In 2015, people acknowledged Buhari with “Sai Baba.” In 2016, this became “Why Baba?” In 2017, it became “Chai Baba.” In 2018, it is now “Kai! Baba.” Come 2019, it will be “Bye Baba.”


The genie is now well and truly out of the bottle. All the signs now indicate that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is running scared about its prospects in the 2019 elections. There can also no longer be any doubt that the party is absolutely determined to win by hook and crook. It has served notice to Nigeria that it will leave no stone unturned in rigging the forthcoming presidential election of 2019.

Struggle for Kano

The party developed high-blood pressure when its nPDP elements, who guaranteed its victory in 2015, turned the tables on it and suddenly decided to go back to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). One strategic factor in this development was Rabiu Kwankwaso, former governor of Kano State. His defection from APC back to PDP brought Kano back into play for PDP. This spelt imminent disaster for APC.

In 2015, fictitious Kano was APC’s trump card. The Kano results were kept in reserve until late in the game. When they were finally declared, there was an earthquake. A whopping 2.3 million people were said to have voted in Kano, out of which 1.9 million allegedly voted for APC. Given Kwankwaso’s popularity in Kano as a native son, the question becomes what would happen to the APC in Kano in 2019, now that Kwankwaso has decamped to the PDP?

This new realpolitik has sent jitters down the spine of the APC and the party has responded in the only way it seems to know how – with deceit and falsehood. First, Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje declared that Kano would provide APC with 5 million votes in the 2019 presidential election, a magical increase of over 100 per cent from 2015. Then, a few days ago, APC declared that Buhari received 2.9 million votes in Kano during the APC presidential primaries.

This is quite simply one big lie. It is a lie that serves notice of APC’s intentions in 2019. Buhari cannot possibly get one million more votes in the Kano from only APC voters than he did in the entire election of 2015. If, with only APC stalwarts voting, and in an inconsequential election with only Buhari as candidate, Buhari gets 2.9 million votes, it is not implausible to conclude that come 2019, during the election proper, Buhari alone will be said to obtain as much as 12 million votes from Kano alone; more indeed, than all the people in the State.

Desperadoes

foraminifera

This shows how desperate the APC has become. Everybody knows the mythical Buhari of 2015 has been thoroughly demystified as a result of his lacklustre performance as president. Accordingly, while in 2015, people may have acknowledged Buhari with “Sai Baba,” in 2016, this became “Why Baba?” In 2017, it became “Chai Baba.” In 2018, it is now “Kai! Baba.” Come 2019, it will be “Bye Baba.”

In its new desperation to hold on to power, APC has lost all earlier pretences to the anti-corruption war. The party was not even confident that Buhari could survive a presidential primary without embarrassment, so it went to great lengths to rig the system against every other possible contestant.

First, it made the registration for the primaries N45 million, ensuring that only those with stolen money that could easily be lost would contest. Then there was the rigmarole of saying, although the president did not have the money, well-wishers raised it for him. (We are yet to be informed on how the president repaid the N27 million bank loan he claimed to have obtained to pay for his registration in 2014).

APC then went ahead to post outrageous figures as representing those who voted for sole candidate Buhari, laying the foundation for the rigmarole it has in store for 2019. That means this corrupt party has decided to take Nigeria back to the days of the military and communist dictatorships, where sole presidential candidates in elections are said to obtain fictitiously as many as 99 per cent of the vote.

Jonathan’s Legacy

In 2014/2015, Goodluck Jonathan signaled his good intentions by conducting one free-and-fair election after the other; in Edo, Anambra, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun. In all these, the ruling party won only one. It then went on, not only to lose the 2015 presidential election, but even more importantly, to accept defeat.

It is preposterous for a party of do-nothing and under-achiever politicians, who have presided over the systematic slaughter of Nigerians by Fulani herdsmen, have watched the naira slump from N198 to the dollar to N360 to $1, have driven away foreign investors…should now insist that their party would obtain a landslide victory in a national election.


But APC has now let us know that, under no circumstances will it accept defeat. We have seen this now in the governorship election in Ekiti, where rigging was the APC order of the day, with votes bought in broad daylight with anti-corruption money. We have also had a repeat performance in Osun, where an election won outrightly by the PDP was declared inconclusive. Then all kinds of shenanigans were employed in the rerun, leading to the declaration of APC as the winner.

That is now clearly the APC agenda. In the same manner that it has declared its victory in a State where workers were owed 2 years’ salary, even so will it declare its victory in a country that became the world’s capital of poverty under its watch. This is bound to throw Nigeria into a great deal of turmoil and civil unrest. That is why everything possible must be done to ensure that this rigmarole is stopped dead in its tracks.

It is preposterous for a party of do-nothing and under-achiever politicians, who have presided over the systematic slaughter of Nigerians by Fulani herdsmen, have watched the naira slump from N198 to the dollar to N360 to $1, have driven away foreign investors, have moved from one corruption scandal to the other, and have shown utmost disregard for the rule of law, should now insist that their party would obtain a landslide victory in a national election.

Extricating Lagos From the Captivity of Bola Tinubu

The drama currently going on in APC over who will be the party’s flag-bearer in the coming gubernatorial election in Lagos is as fascinating as it is disturbing. The same party that schemed to ensure that Buhari is the sole APC presidential candidate for 2019, is determined that Akinwumi Ambode, the current governor of Lagos State, is not the APC candidate in the gubernatorial election in 2019. If Buhari, who has performed abysmally, is given an automatic second-term ticket, why not Ambode?

Godfather-cracy

All this turns on the whims and caprices of one man, Bola Tinubu; the self-styled “godfather” of Lagos and even South-west politics. Tinubu is determined that Ambode must be unseated, and he has refused the entreaties of the president, the vice-president and other APC stalwarts outside Lagos. Why should a thriving city-state like Lagos, the economic jugular of Nigeria, be allowed to be held in capricious captivity by one man?

Tinubu apparently has a new favourite-son in the person of Babajide Sanwo-Olu. He issued a statement on Twitter, saying Sanwo-Olu is a better candidate who is endowed with superlative vision and commitment and who also possesses a wealth of experience and exposure. If so, why did Tinubu choose Ambode four years ago? Where was Sanwo-Olu then?

In declaring his support for Sanwo-Olu, Tinubu declared that Ambode is not following his blueprint for Lagos. This is ridiculous. Tinubu is not elected into any office in Lagos, so who cares what blueprint he has? Which electorate authorised a Tinubu blueprint for Lagos?

The question that arises is whether Lagosians will stand for this utter disdain for democracy. Has Lagos, the economic nerve of Nigeria, now become the personal property of Bola Tinubu? Is Lagos State now a limited liability company owned by Tinubu? Are Lagosians herds of cows and is Bola Tinubu the chief herdsman?

The answer must be a resounding No! But the problem I have up to now is that I have yet to hear the indignant reaction of Lagosians. Do they accept this effrontery? Are they only keeping their powder dry until election day?

This brings to mind the scenario in the past when the struggle between Sarumi and Agbalajobi facilitated the emergence of Sir Otedola as governor of Lagos. Whatever the case, the electorate must snatch Lagos back from the clutches of Bola Tinubu. 20 years of enslavement is long enough. It is past time: Lagos must be free!


Follow the Money

When Rochas Okorocha insisted that his brother-in-law must be the next governor of Imo, he was ridiculed from Lagos to Maiduguri. But what do we have here? The Yorubas, and even the Lagos press, are essentially quiet in the face of Tinubu’s overreach. Their silence is deafening.

Already, Tinubu has gathered behind him the usual suspects of political sycophants. The Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) in Lagos State is backing Sanwo-Olu, Tinubu’s anointed. So are 36 out of the 40 members of the House of Assembly. Even Ambode’s commissioners in Lagos State are also lining up behind Sanwo-Olu.

Dele Sobowale’s explanation for this anomaly is telling. He says: “It is now generally known among the “coup plotters” that some Commissioners in Lagos State cannot boast of four million in their account.”

This means the revolt against Ambode is pure and simply a bread-and-butter issue. Ambode must go because he has not practiced effectively the sacred politics of “Chop, I chop.” He must go because he has refused to open the money vaults of the State for plundering. He must go because the powers-that-be are embarrassed by the revelation of a recalcitrant top manager of Alpha Beta that the company has siphoned more than N160 billion of Lagos taxpayers’ monies over the years.

Of course, the excuse is that Ambode has not performed. Armchair apologists for the godfather point to Apapa gridlock, tankers parking on bridges, refuse cluttering the roads and extortionate land use charges as Ambode’s sins. But the same people that say Ambode should go allegedly because of non-performance are asking Buhari to stay for four more years in spite of non-performance.

Bobby-trap

Ambode is not known as a seasoned politician. But he has a set a trap for Tinubu and his cohorts, and they have fallen right into it. He waited until the last minute to reveal that Tinubu’s new favourite-son was arrested for spending fake dollars in a nightclub in the United States, where he allegedly spent some months in jail. He also says Sanwo-Olu’s competence is doubtful as he spent time for psychological rehabilitation in Gbagada General Hospital.

It is significant that Sanwo-Olu has not made a spirited refutation of these allegations. So, what is going to happen now? Is APC going to nominate an ostensibly corrupt politician as it governorship candidate in 2019? If so, the party is on its way to committing suicide in Lagos State.

If Ambode wins the nomination in spite of Tinubu’s non-endorsement, then it is the beginning of the end of Tinubu’s lordship of Lagos politics. If Ambode loses to Sanwo-Olu but decides to fight on on the ticket of another party in Lagos, then for sure, APC will lose the election in Lagos because its vote would be split.

This brings to mind the scenario in the past when the struggle between Sarumi and Agbalajobi facilitated the emergence of Sir Otedola as governor of Lagos. Whatever the case, the electorate must snatch Lagos back from the clutches of Bola Tinubu. 20 years of enslavement is long enough. It is past time: Lagos must be free!

faribisala@yahoo.com; www.femiaribisala.com