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2011: Between Jonathan, Buhari And Shekarau - Nigerian Presidential Elections

30 November 2010

By Saka Raji Audu 

The recent release of INEC time table for the 2011 general election indicates that between now and January 15, 2011, all the political parties are expected to conduct their primaries and submit the list of the their candidates for the election. With the recent selection of the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar by Adamu Ciroma led NPLF as the consensus candidate for the northern PDP, Presidential aspirants as IBB, Gusau and Bukola are now out of the presidential race. Instead, they are expected to team behind Atiku candidature to be abler to defeat the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan

Politics, as we know, is a game of surprises in which some time expected rarely happens. It is however possible that in spite of the one way traffic arrangement of Adamu Ciroma and his group of NPLF, the incumbent President Jonathan might take the lead in PDP primary to emerge the party flag bearer, thereby putting Atiku and his desperation outside the final contest. If this turns to be the case, it is also presumed that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan shall meet Shekarau, Buhari and Ribadu at the ballot box for the final contest. 

In ANPP, one of the three Presidential aspirants, in person of Bashir Uthman Tofa, has already opened his buttock for Atiku's PDP to leak. This is because, as a presidential aspirant under the platform of ANPP, it was a surprise to hear Tofa congratulating Atiku as a northern PDP consensus choice, thereby, heralding his self defeat and anti party posture. Therefore, there is no way such a man can represent his house`, what is more of ANPP.  As for the second presidential aspirant, Mr. harry Akande, it is funny that since he failed to clinch his party chairmanship and later declared his presidential aspiration, no one heard about him again, one is not even sure whether Tofa and Akande have purchased their party nomination form. As it is today, Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau is the only credible, determined and upright presidential aspirant in ANPP that should be elected by his party as its presidential candidate

As for CPC, it appears the party has no room for another presidential aspirant apart from General Muhammadu Buhari. Thus, he will automatically be adopted as the party candidate for the third time without going through the ballot box. As for CAN, it is likely too that the party will also adopt Ribadu as its candidate. This is why there should be no cause for alarm in Adamawa State even if Atiku would not scale through PDP primary due to the same factor that stopped him in 2007. In any case, we learnt through his state governor Nyako that he did not execute single road project in his state when he was Vice President for eight years. At the end of the day, it will be Jonathan, Shekarau, Buhari and Ribadu that will sort it out at the final contest. 

At this juncture, let us do some elimination series among the four, using contextual and empirical evidence. First, there is this issue of Nigerians being fed up with retired military men being used as civilian leaders. The Obasanjo civilian era has thought Nigerians a big lesson. Perhaps, the non adoption of General Gusau and General Babangida may have attested to this fear of retired military men in political leadership.  People are also not interested to vote for party that does not promote and encourage internal democracy by giving room for others to participate in the internal democratic process of the party. This is why the PDP northern caucus and NPLF should have allowed Bukola Saraki, Ibrahim Babangida and Gusau to test their acceptance through their party primaries. This is why the issue of consensus arrangement remains an aberration of democracy. When some time ago, General Buhari advised Nigerians not to vote any party that lacks internal democracy, he received kudos because people believed he spoke well. But how does this admonishment reflect the situation where the CPC itself is still having one man as its presidential aspirant without challenge left much to be desired. Is it a case of do as I say and don't do as I do? Moreover, the condition that made Buhari lose the past two presidential contests, in spite of his alleged massive appeal is still much available, waiting for his third contest. So, CPC as 'popular' as one is made to understand may not get the nod of the final say in the 2011 presidential election

As for Nuhu Ribadu, a retired police officer, he too lacks the basic democratic apparatus to put the country in its proper perspective. Ribadu's period as the then Chairman of EFCC witnessed selective justice.  It is only those who are not loyal to his boss were harassed with pent-up charges of corruption. His unpopular list of corrupt politicians left much to be desired. His running away out of Nigeria indicated that he was not ready to face the situation when the need arises. There are so many powerful people ready to take their own pond of fresh from him. So, nobody should expect him to have an easy ride to Aso Villa, knowing full well that he has wrongly or rightly stepped on so many sacred toes. 

The stage will now be set for President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (PDP) and Governor Ibrahim Shekarau (ANPP). If this happens, then President Jonathan has more hurdles to pass than Governor Shekarau. The latter though belongs to an opposition party, his chances of defeating Goodluck Jonathan, Muhammadu Buhari and Nuhu Ribadu is very bright. Given the circumstance in which the trio finds themselves, Shekarau is surely going to have an easy ride to Aso Villa in the April 9, 2011 presidential election. This is the simple arithmetic. 

If Jonathan wins his party primary and becomes the presidential candidate of his party as it is likely to be, the Adamu Ciroma led NLPF will be boxed to the corner and feels morally challenged. The next step will be how to push away Jonathan in place of a northern President irrespective of what party the person belongs. Since a battle line has already been drawn amidst zoning, they will like to fight it to its logical conclusion, even if it means engaging in anti party activities, after all, in politics, it is said that there is no permanent enemy but permanent interest. IBB, Gusau, Atiku, Saraki and Ciroma group would have no choice but to choose among Buhari, Ribadu and Shekarau. Among this three, only Shekarau has democratic experience and the pedigree to get Nigeria to the Promised Land, having successfully administered volatile state as Kano for eight years with clear achievements to show under democratic milieu. Shekarau's integrity, peaceful conduct of his state affairs, detribalized postures, etc are legendary. He should be more appealing to the aggrieved northern PDP leaders than Buhari and Ribadu. This is how Shekarau will receive more votes than Jonathan, Buhari and Ribadu.  

Finally, as we prepare for the 9th April presidential election, we should know that Governor Ibrahim Shekarau has comparative advantage over and above the rest of the presidential candidates. It does not also matter if Atiku defeats Jonathan in the PDP primary. This is why ANPP delegates should ensure that Shekarau wins their nod as the party presidential candidate for the April 9, 2011 presidential election in Nigeria.


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




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