Buhari,Baba Shehuri and 2019

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STRIKING THE BALANCE

Buhari,Baba Shehuri and 2019

In Nasarawa state, the electorates and party people were allowed to choose who they want to contest the election under the CPC. There was no rancor there as all members of the party agreed to allow Tanko Almakura, a business tycoon to fly the CPC’s ticket. No wonder after the gubernatorial elections of 2011,it was only Tanko Almakura of Nasarawa state that won under the CPC. As for the remaining states, most of the party people did anti-party activities and sabotaged the CPC.

ABUBAKAR SANI
There is no gainsaying the fact President Muhammadu Buhari is the most popular political personality in northern Nigeria that has been able to dominate our political landscape since 2003 when he joined the ANPP. This is because he has been able to remain consistent in his ideology and portray himself as someone who is always empathic with the sufferings of the masses. A central and fundamental issue here is that the masses believe that their sufferings were created by the elites and those who occupied positions of leadership since July 1966.There is also a general consensus among the masses that President Buhari is not among the cabal that have hijacked progress and development in Nigeria and consequently denied them access to good roads, electricity, affordable and quality education, medical care, security of their lives and property, respect and good living. For this reason many Nigerians rightly or wrongly thought that the acetic and Spartan Buhari epitomized and signified the Nigerian Solution to their artificially created challenges.

Buhari ventured into the murky waters of politics in 2003 under the ANPP as a novice but his spectacular outing as a first time presidential contender sent warning signals to the likes of President Obasanjo and Anthony Anenih to sit down and face the man squarely. He will later re-contest in 2007 and still be defeated because of the treacherous nature of northern Nigerian politicians who teamed up with the PDP. But after 2003 and 2007, no one in Nigerian political space ever again took Buhari for granted. Buhari himself discovered that Nigerians loved him to an extent that he never contemplated. He was able to also appreciate the fact that his discipline, integrity and de-identificatiion from the status quo were some of the factors that made the common man on the street, especially those in the north to love him. At that time for those who don’t know the political history of Borno, Honorable Mustapha Baba Shehuri alias known as Mustapha Quality was the Member representing Maiduguri Metropolitan Council at the House of Representatives. He served for a single term and spent most of his time as a bachelor in Kaduna and Abuja. A former Chairman of the MMC,Hon. Baba Shehuri, tall, imposing figure who happens to be a bit close to President Buhari lacked brains and charisma, especially the type that is needed to win elections in Borno state. But as many Nigerians know the President is someone who is always loyal to his friends and loyalists, thus the reason why we hear that Babachir David Lawal still hobnobs to and from the Villa after being sacked by the President. So when Buhari floated the Congress for Progressive Change in 2009 and decided to contest for president in 2011, he nominated and anointed Baba Shehuri to contest for the gubernatorial seat of Borno under the CPC.

Jafaaru Isa

Mohammed Abacha

A serious mistake committed by the President at that time was that he didn’t factor the will and preference of the people but anointed whoever he wants or rather people like Buba Galadima did it in his name. The CPC at that time didn’t take the matter of free and fair primaries as a serious issue so in all most all the states there were accusations and counter accusations about the intra primaries that were conducted. Serious complaints arose in Gombe, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano and even Borno.In Kano the candidates even went to court and Kano people still remember the bitter rivalry that took place between Mohammed Abacha and Jaafaru Isa. I can remember that in 2011 credible and better qualified candidates like Nur El Dongel, Shettima Kwama and a host of others showed interest and contested for the primaries but the anointed candidate won it. The story was the same all across the states except in one state in north central region of the country. Where was that? Nasarawa.
In Nasarawa state, the electorates and party people were allowed to choose who they want to contest the election under the CPC. There was no rancor there as all members of the party agreed to allow Tanko Almakura, a business tycoon to fly the CPC’s ticket. No wonder after the gubernatorial elections of 2011,it was only Tanko Almakura of Nasarawa state that won under the CPC. As for the remaining states, most of the party people did anti-party activities and sabotaged the CPC.

Now this is a very important lesson for both President Buhari and APC as we approach 2019.It is not certain if President Buhari will contest again in 2019 or not but whatever the case, it will be good for the APC to remember that free and fair primaries is the first key to winning the 2019 elections. The era of anointing some candidates or imposing some people on the masses is over as political analysts have shown that Nigerians will not necessarily vote for a particular party but individuals of their choice. Already we hear that some senators in states like Yobe, Kaduna,Kogi and Kano may likely go out of the APC because they perceived that the APC may not be able to conduct free and fair primaries. For example, Senator Shehu Sani is moving out of the APC because he thinks that the President will anoint and endorse Governor Nasir El Rufai again.
As for Borno state, I want to say categorically that the state is an APC bastion and the President can always be rest assured that he will win in the state. If this is to happen he must not repeat the same mistake he committed in 2011 when he anointed and endorse Baba Shehuri to run for governor under the CPC. The APC in Borno is already charged because of the gubernatorial ambitions of many people like Senators Abu Kyari, Bakaka Garbai, Adamu Lawan, Barr.Kaka Sheu, Mai Deribe Sheriff, Ali Dalori and a host of others. None of them will take it lightly if someone like Baba Shehuri is imposed on them. That does not in any way mean that they are credible or that they are the people’s choice. There are other more competent and better qualified personalities like Dr. Mohammed Kyari Dikwa who even though has shown no interest as acareer civil servant, many people in the state are calling on him to contest. Recently some concerned individuals were trying to organize a one million man march to call and beckon on the man to contest for the governorship of Borno state until when the man issued out a statement and said that he has no hands in the rally or gubernatorial ambitions in 2019.
President should allow who the people want to emerge through a simple but free and fair primaries. That is the only way the locales can take collective ownership of the candidate and see to it that he gets their votes which will eventually make him to win. It is public knowledge that President Buhari has the given the go ahead to Baba Shehuri to contest for the governorship of Borno in 2019. If this is true then it means that the President is still banking on Baba Shehuri just like he did in 2011 which means that all other interested candidates must either step aside or be disappointed at the end of the primaries some few months to come. The implication is that this is not going to go down well for the party.
Many people in Borno are of the opinion that Baba Shehuri doesn’t stand the chance of winning te gubernatorial elections in 2019.It might be good to mention here that the APC Sak mantra will not work in 2019.Baba Shehuri has no strong political base and it is not clear that Governor Kashim Shettima will not agree to handover to someone who won’t be loyal to him. A major obstacle before Baba Shehuri is his inability to connect with the masses of Borno who are currently going through so much difficulty. It is a fact that here in Borno people value a man that is generous, who is willing to share his resources with them, someone who is approachable, some who will bring them some sense of pride and dignity.
Therefore let there be free and fair primaries for the APC in the months ahead. On this note I want to commend Governor Shettima who has been able to keep his card close to his chest and has not taken sides with any candidate yet because he knows that except a candidate is produced through free and fair primaries,the APC will suffer defeat.

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