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Presidency: Why The South Prefers Shekarau To Other Aspirants - Nigeria 2011 Elections

11 November 2010

By Saka Raji Audu

As the 2011 presidential election gets near, with the spring up of the various presidential aspirants in the country, the era of tribalism and primordial sentiment are beginning to give way to nationalism, patriotism and meritocracy. This time around, the southern people seem to be saying that only detribalised and patriotic candidate will get their node. This is because Obasanjo who comes from their side neglected them until the late Umoru Yar'adua of blessed memory came to power in 2007. 

The southerners took the establishment of the Niger Delta Ministry and amnesty granted to the restive militant youth in the region as cases in point. The people from the south noted with dismay that since Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan assumed the office of the president after the demise of his boss, the late Yar'adua, he has been indulging in cat and dog style of leadership, in which almost all the relief granted to them by the late president have either seized to exist or lip service is being paid to them.  

In addition to these, it is now the belief of the south that Mr. President Jonathan has done more harm than good to Nigeria and Nigerians in all its ramifications.  The people noted with nostalgia that while governor Ibrahim Shekarau has been busy in his state of Kano, maintaining peaceful cohabitation among the different ethnic group in the state, Mr. Jonathan is busy doing the contrary to Nigerians by creating instability and heating the polity with zoning and no zoning issue. 

It is generally observed with dismay that the short stay of Jonathan as president of the country has renewed regional rift between the south and the north while the country suffers in miasma of hopelessness and fears of bombing and ill-feelings among the good people of Nigeria. The Daily Tribune of 4th November 2010 reports authoritatively that "both the presidency and the ruling party are worried about the chances of the PDP in the South-South zone, as each of the states in the zone is embroiled in one problem or the other ahead of the 2011 elections." 

The south might have also vowed not to vote IBB whom the region described as having frustrated their wishes and aspirations through the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election rated as the most credible, free and fair election in Nigeria. The Nigerian people are equally not happy with the era of Obasanjo/Atiku government that exposed themselves of various corrupt practices during their ill-fated crisis of superiority. This is why perhaps the Ribadu presidential aspiration will also suffer serious setback due to his selective justice and his deliberate failure to prosecute high ranking persons as Obasanjo who carted away the sixteen billion naira earmarked for power sector during the Obasanjo administration.  

The South and indeed the entire Nigerian people may also develop Buhari phobia due to some of his statements, both in the past and present, coupled with what some political observers would refer to his intolerance of freedom of speech by caging Journalists through the decree 4 of 1984. Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai's recent comment against Buhari's past would have added another feather to Buhari phobia phenomena in the current politics of Nigeria. According to El-Rufai, in the Republic Report of New York, he reminded General Buhari that "he has remained perpetually unelectable because his record as military head of state, and afterwards, is a warning that many Nigerians have wisely heeded. His insensitivity to Nigeria's diversity and his parochial focus are already well-known. In 1984, Buhari allowed 53 suitcases belonging to his ADC's father to enter Nigeria unchecked at a time the country was exchanging old currency for new.  Against all canons of legal decency, he used retroactive laws to execute three young men for drug-peddling after they were convicted by a military tribunal and not regular courts of law. Buhari was so high handed that he gave himself and his officials' immunity even from truthful reporting. That obnoxious Decree 4, against which truth was no defence, was used to jail journalists and attempt to cow the media as a whole. That tyrannical legislation shows the essence of his intolerance.

It is not quite long ago that Jonathan warned Gusau that he could also hit him too. In addition to this internal political bickering, the general feelings of Nigerians are that they are tired of leadership from military extraction. As a result of the ugly past in the hands of the military administration, they are no longer willing to tolerate those who have had experience in military leadership, considering the way the former President Obasanjo presided over his eight years civilian administration. This means that aspirants like IBB, Buhari and Gusau will be having it difficult to scale through their present political aspirations. It is therefore, not by coincident that the Alhaji Adamu Ciroma PDP northern consensus group is already eyeing the former Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku. If after the PDP primary election, IBB, Jonathan, Bukola and Gusau are edged out, it is likely that the final contest of presidential election will be among the northerners namely Atiku (PDP), Shekarau (ANPP), Ribadu (ACN) and Buhari (CPC).   

General Buhari in the Daily Trust of October 27, 2010 urged Nigerians not to vote for parties lacking internal democracy. Incidentally, the concept of internal democracy implies that people should be given the chance to have a say without any form of coercion or hijack. Unfortunately, apart from Buhari, nobody else is yet to have a say in the presidential aspiration of the CPC. It means that Buhari will be ready to accept his party's defeat in the presidential election based on this admonishment. Consequently, in the Saturday Tribune of 6th November, it is reported that "the ambition of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to contest the 2011 presidential election appears to be getting some negative mention in the international security circles, following indications the United States security services have placed him under close watch. Information at the disposal of the Saturday Tribune indicated that the United States security outfits in conjunction with operatives in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the M15 of the United Kingdom are working on certain information relating to Atiku."   

We can see from the ongoing situation that among the top presidential aspirants for the 2011 election, all but Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau have much obstacles to cross and we should not pretend against these obstacles just because of some people's desperation to 'install' the aspirants by hook and crook. In order to create a new Nigeria devoid of unwholesome practices, it is pertinent to ensure that credibility of candidate plays prominent role in people's minds in choosing among the aspirants. This is why the people of the south are willing to team up behind Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau, Sardaunan Kano to elect him as the next President of the country. Indeed, Shekarau is the only focused and detribalised presidential aspirant that has always worked for the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians. Other prominent aspirants as IBB, Atiku, Jonathan, Saraki, Buhari, Ribadu, etc have an axe to grand against one another and the only way the country can move forward is for all Nigerians, irrespective of geo-political zones to jettison these so called big time presidential aspirants for the only man of the moment who have no grudges against any body in the person of Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau. He is one strong man that can quickly fix Nigeria and in view of his tremendous solid achievements for the people of Kano. These are the main reasons why the southern people and indeed, Nigerians will vote for Shekarau as their next President after the 2011 Presidential election.


Saka Raji Audu writes from Kano and can be reached on his email:




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