By Jide Ajani
For the north, things may not have been this bad. In the face of the seeming insincerity of PDP leaders on the issue of zoning, a development which suggests that President Goodluck Jonathan is being primed for next yearâ€™s election, the north appears to be in shambles, inspite of the avowed commitment of members of the Northern Political Leaders Forum, NPLF, to fostering a united front.
In a region of the country where you have perennial presidential contestants who are not about to give up their aspiration (read ambition) to become landlord of Aso Rock Presidential Villa, it remains to be seen how the consensus argument would carry the day.
*Muhammadu Buhari would be going for his third shot at the presidency if he contests next yearâ€™s presidential elections.Â And not to be on collision course with two other possible contenders, Buhari eased himself out of the ill-fated mega-party arrangement and opted for CPC
*Governor Shekarau of Kano State has left no one in doubt about his presidential ambition.Â His every move now is geared to wards reclaiming Kano State for his successor but his larger focus is on the presidency
* But for Olusegun Obasanjoâ€™s meanness, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida would have contested the 2007 presidential elections.Â It was Obasanjoâ€™s bullying and arm-twisting tactic which led Babangida to stylistically withdraw from the race. Already, he has been making wide consultations and has made his quest for the presidency known to Nigerians.
*Atiku Abubakar, the ever ready politician shed some political weight when the same Obasanjo did what had never been done in the history of party politics: Willfully strip your party of mass membership.Â Under the guise of re-registration exercise, Obasanjo ensured that he emasculated Atiku and eventually forced him out of the PDP.Â Atiku quickly joined forces to form the Action Congress, AC, which gave PDP a little scare â€“ he was the partyâ€™s presidential candidate.Â But Atiku still sees himself as a possible presidential candidate.
*As the third persona in the trio of Atiku and Buhari, Attahiru Bafarawa, immediate past governor of Sokoto State is the founding leader of Democratic Peoples Party, DPP.Â On the platform of the party, Bafarawa staged a presidential quest which proved abortive.Â But he has not given up the fight, even in the face of intimidation from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
*For Aliyu MohammedÂ Gusau, a disengaged General of the Nigerian Army and Nigeriaâ€™s security impresario, he also fell to Obasanjoâ€™s bullying at the PDP primaries in 2007.Â But Gusau is not known to have dropped his presidential ambition.
With these six politicians of stature, it remains to be seen how the north would work out a consensus arrangement which would be accepted by these men.
Mind you, some Marxist-leaning egg head may also sprout suddenly and from the north in the face of all these to claim to want to be president.
In the likely event that these six would not agree to a consensus candidate, how would the north not play into Jonathanâ€™s hands?
Yet, it is not as simple as it may look on the surface because the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria insists in Section 134 that:
â€œ134. (1) A candidate for an election to the office of President shall be deemed to have be been duly elected, where, there being only two candidates for the election –
â€œ(a) he has the majority of votes cast at the election; and
â€œ(b) he has not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two-thirds of all the States in the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
â€œ(2) A candidate for an election to the office of President shall be deemed to have been duly elected where, there being more than two candidates for the election-
â€œ(a) he has the highest number of votes cast at the election;
and â€œ(b) he has not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election each of at least two-thirds of all the States in the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.â€
In the light of this provision, the north needs the south as much as the south needs the north.Â Perhaps, the vaulting ambition of some politicians from the north, which led to the frenzy of the NPLF, may have been warehoused for a future date when if truly, Jonathan does declare his ambition, he would have been reminded of what the constitution says.