Nigeria News
Waziri Tambuwal for president

You must have noticed the newest political speculation in town. It must have been invented in the ongoing political transition period because I don’t seem to have noticed it before. It is the act of buying nomination forms for candidates for high office. President Goodluck Jonathan was favoured with this uncommon benevolence by thousands of groups drawn from across the polity.

The latest beneficiary of this magnanimous outburst of love and support from admirers is the embattled Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal. Members of his All Progressives Congress, APC, in the House of Representatives, sensing his interest in the presidential race, rushed to purchase his nomination form for him. How touching.

I am wondering why Major General Muhammadu Buhari and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar had to purchase their own forms. Does it mean nobody loves them? Even with his 21-year pedigree as a presidential contender and leader of the otherwise “powerful” Peoples Democratic Movement PDM? I am shocked. I am also devastated by the fact that our incorruptible Buhari could not get his millions of admirers to contribute money to buy his nomination form valued at N27.5 million.

DEcamped—Speaker Tambuwal after decamping to APC, yesterday.

He was left with no other choice than to borrow from a bank! At least, so he told us. What a poor man! Hope it was an Islamic bank, so that it would be interest-free.Perhaps he will have to borrow even more to bring delegates to Abuja for the primaries? Who will repay all these debts, since, as an elected president (if), he will depend only on his salary? Well, let’s leave Buhari to wear his own headache of borrowing to buy when others are getting theirs free from beloved friends and associates.

Now, the decision of Waziri Tambuwal to go for president rather than governor makes the APC presidential contest truly interesting. The APC presidential race is the race to watch. It is the box office. The PDP has since foreclosed a contest, with President Jonathan as the sole candidate, so the less said about it the better.

How I detest those words: sole candidate. It was a creative piece of political sycophancy spawned under General Sani Abacha, whereby the five political parties formed by the dictator’s busybody political contractors came together and adopted him as their sole candidate. Abacha would become a civilian president without an election.

It was also in those days that the same set of busybody political contractors staged rallies round the country, begging Abacha to run.They held a grand rally in Abuja under the auspices of the Youth Earnestly Ask for Abacha, YEAA, with Mr Daniel Kanu as the main contractor. That was where the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria, TAN, picked up their project idea and used it to water the ground for President Jonathan. Everybody condemned the activities of YEAA, but that did not stop TAN from adopting it. We all know where these outrageous demonstrations of love in the market place are expected to lead.Let’s leave politicians and their “love for sale” antics and address the more interesting matter of Hon Waziri Tambuwal in the presidential race.

One of the reasons some of us have viewed the APC with some skepticism is the negative motives that rule the mentalities of some of its founders. It is a well-known fact that a second political party that is strong enough to weigh, pound-for-pound, against the ruling PDP, is good for the survival and development of democracy in Nigeria. I am a fervent supporter of a dominant two-party system with some other minor parties performing the balancing act between them. For instance, if the APC survives the 2015 transitional politics and emerges as the truly second dominant party along with the PDP, while others, such as the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in the East; Labour Party, LP; the emergent Social Democratic Party, SDP, in the West and perhaps a couple of others perform the balancing act to avoid the tyranny of a ruling party or the rabidity of a fierce opposition, I will rate our democracy as having arrived.

But the idea of the Arewa North, with their contrived “majority” population coming together with the West with their equally over-bloated population figures to forcefully “snatch” power from a Minority President Goodluck Jonathan, is the greatest insult and affront to Nigeria that a politician or group of politicians can dream of. Every patriotic Nigerian, every truly progressive citizen, must put their hands on deck to ensure that those who are promoting this dastardly politics fail woefully. Such a gang-up is pregnant with so many negatives.

It will entrench the dominance of Muslims over Christians. It will sideline the Igbo and the various Minority groups, which are major stakeholders in the economic, social and political commonwealth of Nigeria. It will be a victory for those who believe they are born to rule, while others are born to collect the crumbs from their table. It will restore a Northern dominance that has always bred rebellions around the country, including the civil war, June 12 struggle, the hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa and other leaders and devastation of Ogoniland, the despoliation of the oil wealth of the Niger Delta and subsequent militant struggle for self-determination, the internal suppression and oppression of the Northern Minorities and the continued trampling of the Northern Talakawa. No good can ever come of such a gang-up.

That is what I see in the candidature of Buhari, Atiku and Rabiu Kwankwaso, with active support of their confederates from the South West. These individuals have, in the past five years, engaged in strenuous and desperate efforts to “snatch power back” from President Jonathan to the North, and in the process, their activities led to the destruction of lives and property in the North, with non-Northerners, Christians and Minority groups always targeted. They have held public offices and shown their inability to think beyond the North and their religion. And they are unrepentant and unapologetic about it.

But the entry of Tambuwal is a different kettle of fish. I have my reservations about the ignoble role he played in his former party, the PDP. But I have noted with delight Tambuwal’s excellent performance as Speaker, House of Reps. He is not a “born-to-ruler”. He is not one of those who love the North first before Nigeria. If he is, he has not shown it publicly. We do not mind a Northerner winning the presidential race, but we Nigerians will not allow any “born-to-rule” extremistto take over.

Tambuwal looks like many Sokoto-born politicians, who have come to impress me with their urbanity. Apart from the late Sardauna Ahmadu Bello, who introduced rabid Arewaism into Nigerian politics, Sokoto has bred a remarkable number of genuine nationalists. These include Alhaji Umaru Altine, the great Zikist who became the first (and only) Lord Mayor of Enugu in 1952, former President Shehu Shagari and the incumbent Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Mohammed Sa’ad Abubakar III.

Tambuwal will go very far if he extends his electoral appeal beyond the North and West and give other Nigerians reason to feel their interests will be fully protected by an APC Federal Government under him. He will do well to avoid a Muslim-Muslim ticket like the plague that it is. He has charisma. But does he have vision for Nigeria? Let him show us.

Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal is welcome to the presidential race. Game on.

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