By Bala Ibrahim
According to the article of Biswanath Saha, politics is nothing but a game of interest, as political scientists have defined it as the act of an individual or a group, which impacts the lives of others. This means, that politics does not mean merely contesting elections but any act of an individual or any organization, which has bearing on public life.
For example, if a person shouts out inside the four walls of his/her house, it has nothing to do with politics, but if he/she does the same on the road then it is a kind of politics.
In Nigeria today, the ruling APC is playing out the politics of street shouting, in a way that would make or mar the lives of many, at least till the year 2027. The party is being carefully circumspect, by refusing to take open risks, through a gimmick that is aimed at beating PDP in the game.
The President and the party want to take power to a particular zone, but they don’t want the public to perceive or predict the direction of their breath. After all, PMB said he wouldn’t disclose the identity of his successor, for fear of the successor being killed.
Although the stratagem had commenced long ago, the gambit slightly shifted to a subterfuge, after the emergence of Atiku Abubakar as the flag bearer of the PDP. With Atiku on the PDP ticket, in an election where Buhari would not be on the ballot, such, credibility may not necessarily play a pivotal, no party can afford the luxury of fielding a political weakly, hence the change in the calculations and permutations of the APC.
This is not to say Atiku is politically indomitable, no, Atiku is beatable, because he has been beaten several times. As a matter of fact, apart from the Adamawa gubernatorial election of 1999, Atiku Abubakar has never won any election in Nigeria. Even in that, he only won the PDP primaries to emerge as the party’s candidate, but the real winner of the election was Boni Haruna, who replaced him on the ballot, while Obasanjo picked him as the Vice President. So, at best, Atiku was the de-facto winner.
Subsequently, Atiku was beaten in every election he stood, including the APC primaries of 2014, where he came third, having been beaten by Kwankwaso, who came second with 974 votes, while Atiku scored 954 votes. Atiku contested against Abiola and lost. He contested against Umaru Musa Yar’adua and lost. He contested against Goodluck Jonathan and lost. And lost more than once against Buhari.
But yes, in the context of Nigerian politics, Atiku Abubakar remains a poser, that cannot be taken for granted, hence the change in the calculations and permutations of the APC.
Another person that may throw a spanner in the works of the APC is its National leader, the Jagaba of Borgu, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Like Atiku, the need to trade with caution on Tinubu is not because he is matchless, no, it’s because of some reasons that are difficult to separate from those associated with Atiku.
As things stand today, Tinubu does not have the strength or political sagacity to deliver or take full control of a monolithic southwest. No way. In fact, without the help of the silent factor, if a free and fair election were to be conducted in Lagos today, Tinubu would lose to the PDP, which traditionally has been sharing the votes at almost 50/50 with him. And with the entry of Kwankwaso and his new party, the NNPP into Lagos now, the arithmetic would surely change the geography of the distribution of the votes in Lagos.
Tinubu’s support is largely from the without of his territory. The roll call of his supporters reads, Kashim Shetima, Aminu Masari, Abdullahi Ganduje, Nasir-El-Rufai, Babgana Zulum, and Co. Gone are the days when you hear people like Ambode, Fashola, Fayose, Aregbesola, or Prof. Yemi Osibanjo. Even the Afenifere, the Yoruba socio-cultural organization that used to be behind him, is today singing a different song about the Tinubu candidacy.
In the pursuit to get his successor, which is the focus of Nigeria now, and expected to be the high point of the APC convention that is billed for tomorrow, Monday, 06/06,2023, PMB had this to say to the all-powerful APC Governors:
“I urge all of you to hold consultations amongst yourselves and with the party, to build a consensus in a manner that would help the party reduce the number of aspirants, bring up a formidable candidate and scale down the anxiety of party members”.
Scale down the anxiety of party members? I think it’s more of how to scheme out Tinubu, without rocking the boat that would convey the combatants to crush the artilleries of Atiku.
Between the trio of Atiku, Tinubu, and Kwankwaso, Kwankwaso is a stronger force to fear politically, I think.
So why is the APC playing gimmick, when in actual sense it knows the strength and weaknesses of the duo of Atiku and Tinubu?
Methinks the answer is known by all the political actors, but no one wants to make it public, hence the resort to the subterfuge of gimmick and gambit in the game.