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The road to 2027: Can the north stop President Tinubu? (II)

The road to 2027: Can the north stop President Tinubu? (II)
April 02
07:30 2024

All around the country, there are misgivings about the Tinubu administration especially regarding the effects of its economic policies. Nowhere are these misgivings felt more than in the northern part of the country.

In the throes of rising poverty, the north is also gripped by insecurity manifested by banditry and kidnapping right across the region rendering many parts inaccessible and ungovernable.

Within the past 10 months of the Tinubu administration, the north has also grown to feel disappointed with developments in the polity. The north rightly claims it was its votes that resulted in Tinubu’s victory, but there is a feeling right across the region that in appointments and resource allocations President Tinubu has favoured his south-west much more. But what seems more alarming to the north is the observation that under the Tinubu administration, there seems to be a subtle but sure move to shunt the north from the centre of Nigerian politics where it had always held sway.

All this taken together has engendered a sense of acute disappointment and regret at President Tinubu resulting in a parting of ways with him among a majority of northerners. Indeed if elections were to be held today in the country fairly and squarely, President Tinubu may likely lose his deposit in the north.


But as we all know, electoral victories are determined not necessarily by the disappointment and anger of the electorates over a candidate. Other variables such as the deployment of money to influence the outcomes of elections have become even more significant. And that is where President Tinubu holds the trump card.

So if the north feels disappointed in President Tinubu and wants no part of him in 2027, what can it possibly do and more importantly how can it get the elephant out of the room?

The first order of things is for the north to take a look at itself.  Chinese military strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu said: “If you know your strengths and weaknesses as well as you know the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent, you will never fear the results of a thousand battles with him”. From his political moves, President Tinubu seemed to be guided by the lessons of this time-honoured observation on strategy by the Chinese sage.


But what about the north?

The north sure knows its strengths in population, land mass, and as a huge vote farm with strong political links which it had regularly and consistently deployed to winning effect in the Nigerian political landscape and for which it is always coveted by candidates from other regions.

But is the north aware too that it has glaring debilitating weaknesses which can overwhelm its strength and weaken its abilities to hold its place in national politics?

On this, the north has been living in denial but it cannot hide the reality of its present situation. With its intractable multidimensional challenges, the north presents a weak, ripe and tempting picture for a determined political strategist like Tinubu to railroad over it politically on the road to 2027 and even beyond.


To be honest, the north is no longer the cohesive political factor it used to be. In addition to banditry, kidnapping and poverty, the north has over the years been the scene of great, big bleeding batches of inter and intra-communal, sectarian crises rupturing the tensile political fabric of the region. There are sections of the north that do not want to belong to the same political party as other northerners and less even with any overarching northern political project. There are sections and groups in the north who have come to detach themselves from any political or social project in the north for the justifiable reason that the north no longer functions as an inclusive political entity for all northerners. Such people believe the north is now captive to exclusive interests and are using it in an opportunistic way for their advancement.

It must be stated that most of what constitutes the present identified weakness in the north, is self-inflicted and nobody but northerners themselves must resolve the issues openly, realistically and constructively.

If the northern political establishment senses the existential danger President Tinubu poses to its political space in Nigeria and wants to stop him in 2027, then they must first go back to the drawing board on those factors bedevilling the region. The pertinent questions the north must address are how come the north cannot solve the challenges of banditry, kidnapping and insurgency in the region? Why is the north so content with poverty, underdevelopment and vast inequalities? Why do some northerners feel they are more northern than others? Why even as recently as a couple of weeks ago the north could not defend one of its outspoken senators who was suspended in a vote in the Senate that northern senators actively voted in favour of?

The north going into a political battle with all the existential baggage against a grand political icon like President Tinubu will be like going to war with one arm and leg tied in a complex and challenging political battlefield.


In addition to the above factors, the north must also come up with a strong and well-supported candidate across the board, a commensurate political platform spread across the country, and lots of money to prosecute the project.

But what chances can the north muster all of these in the epic political confrontation with President Tinubu and hope to win?


As it is now, no candidate of commensurate status and strength can match President Tinubu in the 2027 game. The Atikus, Kwankwasos, El-Rufais, Bala Kauras and Zulums are formidable in their rights, but Tinubu, for many reasons, is miles ahead of them politically.

As for platforms, whatever the north can bring up will have to contend with the octopoid political tentacles of the Asiwaju Political Holdings (APH) in the Nigerian political space. The ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) is a no-go area for the probable northern political counterattack. And in the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), the APH will have by arrangement agents to block any northerner from emerging as a presidential candidate. In the run-up to 2027, the Asiwaju Political Holding will work overtime to ensure that other political parties are not in a position to offer any northerner their presidential ticket.


Money will be the oil to lubricate the 2027 project on both sides. But for any amount of money the northern political project will muster, the Asiwaju Political Holding will triple, even quadruple it. The media, political parties and indeed all institutions relevant to the 2027 elections will be deployed to deliver Tinubu.

President Tinubu is no slouch. He will not be like President Goodluck Jonathan who trembled at the first political skirmish and dropped the ball in 2015. Tinubu will surely run in 2027 and he will seek to win by all means at his disposal. I do not sense or see the north in its present circumstances mounting any realistic and successful challenge against President Tinubu in 2027. And in the likely event of this, he will proceed to dismantle northern political power and dominance in Nigerian politics. The north can be sure of that.


The north handed President Tinubu the mandate in 2023 on a platter of gold based largely on sentiments and without critical assessment. And now that the north has lost the plot lock, stock and barrel, it must learn to live with the consequences of what it wrought by its own hands.


Gadu can be reached via [email protected] or 08035355706 (texts only).

Views expressed by contributors are strictly personal and not of TheCable.

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