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I have a political theory regarding the office of the president of the federal republic of Nigeria.
Do you want to hear it?
Hypothesis 1: Anyone who deliberately sets his or her mind on becoming the president and actively pursues this goal will never become the president of Nigeria.
You may raise your eyebrows, what about Obasanjo in 2007 and Goodluck Jonathan in 2011?
Okay, let modify the hypothesis.
Modified Hypothesis: Anyone who deliberately sets his or mind on becoming the president of Nigeria and actively pursues this goal will never become the president UNLESS he is presently the incumbent.
Where is my evidence to back up this claim? Do I have any facts?
Do you like history? I like history, let’s take a look at history.
Documented records reveal that the second civilian president of Nigeria, Shehu Shagari initially wanted to be a senator. He had printed his campaign posters and was set to kick off the senatorial campaign when the “powers that be” decided that he should become the president of Nigeria. He was drafted into the presidential race in 1979 on the platform of NPN party and won the election with the backing of the powers that be.
The Premier of the western region, foremost nationalist and Yoruba sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo had a major ambition. His ambition was to become the president of Nigeria and he took many steps to achieve this. He contested the 1979 and 1983 presidential elections but failed. He was jailed on charges of plotting to overthrow the federal government before being released by General Gowon and subsequently made the minister of finance and vice president of the federal executive council. A quote attributed to him says “I wouldn’t mind being the president of Nigeria even if it is only for one day”. Based on the legacy of achievements he left behind in the western region, several analysts are of the opinion that Chief Awolowo was the best president Nigeria never had.
I dislike using the military regime as a reference point because military rule is power gotten from the barrel of the gun. It is abnormal, a usurpation of the people’s will. However for the benefit of this piece, general Obasanjo was reported to have broken down and wept when he was told that he had no choice as second in command but to take over the realms of affairs as military head of state following the assassination of his boss Murtala Mohammed on February 13 1976. He was unprepared and unwilling to take over power.
Millionaire, philanthropist, business mogul and politician Chief Moshood Abiola wanted to become president. He campaigned throughout the length and breadth of Nigeria and won the 1993 presidential elections in an unprecedented landslide scale but he was not allowed to rule, not even for one day! The gap toothed dictator and self styled military president General Ibrahim Babangida annulled the election. When Abiola took to the streets and declared himself president, he was arrested and incarcerated in jail. He died in controversial circumstances on the eve of his release on July 7, 1998.
Chief Ernest Shonekan was brought in by general Babangida who was under enormous pressure to step down. Chief Shonekan assumed office as President of Nigeria and head of the interim national government on 26 August 1993. The ink on the document proclaiming him as president wasn’t allowed to dry when he was rudely shoved aside after 90 days by the dark-googled one, General Sani Abacha who went on to unleash a dark reign of terror on Nigeria. He was about declaring himself as civilian president for life when he suddenly succumbed to the cold hands of death via rumoured Indian apples on June 8 1998.
A born again general Obasanjo, grateful to God for sparing his neck from Abacha’s hangman and eager to return to his Sango Ota farm to see his grand children was ferried out of prison by the “powers that be” in 1999 and imposed on the country as its democratically elected president on May 29, 1999. He is said to have asked the power brokers what they wanted from him, why they couldn’t allow an old man like him to retire in peace.
He got into power once again and was re-elected as incumbent president in 2007.
When Obasanjo aka “baba” decided that the power thing was too sweet and irresistible to let go after eight years, he set up a machinery to elongate his tenure by changing the constitution to create room for a third term. His third term bid was however foiled by the senate despite the huge “Ghana must go bags” that were distributed to lawmakers.
Late Umaru Musa Yaradua was heading to the lecture room to teach chemistry and to take care of his failing health after the expiration of his tenure at government house Katsina. He was accosted on the way by Obasanjo and cajoled into becoming president of Nigeria. Another colourless , drab and humble politician and governor Goodluck Jonathan, who had just won the Bayelsa state Pdp gubernatorial ticket was handpicked by baba and attached to Umaru Yaradua as his running mate. Both men were Obasanjo boys.
The two men were imposed on the country as President and vice president in one of the worst elections ever conducted in the African continent. Even the main beneficiary agreed later on that the election was a sham and instituted electoral reforms.
Unfortunately Umaru Yaradua’s health couldn’t withstand the rigours of his office. He died on 5th May 2010. The buckle of leadership fell upon a reluctant Goodluck Jonathan. Goodluck Jonathan served the remaining period of the term and contested and won the 2011 presidential election as an incumbent.
The rest is now history.
There are two categories of presidential aspirants in Nigeria. The first category includes those who contest the election to boost their profile. These ones want the appellation of “former presidential aspirant” to be added to their autobiography and biographies. E.g Reverend Chris okotie, Dele Momodu and their ilk.
The second category includes those who contest because they are interested in and genuinely want to effect a change. E.g Buhari, Atiku and their ilk.
Ex-military head of state, General Muhammad Buhari has been in the running for years to be the president of a democratic Nigeria but he keeps on being rejected at the polls. He heads to the Supreme court on each occasion and the final judgement is always unfavourable to him. He is presently in the 2015 presidential race on the platform of Apc.
There is a joke that prior to each election, Inec prints the General’s name on its ballot papers by default because they know that he will contest. There is another joke that he will be contesting in 2019 if 2015 is unfavourable to him.
Former vice president Atiku Abubakar has been eyeing the seat of the president but he keeps on meeting brickwalls in the party primaries whether in Pdp, Acn or in the present Apc. He is presently gearing up to slug it out with Buhari and company at the Apc presidential primaries this year.
For you to win presidential elections in Nigeria, you must observe one or more of the following pointers:
-You must set your mind on contesting for a lower office and when the powers that be pick you, you must reluctant and have to be cajoled to run for the presidency.
– You must have the full backing and must be imposed by the powers that be.
-You must simply be lucky and fortunate to find yourself in the right place and at the right time e.g Goodluck Jonathan.
-You must have the power of incumbency ie you must be presently holding the office and seeking for a second term.
The “powers that be” are said to be an exclusive group of elites headed by a former military head of state and has as its members; retired military generals, top class traditional rulers from a section of the country, business moguls & billionaires. This group or “cabal” as used in national discuss has links with a secret service agency of a western Nation.
To be recognized by the powers that be as a potential presidential candidate, you must be colourless, soft spoken & willing to carry out directives to the letter.
All things being equal, my political theory postulates that Buhari will never be president in 2015, Atiku will never be president in 2015, Kwakwanso will never be president in 2015. The man that will be giving the inauguration address at Eagle square, Abuja on 29th May 2015 will be wearing a Niger Delta attire with a bowler hat on his head.
-Iniobong Umoh is a multi contextual writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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