*The Hand Of God*
*– And Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Vice*
By Chief Akintayo Akin-Deko
I differ somewhat from the Clausewitzian postulation that war is politics by other means. This is because it makes more sense to see politics as the ultimate motherboard of which war – both cold and hot -, like diplomacy and trade, is simply an integral part. Properly played, the game of politics means that an interest group can eventually achieve its goals without deteriorating to violence or firing a single shot in anger. It’s all simply a question of strategy.
This applies just as much to Nigeria as it does to all other modern democracies. There is a set of rules encoded in the Constitution and Laws no matter how abhorrent to any section of the country that guide proceedings. There is also historical precedence and various interests with which to contend until success or bankruptcy.
This is the challenge currently facing Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the search for a Vice Presidential running mate that will add value to the APC ticket in the prevailing circumstances of Nigeria’s fractured society and weak electoral system. It would indeed be a repeat of the historical MKO/Kingibe HOPE 1993 ticket was it not for the fact that Nigeria has since deteriorated economically, the state is fast failing and corruption is worse. In addition, the population is far more impoverished, less tolerant and, just as womenfolk are demanding a bigger say, so is an army of unemployed youth spoiling for a showdown.
It may therefore require political dexterity well beyond BAT’s 30 or so years experience in politics. It certainly needs more than blogging, intellectual pontification, sycophancy and wishful thinking to help APC navigate the complex political waters to find BAT a VP that will balance his Muslim, Yoruba SW, male status, and garner maximum net additional votes for APC.
It is noteworthy that I am dwelling more on the Tinubu/APC rather than the Atiku/PDP search for a VP because the latter fits conveniently into the Northern Muslim/Southern Christian scenario of Nigerian politics since independence
Amongst the options facing BAT is the Muslim-Muslim religious ticket, which is mostly in demand amongst Muslims and northern politicians, a ticket which most Christian and southern politicians strenuously oppose. For the conservative Hausa-Fulani in the NW zone, a Muslim-Muslim ticket is the safest way under a Tinubu presidency to secure their perceived political heritage that many believe was bequeathed to them by the British colonial overlords of Nigeria.
Indeed, ever since Independence in 1960 there has hardly ever been a stable federal government of Nigeria without a Hausa-Fulani (or their nominee) as president or his vice.
But under President Buhari (2015 to date) and his politically inept cabal, the Caliphate-led NW zone has suffered the most from Nigeria’s economic meltdown, terrorism, banditry and unemployment, which has created a river of refugees, most of them heading southward.
Lacking the gift of late Sir Ahmadu Bello, whose One North policy forged most of the northern region into a monolithic political block during the 1950/60s, the political union that centred around the northern conservatives appears to be unravelling.
Consequently many ethnic groups in the north are now regrouping around their ethnic roots in search of succor and self-defense against terrorists from the north.
A northern Muslim as Tinubu’s vice would no doubt reassure the largely Muslim population of NW Nigeria, which has the highest voter population of the country. BUT it would implacably alienate Nigeria’s Christians and southern politicians who, if they vote as a block, far outnumber the NW and are also vital to best ensure tge spread of votes that the electoral rules demand for victory.
Then there is the Financial VP. Nigerian politics is today highly monetized as evidenced by the astronomical fees the parties charged for their 2022/3 Nomination Forms and the widespread allegations of buying delegates during the primaries. In all likelihood, the aspirants would have depleted their financial war chests to win the primaries. Meanwhile the campaign and general elections will need the recruitment and deployment of party agents and perhaps some element of voter inducement, which will all still need to be financed. This is a burden that a financially will-heeled Vice would be able to help carry.
Then there is the Gubernatorial VP. The governors in both parties control the party structure in their respective states. They also largely controlled the delegates that voted at the primaries and in the APC thereby contributed firsthand to Tinubu’s emergence as the presidential candidate. Governors can thus claim the right of first refusal for the VP ticket to come from their ranks. Especially as it is these same governors that will be deploying their state resources and party structure to win the presidential elections for the party.
While many of them are Muslims, they are more sensitive to the need for nation building through rotation and balancing the presidential ticket. But while they can probably be persuaded to rise above religious and ethnic sentiment, in the APC, the northern governors will be at the risk of losing their followership especially if the Atiku/PDP ticket fits the more primordial outlook of the majority of voters in their states.
Meanwhile, can a woman win the VP ticket in either party?
Sadly, this is still a resounding No, not even for Atiku/PDP, which already has a northern male Muslim as president. But especially not for Tinubu, who wants to woo and appease northern Muslim voters of whom the vast majority will not accept a woman as leader over menfolk. Certainly not where rumour persists about the precarious state of BAT’s health with the likelihood that his VP could very easily have to take over as president.
Who BAT chooses as his vice is entirely up to BAT. For the Nigerian nationalist and the more moderate pro-secessionist groups in ALL the six zones, the answer is not just bunkering down in prayer. It’s a question of shining eyes and assessing which of the presidential candidates and his vice has a good chance of winning the elections, and can be trusted to usher in genuine change.
This is despite the fact that all the leading candidates are products of the same corrupt system that has destroyed the fabric of our society and put the economy in a tailspin. Probably the best way to do this is to review their track records, study their manifestos and, above all, see the quality of men and women surrounding them and/or promoting their candidacy.
Their manifesto must define the parameters of the Restructuring that will restore good governance, accelerate regional development and initiate the National Conference where the steps to achieve can be agreed.
It shall be well with Nigeria