Nigeria’s 2019 Presidential Election Is A Northern Affair
By Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba
The battle lines for 2019 have been drawn and the combatants are President Muhammadu Buhari/Osibanjo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar/Obi. The top tickets are both Northern Muslims supported by two Southern Christians. The Muslims consist of one conservative (almost jihadist) Buhari and a liberal Muslim (almost urban) Atiku Abubakar. The Christians are of the same conservative (Catholic) Obi and charismatic/evangelical (born again) Osibanjo.
They cannot be more different.
But the south has no role in this election. There will be no contest in the east or west. Mr. Atiku will easily concede the west (old west) to Mr. Buhari given that Osibanjo, Tinubu and all the heavy lifters are already in Buhari’s camp. All his efforts will be limited to getting 25% in as many states as possible in the west. The opposite is true of Buhari who will concede the east (old east) to Atiku for the same reasons that the heavy lifters in the east are Atiku’s political friends. PMB too would merely attempt to win 25% in as many east states as possible.
The north is a different story altogether. Mr. Buhari has the NE in his pocket (so to say) because he is the founder and promoter of Boko Haram. Even though he has made statements that he is fighting the menace both sides know that it is a game. He has been the benefactor of NE as his published accomplishments have indicated. His record in the NW is much scantier. Also many of the heavy lifters in NW seem to “dislike” Mr. Abubakar less than they “dislike” Mr. Buhari. So NW goes to Atiku.
The real battle ground is the NC. In a truly free and fair election, there should not be any contest in NC because the natives have paid huge prices for PMB’s presidency both in lost lives due to Fulani Herdsmen activities and in loss of farm produce. Some of the leaders have actually called on the citizens to protect themselves as the government has been unable or unwilling to protect them. But in Nigeria the power of incumbency is unmatched. And ruthless PMB will spare no effort or be dissuaded on moral grounds from rejecting the will of the people as illustrated in Ekiti and Osun most recently.
He wants the presidency very badly, at all costs.
On paper the results of the election will be NE and SW for Buhari and SESS and NW for Abubakar and NC undecided. But on the ground the realities are different. In no other country in the world would a Buhari be a contestant for the presidency. He is too old; he is in a very bad health condition; his record is extremely poor; he is detested in most of the zones and has no respect whatsoever internationally. One Big Power leader has described him as “lifeless”. A person with this perception would have excused himself but not a Nigerian. On the ground and with unlimited treasury under his control and unlimited powers, he could buy the election and imprison his opponents. There are rumors that Atiku’s VP Mr. Obi, could be invited to EFCC for “consultations”; rumors that OBJ might be arrested; Atiku himself has had legal troubles before and they might resurface; many of PDP leaders have been place on travel ban list, and decree (executive order in a democracy) #6 gives the president the authority to seize all or any property alleged to have been obtained by corrupt means without recourse to courts.
Under such dictatorships, facts on the paper have no values. Facts on the ground are all that matter.
Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba