By Sani Danaudi Mohammed
It was on May 28th May 2022 at a few minutes after 12pm that the Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party National Convention, Former President of the Nigerian Senate Senator David Mark declared the former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar winner of the 2022 PDP National convention. This has set the ball rolling and has changed the calculations of the ruling All Progressives Congress to look around and firm all its presidential aspirants considering the political might the former VP enjoys from the North to South, especially as is been favored by the Northern demography.
Since then both international and National Media outfits especially the Social Media the down Sunday awash with the filtering news from the M.K.O National stadium Abuja venue of the People Democratic party primary election for the 2023 PDP National convention where the former Nigerian Vice President Atiku a surprising winner emerged.It has been Atiku ,Atiku and Atiku on all platforms defeating his closest rival Gov. Nyeson Wike,Saraki,Udom Emmanuel,Gov. Bala Mohammed and other notable contestants.
Though Atiku’s victory spoke a lot about his decades of experience and long-term investment in the politics of Nigeria and how he mastered the game over the years. He made his first surprising debut in Nigerian politics in 1993, Atiku Abubakar has unsuccessfully contested five times for the Office of President of Nigeria in 1993, 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019, and is now on his sixth trial. The 75 years old Atiku has rolled and tasted his popularity in different political parties from SDP in 1993, ACN in 2007, PDP in 2011, APC in 2015, and PDP in 2019 the flag he is flying in 2023. The aftermath of the PDP National convention has further showcased their readiness to work together as a team to take over power.
BUHARI’S NORTHERN 12M VOTES
Political demography has always favored President Muhammadu Buhari since joining active politics in 2003. He has maintained a range of 12m and above Votes in the North with more than 50% of such votes coming from the KK States. According to the Governor of Sokoto State Rt.Hon.Tambuwal the PDP must consider demography as the first step of reclaiming power from the APC and that may have guided his patriotic decision to step down for Atiku. It is clear now that PDP gave winning the next elections a preference over pleasing the power and Southern Presidency agitators.
However, the emergence of Atiku Abubakar has spoken about the readiness of the PDP to take over if at all demography will continue to decide the Nigerian Presidency. Political analysts are of the opinion that those 12m Votes will disobey will go for Atiku should APC fill a candidate from the South. Orzo Kalu has strongly advised APC to ensure that their ticket comes to the North if they must retain power. Nigerian democracy has not matured beyond tribes, religions, and regions. As it stands, the APC seems to have ceased their Presidential ticket to the South even though Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Yahaya Bello of Kogi State among others from the North are also jostling for the ticket.
SHOULD TINUBU WINS THE APC TICKET
All eyes are now on the ruling All Progressives Congress national convention scheduled for June 6th,2022 to decide their Presidential ticket. Tinubu seems to be another Atiku in the APC because they shared similar vast experiences in Nigerian politics as no single political page can be flipped without blinking on one of the two political lions. They have been in politics for decades and have paid the supreme price for Nigerian democracy. both can burst up hundred of Atiku’s or Tinubu’s boys with some being governors, Ministers, and members of the National Assembly.
However, Atiku’s touch currently can light a million kilometers for his political party’s chances of winning the Presidential elections as against Tinubu whose ambition is tight down on who will be his running mate. each time his name is mentioned then the next question that follows even in Rufan Mai Shayi (Tea Join). Who will be deputy him from the North?. The annulment of the June 12th, 1993 MKO/Kingibe Presidential election Muslim/Muslim ticket is currently itching deeply our democracy that to be bent along tribes, regions, and religion.PDP and Atiku’s chances are now brighter with the South-South slotting in for VP. Tinubu’s emergence at the next APC National Convention will never affect the chances of Atiku unless VP Osinbanjo or Rt. Hon Amaechi one is able to clinch the ticket. Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and secular state divided that forced itself to be headed as either Muslim North or Christian South.
Since 1979, the cultural-political practice has always been either a Muslim Northern President and Christian Southern Vice President or otherwise unless the Jagaban will rewrite the history of the nation’s ugly political narratives that have chased away competency and credibility to politics of our own. Sad it may be, Nigerians are forced to believe and stand by this theory that only a Christian Candidate who will automatically have his running mate a Muslim from the North can compete with Atiku. The major problem with the Atiku ticket is who will deputy him between Wike, Okowa, Udom Emmanuel, and Emeka Ideoha.
The southeast area is in the dilemma of losing both the Presidency and Vice Presidential slots as none of the political parties can take the dark risk with the increasing seat at home order by either IPOB under the aegis of unknown gunmen. Why if Simon Ekpan issued an order of seat at home on an elections day? APC will definitely not lead its presidential to the South East. should the South West lose then the next-door neighbor is the South-South unless they listen to Orji Kalu to reconsider the North again? The inability of the South East to unite against their common dream of winning the Presidency does not go beyond issuing Press Statements because with 285 PDP National delegates only 14 go to Anyim Pius Anyim.
The APC’s great challenge is how to manage massive defections that May likely hit the party after the National Convention especially if Tinubu fails to clinch the Party ticket. Strong indication has emerged that the Jagaban is working on an option of joining the Social Democratic Party a platform he won his senatorial seat 29 years ago. The APC must get it right otherwise their dream of retaining power may end up sending them to premature retirement as PMB has only a year to go. Atiku is out to end the North East 62 years Power drought and the PMB votes are needed for Atiku.
APC should ensure a candidate from the southern part emerge especially Osinbanjo or Amaechi and slot in Professor Zullum or Nasir El-rufai as the running mate. Tinubu’s ticket has to work with only two options either a Muslim (South ) vs Christian (North) or Muslim(South) vs Muslim (North ). Osinbanjo or Amaechi can balance the current ugly Nigerian Political calculations and Presidential ticket as compared to the Jagaban.
As for PDP and Atiku, Shopping for an Igbo Vice President is not an option because many cannot trust the South East with power because it is clear that the region is currently under the siege of unknown gunmen who enforce sit at home at will. What if they enforce sitting at home on elections day? South-South is a better option for being the PDP stronghold at the moment and to me, Patrick Okowa of Delta State stands as PDP Zulum. Do you know why? He has no case to settle with other regions as against Governor wike who has made so many political enemies both in the South and in the North.
Kwankwaso and peter obi is also on the ground to taste their popularity as NNPP and LP Presidential candidates. The next elections will be a tight game between Atiku and whoever emerges in the APC National convention because neither Kwankwaso nor Peter Obi can compete with either Atiku or the ruling APC. Can Atiku get it at his 6th trial? Time shall tell and the APC convention will in no doubt give us an insight into whether or not Atiku’s odd is in the right direction.
Danaudi, National of Arewa Youths advocate for Peace and Unity Initiative. Writes From Bauchi via [email protected].