By Oludayo Tade urges President Buhari to secure Nigerians
The struggle for the number one seat of Nigeria has now climaxed with the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari—The Indomitable Lion of Daura (TILD)– as re-elected for another four years. In an undoubtedly tension-soaked ‘Serie-A’ political contest which featured rough tackles, violence, deaths, accusations and counter-accusations and denials, the Peoples Democratic Party proved that it is better to organise than agonise. However, their organisational permutations did not hit the target at the centre at this time and they now have the choice to try their luck at the law court or try again in the 2023 polls. Until then, the ‘disatikulation’ of the PDP umbrella has exposed the party to cold and heavy downpours from the heavens in the raining season. Atiku and Buhari considered each other as the Jericho walls that must fall for the political goal to be realised. Although all of them (including those who have cases in EFCC, present eaters in government and political appointees) commissioned Pastors and Imams to pray for them; it appears that it was the prince of Daura whose supplication was answered as showed by the powerful thumbs of 15, 191, 847 ayes against 11,262, 978 nays. The ayes made a difference with 3, 928, 869 more superior voices for the Daura prince over Atiku.
There are continuities and changes that determined the outcomes of the 2019 elections. The population and political consciousness of the North benefitted and sustained the love for the Lion of Daura. Clearly, the feelings of marginalisation, killings by herdsmen, kidnapping and robbery, bad economy, jaundiced anti-corruption fight, increasing unemployment, among others influenced the rejection vote suffered by PMB in most of the South. We also see that the gap is closing in on the political godfathers of Southwest; they must thread carefully and watch the slippery floor on which they walk. But for the low voters’ education and complacency in Southwestern Nigeria, voter turnout could have been more and outcomes could have been worse for the regional elites and godfathers.
Meanwhile, as Buhari ‘disatikulates’ the PDP dream to Aso Rock, 2019 polls birth the demystification ceremonies of ‘Jericho Walls’ at state levels. The demystified political warlords cut across the broom and umbrella but the people of their states punished them for taking them for a ride for too long. Some of them ran for cover in the broom party promising millions of presidency votes only to fail to win senatorial election. One of them was punished for his vituperative loquacity on institutions and people of his state. They all have been governors and wanted to return to their ‘retirement home’ at the Senate. Unfortunately, they were whipped mercilessly across the geopolitical zones: Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe/Northeast), Bukola Saraki and George Akume(Kwara/Benue/North central), Rabiu Kwakwanso (Kano/Northwest), Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta/Niger-Delta), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo/Southwest) and Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom) to mention but a few. They have all enjoyed democratic dividends for not less than 10 years since democratic experiment began in 1999. Reduced to paper-weight, they will now wait on the president for federal appointments.
It is likely that the quit notice sentence handed to the aforementioned would resonate at during the state elections on March 9. Unlike the Buhari Tsunami which many benefited from in 2015, 2019 is showing already that we should expect upsets. While the president quickly learned that he had to hold his base to secure re-election, regional elites are starting to lose ground. This is clear from the outcome in the Southwest where the local grandmasters only managed to win Ogun, Osun, Ekiti and Lagos while losing Oyo and Ondo States to the opposition. It is especially pleasing to witness the evolution of Nigerian voters who elevated their game and demonstrated the capability to differentiate personalities from parties in casting votes. This is a sign that we shall eventually overcome these teething challenges. Unfortunately, there is still problem with voter turn-out and void votes. Whereas the former amounted to wastage of funds in printing electoral materials that were never used, the latter leads to loss for the candidates with the most illiterate voters.
We must also acknowledge the involvement of the EFCC in the polls by INEC. This is commendable as it reduced vote buying and forced buyers to either hide or evolve. We look forward to how INEC deals with this problem in the next round of elections. Meanwhile, more needs to be done to protect ad-hoc and full INEC staff. Threat to life and abduction creates insecurity and may dent the image of election outcomes. Having said that, Buhari’s victory appears as a strategic compensation for his previous three serial losses. Of course, a third term is impossible with the present law except he tinkers with the law and attempts a third term.
All in all, methinks that entering next level ought to bring a holistic improvement in the standard of living of Nigerians. The prince of Daura must use this term to ensure that positive legacy projects are planted everywhere in the country. He must also attend to the queries which made his re-election highly stiff. First is security. Security is essential for the actualisation of every other thing. PMB must place greater value on the lives of Nigerians and ensure that no blood is spilled without cause. When cause is established, there must be accountability, fairness and justice. Second is economy. Without a sound and booming economy, nothing can work. Economy is the super-structure upon which other social institutions rest. In his victory address, President Buhari has promised to restructure the economy, strive to ensure no section of the country feels marginalised or left out while also sustaining the fight against corruption. If the President will not go back on his words, then we would have left CHANGE for NEXT LEVEL. Otherwise we will be stuck in CHANGE without end.
There is no time to waste as there is so much to cover. Win or lose, Nigeria is greater than all of us. There is need for the whipped warlords to learn from their present predicament and turn a new leaf. Perhaps, they can enjoy their pensions in peace. For the rest of us, NEXT LEVEL from the Indomitable Lion of Daura must be devoid of clannish considerations. In arriving at, taking and executing decisions, PMB must consider Nigeria and Nigerians first.
Congratulations, Mr President.
Dr Tade, a sociologist sent this piece via email@example.com