor Wike’s word was law before Atiku’s return to PDP because he was one of the key financiers. He probably hinged his position on the low popularity of his party in the zone.

 

But he should have looked forward instead of backwards. Rather than use past patronage as yardstick, focus should have been on presenting a balanced arrangement with a view towards winning future elections.

 

The herdsmen issue and President Buhari’s lopsided appointments eroded his support base. Incumbency or not, a properly balanced sharing of offices by the PDP would have heightened prospects of unseating him. Now when APC deploys Osinbajo in the Southwest, the closest Southern zone to the sitting President, who do the tacticians of the PDP put forward to canvass in the zone with the second highest voting population of 16 million with 12 million cards collected?

 

This was the same miscalculation that cost ex-President Jonathan the Presidency. Atiku would have insisted on the more appealing North/East/West tripod that has endured  since independence despite the creation of  6 new zones. But his late re-entry weakened his position. Uche  Secondus was already on the Chairmanship seat and Alhaji Atiku had to focus on beating Aminu Tambuwal, the preferred candidate of the Wike group.

 

The PDP has been the party of choice in the South East since 1999. APGA shows up sometimes in Anambra and Imo (later APC). But the zone has remained firmly wedded to PDP. Same goes for the South West where APC holds sway.in spite of occasional swing to PDP with the glaring exception of Lagos.

 

Peoples are at liberty to retain their preferences – which is what democracy is all about. Rather than resent this, we will all do well to understand and tolerate each zones’s political inclination and work within its dictates.

 

The zonal voting strength of the electorate increased but followed previous patterns. This fact should have recommended a more aggressive wooing of the South West to PDP.

Northwest: 18million; South west: 12million; North Central:10million; South south: 11million; North East: 10million and South East: 8.5million.

 

Buhari 18million)/Osinbajo (12million) = 30million versus Atiku(10million)/Obi(8million) =18.million.

4 million voters from the adjustment for the presence of roughly 25% of Igbos in the Southwest – mostly Lagos still adds up to 26/22.

 

PDP will win in the South south minus Edo State. In the North Central zone, Kogi belongs to APC while Benue and Plateau are for PDP. Kwara, Niger and Nasarawa are too close to call.

 

Is it not obvious what a firm presence in the Southwest would have done for the PDP’s Presidential aspirations?

 

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