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Tinubu, Muslim-Muslim ticket and APC’s all shades of wrong

Tinubu, Muslim-Muslim ticket and APC’s all shades of wrong
August 16
15:14 2022

BY ISRAEL OJOKO

While I try to make this as objective as possible, I hope I am not misunderstood, but if I am, nothing spoil. If the presidential election in Nigeria is conducted today, the winner will be either Peter Obi, Atiku Abubakar, or Bola Ahmed Tinubu. No one expected Obi to be in that picture, or Tinubu to be ranked in the same category as others, but as time passes, things are changing, the many mistakes the All Progressives Congress have made and are still making, are watering down their chances, and making others, especially Obi, stronger.

No one can beat their chest to say this particular candidate will win hands down if the polls are held today. This, which was not the case about three months ago, is actually a red flag for the former Lagos state governor. He is the candidate of the ruling party that he himself helped to unseat the opposition Peoples Democratic Party’s Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.

It took many years of strategic plans, consultations, structural alignment, and lots more to bring to an end a 16-year reign of PDP. It wasn’t an easy task at all. Politicians defected and re-defected, political parties collapsed, some merged to adopt a new name, and others never showed up again as new ones sprung up only to disappear into the thin air right after the elections.

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After many years of studying the political space, amplifying the weaknesses of the PDP, and planning a takeover, APC formed a strong alliance, presented Muhammadu Buhari as a presidential candidate after he himself had failed many elections, sold him to the electorates, he contested election again and won for the first time in 2015.

Before the 2015 election, a lot had happened in Nigeria, we had several industrial actions, fuel price increases, strikes, inflation, bad government decisions, and the mother of all was the Occupy Nigeria protest which grounded the whole sector of the economy for almost two weeks. Most Nigerians from all walks of life, from every religion, irrespective of their tribes, age, or belief wanted Jonathan gone, they were tired of his inability to control his cabinet and take charge of his government. The suffering became unbearable and the petroleum subsidy removal announcement on January 1, 2012, was the last straw. Though he tried to mend fences, the minds of the public were made already. They wanted anybody except Jonathan, though they are now suffering that bad decision.

The fact that Tinubu could be sharing equal votes or even a lesser number if the election was conducted today, is a major setback for the APC. This is a party that already has structure, APC has 22 governors, and out of Nigeria’s 36 states, it has the majority of the national assembly members, this is a formidable setup that was not built in a day, and expectedly should not be easily defeated. But most of the decisions the party has taken right from the primary, have been detrimental to their ambition of retaining power. All shades of wrong.

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APC had a better candidate in Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who could by now be coasting home to victory with huge supporters. Osinbajo has what it takes to match other opponents toe to toe, campaign for a campaign, social media for social media, youth for youth, ideas for ideas, figures for figures, strengths for strengths. Many supporters who have swayed to the Obidients camp today were mostly lovers of Osinbajo, they would have canvassed support for him. APC’s sins would have been forgiven and the pains brought by Buhari would have found relief if only Osinbajo had emerged as the presidential candidate of the party.

The huge fanbase Peter Obi is getting effortlessly right now would have been shared or divided among APC and Osinbajo, and being a ruling party, the VP has an edge.

But Tinubu desperately rattled the ticket from everyone in a commando-like manner, forcing the party to make their first mistake. Why Tinubu’s choice was a mistake is not hidden. Just like the Occupy Nigeria protest during the era of Jonathan, Tinubu lost huge support following the Lekki Tollgate shooting in October 2020. Many Lagosians believed and still nurse the belief that Tinubu was desperate to ensure the daily toll fare being collected was not hindered by any means. They believe that Tinubu is insensitive to human lives, they believe he put pressure on governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu who as the chief security officer of the state, ordered the military to do the needful as long as it will force protesters to leave the toll gate. All shades of wrong.

Lagosians have not forgotten the many lives that were lost at the Lekki Tollgate and worst still is a government that has refused to take responsibility.

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Tinubu’s health is also a major concern for Nigerians, most people believe his true age is still debatable. But most importantly, the people want a younger, healthier, and stronger president. I don’t blame them, they don’t want a repeat of their bad experience with the present administration. Buhari, during his first tenure, spent 200 days in the United Kingdom where he went for medical treatment. While he was away, Buhari’s government was hijacked by the “cabals” who called the shots because he did not transfer power to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Before Buhari, there was late President Umar Yar’dua, who also did not transfer power to his deputy Goodluck Jonathan despite suffering from a heart condition, acute pericarditis, and also had chronic kidney ailment which forced him to Saudi Arabia for three months to seek medical treatment. While he was away, Yar’dua became incapacitated and the nation was on the brink of a constitutional crisis that threatened to paralyze the government. He later died and Jonathan was sworn in.

This is why the populace is taking the issue of health very seriously. Nigeria’s population is made up of majorly the youth, young people between the ages of 18 and 45. This population does not want a 70-year-old man to lead them, they believe they deserve somebody they can relate with.

This is why the support is growing towards Peter Obi, not because he is a saviour, far from it, but because APC has continued to get things wrong out of the desperation of one man who has refused to listen to the plight of the people who he hopes to get their votes.

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What about the Muslim Muslim ticket? Another shade of wrong. In a religiously sensitive society like Nigeria, you do not disregard other faiths, you’re heading for doom if you do. Nigeria is mostly divided between Muslims and Christians, you must respect people’s faith. If it doesn’t matter, why didn’t Tinubu pick a south-west – south-west ticket? He could have picked a Lagosian like Babatunde Fashola as his running mate. So if ethnicity matters, then religion matters to Nigerians too.

Nigerian youth of today want to be proud of their president, not someone when they see on TV, they feel ashamed. The youth’s perception is that Tinubu is old, weak, and lacks the required health to manage the rigours of the office of a Nigerian president. The burden may be too much for his age and this could lead to a collapse of the government and more hardship for the people.

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The choice of a Muslim-Muslim ticket has been widely condemned by many. Former secretary to the government of the federation, Babachir Lawal, has been kicking against Tinubu’s choice of Kashim Shettima as his running mate, many Christian groups have followed suit, and just on Monday, there was a protest at the Lagos State government secretariat in Alausa, by some APC youth, against the decision of Muslim-Muslim candidates. These people cannot be wrong, they have seen how darker the future is becoming for the party, they have seen how the numbers are going down in terms of fan base, they have seen how the Labour Party is fast-growing and posing a major threat. But Tinubu does not want to listen.

He is showing Nigerians a clear sign that he will not make a listening president if elected, he is telling Nigerians that whatever he set out to do, he will do whether the citizens suffer or not, he is telling the electorates that their opinion does not matter, he knows it all and can do it all. All shades of wrong.

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But APC can still get back on track, it is not too late. It is a hard decision, but the party can replace Tinubu if it intends to retain Aso Rock, it’s within the ambit of the law. Section 31 of the 2022 Electoral Act, says the only way somebody can be replaced in any form is through withdrawal by an individual or death. No, Tinubu is not dying, he should only withdraw and allow the party to pick a younger candidate, preferably Yemi Osinbajo, otherwise, APC may be heading for a shock defeat in 2023.

Israel Ojoko, a writer and content editor, can be reached via [email protected]



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

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