ATIKU-OBI OR ATIKU-ANYIM IS THE STRATEGIC PATHWAY TO ASO ROCK FOR PDP – Part 1

HE Atiku Abubakar
HE Peter Obi
Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim
HE Bola Tinubu

I watch sociopolitical events the way some watch movies. The only difference is that I continously update events and combine them with historical pieces of information to actively attempt to predict the next set of events.

The best place for sociopolitical movies/reality  shows that would interest you is Nigeria because 2023 general elections are approaching.

Nigeria is the most populous African country and the largest economy in Africa and the most talented pool of the black race. But there is a serious ‘but’ with the lovable country. The country has been unfortunate with visionary leadership; and we know that everything rises and falls on leadership. Many Nigerians, myself included, believe that 2023 General Election is a historical moment and an uncommon chance for Nigerians to vote in people who can begin to cause fundamental shifts towards nationhood and strategic national developments. The world is waiting for Nigeria.

From the moment President Mohammadu Buhari signed the 2022 Electoral act into law, thanks to him by the way, there was a boost in kinetic energy within political parties. Those who were yet to declare declared; and those who have declared, took their declaration few steps further.

At party level, I have been watching how APC is carefully trying to navigate through the March 26 convention in order to remain intact afterwards. For me, avoiding a cataclysmic implosion as an outcome will be a success in itself for APC towards 2023.

For PDP, they have crossed a milestone of convention but the party is faced with a strategic choice problem that could also lead to implosion or poor performance in 2023. PDP is more likely to implode compared to APC based on the problems both are facing. The reason PDP’s implosion is more likely is that it will leave many with no hope, if the risks crystallised. Hopelessness demotivates and cause people to seek alternatives in Nigerian political space. His Lordship may have used the case of Gov. David Umahi to inform the political class that the Judiciary would not like to become babysitters for political casualties of 2023, but Nigerian politicians could be daring. Think of this, whereas, an APC member would likely stay within APC to fight political battles with hope that half bread will be better than chinchin, implosion in PDP could lead to tendency to settle in a more likely greener pasture (APC) or remain in PDP with lesser commitments and loyalty. This could be as devastating as outright implosion.

Emotions are more influential than facts in political decisions in Nigeria. Issues such as tribe, religion,  zoning, will be more relevant than competency, health status and track records. This brings me to the topic of today. That is, the need for PDP to consider supporting ATIKU-OBI or ATIKU-ANYIM ticket. The South Eastern Nigeria factor can be downplayed by many but it cannot be ignored completely. Mettink that South East should be given a stake and not promises in 2023, to level up the political landscape. The least that can be given to them is a Vice-President. APC will likely choose HE Tinubu as APC flag-bearer to keep South West intact. Thus, Vice should go to North.  There might be consequences for APC if they did not give HE Tinubu the ticket. But, it appears that HE Tinubu has aged more than his counterpart, HE Atiku. I hope he is fit healthwise as the problems for the next president will be quite demanding. Buhari has grace that should not be underestimated. Nobody else can be given such level of tolerance extended to him by Nigerians. In the heat of the debate, Atiku would likely edge out Tinubu under a fair play based on their recent articulations of issues. In a different development, acting as heir apparent for their parties, they have  started flexing financial muscles. Money matters in politics everywhere, and how much more in Nigeria. Tinubu donated N50million to IDP, Atiku donated N50 million to IDP. As far as Nigerians are concerned, both are rich and old and powerful. Perhaps, the most difficult decision APC would strugle with is finding corresponding matches for  potential PDP candidates. Nigerians are watching to see how serious they are as a party. For Instance, under fair play, APC will struggle to get a match for OBI and ANYIM if both APC and PDP zones presidency to South East.

If PDP blesses, ATIKU-OBI or ATIKU-ANYIM, this will likely give them a more wider acceptance to Nigerians. Tribalism is of strategic relevance in Nigerian politics. Northern Nigeria will always vote their own regardless of party affiliation. This is the major risk for HE Tinubu if HE Atiku picks the PDP ticket. However, there is a growing sentiment that the Igbos deserve a chance but there is also a deliberate manipulation of public opinion to downplay this widely held sentiment across Nigeria. Most Nigerians believe that the Igbos are committed to Nigeria and they have proven acceptance of Nigeria in that they are everywhere across Nigeria contributing to the development of the communities where they reside, and by extension,  to Nigeria. But, when it comes to allowing an Igbo presidency so that he/she can deploy the  entrepreneurship and ingenuity of Ndi Igbo, many Nigerians would change the topic or give one or two excuses why the Igbos should forget about the presidency.

I followed the consultation for HE Atiku  by Dr Raymond Dokpesi & team, particularly in Southeast. SE leaders were very plain with him that it was time for Igbo presidency. But, let’s face it, the Igbos should re-enter Nigerian politics gradually and not suddenly as many are still stuck in the memory of the Biafran war. Not on the part of the Igbos, but on the part of most other Nigerians. This could have influenced President Buhari’s dispositions towards SE because he was a player in the civil war, and considering his comments on issues about SE and the historical Biafra. Yet, the Igbos are very much interested in a fair and equitable Nigeria in which they can pursue their dreams and aspirations. Most younger generation thinks that the next alternative is Biafra, which is a major national concern with regional impacts.

As of it, for the Igbos, the gradual process of re-entering the consciousness of many Nigerians would be ATIKU-OBI or ATIKU-ANYIM for 8 years. This might make many Nigerians psychologically amenable to Igbo presidency in the future. Most likely, the new electoral law may cause merits and competency to begin to matter in Nigeria if the Constitutional ammendments further expand the space for nation-building. This may imply that in the next 20 years, post 2023, Igbos could have realised Igbo presidency. Come to think of it, the Igbos do not really need to be president or vice to thrive in Nigeria or across the globe if not that Nigerian politics was too tribalistic. It would be in the best interest of Nigeria to feature Igbo presidency to show that Igbos are accepted in Nigeria. Nigeria can never progress if majority of Nigerians treat the Igbos with “they can go to hell attitude”. Modern societies thrive on equity, diversity and inclusion  and it appears this should be of strategic interest to Ndigbo. Atiku appears to be merit-driven as Obasanjo-Atiku era appeared more accommodating for the Igbos compared to whatever APC has offered and may possibly offer post 2023. Again, it is not about the number 1 seat, there are other significant positions that Igbos can occupy in the meantime. It is not clear yet if HE Tinubu plans to accommodate the Igbos but he  appears to be very careful not to risk his chances by sounding too accommodating, although I think he could be better than President Buhari regarding making the Igbos have a feeling of belonging to Nigeria. On the other hand, Atiku is unequivocal on the Igbo question and may be more compelled to acknowledge any compromise of the Igbos for him.

There is still a risk of boycotting 2023 elections in Southeast. Many Nigerians do not know  that there is a strick lockdown in most part of SE on Mondays. The risk has increased with the continuous detention of the IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. Every Monday, people stay at home, whether willingly or out of fear. I fear that if for any reason IPOB asks people to sit at home, the best that can be realised in SE might be 30-40% voters turnout, if massive security is deployed. But security might be stretched during general elections. Sit-at-home will be bad for PDP that should leverage SE. If Tinubu emerges as the APC flag-bearer, he will leverage SW. However,  like I stated earlier, IPOB may be more inclined to sit-at-home if they believe that there is no stake for the Igbos in 2023 elections. Recall that IPOB called off sit-at-home order during Anambra state governorship Election (which produced Prof. Chukwuma Soludo) after persuasions and of course because what was at stake was not having people’s choice as governor in Anambra state. Nonetheless, the difference between that sit-at-home and possible sit-at-home in 2023 is that security will be stretched due to deployments across the nation. Based on classical conditioning, many might sit at home if asked to and this could affect participation in SE, if Mazi Nnamdi Kanu remained in custody during election.

From the foregoing considerations and analysis, it appears that it would make a strategic sense for PDP to feature ATIKU-OBI or ATIKU-ANYIM to achieve national integration,  inclusivity, stability and security and a better chance to win. If PDP fails to feature either of these tickets,  and say feature  others such as Wike, Tambuwal, or Saraki, etc. The argument that the power should shift to South would have favoured HE Tinubu as SE may align with Tinubu. The argument that PDP rotation is internal is illogical because party politics is still evolving in Nigeria. Tribal and regional politics are more serious factors than logical and evidence-based debates on social issues. Again, arguments that Nigerians would prefer younger candidates than HE Tinubu might collapse by the time money politics and APC propaganda are fully activated.

Like I stated earlier, I watch Nigerian politics as Soap and it would be quite interesting to watch. I look forward to seeing how things would still workout the way I didn’t expect. I am open to evolution of events. It will be fun to see.

I want to see what happens if HE Tinubu did not get APC ticket. I want to see how Gov. Wike can edge out HE Atiku.

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