2011: Who Wins The Presidential Election? Nigerian Politics

25 February 2011

By Saka Raji Audu

All the political parties have conducted their primaries and submitted the list of their candidates for the April election. At least four prominent presidential candidates are expected to slug it out at the April 9, presidential election. They are the incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, retired General Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Ibrahim Shekarau and the former EFCC chairman, Malam Nuhu Ribadu. Politics, as we know, is a game of surprises in which some time expected rarely happens.

Let us do some elimination series among the four presidential candidates, using contextual and empirical evidence. First, there is this issue of Nigerians being fed up with retired military men being used as civilian leaders. The Obasanjo civilian era has thought Nigerians a big lesson. Perhaps, the non adoption of General Gusau and General Babangida may have attested to this fear of retired military men in political leadership. People are also not interested to vote for party that does not promote and encourage internal democracy by giving room for others to participate in the internal democratic process of the party. This is why the PDP northern caucus and NPLF should have allowed Bukola Saraki, Ibrahim Babangida and Gusau to test their acceptance through their party primaries. This is why the issue of consensus arrangement remains an aberration of democracy. When some time ago, General Buhari advised Nigerians not to vote any party that lacks internal democracy, he received kudos because people believed he spoke well. But how does this admonishment reflect the situation where the CPC itself is now enmeshed in political squabbles of some states as Sokoto, Kano, Katsina, Bauchi, etc left much to be desired. Is it a case of do as I say and don't do as I do? Moreover, the condition that made Buhari lose the past two presidential contests, in spite of his alleged massive appeal is still much available, waiting for his third contest. So, CPC as 'popular' as one is made to understand may not get the nod of the final say in the 2011 presidential election.

As for Nuhu Ribadu, a retired police officer, he too lacks the basic democratic apparatus to put the country in its proper perspective. Ribadu's period as the then Chairman of EFCC witnessed selective justice. It is only those who are not loyal to his boss were harassed with pent-up charges of corruption. His unpopular list of corrupt politicians left much to be desired. His running away out of Nigeria indicated that he was not ready to face the situation when the need arises. There are so many powerful people ready to take their own pond of fresh from him. So, nobody should expect him to have an easy ride to Aso Villa, knowing full well that he has wrongly or rightly stepped on so many sacred toes.

The stage will now be set for President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (PDP) and Governor Ibrahim Shekarau (ANPP). In this case, President Jonathan has more hurdles to pass than Governor Shekarau. The latter though belongs to an opposition party, his chances of defeating Goodluck Jonathan, Muhammadu Buhari and Nuhu Ribadu is very bright. Given the circumstance in which the trio finds themselves, Shekarau is surely going to have an easy ride to Aso Villa in the April 9, 2011 presidential election. Here is the simple arithmetic.

Now that Jonathan has won his party primary and become the presidential candidate of his party, the Adamu Ciroma led NLPF is now boxed to the corner and feels morally challenged. The next step should be how to push away Jonathan in place of a northern President irrespective of what party the person belongs. Since a battle line has already been drawn amidst zoning, the aggrieved will like to fight it to its logical conclusion, even if it means engaging in anti party activities, after all, in politics, it is said that there is no permanent enemy but permanent interest. IBB, Gusau, Atiku, Saraki and Ciroma group would have no choice but to choose among Buhari, Ribadu and Shekarau. Among this three, only Shekarau has democratic experience and the pedigree to get Nigeria to the Promised Land, having successfully administered volatile state as Kano for eight years with clear achievements to show under democratic milieu. Shekarau's integrity, peaceful conduct of his state affairs, detribalized postures, etc are legendary. He should be more appealing to the aggrieved northern PDP leaders than Buhari and Ribadu. This is how Shekarau will receive more votes than Jonathan, Buhari and Ribadu.

Finally, as we prepare for the 9th April presidential election, we should know that Governor Ibrahim Shekarau has comparative advantage over and above the rest of the presidential candidates. This is why ANPP delegates have done well and threaded the path of honour by allowing Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau to be their presidential candidate for the April 9, 2011 presidential election in Nigeria. This is my view and opinion about the likely winner of April 9, presidential election in Nigeria

Saka Raji Audu writes from Kano, email: sakaraj@yahoo.com



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