By Odilim Enwegbara
President Herbert Hoover did not cause the Great Depression. But his sin was that rather than his policies bringing it to an end — or at least bringing it under control — his policies indeed worsened the whole situation. Even knowing fully well that the fact on the ground couldn’t lie, President Hoover preferred to engage in self-deception and false optimism, accusing his predecessor to be responsible for the economic menace. In the meantime, believed that come November 1932 he would be winning landslide.
However, Hoover lost big simply because his arrogant mindset blinded him from seeing the reality on the ground, not to mention caring to come up with how to reduce the widespread poverty, anger and hunger in America which were obvious and unprecedented throughout his four years as president.
Today, these same events are repeating themselves in our young democracy, where a former military dictator who having run in 2003, 2007, and 2011 without success, got elected in 2015 on a platter of gold thanks to PDP’s mistake of fielding President Jonathan for reelection, notwithstanding his agreement with the country’s Northern politicians in 2011 that should he win in 2011, he would never seek a reelection in 2015.
But with Buhari as president, everything that could go wrong with a government is going wrong with this administration. Even though everything that should go wrong has embarrassingly gone wrong in Nigeria since 2015 under his watch, the same way the handlers of Hoover never allowed him to see how bad things were, President Buhari’s handlers have preferred to falsely construct a prosperous Nigeria and made sure the President is never allowed to know the truth, including the incredible herdsmen menace, who have turned the whole country into a killing ground and have been doing so with such unbelievable impunity.
Their impunity has gone so far that one of the respected military veterans of this country, General T.Y. Danjuma, had to openly ask Nigerians to carry arms in order to defend and protect themselves since their elected government has failed to defend them from the hands of the murderous herdsmen.
Truly security has never been this bad. The senseless killings of innocent Nigerians have now got to the level that citizens across the country are now resorting to self-help in order to secure their lives and property.
While these mistakes go on, members of the Buhari administration seem to prefer shooting themselves in the foot. But unknown to them, each time they shoot themselves in the foot, they end up increasing the chances of PDP’s landslide victory come 2019. Knowingly or unknowingly, the APC is handing to the PDP victory on a platter of gold,
While members of APC out of fear of the presidency seem not to be publicly alarmed, what this has translated to is that knowingly or unknowingly they are by this, giving on the same platter of gold handing PDP victory in 2019, a repeat of how PDP handed Buhari victory in 2015.
Thanks to the fact that this time around, the presidential candidates of the two major parties are both Northerners, the chances of the repeat of Northern election protest in 2015 against a Southern presidential candidate remains non-existent.
Since this is the inevitable truth, the 2019 electoral map will radically change from what it was in 2015. What this immediately tells us is that it is the southern electorate, not the northern electorate, who will determine the northern presidential candidate who will become president-elect in February 2019.
This is not to say that either northern or southern electorate alone have the electoral power to determine the president of Nigeria because if it has ever been possible Buhari wouldn’t have repeatedly lost in 2003, 2007 or 2011.
Given the above analysis along with the present economic and security menace Nigerians have been subjected to since Buhari became president, the irreversible truth is with Buhari unacceptable, certainly he has become unelectable in 2019.
What the changing electoral map is revealing to us is that should PDP field presidential material like Atiku Abubakar, certainly PDP would have been cruising to retaking power from APC; with lessons learned to never again take the interest of the Nigerian electorate for granted.
To see how Atiku will defeat Buhari in landslide victory in February 2019 the same way Roosevelt defeated Hoover in landslide victory in November 1932, here is what the new electoral map will look like in the 2019 presidential election.
Let us start with Buhari’s main base, Kano State. As it seems, Obasanjo is all out to field Rabiu Kwankwaso. If and when this happens, certainly his SDP-led Coalition will make Buhari and Kwankwaso fight over Kano.
This battle could possibly be extended to Jigawa and Zamfara. Should their popularity be tested, it is likely that Kwankwaso’s popularity in these core Northern states, Buhari will divide electoral base into a 50-50. There’s the likelihood that Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, might give his full support to Kwankwaso, the man who made him Emir.
The fear here is that, should Kwankwaso get 50% of Kano – or even 40% votes – Buhari will be seriously in trouble. Why? It’s obvious that as a result of protest votes, the States of Taraba, Plateau, (Southern) Kaduna, Benue, Kogi, Nassarawa, Kwara, Abuja, and possibly Adamawa — along with Shiite Muslims across the North — Atiku’s landslide victory is assured.
Why I’m so certain? A close look at how the whole electorate in Middle Belt Northern States will vote reveals that. If anyone is still in doubt that as high as 80% of their votes will be handed to Atiku in protest then one is yet to recognize the anger and frustration across these States, and why their determination to vote for him given how his cosmopolitan and religious moderation has earned him the kind leadership personality these Nigerians are crying for today.
But if the electorate of Middle Belt States are this angry and fully determined to sack Buhari come 2019, you better wait and see how the whole Southeastern electorate will vote in full protest to ensure that never again should politicians with Buhari’s kind of arrogance and insensitivity to ethnic group feelings be allowed to become the supposed president of all Nigerians. No doubt Southeast electorate will give Atiku as high as 95% of their votes.
And for boldly insisting that the country is in need of restructuring with the return to the pre-1966 fiscal federalism, because 100% will be impossible, with the possible exception of Edo State, surely Atiku will be getting as high as 90% of all South South votes especially because of his support for restructuring and the possible return of the Nigeria to its pre-1966 fiscal federalism.
While some 2019 presidential election watchers might wrongly believe that PDP would have difficulty wining in Southwest, here are some of the new electoral map surprises they have not fully considered, starting with Lagos State.
First, Lagos will be won by Atiku. How and why? Since Lagos electoral map shows 40% of Southeastern and as high as over 15% of other non-Southwestern voters, when added with as high as 50% of Southwestern voters who have been so disappointed with Buhari’s leadership style, certainly Atiku will be getting at least 55% of the entire Lagos electorate’s votes. That will be terrible news for Buhari and Tinubu.
Yes, Buhari is likely to win the States of Oyo, Ogun; the States of Osun, Ekiti and Ondo will be voting for Atiku, who they will be voting for in protest against the president’s nonchalant attitude towards herdsmen killings across the country. This, they will do, in solidarity with the Middle Belt States where most of killings occurred ending in full destruction of both lives and farmlands.
Besides, what goes for Atiku is his great business and entrepreneurial successes. The difference between Atiku and Buhari grows miles apart, considering who between them has what it takes to run Nigeria efficiently as a successful business. Here Atiku remains in Roosevelt’s class, while Buhari’s lack of understanding of how to run a country as a business keeps Buhari in Hoover’s class.
Because Atiku will hire and appoint the best and brightest Nigerians not minding their political, ethnic or religious affiliation, there is no way an Atiku cabinet will have the like of the present finance minister or allow one politician no matter how he has helped his campaign to be in charge of three important ministries like power, works, and housing.
Like the same way Roosevelt appointed America’s best, practical and commonsense public policy geniuses like Henry Morgenthau Jr. who notwithstanding lacking elementary knowledge of economics was appointed Treasury Secretary and Marriner Stoddard Eccles a high school dropout as the Federal Reserve Chairman (US Central Bank Governor), an Atiku Abubakar presidency will eventually look for Nigerians gifted not on the basis of best academic certification, but who are exceptionally talented to help his administration through the difficulty of putting Nigeria on the industrial map.
Like how Deng transformed the provincial economy of China into the world’s ever best in growth figures with more than half a billion Chinese joining the middle class and over 600 million of China’s 1.4 billion people, with his big dream for Nigeria Atiku will make Nigeria’s economy to be growing at as high as 12% with equally as high as 5 million Nigerians getting some good paying jobs annually.
In politics where tribalism earns politicians elections and re-elections, Atiku stands out among his peers. And why shouldn’t he, especially, having married from the North, Southwest and Southeast?
If in 2003, 2007, and 2011 Buhari won most of the core Northern States but still never won the presidency, is it now that he will win a reelection at a time his once Northern political base has been fully fragmented due to his looking the other way while the North, like the South was burning? So, the same core Northern electorate who failed to elect him president in 2003, 2007, and 2011, will come, February 2019, fail to make him president.
The fact that most powerful Northerners are not publicly opposing Buhari is simply because they are afraid of persecution given how Buhari’s powerful army of religious and ethnic followers wouldn’t hesitate to go after any of them wanting to publicly oppose him politically.
For those who have been insisting that Atiku’s chances are slim given what has become the Obasanjo factor, I’ve often wondered why most Nigerians have always given too much attention to such a thing that hardly exist. That’s why I have always demanded to see that magic power former President Obasanjo has that makes him to have the unique power to reverse or annul the votes of majority of Nigerians. Of course, Obasanjo knows well that his so-called SDP-led Coalition is already dead on arrival.
It is true that as a very close friend of Washington, Obasanjo has the ears of some powerful US establishment, thanks to his being there since 1985, and above all for having during his 8 years as Nigeria’s post-military civilian president given a lot of favours to some of them using our oil. But, then, the truth remains that no matter what, the election of Nigeria’s president is a constitutional power only Nigerians have and will always exercise.
Those know what has been happening between Obasanjo and Atiku know that it all started in 2003 when it was alleged that Obasanjo had to kneel down to Atiku while begging him not to run for the presidency. So, it is all about political differences which I’m not sure we will be interested in here.
That’s also what metamorphosed into all kinds of unfounded lies about Atiku, including the so-called Atiku being wanted in America. This fabricated falsehood by Obasanjo and his paid mischief makers even without substance has been so recycled that it’s time to dump it in the dustbin where it permanently belongs.
I say so knowing who Obasanjo is, a vindictive man, who will never stop at anything once he feels to be hurt by someone. Wise men are wise because they know that in life one must always forgive so as to be free from burden of always feeling hurt.
I will certainly insist that America cannot bring non-existent charges because Obasanjo wants to humiliate Atiku. This is because Washington cannot falsely charge Atiku, especially when Washington has too many important things to preoccupy itself than wanting to please one of its boys, Obasanjo. In fact, were there truly anything out there to implicate Atiku, Obasanjo would have gone to the extent of spending millions of dollars to sponsor such implicating charges so as to expose and humiliate Atiku.
That Atiku should visit America so as to shame those insisting that he cannot visit America without risking being picked up is like when Satan asked Jesus if he says he’s the son of God why shouldn’t he save himself. Jesus should have proved Satan wrong by demonstrating his power, which would have amounted to bringing himself to the level of Satan.
As someone who was privileged to have out of curiosity participated in the International Security Studies at MIT, and as a result, discovered how ferociously the US goes after those foreign leaders who committed crimes in the US — including leaders like Manuel Noriega — I can authoritatively state that there were no such serious charges against Atiku, because if there were, the US would have gone after Atiku if not in Nigeria, they would have picked him up anywhere in the world, particularly in western countries like the UK, where Atiku visits a lot. But let me ask: Since when has freely visiting the US become one of the constitutional requirements for contesting for the presidency of Nigeria?
Enwegbara is an Abuja based development economist and writer