By Femi Aribisala
The only way the APC can redeem its perception as a janjaweed party is by putting forward a South-South man as its presidential candidate in 2015.
The Northern Elders Forum, the apostles of “the North is born to rule,” finally played their joker. They maintained that if the government does not #Bring Back Our Girls by the end of October, 2014, Jonathan should forget about running for re-election.
This again reveals that there is more political mischief to the kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls than initially meets the eye. As a matter of fact, it shows conclusively that #Bring Back Our Girls is simply another instrument of #Bring Back Our Northern Domination.
The First Lady understood this clearly from the onset; which is why she declared that: “There is God o!” The people of Borno understood this. They have always known that their own feudalist leaders are behind the kidnapping of the girls. With the statement of the NEF, Nigerians must no longer be in two minds about this. The kidnapping of the Chibok girls is part and parcel of a cynical plan by some Northern elements to embarrass the government and militate against Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election plans.
For this very reason, Goodluck Jonathan must not only run for president, he deserves the support of every Nigerian determined that this country should not be surrendered to the Boko Haram. It is unfortunate for the APC that its interests are in the short-term the same as those of the Boko Haram. Indeed, the only way the APC can redeem its perception as a janjaweed party is not by its insistence on fielding a Northerner, but by putting forward a South-South man as its presidential candidate in 2015. Nevertheless, it would still lose the election.
New and old North
In the Nigeria of today, there are two discernible Norths: the new North and the old North. The new North is perennially progressive. It is the glue that holds Nigeria together. While the South-South threatens secession; the South-East is still reluctantly Nigerian and the South-West would rather keep Nigeria at arm’s-length; the new North remains the only truly nationalist component of the country. It never threatens secession but is preoccupied with national unity.
The new North is the North of men like our most successful industrialist, Aliko Dagote, now the 23rd richest man in the world. It is the North of men like Ibrahim Gambari; our point-man and intellectual giant at the United Nations. It is the North of men like Nuhu Ribadu; whose courage in going after thieves and robbers in the EFCC led to his being hassled out of the police.
It is the North of men like Father-Reverend Matthew Kukah, a Catholic priest with a national social conscience. It is the North of men like Mohammed Buba Marwa, the most dynamic governor in Nigeria during the Abacha regime.
But subsisting beside this new progressive North is the old North of decrepit old men who have lived for long as parasites on Nigeria’s oil wealth. This old North is the North of #Bring Back Our Northern Domination; a North of indolent political has-beens; looking for pensions from national coffers. It is the North of recalcitrant yesterdays men who had lived large at the country’s expense and are hankering after an inglorious past where they spent the national patrimony with the profligacy and abandon of irresponsible firstborn children.
This is the old North that ran down the nation’s resources. It is the North that built nothing and grew nothing. It is the North that ate up our groundnut pyramids. It is the North that, despite being in power for 38 years, failed grievously to educate Northern children. It is the North that paid lip-service to the North but cared nothing about the welfare of Northerners. It is the North of those who kept their fellow Northerners in the bondage of abject poverty under a feudal system where, like dogs, they fed them from the crumbs that fell from their table.
This old North is the North of men who are now reduced to pathetic bluster and blackmail. It is these same Northerners that are now crying #Bring Back Our Northern Domination. But they can no longer fool the new emergent North; and they certainly cannot fool the rest of the country, except perhaps a few gullible and power-hungry Yoruba chieftains.
The new progressive and nationalist North has long rebelled against the old feudal North, but the #Bring Back Our Northern Domination brigadiers have yet to receive the memo. When as far back as the 1993 presidential election, the old North presented yet another feudal lord in the person of Bashir Tofa, as successor-prince of the Niger, the new North refused to play ball. Although Tofa was a Northern favourite-son and Abiola from the South, the new North opted massively for Abiola; refusing to be persuaded any longer by the lie that Northern interests are best served by Northern feudalism.
In desperation, the old North hatched its most audacious coup d’état yet: it annulled the 1993 election. But then, suddenly, it found itself naked and isolated. Its traditional sources of support melted away. It took it another six years of Abacha’s recalcitrant regime for the old North to realise that the centre could no longer hold. But it comforted itself in the belief that it could continue in power by choosing a pliant Southern successor to hold fort for a few years while tempers cooled and then relaunch its #Bring Back Our Northern Domination project just as before.
The choice of Northern feudalism in 1999 was Olusegun Obasanjo. His credential was that in 1978, when fate handed him the position of Head-of-State, he was very mindful of Northern feudal interests and dutifully handed over power back to a clueless Northern feudal lord, in the person of Alhaji Shehu Shagari.
But it soon dawned on the old North that the second-coming of Obasanjo would be different from the first. Obasanjo’s first task in regaining power was to demolish feudal Northern power first and foremost in the army. Once he started that, the old North was up in arms.
In spite his limitations, Obasanjo was a nationalist. While he was nominated for president by the feudal North, Obasanjo recognized that he was elected by Nigerians and especially by the new North. Therefore, he refused to play second-fiddle to Northern feudalism. All Obasanjo would agree to was that power would ultimately return to the feudal North, but even that only after he might have remained in power for a wishful-thinking period of twelve years.
Nigerian good luck
However, Nigerians sent Obasanjo packing after his statutory eight years. He then dutifully handed over power to another Northerner of the old school, Musa Yar’Adua. But this time, it was not only fate that intervened; it was also Nigerian good luck.
The illness of President Yar’Adua made the return to Northern domination short-lived. While Yar’Adua was incapacitated, the #Bring Back Our Northern Domination feudalists conned he nation, flagrantly raiding the treasury by fraudulently forging cheques in Yar’Adua’s name. But they would soon pay a penalty for this. Goodluck Jonathan, a South-South man, was sworn in to complete Yar’Adua’s unexpired two years. After that, he became eligible for another eight years; making it a possible total of at least ten years of political wilderness for Northern feudalists.
Up in arms, the feudalists shopped for a Northern Goliath to oust Jonathan from contention in the 2011 presidential election. Their choice of Atiku Abubakar suffered ignominious defeat by Jonathan in the PDP primaries. All hope then rested on Buhari, another apostle of Northern domination. However, the old North could only mobilize 11.8 million votes for him from Northerners in the 2011 election.
Instead, the new North gave Goodluck Jonathan of the South-South a massive 8.4 million Northern votes in 2011; in preference to its Northern regional champion of Buhari. At the same time, the outright rejection of Northern feudalism by the rest of the country was evident in the fact that out of over 38 million votes cast nationwide; Buhari could only obtain 391,922 votes from all the states in the entire South put together.
Having finally realised that a major segment of the North is no longer amenable to feudal manipulation, the #Bring Back Our Northern Domination brigade has now decided to enter into a marriage of convenience with certain gullible elements in the South-West who are inclined to sell the Yorubas into slavery, for the sake of their personal political ambitions. In their greed for power, these naïve Yorubas are blind to the plan of the Northern feudalists to use them merely as stepping-stones to Aso Rock.
But this plan has already come to grief. Things have quickly fallen apart in the backyard of their ACN alliance partners in the South-West. In 2011, ACN obtained a measly 0.8% of the PDP vote in Cross River. In Rivers State, it obtained only 0.9% of the PDP vote. That is how you know these states are PDP strongholds. The opposition is not just defeated; it is decimated.
Fast-forward to today, on the eve of the 2015 election. The ACN (now APC) loses the gubernatorial election to the PDP in its so-called stronghold of Ekiti, losing in all the local government areas in the process. It then struggles to win in Osun, conceding 42% of its vote to the PDP. And yet, this same APC would like us to believe that it is going to be a problem for the PDP in the 2015 election. Pull another leg!
With the game clearly over before it has even begun, the #Bring Back Our Northern Domination brigade has now resorted to its backup plan: to use the #Bring Back Our Girls campaign as a tool to force Goodluck Jonathan not to run for re-election.
However, this has turned out to be one big blunder. All it has succeeded in doing is in raising cynical questions about the very kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls, the so-called assassination attempt on the life of Muhammadu Buhari and the despicable extent to which the #Bring Back Our Northern Domination vanguard of the APC would go in their desperation for political power.