These are interesting times. The economic indices are not favourable to many citizens. The social atmosphere has been restricted in some cities and towns due to the fear of bandits, terrorists and unknown gun men. Trust Nigerians, they are not deterred. They are keeping hope alive and dreaming of a better tomorrow. Meantime, political campaigns and other such high wire shenanigans are in high gear. Of course, we have not seen anything yet as the hired foreign campaign advisors are yet to fully deploy their tailor-made strategies. Importantly, two issues came up while writing this article. First is the original title, “Only God can stop Tinubu’s presidency” which is indicative of Tinubu’s triumph in the 2023 presidential election if God wills it. However, a visiting Millennia or Gen-Z, whatsoever they call that generation advised that the issue of religion or God should be removed from any form of political discourse, emphasizing that heaven helps only those who help themselves. As far as she is concerned, Nigerians must live with the consequences of their choice in 2023.
It is understandable if this sounds profane, but she is right as religion does not bake cakes, only human efforts and His grace. The U.S. and Haiti are in the same geographical zones, with different religious tendencies. One believes in God, works very hard and prosperous. In fact, the motto on the currency is “In God We Trust.” The other is also religious, practises voodoo and not too inspiring work ethics. The situation there is not so pleasant. Whereas, in another geographical zone, Japan and China have citizens that are hard working, one is religious and believes in Shinto and Buddhism while the other is neither religious nor believe in God, yet the two countries are prosperous. So, the issue of religion and God must be put in their proper perspectives. This is the reason why it amuses when the issue of Muslim-Muslim ticket is seen as a strategic mishap on the part of a political party even in the midst of grinding poverty.
The second is the assumption that Tinubu’s victory is unassailable. The Millennia believe that no one should rule out the “Obedient” movement in the election permutations of 2023 as Nigerians prepare to vote for what may turn out to be the most significant of elections in recent history. To that extent, Nigerians should get ready for a political revolution.
No doubt, the “Obedient” movement is a revolution whose time has come and perhaps necessary to challenge the entrenched political elites, an indication that the people can no longer be taken for granted. Unfortunately, the limited resources at the disposal of the Labour Party and members to fund the activities of the movement in the 2023 presidential election could be the albatross that may kill the dream of a peaceful change from the legacy parties to the “party of the people”. It is pertinent to observe that a number of people shouting OBI-DATTI are not putting their money where their mouths are. It is therefore illogical for a party aspiring to the presidency of the country not to field candidates in the other elections in most of the states and expect to win. Who are the people that will monitor the elections in those places and represent the party as polling agents?
Meanwhile, the election campaign of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has not been able to gain traction for a number of reasons, including the nomination of Bola Ahmed Tinubu of APC from the same South-West geo-political zone as Adewole Adebayo the presidential candidate of the party. To make matter worse for the party, Chief Olu Falae, the chieftain of the party who was present at the SDP’s presidential primaries appeared at the Akure home of Chief Reuben Fasoranti on 8th November, 2022 to endorse Tinubu and prayed that he brings back the trophy to the Afenifere Chief. Can anyone beat that betrayal? Should politics be like that?
The PDP believes it does not need to campaign to win the presidential election in 2023going by the perceived incompetence and failure of the ruling party in all categories of assessment as that would ensure landslide victory for the party. But is the party ready to challenge the ruling party? For one, history is about to repeat itself. Prior to the general elections of 2015, seven governors of the then ruling party crossed over to the opposition APC, that was the “weapon of mass destruction” needed for the party to lose the presidential elections. Although, the G-5 PDP governors led by the pillar of the party since the 2015 elections have not decamped to the ruling parry, it is gradually becoming obvious that the governors will not support their presidential candidate. And if they decide at the last minute to do so, it would only be in the open while they surreptitiously work for the APC. Meanwhile, Bauchi State Governor has said the candidate is sidelining him, bringing one more headache than needed. A divided house cannot stand. It would seem that the protagonists in this battle of attrition have gone too far for any meaningful reconciliation to occur. Significantly, the idea of the party rejecting the zoning formula is a burden and miscalculation that will forever haunt the party. The mere fact that Atiku Abubakar is on the ballot is a challenge to the whole Southern part of the country after eight years of Buhari’s presidency. It would be a miracle for the PDP to survive this self-inflicted annihilation.
It is on the basis of the forgoing and barring any natural occurrence that one can safely conclude that only Tinubu can inflict deadly blow on himself. In essence, except Tinubu commits a fundamental blunder or something grievous turns up before February 25, could he then kiss goodbye to the presidency. As difficult as that may sound to many, Tinubu’s presidency is all but certain as things stand today. That may sound too optimistic but there is nothing from the uninspiring opposition camps to give any sense of competition and challenge to the APC candidate. However, the hope of his winning next year’s presidential election hinges on whether he can secure strong voter turnout in the North East, North West and South West geo-political zones amid the disillusionment of the mediocre performance of the present government.
The issue is not Tinubu’s antecedents or phenomenal performance in Lagos State or Muslim-Muslim ticket, but the groundswell of support all over the country whether bought or sold and the humongous power of incumbency that must not be taken for granted. I have had cause to dispute this exaggerated record of achievements in Lagos and how unrealistic to replicate same as president considering the contestations for power at the centre. Fortunately, the man himself has not claimed many of the activities attributed to him, including Lekki-Epe Expressway and Lekki Free Trade Zone Master Plan. Chief Olorunfunmi Bashorun, the octogenarian who was the Secretary to the Government between 1979 and 1983 whom my uncle replaced in October of that year is still alive in Igbogbo, and probably has a copy of the Lekki Master Plan prepared by the government of the defunct Western Region led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo which Jakande administration started implementing before the intervention of the military junta in 1983. So Lekki did not just start in 1999, but the cumulative efforts of all the past and present governors of the State. They all deserve commendation for their contributions to what Lagos State is today.
Wale Oloko writes from email@example.com