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Seven years into his stint on the throne of the Nigerian presidency, Muhammadu Buhari, the Second, (The First, was the military General), has been pictured like twice, sitting on a chair, for prayer, under the watchful lens of the camera. The first time, he just returned from a Lagos trip, but it was obvious that being seated for the Jumat prayer of March 31, 2018, was more of being asthenic from whatever was ailing him. Of course, both wailers and hailers sought jugulars, but Islam experts schooled us that psychedelic prayer postures are allowed for the aged and the infirm.
Then, it happened again, on May 24, 2020 during the Eid Prayers. That Sunday, in the thick of the rampaging COVID-19, the president and members of his family observed the Eid-el-Fitr prayer at the presidential quarters in Abuja. Plus, the Imam, all the worshippers were nine and COVID protocol well observed in an expansive field. Obviously, the president didn’t raise his “level” above others because of possible infection. Nobody with a whiff of Coronavirus would have been allowed near him, not Aisha, his sweetheart (forget the public roforofo) not Yusuf, the heir apparent. He also looked much better, in appearance than two years before, when he was also “hoisted” in that gathering of worshippers. On both occasions, it was evident he could stand, but obviously couldn’t bend, even when COVID kept practically everybody indoors for more than 100 days, including the president. Some guys referenced his back alignment. May we enjoy old age in good health.
Undoubtedly, health-wise, God has been kind to the President since COVID. He practically bounces around these days and the warmth in his laughter is way soul-lifting than his economic policies and other initiatives, that have etched deep burrow of worries on the forehead of the Nigerian populace. It is gratifying the President is livelier, than he has ever been since he was helped into the Presidency seven years back. Incidentally, it is those who put the smile of victory in his mouth in 2015 and whose support, has been invaluable to his administration so far, even when his government is blatantly on the wrong side of common-sense, logic, facts, figures, history and posterity, that are now calling for war, over his desire to pick not just the presidential candidate of his party, but his successor, for Nigerians. Two things are stunning here. The President appears determined to keep some people out of the Presidency, using the play book of his former oga, who he has had an on-and-off relational with; Olusegun Obasanjo. There has been no denial of any sorts, even from the brash ex-President, that his Minna-boy, Ibrahim Babangida, practically enthroned him as President in 1999, completing the Miracle of Joseph; from Prison to Power, in the Ota farmer’s life. Eight years down the line, IBB felt OBJ owed him one and sent his ally, Kogi-born General David Jemibewon to Obasanjo, for the blessing of the outgoing leader, as his successor.
Unlike Buhari who is still playing coy, understandably so, with those he doesn’t want as a successor, Obasanjo pointedly told the emissary to tell IBB to forget being paid back for his 1998 “kindness”, with the Presidency. With media mogul, Raymond Dokpesi as the anchorman, Babangida ran a half-hearted presidential race in 2006, before throwing in the towel. Without Obasanjo, he knew he had no path to picking the PDP’s ticket which was the most viable then, to land Aso Rock.
Just like APC is the surest ticket to landing Aso Rock Villa today, despite the riotous performance of the party’s first attempt at governance. Buhari government is so delirious and deleterious in impact, that the nostalgia for a better yesterday, doesn’t even have to go beyond the PDP wasteful era.
The latter’s claim to self-redemption as a bargain for Nigerians to return it to power next year, has evaporated with the emergence of Atiku Abubakar as its presidential candidate. Jesus warned about putting a new wine in old wineskins. Atiku is an old wineskin, Divine wisdom says he isn’t fit for a new nation. Our collective amnesia is also second-to-none. Is the PTDF crime so quickly forgotten? What about other agencies under his care between 1999 and 2003? Yes, Olusegun Obasanjo is a bully. But how do you get a goat off the dinner yam, without a cane or even a rod.
Unlike Buhari, Obasanjo, once taken in by the conviction to make a president out of the Yar’Adua clan, he went all out with his choice. Just like Buhari feared now for his anointed, something sinister could have befallen Umaru then, but Obasanjo isn’t one to care. It shows the incumbent as a more careful fellow, though his anointed is gradually becoming a poorly-concealed secret as the D-day draws near, except the soldier in him, is still into the decoy business.
The President has also been running abroad, everytime he subtly tells his benefactors he isn’t game, in their succession drive, but he can’t hide forever, because a big fight awaits him, if he follows through with his desire for a consensus candidate with Buhari bona-fides. There would be a bigger fight if he succeeds in his “let-me-pick-my-man” agenda. Of course, he is likely to, even in a contested primary. What is now becoming a trademark ethnic-identity treachery of Aminu Tambuwal towards the South, is not an outlier. It runs the gamut of Northern political establishment. Despite the obvious advantage the Electoral Act has conferred on governors in contested primaries, the 14 APC governors from the North, won’t shame Muhammadu Buhari if his anointed would have to square it up on the field, with an angry benefactor.It won’t matter at this point, whether the President’s Man is from North or South. In fact, it would make the eight APC Southern Governors look bad, if the chosen one, is a Southerner, whether Igbo, Yoruba, Ijaw or Urhobo. Those 14 Northern Governors are Buhari’s footmen anyday, regardless of their associations elsewhere. If Buhari’s choice, which he appeared to have expressly communicated to the one they dubbed Wizard of Nasarawa, Adamu Abdullahi, is a Southerner, the eight Governors down South, will be in a bind, not supporting the fellow. The 14 States, not controlled by APC are bonus for the President. It is the delegate list that Adamu’s NWC accepts from each of them, that would be considered legit and the Supreme Court has “spoilt” everything as they say, with that deeply-flawed ruling in Jegede Vs Mimiko that political parties, are so covered jurisprudentially, that their wrongs can’t even be queried. Anyhow, the President wins.
(To be continued).
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