A peculiar political storm seems to be brewing presently in the most populous African nation, Nigeria as it counts down to it’s presidential election which comes up in less than 24 hours.
Less than a month to the election, the tide seems to have taken a different and unexpected turn around for the expected winner of the election, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the national leader and presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
As a member of the ruling party, his popularity and political strategy acumen coupled with the federal might of the ruling party, somehow had most people having high expectation regarding his coast to victory.
However, the recent activities of the ruling party and that of the Buhari-led administration which enacted some policies have recently presented a very difficult situation for the man call JAGABAN and his presidential aspiration a more difficult hurdle for him to scale.
While the masses were still grumbling under the hard condition occasioned by the over 3 months fuel scarcity in the country, a situation that has astronomically made cost of living totally unbearable, the government suddenly came up with the naira redesign and cashless policy. The redesign of the 200, 500 and 1000 naira notes seems to have brought the worst economic situation the masses have found themselves since the civil war of 1967.
The old currency became obsolete on Feb 17 2023 with millions of people yet to even set their eyes on the new notes due to what is perceived as a deliberate scarcity as over 2.3 Trillion naira was withdrawn from the public while only 300 Billion of the new naira notes were allegedly released into circulation with only a limit of 20 thousand naira allowed to be withdrawn by individuals per day. Due to the scarcity most banks could only pay out a maximum of 2 thousand naira to their customers when and if cash is available for them to dispense to their teaming customers.
Political watchers, most especially members of the ruling party have put the blame of the scarcity of fuel and the recent naira redesign as a plot to deny Bola Tinubu (APC) presidential candidate the chance of winning the election thereby creating a chance for Atiku Abubakar of the opposition party (PDP) .
They allege that the fuel scarcity and naira swap, which have made life totally unbearable for the masses as a deliberate and politically calculated ploy to provoke the people against the ruling party in favour of the opposition. And it seems to be working as there have been pockets of demonstrations, riots and outright burning of banks and public properties by enraged members of the public due to their inability to assess their funds from the bank as a result of the obnoxious policy of the government.
Petroleum products supply which became stable and affordable, devoid of the usual scarcity encountered before the emergence of Buhari administration in 2015 had become history for almost seven years of the APC government.
It was like an evil wind blown by the Buhari administration as the reccuring scarcity which had disappeared at the inception of his government suddenly returned few months back with a venom force shortly after the APC primaries which brought in Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the presidential flag bearer of the party.
Many are of the opinion that the lingering crisis which is taking the current administration so long to resolve is a systematic plan by the presidency to paint the ruling party in a bad light thereby shifting the electorates’ votes to another candidate rather than that of the APC.
This position was confirmed by some serving governors of the ruling party, like the governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai who in a press statement declared that “some cabals within the party close to the president who are dissatisfied with the emergence of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the flagbearsr of the party against their preferred candidate are the ones working against the interest of the party and it’s victory come February 25th.”
Many staunch members of the party have also called on the president to put an end to the “artificial and government induced fuel scarcity and the naira policy to alleviate the sufferings of the masses”. Warning that failure to do so would greatly affect the fortune of the party in the forthcoming election.
Though the naira redesign and cashless policy recently introduced by the government was to curb vote buying by politicians as said by the president but the scarcity of the new notes and non-availability of the old ones have made a mess of whatever plans of sincerity the government may have had as their effects have created a deep frustration on the masses which has affected the economy badly leading to electorates shifting their preference to other parties and candidates in the election.
Also, despite the order of the supreme court restraining the Central Bank of Nigeria and the federal government to allow the old and new notes to run concurrently pending the determination of the case, the president has remained adamant and the unsubsided fuel crisis has not helped in daunting the general speculations that the president and his cabals may have a different candidate in mind from another party against the APC’s choice.
It could be noted that the incumbent president Muhamodu Buhari contested the election on three occasions, 2003, 2007 and 2011 consecutively under All Nigeria National Party CPC loosing consecutively. Infact he promised never to contest again after he lost to Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 until the national leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Bola Ahmed Tinubu who had 6 states governors then went to him in Kaduna and promised to make him president come 2015 through a merger of the CPC, ACN and some disgruntled members of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
It was reported that Bola Ahmed Tinubu single handedly funded the merger, the campaign and final victory at the polls in 2015 that brought in Buhari as the president of the federal republic of Nigeria. Employing his policical acumen he was able to secure the ticket for Buhari during a well challenged and contested primaries. The present presidential flagbearer of the Peoples’ Democratic Party stood so much better chance at the primaries, with a lot of dollars at his disposal to displace any contestant but the resolution of Tinubu to keep to his promise to Buhari and the vision for a better Nigeria saw him meet Atiku wit for wit to clinch the ticket for Muhammad Buhari and this saw to his eventual victory at the general polls.
Even in 2019 when Buhari’s second term bid was not certain and he was said to be developing a cold feet, it was this same Tinubu that boosted his confidence by asking him to go ahead with a promise that he would secure victory for him against Atiku Abubakar who was also a presidential candidate,this time under PDP. Like in 2015 Buhari won the election leaving Atiku to contest the victory at the election tribunal
Though nobody knows the agreement between them after 2019. But it’s an unwritten fact that power had to shift and be rotated between the South and the North. Buhari having expended the 8 years of the Northerners it is natural for power to shift to the South. Reason why 11 governors of the ruling APC stood against any prefered choice outside that region by the presidency.
Expectedly, the part of the South that deserves such privilege is the South West part since they were the part that totally stood by the president and helped him secure his victory in 2015 and 2019 respectively
Aside being a populat choice amongst his party faithfuls , Bola Ahmed Tinubu seems to be the most qualified among the frontline contenders for the exalted position. His excellent and transformatory performance as a former governor of Lagos State still remains a second to most of his peers. Turning a GDR from mere 500 million per month to over 600 billion per month, with emergence of so many foreign investors and general development of education, health ,civil servants reforms, social amenities.
There have been calls and threats on the presidency to review the naira policy and make live bearable for the people at least pending the election, that any attempt to continue a policy that demarkets the party will no doubt give victory to the major opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, who being another Hausa/Fulani man from the north many see as a great injustice to the people of other regions especially the Yorubas of South West.
This is a trend that should be avoided if the scenario of Rwnda is not wished on Nigeria. We all remember the civil and eventual genocide of July 1994 in Rwanda.
Generally, the Hutu-Tutsi strife stems from class warfare and dominance of government by one particular tribe against the other seen as inferior.
It was a long-running dispute between the Hutu and Tutsi groups within the Rwandan population. A 1959–1962 revolution had replaced the Tutsi monarchy with a Hutu-led republic, forcing more than 336,000 Tutsi to seek refuge in neighbouring. Just like in Nigeria where members of the ruling northern Hausa/Fulani herdsmen has forced millions to abandon their settlements, their farms and villages to escape the progrom like killings going on across the country. With many regional groups like Niger Delta Millitias, Odua Peoples Congress calling for secession from the country call Nigeria since the government seems not to care over the menace of these herdsmen.
In 1990, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a rebel group composed mostly of Tutsi refugees, invaded northern Rwanda from their base in Uganda, initiating the Rwandan Civil War. Over the course of the next three years, neither side was able to gain a decisive advantage. In an effort to bring the war to a peaceful end, the Rwandan government led by Hutu president, Juvénal Habyarimana signed the Arusha Accords with the RPF on 4 August 1993. The catalyst became Habyarimana’s assassination on 6 April 1994, creating a power vacuum and ending peace accords. Genocidal killings began the following day when majority Hutu soldiers, police, and militia murdered key Tutsi and moderate Hutu military and political leaders.
The scale and brutality of the genocide caused shock worldwide, but no country intervened to forcefully stop the killings. Most of the victims were killed in their own villages or towns, many by their neighbors and fellow villagers. Hutu gangs searched out victims hiding in churches and school buildings. The militia murdered victims with machetes and rifles. Sexual violence was rife, with an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 women raped during the genocide. The RPF quickly resumed the civil war once the genocide started and captured all government territory, ending the genocide and forcing the government and génocidaires into Zaire.
No doubt the political crystal ball is pointing to nothing less than the above if not worse. With many agitating Yorubas ( South westerners) the region of the ruling party’s presidential candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu threatening hell and brimstone should the ruling party frustrate their expectations by returning power to the north again through Atiku Abubakar. Reminding who cares to listen that they will never accept what happened in 1993.
In 1993 a similar thing occurred to the multi millionaire, MKO Abiola the presumed winner of the freest election in the country under a northern millitary leader, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB). A puppet Interim Government was put in place when Babangida was forced to step aside. Another northern Hausa/ Fulani general Sanni Abacha, who arrested and detained the winner of that election MKO Abiola until he died in prison in 1998.
It’s just less than 24 hours to the presidential election, though the ruling party candidate Tinubu seems to be unperturbed and undisturbed by the alleged political machinations of the presidency against his interest. He has continued his campaign with vigour and uncommon confidence in his victory base on the general sympathy and support from concerned northerners, those nine governors and overwhelming expectations from the six states of his regions.
If things go the way the supposed cabals from the presidency planned it and they are successful at scheming Tinubu out of victory, can the country survive the outcome?
There is already a palpable unrest from the South East region by the millitia group of Indegenous People of Biafra , Unknown Gunmen declaring sit at home every Mondays of the week for over a year now, killing people, law enforcement agents daily, burning stations, breaking jails, kidnaping with the government helpless in the situation. The Yoruba Nation agitators too have been holding rallies across the region declaring a breakaway from the country as a nation.
Can the country survive under these threat if the yorubas decide to revolt against injustice and domination from the Hausa Fulani who seems to believe only in themselves?
The next 24 hours will definitely the fate of Nigeria and Nigerians. The outcome of that election will definitely determine if there will peace or war in Africa’s most populous country.
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