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Home arrow World arrow Africa arrow Northern Power Brokers: Back to the Game Plan
Northern Power Brokers: Back to the Game Plan PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tunde Adenodi., Special columnist, Nigerian News   
Feb 07, 2011 at 02:59 AM

It is now a script followed to the letter whenever someone else other than a northern Muslim is in serious contention for the presidency of the Republic. I had written this in my article The Northern Game Plan in Nigeriannews sometimes past. It is the same thing even in military settings: Whenever northern politicians know that they would have to give up power to a southerner, they call upon their military wing to take over so that a northerner would continue to be in power, no matter what happens.


The soldiers do not bother to make any pretences of being fair to all other geographical regions contending for power in the military. This is why Murtala took over from Gowon, Buhari from Shagari; Babangida from Buhari, Abacha from Babangida and finally Abdusalami Abubakar from Abacha. Was General Jeremiah Useni not senior to General Abdusalami Abubakar? Why did Useni not take over from Abacha? Apparentlly, Jeremiah Useni, a former Governor of Bendel State, a former Minister and a former second in command to General Sani Abacha, was not northerner enough and not a Muslim and consequently had to be by-passed for a green horn,  Abdusalami Abubakar!

That Obasanjo took over in the aftermath of Murtala’s assassination was by the grace of Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma. Obasanjo had sheepishly deferred to Danjuma for the office until Danjuma gave his blessing. This is why Obasanjo assumed office “against (his) personal wish and desire.” Obasanjo ran his government as a puppet of this group while he was in power. Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, a lowly Lt. Colonel, enjoyed unprecedented triple promotion to a Major General in order to position him for de facto Prime Minister under General Obasanjo. He was the power behind Obasanjo’s military government.

The dynamics of the Nigerian Army have changed fundamentally by the consequences of General Olusegun Obasanjo’s actions during his eight years in office as president. President Umaru Yar’Adua had not completed the process of dismantling the structure put in place by Obasanjo before he (Yar’Adua) died. This is why the Nigerian Army will not intervene this time despite the subtle call of the Arewa Consultative Forum. By rejecting the result of the just concluded primary election of Jonathan, the ACF had signaled to their compatriots in the army for action. That was all they had to do in the days gone by for the army to go into action! But, not anymore! No northern Army General will take over from President Jonathan. I repeat: there will not be a military take over from President Jonathan. And if there happens to be one, it will not be led by a northerner. Let me state this with all the emphasis at my command: no southerner will lead a military coup against President Jonathan’s government.

What is ACF to reject the primary election of PDP or any political party for that matter? Is ACF not said to be a socio-cultural organization of the Hausa/Fulani just like Ohaneze ndi Igbo of the Igbo or the Afenifere of the Yoruba?

Now that Jonathan has emerged as the PDP candidate for President, the northern predatory political class will pull the rug from under the feet of Jonathan by abandoning the PDP en mass for Buhari’s Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). No matter what Vice-Present Sambo does, the core north, the predatory north and for the sake of emphasis, the Muslim north will not vote for Jonathan’s PDP no matter what he does. They will vote for Muhammadu Buhari. Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was from Katsina, Buhari’s state of origin. They would settle for Nuhu Ribadu if they must.

The Yoruba people have never ceased to amaze me! Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a confessed progressive in the mold of Obafemi Awolowo. He is fraternizing with a reactionary former military dictator, General Muhammadu Buhari! And northerners are now salivating at the prospect of having a Yoruba VP candidate in the person of Tinubu! But I am consoled with the fact that the Chairman of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Chief Bisi Akande, an Awoist of Bola Ige genre, will not sell out to Buhari. It is no less consoling that it takes Buhari’s acknowledgement of his perceived and indeed demonstrable religious and ethnic bigotry to wake up Tinubu from his dream to be a Vice Presidential candidate to Buhari if merger talks between ACN and CPC succeed. Come to think of it, where will the merger leave Nuhu Ribadu, who has already been nominated as ACN’s presidential candidate?

It is now being touted that the fiery Pastor of the Latter Day Saints otherwise known as the Mormon  will run as Buhari’s Vice Presidential candidate. This pastor is above 50 years old but has forgotten the history he actually lived! How is he going to explain Buhari’s actions as Head of State in 1984 and parts of 1985 until IBB dislodged him? How is he going to explain Decree 4 that provided jail term for journalists who embarrassed government even if they were publishing the truth? How is he going to explain Buhari’s retroactive death penalty of the three drug couriers? How is he going to defend Buhari’s continued incarceration of Adekunle Ajasin even after he had been cleared multiple times by Buhari’s own tribunals? One more thing among many others: how is Bakare going to explain his jailing of Fela for bringing in his own foreign currency while allowing in, 53 suite cases of Emir of Gwandu unsearched?

Those who think that Buhari can serve as President in a democracy have forgotten his antecedents so soon. Yes, he has been judged to be sparkling clean and incorruptible. But Buhari is a religious and ethnic bigot. The north loves him for the same reason the south should loathe him! He is loved by northerners for the same reason they want Babangida back: to put southerners where they belong! Northerners believe that only these two, no, three, particularly Buhari have the charisma to do whatever they wish, to southerners and get away with it!  The third nemesis of the Yoruba people was General Sani Abacha! They would be calling on him to run for office as President,  were he still alive! As clean as Buhari is made to be, he served under Abacha as Chairman of the Petroleum Task Force where he excelled in serving only the sectional interest of the north.

Northerners cannot forgive Obasanjo for installing structures that have effectively denied them the unearned privileges they have enjoyed since independence. And they are determined to get those privileges back and assume the pre-eminent position that they have always enjoyed most unfairly to the exclusion of other geopolitical groups. The only way to make  it is by electing one northerner, anyone, to office as president. And if northerners are not going to forget Obasanjo’s perceived offenses against them, I am not going to forget that I and my compatriots from the other side of the political divide suffered a great deal under the leadership of Muhammadu Buhari.

Atiku, Babangida and Ciroma have individually and collectively demystified the north to the extent that the north will never remain the same again. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has won an election in spite of their opposition! He defeated Atiku in his home state of Adamawa! He got almost 2800 votes to Atiku’s Eight Hundred and five votes! This is reminiscent of Abiola’s defeat of Bashir Tofa in Kano in the 1992 June 12 presidential elections! Northern demystification had started with that election.

Until June 12, 1992, no one believed that a northerner could be defeated by a southerner in any federal election in Nigeria. No one believed that a southerner could defeat a northerner in a traditional Hausa city least of all, Kano! If southerners play their game right and Jonathan runs a superior campaign, he will defeat Buhari and Nuhu Ribadu of ACN in enough states of the north along with majority of southern states to clinch the presidency in the April 2011 presidential elections. The demystification would then be complete.

In order to achieve this feat, Jonathan has to campaign hard in the south and even harder in the north. He is a minority from South-South. Minorities everywhere, particularly those of them from the north have the same experience with Jonathan’s Bayelsa State. They will vote for him in Plateau, Benue and many parts of Bauchi State. They will vote for him in Southern Zaria, Kogi and Kwara States. They will elect him in Gongola and Borno and in most states of the south. He will capture more than 25 percent of votes cast in 2/3rd of the states to win the presidency. And he will not have to rig to achieve this!

That the north has dominated political power in Nigeria for the last 50 years is an understatement. And by this domination, they have served as a political albatross for the nation in the same period. We may finally be about to be rid of the burden of being dragged back by the inertia of their political brinkmanship if the coming election succeeds in bringing about a peaceful transfer of power even if it turns out to be from Jonathan to Jonathan.

But if you know them as I think I do, nobody in his right mind should count out Atiku or Babangida or the ayatollah of zoning- Adamu Ciroma and the rest of them yet. Not if they still breathe. There may be more bombings, more Boko Harams and yes, more mayhem in Jos and the Delta. Atiku is not about to go home and wonder where he got it wrong as most decent politicians would do. He would actively seek to sabotage Jonathan’s election. This is why Jonathan must be vigilant. He must develop a third eye and nip in the bud all potential threats to his government.

The socio-cultural Arewa Consultative Forum has refused to accept the result of the PDP primaries which they subjected themselves to. They would accept the result only if Atiku had won. This is why they were in shock when Babangida strayed away from the script by offering his congratulations to Jonathan for his victory in the primary elections.  They are used only to winning. And they see Buhari or Nuhu Ribadu as their only chance to continue their political brigandage.

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