By Dele Sobowale
“One wise head can outmatch a score of hands” – Euripides, 480-408 BC, VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS p 274.
If you are just reading that it will be Abubakar Atiku of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, contesting against Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for the presidency next year, then you are reading stale news.
In August last year, just as contestants were beginning to troop out for nomination, I already told you the results; correctly prophesied who will emerge, the order of their emergence was also predicted – Atiku first; then Tinubu.
Let me recall some of what was written, then you must at least accept that there is a true prophet in Nigeria. A true prophet is known by the accuracy of his predictions made well in advance. That was not the only prophecy made on this page; and which turned out to be true. But, read this one again first. Before long, I will tell you who will win the 2023 election; and what will follow – if there is an election. There might not be one.
ATIKU VERSUS TINUBU IN 2023 UNLESS… 1
“If you don’t know where you are going; you’ll wind up somewhere else” – Yogi Bera, US comedian.
Ask many non-card carrying citizens about the two major political parties in Nigeria today, they will probably tell you that the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have failed the country since return to civil rule in 1999. Some will even offer the opinion that we need a third party – in order to make a clean break from the past. If you believe them, then you must be ready for a surprise in 2023. Unless certain events occur, then you might as well brace yourself for a contest between two old men of Nigerian politics in 2023 – Alhaji Abubakar Atiku as candidate of the PDP and Alhaji Ahmed Tinubu as the candidate of the APC. My advice to those opposed to any of those as successors to Buhari is simple. If you don’t want it, start working hard now. When a thunderstorm is predicted, it is of no use to insult the Weather Forecaster on television. Get ready to do the needful to protect yourself.
…. But, the unfolding political drama – including behind the scenes activities – indicates that the people of Nigeria would have been boxed into a corner resulting in only these options. Certainly, the usual adventurers, independent candidates and third party aspirants will contest. They will have no chance.
“God is always on the side of the big battalions” – Marshall Turene, 1611-1675, VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS, VBQ, p20. These are the battalion commanders in Nigerian politics as we move towards 2023.
The more discerning readers would have made some obvious inferences from the statement above. First, Igbo people will once again be left out of the picture – either totally or partially…. I have an idea who will join Tinubu on the ticket. But, that is a secret for now…. Second, Atiku will return to the South for his tag-team partner. He might repeat the experiment with Peter Obi. But, that is highly doubtful; Obi no longer controls his state’s votes. Instead, a South-South governor in strong control of his state’s votes will be the likely choice. I again have an idea who will be his VP.
Third, while the PDP will ensure a Muslim-Christian ticket; the APC might gamble that since a Muslim-Muslim – the late Chief MKO Abiola and Alhaji Babagana Kingibe – won the 1993 election overwhelmingly, there is no reason why another team so composed cannot win. At least, they know, or presume to know, where the votes are.
Fifth, money talks with authority; especially in politics. It was pointed out, last week, that with less than 18 months to the 2023 elections, and the parties still undecided about the dates for their Congresses and Conventions, the primary elections to select the candidates will be more like 100-metre sprints instead of marathons. Sprints favour muscular people; marathons slender individuals. Nigerians need to be reminded that the presidential candidate must have political structures in 36 states, 774 Local Governments and about 6,023 wards. Given the short time at the disposal of the candidates, only those with deep pockets and wide connections have any chance of emerging as flag-bearers of their political parties.
In fact, this might be the chief competitive advantage of Tinubu and Atiku. They can quickly mobilise human and financial resources to all locations at speeds their competitors can hardly match. Grand ideas of governance and economic development programmes are fine; but, they are utterly useless if they fail to reach the grassroots in the language they can understand.
Finally, and this might shock our urban elites. Two trips to Niger State in August revealed to me that the thoughtful, erudite and beloved candidates of the third party impressing the educated elite are mostly unknown in the rural state. There is no reason to believe that they are better known in Katsina, Sokoto or Zamfara.
I stopped where it was safe to share fellowship with patrons of watering houses (life goes on even in the midst of unprecedented tragedies) and took the opportunity to ask them if they will vote for certain individuals. Almost without exception, they have never heard of the ‘darlings’ of print and electronic media. How on earth they will be expected to vote for unknowns is a mystery for the third party promoters to unravel.”
That was in August last year. We are now entering a new phase of politics.
POST CONVENTION OBSERVATIONS
“It is not over until it is over”; at least that is the language of sports. Politics is certainly the most interesting and murderous of all sports. Power and wealth are frequently at stake; the end often justifies the means. The path to the presidential election of 2023 is still strewed with banana peels for the two candidates. One or both can still be disqualified through litigation. Then the election, if it holds, will be a toss up. Otherwise, it will be Atiku versus Tinubu; and I know the winner already. Based on my track record, any politician thinking of joining forces with the two will be well-advised to seek guidance. Don’t waste your money and time on a loser.
As I foretold, youths, women and the high-powered educated elite have been clobbered once again.
The youths apparently think politics is practiced only on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Tik Tok. It is all well and good to insult the old politicians on social media all you want. But, that does not win any election for you. It does not translate into a single ballot paper dropped in a box.
Similarly, the usual gang of intellectuals, Moghalu, Utomi etc, did what they knew best. They gave us fine ideas about how to run good governments. But, they frequently forget that you have to win elections first before you run government. Some of them will still be around to give more lectures in four years time. I might not be. For that reason, let me advise the youths (losers of tomorrow) and the intellectuals, that organising to upset the programmes of the old political class is a painstaking and strategic venture.
Only 24 people forced Bola Tibubu not to select another Muslim to succeed Fashola as Governor of Lagos State. I was the only one talking in the media; and not much was disclosed regarding our plans. We succeeded where others failed against Tinubu because 24 absolutely dedicated people are better than a mob of rented crowds. We worked hard; talked to people the intellectuals will not bother to meet; recruited real supporters, not mercenaries, in every community and was ready for battle. The two strong men cannot be defeated by adopting only conventional methods of political warfare. Obi will be slaughtered if he goes into battle with his current handlers…
THE LUCKY MEN
“The Yes-man is the enemy; your best friend will argue with you; fight with you” – Aleksander Solzenitsyn, 1918-2008, Russian Nobel Prize Winner.
Godwin Emefiele, Adewunmi Adesina and Goodluck Jonathan should go for Thanksgiving Services in their churches. They would have been mercilessly fleeced by political con-men. I did not directly advise Adewunmi; but, I warned Jonathan about the risk. With Emefiele, I actually wrote a full length article to plead with him to stay at the Central Bank and not listen to those wanting to lure him to self-destruction. He tried; but pulled back with a bloody nose. Next time, he will listen to reason instead of following those who wanted to separate him from his money for their own benefit only.
I didn’t want to be their friend. I wanted to be a senior brother, well-wisher and adviser. A good adviser would tell you what you should know; not what you like to hear. Still, I wish all three of them well in future.