APC will be mak­ing a mis­take with Mus­lim-Mus­lim ticket

Daily Trust - - SPORT -

As the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) pre­pares for its ward, state and na­tional con­gresses, the me­dia have been awash with spec­u­la­tions that the party may have set­tled on re­tired Gen­eral Muham­madu Buhari and for­mer Gover­nor of La­gos State, Bola Tin­ubu, as its pres­i­den­tial and vice pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates re­spec­tively. A num­ber of the coun­try’s leading news­pa­pers, cit­ing ‘usu­ally re­li­able sources’ within APC, claimed that in ze­ro­ing in on Buhari and Tin­ubu, the party’s strate­gists re­lied on the cal­cu­la­tions that Buhari, who re­mains very pop­u­lar at the grass­roots level in most parts of the North­West and North-East, will be bank­ing on an es­ti­mated 44,848,911 reg­is­tered vot­ers (ac­count­ing for 61 per cent of to­tal reg­is­tered vot­ers of 73,528,040 in the 2011 elec­tion). In con­trast, the North-Cen­tral, South-South and the South-East zone com­bined (seen as Jonathan’s strongholds) has only 27,735,678 reg­is­tered vot­ers. Throw onto this 2,941,214 votes cast for Jonathan in the South-west and Edo State in 2011-the bulk of which in this cal­cu­la­tion, will now be re-di­rected to Tin­ubu and the APC will be coast­ing home to an easy vic­tory!

Let me say im­me­di­ately that I do not be­lieve in this me­dia spec­u­la­tion. Politi­cians are masters of de­coy, fil­i­buster and sell­ing dum­mies. They rarely show their hands, and when they do, it will be nec­es­sary to closely in­spect what they are of­fer­ing. APC is peo­pled with so many po­lit­i­cally smart op­er­a­tives to make the mis­take of field­ing a Mus­lim-Mus­lim ticket. My in­stinct there­fore tells me that the story was de­lib­er­ately planted as a de­coy so that when the party chooses its pres­i­den­tial can­di­date and run­ning mate, they will come as a sur­prise to Nige­ri­ans. They may be cal­cu­lat­ing on giv­ing Nige­ri­ans some­thing to keep them busy–as Ba­bangida did with the po­lit­i­cal class with his tran­si­tion to nowhere – to give the party the peace of mind to pre­pare for its ward, state and na­tional con­gresses.

But as­sum­ing that the party merely wants to fly a kite, I be­lieve there are a num­ber of fal­la­cies in that per­mu­ta­tion. For in­stance, while Buhari re­mains very pop­u­lar in the North West and North-East, it will be sim­plis­tic to as­sume that the pre­pon­der­ance of vot­ers in the North West and North east will give him such a lead as to can­cel out what­ever deficits he may have from other zones. Ex­pe­ri­ences from the 2011 elec­tions do not sup­port such an ar­gu­ment. Sim­i­larly such a per­mu­ta­tion may not have fac­tored in the pos­si­bil­ity of votes from the two zones and other zones in the coun­try be­ing di­vided by the emer­gence of a third rel­a­tively strong party, which also fields a North­ern Mus­lim as a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date. The truth is that APC is an ag­gre­ga­tion of po­lit­i­cal par­ties, group­ings and ten­den­cies. To its credit, the party has so far held to­gether–much to the sur­prise of most people who did not give it a chance. How­ever be­cause of its na­ture, it is much eas­ier for dis­af­fected group­ings within the party to move into any of the ex­ist­ing brief­case par­ties and overnight turn such a party into rel­a­tively for­mi­da­ble force.

People who use the Mus­lim-Mus­lim ticket of MKO Abi­ola and Al­haji Baba­gana Kin­gibe as an ex­am­ple that Nige­ri­ans may not mind about such a ticket miss the point. True, the Abi­ola-Kin­gibe ticket won but there were sev­eral rea­sons for this: One, Abi­ola, a Yoruba was the top of the ticket, mean­ing that at a time of a clam­our for power shift to the south, he was seen more in the South as a South­erner, while his re­li­gious faith was also mol­li­fy­ing to some in the North. Two, that the Abi­ola-Kin­gibe ticket won does not nec­es­sar­ily mean that they would have ruled suc­cess­fully if the elec­tion was not an­nulled. No one should un­der-rate the power of eth­nic and re­li­gious watch­ers. For in­stance even though the Buhari coup was very pop­u­larly re­ceived, with some like the late Dele Giwa even call­ing for the over­thrown politi­cians to be shot, eth­nic watch­ers quickly went to work and very grad­u­ally suc­ceeded in turn­ing sen­ti­ments against the regime. Mav­er­ick Arthur Nzeribe for in­stance, in his book, Nigeria An­other Hope Be­trayed (1984), tried to ‘show’ that Buhari was favour­ing Mus­lims and the North and was against the South and Chris­tians. Though from all in­di­ca­tions it was an un­fair al­le­ga­tion, the eth­nic and re­li­gious watch­ers helped in no small ways in en­gulf­ing the regime with le­git­i­macy cri­sis. One of the con­se­quences of this was that all the politi­cians from the south who were herded into long prison terms for cor­rup­tion by the Buhari Idi­agbo regime came out of prison as he­roes.

In essence the Buhari-Idi­agbo regime was the first time in the coun­try’s po­lit­i­cal his­tory we had some­one from the same re­gion (North), and the same re­li­gion (Mus­lim), rule the coun­try. What­ever un­fair re­li­gious la­belling Buhari is tarred with to­day prob­a­bly stemmed from the ac­tiv­i­ties of eth­nic/ re­li­gious watch­ers dur­ing his regime. And this was de­spite the fact that the regime was one of the most de­ter­mined regimes in the coun­try to get things right and that Buhari him­self ut­tered one of the most pa­tri­otic sen­ti­ments ever ex­pressed by any Nige­rian leader when he said: ‘This gen­er­a­tion of Nige­ri­ans, and in­deed fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, have no other coun­try but Nigeria. We must re­main here and sal­vage it to­gether’.

Be­fore Buhari made the mis­take of hav­ing a fel­low Mus­lim and North­erner as his sec­ond in com­mand, the late Chief Awolowo, a Chris­tian Yoruba, made a sim­i­lar mis­take in 1979 when he chose the late Philip Umeadi, a Chris­tian Igbo as his run­ning mate. It is some­times tempt­ing to spec­u­late on what would have hap­pened if Awolowo has emerged the Pres­i­dent of the coun­try in 1979.

It must not be for­got­ten that though re­li­gion – just like eth­nic­ity- is only politi­cized in the con­text of the strug­gle for the scarce so­cioe­co­nomic re­sources by the dif­fer­ent eth­nic and re­gional fac­tions of the elites, over time, it has ac­quired an ob­jec­tive char­ac­ter such that it now be­comes, so to speak, an ob­jec­tive re­al­ity. In other words, while it is true that be­ing of the same faith or eth­nic­ity as the Pres­i­dent or Vice Pres­i­dent of the coun­try does not add an ex­tra cup of garri to the shop­ping bas­ket of the aver­age Nige­rian, how­ever the hur­rah ef­fect of feel­ing that one of one’s own is there could be salu­tary to de­vel­op­ment. This means that cit­i­zens that feel that ‘their own’ is there are more likely to ac­cept the ex­pla­na­tions of why a regime is per­form­ing sub-op­ti­mally or to be­lieve that a regime is per­form­ing even when such is not backed by ob­jec­tive data. I be­lieve this is what Nige­rian politi­cians mean when they talk of giv­ing ‘Nige­ri­ans a sense of be­long­ing’. Ad­di­tion­ally, tol­er­ance can­not hap­pen in a multi-eth­nic and multi-faith so­ci­ety with­out sen­si­tiv­ity to the feel­ings of oth­ers. Given the cur­rent cri­sis in the coun­try’s na­tion­build­ing–and the in­creas­ing politi­ciza­tion of re­li­gion–a Mus­lim-Mus­lim or Chris­tian-Chris­tian ticket will not be seen as be­ing sen­si­tive enough.

Ur­gent task for the new CBN Gover­nor

C ongratulations to God­win Eme­fiele, whose ap­point­ment as CBN Gover­nor was re­cently con­firmed by the Se­nate. It seems that we cur­rently have three CBN Gov­er­nors – the sus­pended Gover­nor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (SLS) whose ten­ure ex­pires in June this year, the Act­ing CBN Gover­nor Mrs Sarah Alade and of course Mr Eme­fiele, whose ten­ure for­mally starts when that of SLS ends.

I be­lieve that both Chuk­wuma Soludo and SLS met dif­fer­ent chal­lenges at the CBN dur­ing their times and rose to the task. They were both suc­cess­ful, in my opin­ion, as CBN gov­er­nors, but also con­trib­uted to the prob­lems of the CBN as an in­sti­tu­tion. While Soludo’s bank con­sol­i­da­tion helped to give our banks con­fi­dence by rais­ing their profiles, his style also turned the po­si­tion of CBN Gover­nor to that of a celebrity. In the same vein while Sanusi was suc­cess­ful in clean­ing up the post-merger blues from Soludo’s con­sol­i­da­tion ex­er­cise, he brought un­nec­es­sary po­lit­i­cal ac­tivism and ‘ro­fo­rofo’ to the job. A key chal­lenge there­fore for Eme­fiele is to re­turn the po­si­tion of CBN Gover­nor to what it should be - a non­celebrity po­si­tion, where the in­cum­bent of the po­si­tion should be seen more than he is heard and where he com­pletely es­chews po­lit­i­cal ac­tivism.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Bishop Matthew Kukah

C ongratulations to Bishop Matthew Kukah, who was ap­pointed Chair­man of the Gov­ern­ing Coun­cil of the Nasarawa State Univer­sity, Keffi. The Coun­cil will be in­au­gu­rated in Lafia on Mon­day April 7, 2014, af­ter which the in­au­gu­ral Coun­cil Meet­ing will hold in Keffi later the same day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.