By Etop Ekanem

The ongoing plot by the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to retain power in the North come 2023 could implode the party, it was learnt.

According to, Alhasan Farouk, former National Coordinator, Arewa Political Forum of Nigeria, “unless drastic interventions are made, next year’s general election may prove the final straw for Nigeria’s 62-year experiment as a highly combustible union of disparate ethnic groups each with an unyielding aspiration to determine its own destiny and a shared suspicion of a nursed domination agenda”.

Farouk, a chieftain of the APC in Bauchi, said President Muhammadu Buhari from the North West, as incumbent, has received widespread criticism from several segments of the society for what has been termed a lopsided appointment policy in Nigeria’s security architecture and several MDAs where the North has been unduly favoured. .

According to Farouk,”With the recent spate of insecurity, banditry, herder-farmer violence, IPOB disruptions, and separatist group agitations in the South-West, it is apparent that the nation has never been more divided. The fallout of the recent melee in Sokoto following the killing of Deborah Samuel where several Igbo traders and other Southerners were harassed as young residents demanded the release of those who perpetrated the killing of the young student is a clear instance of the delicate religious and ethnic balancing act that needs to be upheld in Nigeria. With a fractious polity where ethnic and religious strife has seen sectional violence come to the fore in the North Central, South-East, South-West, the South is eager to stake a claim to the presidency to sooth frayed nerves across the country. Nigeria’s fragile unity is indeed at stake,” he said.

He said the dramatic but dangerous tussle is best observed in the APC. “Formed in 2014 as an alliance between the north and south to oust the PDP which had held power for 16 years prior, President Buhari emerged as its flagbearer as the representative of the north and with a promise to surrender power to the south in a high-stake power sharing formula designed to promote inclusion and a sense of belonging, an antidote to the inflammable marriage between the ethnic groups.

Political activities this year, including the primaries of the political parties, were meant to set the stage for the change of guard. However, in the APC, several key northern figures, emboldened by their control of the party, particularly with the recent emergence of a former northern governor, Senator Adamu Abdullahi, as the chairman of the party, are exploring strategies to keep power and leave the southern region out in the cold,” he said.

Multiple sources have alleged a secret plot being orchestrated by the National Chairman and other northern brokers to facilitate the nomination of either Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, the Governor of Jigawa State, or the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, as its presidential candidate, despite the expectation that the southern bloc of the party should produce its nominee. The allegation of a northern agenda to retain power is strengthened by the delays and postponements that have characterised the party’s candidate-selection process.

Also alleged is a plot to install Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the PDP president ousted in 2015 and whom the APC famously reviled as incompetent, corrupt, and lacking in leadership. His consideration, according to the sources, should be the next preferred – and fail-safe – option to a northern candidate, considering the constitutional limits that means the former President, having served another term prior, can only serve another four years before power is promptly returned to the north. But this is shortsighted given the fact that there is a constitutional limitation to the Jonathan project as a recent constitutional amendment prohibits anyone who has sworn to the oath relating to the presidency more than twice from running a third time. The Constitution regards Jonathan’s first term as the one he took over from President Yar Adua and the second and final term as his 2011-2015 stint in office. The proponents of this Jonathan Project are up for a legal tussle as the judiciary who feel short-changed by the persistent harassment of some of their own are waiting in the wings to give a decisive blow to the APC.

It’s no different in the opposition PDP where similar patterns are noticed. After the emergence of a northern chairman, the party, too, has refused to zone its presidential ticket, amplifying fears that northerner Atiku Abubakar could use his ill-begotten wealth to once again work his way to the top, creating an implosive prospect of an all-northern affair in 2023. This is what the Northern leadership in APC is putting forward as a justification for its Northern candidate plan.

Farouk said the apparent mismanagement of the party processes, due largely to the greed and megalomania of vested interest in the North who do not care about the region but their personal aggrandizement and are terrified by the prospect of life without the cover of federal power and immunity, may drive Nigeria to the brink and cause an implosion that could break the country and set on-course a new scramble by the global powers of Europe, America, and China – a project some may well say is underway, especially in the case of China, with booby trap loans and investments.

“Nnamdi Kanu, an agitator for an independent Biafra for the Nigeria’s Igbos, a major ethnic tribe that lost over one million of its people in a brutal civil war that lasted three years, often regard Nigeria as the captivity of the other ethnic tribes by the northern region and her dissolution, which he calls for, as a liberation and final solution.

“His sentiment is echoed by Sunday Adeyemo (aka Sunday Igboho), a Yoruba separatist who equally calls for the carving out of an independent nation of the Yorubas, another major ethnic tribe. Both figures have been put out of circulation, but they remain widely popular. Their message is considered in the southern region as an inconvenient truth and their activism a due litigation of Nigeria’s past and the essence of her union.

“So far, the political leaders of the southern region, especially the west, who control the media, have kept their rhetoric from the mainstream, hoping that a change of power in 2023 may help alleviate the fears of the people and rekindle interest in the preservation of the union. But if they get schemed out of the political play by the northern power brokers, they too may reconsider their position, and with that reality comes the real threat of Nigeria coming undone. The centre of Nigeria is not holding and the APC’s final act, unless it changes course, may be to preside over the country’s disintegration,” he said.

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