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By Mohammed Sani Galadima - Published July 21st, 2010

The Nigerian political landscape has produced a series of headlines which have for some time enthralled news lovers, the absence of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua to the cabinet reshuffle by President GoodLuck Jonathan and presently the zoning issue have produced certain characters like the said cabal, President Obasanjo and his famous blasphemous utterances, former justice Minister Aoandoka, former first lady Turai Yar’adua, former PDP chairman Vincent Ogbulafor, former President Ibrahim Babangida, former vice president Atiku Abubakar, the Governors forum and others. For months these characters have made been generous with headlines in the daily’s who have been very grateful. Other less prominent characters are El-Rufai former FCT Minister, Nuhu Ribadu former EFCC chairman and the save Nigeria group. What ever these people seek to achieve or what ever their cases maybe they have surely heated up the Nigerian political landscape.

As the country approaches election Nigerians are apprehensive about events unfolding. A few have expressed optimism that the President will cool off events and make the country move forward since he is labeled gentle and liberal, many on the other hand believe he is just being the average Nigerian leader who will end up disappointing Nigerians by clinging to power for selfish ends. They argue that his body language and the ousting of former PDP Chairman Chief Ogbulafor were moves necessary for his re-run a move that is against the PDP power rotation formulae or what is mostly called the zoning arrangement. His choice of Professor Attahiru Jega as the INEC chairman was welcomed by some Nigerians some however show some sign of cynicism going by history; they question the motive behind the choice of Jega. Some say it is an ingredient to Holt Babangida from becoming Nigeria’s next President. Atiku Abubakar is also an issue to reckon with, his return to PDP has brought a new dimension which has not only had effect on his home town politics Adamawa but has also brought complications to the party at the National level. His home chapter of the PDP initially refused him a place calling him an ambitious man who is a liability to the party. He has nonetheless found his way back to the PDP with little scruples as many may say but few are of the opinion that he is just being a politician. His politics is backed by the notion that its time for the north to produce the next President based on the zoning arrangement. Atiku, Babangida and other northern heavy weights hold this view. It was an internal PDP agreement of power sharing between the North and the South where power rotates, it should be noted that the agreement came into being in the 1999 when northern leaders backed a southern president and collectively produced and accepted a modus operandi with their southern counterparts aimed at fostering unity.

The paradox is the that the first beneficiary of this formula President Obasanjo doesn’t want it to continue he believes in President Goodluck Jonathan re-run, a matter which has become an issue in the north. The north feels it’s being robbed off its right and generosity having the largest population and a more united font. Obasanjo recently insisted that Jonathan must run for 2011 Presidential election during a reception organized in honour of the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Chief Jubril Martin-Kuye in Ogun State. He also faulted former PDP Chairman Chief Vincent Ogbulafor who said Jonathan was barred for contesting the Presidential poll because of the zoning arrangement of the party during an interview on the voice of America. There are speculations that Ogbulafors stand on the issue was the primary cause for the corruption allegation levied against him by Jonathans Government, one of the several body languages some argue. Others are the fuelled media attacks on Babangida on the $12.4 billion excess crude during the Iraq gulf war, in truth however the figure constitutes the entire money received by his administration. For a few Nigerians who might even support Jonathans re-run it will be hard to find one who would accept Obasanjo’s advice, a man who many know cannot even seek and get the support of his kinsmen. He had originally attempted to hold power for a third term and of course become a life president thereafter. A man with little honor if any some ague, who felt generous with his advise to the late President Yar’adua on his sick bed to take the part of honor and handover to Jonathan. Many still don’t forgive him for his choice of Yar’adua, the north in particular is bitter knowing that despite Yar’adua’s great personality all knew he wasn’t medically fit to become Nigeria’s President. Some feel it was a scheme devised to rob the north, a tragic scheme indeed.

Obasanjo is a man who was taken out of prison pardoned and given power almost immediately and single handedly supported by the north while the south voted for Olu falae, there are rumors that he insists that Goodluck runs knowing that he will not remain the Chairman of the PDP board of trustees, and he however wants his daughter to be the next Senate President. If this is true how selfish could one be, for one to hold a country’s unity at ransom? In a bid to secure Jonathans popularity in the north, youths have been mobilized in the region to serve as instruments for this nuisance, one thing people from other regions don’t know about northerner’s is that despite the mild division it conveys it has a way of resurrecting its natural alliance when it matters, Obasanjo’s third term attempt is a case study. The resent national assembly pandemonium shows little support Goodluck has even within the elected officials. Northerners irrespective of their political parties believe its their time, and Obasanjos plot will only give birth to anti party activities even by PDP senior members who will throw their credence at other party Presidential aspirants against Jonathan and this will surely put the PDP into serious dilemma as their dream to rule for 50 years will only be a mere mirage. I urge Obasanjo to rethink his strategy and allow the arrangement to continue. Many elder states men have jostled on the issue with most in support of the arrangement, numerous meetings have taken place in Dutse Jigawa State, Maitama in Abuja to mention a few by ex ministers like Sani Zangon Daura and other senior party officials who are bent on curing Obansanjo’s shortsightedness. A few however have supported his claims without giving any credible reason Solomon Lar for instance said the arrangement was only temporary, yes! Everyone agrees but for it to be temporary means it will have to be done at least ones and to be fair the north never completed its term.

The North has no paucity of credible candidates who will move this country forward, it has a reservoir of intellectuals and gentle men who wish this country good and some of whom have even risked their lives for the unity of this country. Candidates in the PDP like Atiku Abubakar, Ibrahim Babangida, Aliyu Gusau to mention a few are equal to the task. Ibrahim Babangida for instance is well known personality with a captivating aura in the presence of Nigerians, a wise and intelligent man of high quality and a rear gentle man. He ran practically a liberal government despite its military structure a testimony even the press will admit. His admirers cut across different ethnic groups and generations his understanding of the economy is vast and meticulous yet they say the north have no viable candidate. There is hardly a candidate in Nigeria who will via for the presidency against IBB and defeats him in the polls even without the zoning arrangement; he is currently the most sellable and sophisticated candidate for the presidency, one whose decision was hugely deliberate and anticipated. Atiku also has an overwhelming support from different ethnic groups and one who understands the politics of the day.

So why the controversy surrounding the coming election, Nigerians are easy going people who have shown the ability to manage situations a majority urge the President to stick to procedures adhere to their will by conducting a free and fair election and hand over to a credible candidate. I therefore urge President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to leave a credibility legacy and stick to his good luck; I guarantee that Nigerians and the global community will celebrate him like the former Head of State General Abdulsalam Abubakar is celebrated and I therefore urge him to shy away from Obasanjo’s horrific path, a path that will only bring forth complications and misery. God bless Nigeria.

Writer: Mohammed Sani Galadima
Phone: 08038598258

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