Why The North Should Vote For Asiwaju Bola Tinubu As Nigeria’s Next President

Why The North Should Vote For Asiwaju Bola Tinubu As Nigeria’s Next President

by Professor Ojo Emmanuel Ademola
Like Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN) said in a recent interview, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is a specific, very easy and straightforward product to sell because he is the most competent, tested and capable candidate among the lot presently jostling to replace President Muhammadu Buhari as the President of Nigeria come 2023. Asiwaju has a track record of achievement, which no other candidate has. Asiwaju’s competence for the job stands out in his famous and outstanding performance as Governor of Lagos between 1999 and 2003. He performed creditably well that he formulated, planned and implemented radical policies that make Lagos an unprecedented leader in progress and development in Nigeria today.

In fact, the position today is that since Asiwaju became Lagos governor, Lagos ceased to compete with Nigerian states but started competing with African nations. What better way to express this competition than the fact that Lagos is today Africa’s fifth largest economy with the potential to grow further with the years?

Democracy, as the saying goes, is a game of numbers. The North has the numbers. It has the preponderance of voters and has always wielded considerable influence on who becomes president in Nigeria with its massive swathe of the politically-sophisticated population. The North is politically adroit and always makes solid and decisive political statements that hmmm ppl resound with a loud, united thud in the entire Nigerian landscape.

Although the North had always made profound political choices, it had shared equally in the strings of leadership failures that had visited Nigeria since independence. Its leaders share in this leadership ennui too, so the North has shared both in the glory and afflictions of the Nigerian state since independence.

Since the dawn of democracy in 1999, the North has struggled to maintain a firm leadership grip. In the military period preceding the present democracy, the North dominated power through strings of military rulers. Such raised the stakes of agitation among the Southern confederates for a power shift to the south, which never happened as successive military regimes seized the country’s leadership. This scenario tailed into June 12 1993, presidential election, where a Southern Muslim, Chief MKO Abiola, defeated a Northern Muslim, Alhaji Bashir Tofa, to land a genuinely pan-Nigerian electoral victory that would have seen power smoothly transmit to the South. But the Babangida military junta was to callously annul that election, thus throwing Nigeria into a cataclysmic turmoil that threatened the country’s existence as it lasted.

The heightened agitation for the de-annulment of the June 12 election took a considerable toll on the nation and peeked at the time the late military despot, Gen. Sani Abacha, started his plot to transform from a military despot to a civilian president. The dramatic death of both Chief Abiola and Abacha was to throw up Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar. He walked his promise to relinquish power to a civilian regime in record time to address the years of agitation that followed June 12.

The emergence of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was a deft move by the departing military to soothe the pains of the Yoruba, who were the immediate victims of the annulment and the strenuous efforts made to sustain it. Also, Obasanjo’s choice was scripted as a proper exit strategy for the military which had become infamous for its meddlesomeness in politics, especially in the June 12 imbroglio.

Obasanjo, the underserved appropriator of the fruits of the June 12 agitation, did everything to consign June 12 to history’s dustbin throughout his eight years in power. Moreover, Obasanjo was roundly rejected by his Yoruba people in the election that brought him to power. But he was to unleash every foul means to conscript and conquer the South West states for his PDP in the repeat election in 2003.

In his exit election in 2007, Obasanjo went shopping for a Northern PDP candidate for the railroad as his successor. He didn’t choose any other Northerner but the ailing Umaru Yar’adua as the fit and proper person to succeed him. He never sought nor got the consent of the North in choosing his successor. Yar’adua himself was suffering from a terminal ailment when Obasanjo chose him; thus, he was not even present in most of the electioneering campaigns that brought him to power. For his deputy, Obasanjo flipped through more astute and qualified candidates from the South and settled for a political greenhorn and pliable Goodluck Jonathan in a tricky game that was seen as Obasanjo’s effort to call the shots from behind the scene.

The subsequent election was a farcical charade. Obasanjo unleashed every imaginable vile tactic to force PDP back to power. It was so bad that Yar’adua. The prime beneficiary of Obasanjo’s rough tactics even admitted that the election that brought him to power was heavily compromised.

But Yar’adua struggled to hold on to power amid a protracted illness that hospitalised him largely abroad. He eventually died after two years in office, thus abridging the North’s hold on power in consonance with the power rotation agreement between the North and the South. Therefore, with his death power went back to the South after Obasanjo’s eight years at the helm.

In 2011, having completed two of the four years Yar’adua was elected for, PDP decided to shun the demand of the North to have another Northerner take up the presidency by putting forth Jonathan for the presidential race. He won despite all protestation by the North, so when he rounded up his tenure in 2015, which marked 16 years of PDP’s rulership, the South had ruled for 14 years and the North a mere two years!

But PDP was not done yet; it still put up Jonathan for a new four years ticket. This was when Asiwaju Bola Tinubu set in. He took three men and went straight to Daura to rouse then Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, who had had three shots at the presidency and lost all to PDP’s gerrymandering. Buhari had, after the 2011 presidential contest, thrown in the towel and announced his retirement from politics. But Asiwaju went to his home to convince him to shell out from his retirement and enter the presidential race. Satisfied with Asiwaju’s template to make his presidential dream a reality, Buhari came out of retirement and entered the race, and this started the movement that eventually led to the historic defeat of a ruling party by an opposition party in Nigerian history.

This singular historical event was the largest factor that restored the potency of the North, which was then reeling under the manipulative thumbs of PDP, which was working on a blueprint to deprive the North of access to power. The masterstroke of 2015, which saw a new APC rout the ruling PDP, thus restoring power to the North, bore vintage Asiwaju signature and this hurt PDP and its cohorts so badly. No less a person scripted it than Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the North owes him a debt of gratitude by reciprocating in 2023 when Asiwaju will run for the presidency.

Let us recall the fierce and acrid attack the PDP government, its media allies, members and supporters of PDP ranged against Asiwaju in the process leading to the 2015 elections. When we remember that Tinubu wasn’t on the ballot for the election, we will realise that the PDP in its full apparatchik targeted Asiwaju with their full venomous bile because of the deft masterstroke he executed when he went to Daura to bring Buhari out of retirement and gift him a formidable APC that posed a deadly threat to PDP’s stranglehold on power and which frustrated PDP’s scheme to continually keep the North out of power, in deference to the principle of power rotation that has guided the practice of democracy since the inception of the present democracy.

So in 2015, Tinubu was persecuted by PDP and its cohorts for bursting their rendezvous and helping the North to regain power. No amount of bile and scurrilous drivel has been spared in shredding Tinubu, who was not contesting any election but was merely exercising his full democratic rights by supporting Buhari, APC and the North in its quest for justice in the spirit of power rotation among the two blocs that make up Nigeria. So Asiwaju suffered untold negative propaganda and attacks for championing power shift to the North when PDP was neck deep in plots to continue keeping the North out of power. The North owes Asiwaju a huge debt of reciprocity in 2023.

Good enough, we all saw how the APC presidential primary panned out. The strategic role of key Northern politicians in ensuring Asiwaju had a leisurely sail at the primary indicates that the North recognises the tremendous role Asiwaju played in 2015 and is ready to pay him back. The coming presidential election will offer Northerners the opportunity to pay him back. As Northern politicians are noted for straightforwardness and fidelity in relating with others, one does not doubt that the North will finish the job in 2023 in favour of Asiwaju.

One notes that since 2015, the North, especially the Fulani, have been under an intense spate of negative profiling and intense propaganda engineered and vended by PDP and its allies like Afenifere, Ohaneze, IPOB, Yoruba Nation agitators, Middle Belt Forum etc. This syndicated effort aims to paint the North and the Fulani in a bad light just because a Northerner and a Fulani, President Buhari, defeated PDP’s Jonathan in 2015. For this, a whole region and leading ethnic group were targeted by the worst ever negative profiling in Nigeria’s history. Every crime in Nigeria since 2015 was attributed to Fulani herders to punish and besmear entire people for their complete democratic choice in 2015. This got so bad that Fulani was perceived as a killer, murderer, kidnapper and criminal. Undoubtedly, this remains negative profiling, carried with such brazen gusto that Fulani was perceived as Nigeria’s foremost public enemy. This was a carefully targeted script by PDP and its allies to demarket the Fulani because of a Fulani Buhari.

Several groups in the South, especially the old Afenifere and Yoruba Nation agitators, have directly targeted Tinubu for expressive attacks on the charge that he helped a Fulani man, Buhari, to get to power in 2015.

In the midst of these orchestrated antics, Asiwaju had weighed in on the side of reason, pleading for cross-ethnic understanding that doesn’t tolerate targeting any race or people for group attack. He continued building bridges across the entire North and had stood his ground that he made the best choices in 2015 despite the syndicated campaigns against him and the North. By 2023, Northerners should holistically repay the bounteous sacrifices Asiwaju has made to ensure the North realised its quest to have power since 1999.

Since 1999, Asiwaju has drawn massive attacks, bile and vicious umbrage from sundry bigots and rabid ethnic groups in the South for supporting Buhari to take power against a Southern Jonathan. He has been lacerated severely by southern irredentists who are still at a loss why Asiwaju should support a Northerner in 2015, not caring about the merits and justice of his political actions. These ghoulish groups and persons have strived to tap into any social unrest to target Tinubu for physical and verbal attacks, scurrilous propaganda and bile-vending. Opposition politicians carefully choreographed the 2020 EndSARS protest to launch attacks on Tinubu’s real and presumed properties just for supporting Buhari and the North’s hold on power. Suffice it to state that no Nigerian has been made to suffer such huge damage and cause tremendous sacrifice for the North’s grip on power today than Asiwaju. He has borne his pains with such equanimity that he offers excellent support to the Buhari government to date. It is only natural that the North reciprocate with their votes to Asiwaju in the coming presidential election. He has paid his dues quite satisfactorily.

Asiwaju has promised to refocus Nigeria’s economic strength on fully harnessing the agricultural potential of Nigeria. The North is the food basket of the nation, blessed with rich, arable land; thus, it has been meeting the food needs of Nigerians. The bustling agriculture chain in the North is not yet fully tapped. President Buhari has done so much to unlock this potential for the good of Nigerians as the regime has tapped into the food chain in the North to ramp up food production that has seen Nigeria achieve food sufficiency. Asiwaju has pledged to tap the rich agricultural value chain in the country to harness the agricultural potential of the country entirely. This will significantly benefit the North as agriculture remains the mainstay of the economy of the entire North. Asiwaju is a proven wealth creator with an uncanny potential to turn opportunities into goldmines. When he unleashes his famed possibilities on the country’s agricultural sector, the entire North will be a vast goldmine, and the people of the North, predominantly agriculturists, would experience a tremendous transformation that would transform their social statuses. So the entire North should see the need to turn in massive votes to this famous wealth creator to turn their fortunes around just like he did for Lagos and Lagosians.

At this turn of Nigerian history, what every Nigerian need is a President that will build on the massive infrastructures and policies Buhari set in place to give Nigerians a bountiful harvest. The North needs such leadership that will not start reinventing the wheels but continue the rebuilding of Nigeria, which the Buhari government has invested heavily to sustain. This issue of continuity is one of the factors that has accounted for the hugely successful Lagos brand. Continuity, consistency and uniformity in policy implementation have given Lagos a stable and consistent leadership that ensures policies and projects are not abandoned but consistently pursued till they birth results. That is what Nigeria needs; that is what the North needs. They all need a government that will continue the massive successes recorded in the last seven years in infrastructures; roads, rails, bridges, airports, housing, etc., as well as the gigantic attention to agriculture, national security, and other sectors.

Asiwaju and President Buhari belong to the same APC, so there is no doubt that an Asiwaju presidency will build on the Buhari legacies and bring in Asiwaju’s own financial wizardry to transform Nigeria into a bubbling and prosperous economy, create massive jobs, expand opportunities, trade and commerce, just as he did in Lagos, which has transformed Lagos to Africa’s fifth largest economy today. The huge population of hard-working Northerners need this. Perhaps the reason why Governor Sani Bello of Niger State recently said Nigerians need Asiwaju to come and replicate the feats he wrought in Lagos on Nigeria.

Asiwaju is unarguably the best accepted and loved Southern politician in the entire North today. A cosmopolitan. urbane, charismatic politician, Asiwaju has built massive bridges across the country, particularly in the North. He has cultivated love, acceptance and widespread constituency in the North such that he is more acceptable in the North than many top Northern politicians.

Asiwaju is one of the country’s most detribalised selfless and patriotic leaders. He is blind to ethnic and religious considerations, and he demonstrated this in his broad approach to governing Lagos and the policies he developed in Lagos, which favoured every Nigerian. This is the Southerner the North could trust to offer pan-Nigerian governance of the country and give every Nigerian a stake in the country, no matter where one comes from.

The North, I mean the politically viable North, agrees that power should go to the South in 2023, in consonance with the power rotation agreement guiding our current democratic practice. These same viable politicians showed their commitment to this unwritten code during the APC presidential primary, where they frantically fought off efforts by a few Northern politicians to break this agreement and retain power in the North as PDP did with the South in their 16 years in power. With the solid backing of these same viable Northern politicians, Asiwaju easily picked the APC presidential ticket in a fierce contest.

On the other hand, the PDP, which deliberately shut the North out of power for the years it held political power, has suddenly woken to the reality of patronising The North with its presidential ticket, thus going directly against the power rotation agreement it scripted by itself. PDP’s cheeky calculation is that Northerners are dummies who would easily mass round any Northerner, even if he is among the Northerners that have been chieftains, members and leaders of the same PDP that has found means to deny the North its presidential ticket, that same Northerner that had joined in PDP’s negative profiling of Northerners and Fulani since 2015. PDP, whose governors, support groups and allies had been carrying voracious propaganda and attacks against Northerners and Fulani since Buhari came to power, thought that by fielding a Northerner and Fulani as its 2023 presidential candidate, Northerners would vote en mass for them in 2023 thus violating the power-rotation principle and give power back to the same PDP that brutally raped the entire country and vilified the North since 1999.

The entire North has to teach PDP a big lesson in 2023 by shunning its mischievous antics, solidifying its bond with the South and punishing the same PDP that had been playing tricks on the North since the dawn of democracy in 1999. The only way Northerners can do all the above is to vote massively for Asiwaju in 2023, thus damning those who have been insulting, vilifying, inciting hatred and anger against Northerners since 2015.

After the Buhari governance in 2023, Northerners need a Southern bridge-builder and consummate nationalist to continue where Buhari stopped and ensure that such factors made it easy for PDP to keep scheming the North out of power till Asiwaju weighed in, are not allowed to crop up again. The North needs a broad-minded Southerner with a deep connection to ensure Northerners, like other Nigerians, are given equal opportunities and chances to prosper and excel for the ultimate good of the country. The North needs a detribalised Southerner with deep national links to pursue the reintegration of all Nigerians into one united and prosperous nation. Northerners need that Southerners with a proven capacity and competence to change their lives, the region’s fate and the fortune of Nigeria for the better. That candidate is Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. He had done it for Lagos, and the results are noticeable. Let him do it for the entire country. The North has a critical role to play in who becomes Nigeria’s president by deploying their massive votes to elect a president they believe will add value to their lives and the nation’s progress. Let them see the need to vote for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu because he is the best, the most competent, the most detribalised, and the most sophisticated among all the candidates at the display. Let the Northerners do it again by massively voting for Tinubu and APC because they best serve the interests of the North and Nigeria.

Ojo Emmanuel Ademola.

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