2019: Plot To Return Buhari To Power As 12 Presidential Candidates Support Him

By Stephen Ubanna

Ahead of the Saturday, February 23, 2019, Presidential and National Assembly elections , there have been allignment and re-alignment of forces to prepare the ground for President Muhammadu of the rulinng All progressive Congress, APC, to win the election. Mahmood Yakubu, a Professor and Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC  and his National Commissioners  including the Directors may have prepared the ground for the realignment of forces with the registration of between 91 to 93 political parties for the 2019 general elections.

Humphrey Nwosu, a Professor and the country’s former Chairman of the defunct National Electoral Commission,  NEC, in the bungled 1993 elections  said there was no basis for INEC to have registered 91 or 93 political parties for the 2019   elections. Nwosu, who had kept away from public views since  the 1993, Presidential election, allegedly won by late MKO. Abiola of the  then Social Democratic Party, SDP, asserts that the Commission should have endorsed only the APC and PDP, the two major parties to contest the election .

The worry of the Political Science Professor was that INEC have succeeded in planting  godfather  type politics  in Nigeria as most of the  minor parties are either sponsored by Atiku, PDP, or Buhari, APC. He noted that some of the minor Parties Presidential Candidates had already withdrawn  from the race to support either Atiku or Buhari, Candidate of the two major political parties because of lack of funds  and structures in the 36 states of the Federation, 774 local government  areas and 6,927 Wards.  Political watchers averr that these minor parties may have realised that  they may not be able to monitor  the elections that would take place in the 120,000 polling stations throughout the country that they have no option to fuse into PDP or APC for the elections.

The former Chief Electoral officer posits that because most of the minor parties Presidential  Candidate lack funds to pursue their Presidential ambition they have no option than to resort to the”. money bags who are now their godfathers”.  He is right. Buhari may have perfected the plan to win the Saturday’s Presidential election by taking advantage of his role as a god father to arm-twist  some of the Presidential Candidates to dump their ambition and join the APC  for ministerial or other political appointments since they may not be able to win the elections on their own platform. The Candidates may have bowed to the APC Candidate pressure to throw in the towels  despite their names appearing on the INEC  list to contest the election. 

The Katsina state born Nigerian President may have taken advantage of the one week postponement of the general elections by INEC  to open a channel of discussions with the Candidates to support him.  He was able to reach out to 12 of them who were said to have agreed  to mobilise their supporters throughout the country to vote for him on  the Saturday election.

Last Thursday,  the twelve presidential Candidates which the APC Candidate had succeeded in winning their hearts were at the Presidential villa for a closed door meeting.  Acting under the auspices of ”Forum  of Presidential Candidates and Political Parties for good governance”, they were said to have endorsed  the retired Army General and former Head of State  and promised  to mobilise their teeming supporters throughout the country to vote for him during the rescheduled election on Saturday.  

Eunice Atuejide,  the Presidential Candidate of National Interest Party, NIP, said she was forced to drop her ambition because it was programmed to end on February 16, 2019 and thus, has no option but to support Buhari for” continuity and good governance”.  The assurance may have given Buhari, the APC, Candidate that” he is a Candidate to beat”.

The withdrwal of the twelve Presidential Candidates to support Buhari may just be the beginning of the plot to return Buhari to power.  Note that Sani Inuwa Nguru, Chairman of PDP, in Yobe,  who has been the major problem of APC , in the state, may have abandoned PDP to join the APC, barely24 hours to the election. Nguru, the Yobe state PDP , Chairman , was said to have met with Buhari, where they held a closed door meeting before making up his mind to the ruling APC and to work for his victory in the state.  The exit of the PDP Chieftain exit from the party may be a big blow to Atiku Presidential Campaign Council in the north east because of his grassroots support.   But the elder staesmen appear  not to be at peace with the Buhari administration which  was seen as been in favour of the Housa Fulani ethnic group.  

Given the worry of the elder statesmen that  the  country is bleeding Yakubu  Gowon , a retired Army General and former Head of State and some of the political appointees under his government were said to have met recently at Abuja to brainstorm on the state of the nation and to set an agenda for the next President. 

They may have realised that the problem of the country was lack of a ”broad based government” and the need to reverse the trend Among the elders cited   at the meeting were Akin Mabogunje , Ahmed Joda and Philip Asiodu  and several others . They had tasked  the incoming President to” stop  the bleeding of the nation  by setting up a” broad-based government”. The elders  who are worried over the situation of things in the country which has deepened ”economic hardships and increasing desperation of the politicians” said the elders would no longer sit-by and watch the degeneration of societal values” insisting that there is need to reverse the trend to keep ”hope alive”.

Atiku Abubakar: Presidential Candidate , PDP

 Recall that Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, a former governor of central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and Emir of Kano, had  said that the Saturday Presidential election had defined itself between” a man who has the capacity to rule the country and a man who has integrity”. Sanusi believes that it is not always easy for a country to be blessed with a leader who has both  integrity and capacity to rule ”.

 He may have alluded to Buhari , who many believe has integrity and Atiku, who has the drive and capacity to rule the country. Without sounding immodest, he said that  when a leader who has the capacity is elected to rule, it would rub off on the people  but a man who has integrity is between him and his God. He may have called on Nigerians to use their wisdom to vote on the Saturday elections.

For the elections,  Yakubu, the INEC boss had said 72.7 million Nigerians had collected their PVCs  out of the 84 million registered voters.  Investigation by the value News shows that the states that the states with the highest number of registered voterswhich had collected their PVCs were Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina and Rivers.

 It is not surprising why Atiku , the PDP Candidate is relying on Rabiu Kwankawso, a former governor of Kano state and a  Senator Federal Republic of Nigeria and Nyesom , governor of Rivers to win the states in the Presidential election. For Buhari, he may have considered Lagos, Kaduna and Katsina, his home state safe for him. He believes that he may not have any need to worry about winning Lagos or any other  states in the south west because of the influence of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lgos state, and Chairman, APC, Presidential Council , regarded in political circles a godfather. there are fears that he may not win Kaduna state, which could have fallen into his hand with ease but may lose it to Atiku, the PDP Cadidate, because of the polarisation of the state on religious ground by Nasiru El-rufai, a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and governor of the state.

There are fears  in both official and unofficial circles that the Saturday Presidential elections may not be ”free and fair”, over allegations by the opposition PDP and coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP ,that  INEC officials and the security agencies  are working for Buhari, the APC Candidate. 

He may have assured the nation that there was no basis for such as he would keep to his promise of ”conduction a free and fair election in a peaceful atmosphere”. For the third time, he was said to have signed peace accord  alongside 72 other Candidates.

The accord may have informed the reason why he had assured ”Nigerians, the Diplomatic community  and International Election Observers of their safety and freedom of movement  needed to perform  their important functions”.

Appealing to Nigerians to vote  for the government  of their choice , for the government  that will lead  Nigeria toward  its finest destiny”, he said the franchise would be exercised  in ”atmosphere  of openness and peace, devoid of fear from threat or intimidation”. 

In spite of the claim by the Katsina born Nigerian President to conduct a free and fair elections, the opposition PDP and  Adams Oshiomhole , a former governor of Edo state and national Chairman of APC, want Yakubu, the INEC , Chairman  to resign or be sacked by the government for fear that he may not be neutral in the conduct of the election. The Value News learnt the INEC boss has been under intense pressure to resign  to restore confidence in the country’s electoral system.

The INEC helmsman, may have disappointed those calling for his resignation when he said ”I see no reason to  even contemplate of resigning” stressing that ”he remains  the Chief Electoral Officer  of the nation”.  He insists that he is ”proceeding  on the basis of the powers  which he draws from the Constitution, for the position which he is privilaged to serve for the 2019 election”.  He corroborated the President’s claim that the election will be ”conducted successfully”.   

He may have assured Nigerians and the foreign Observers that the Commission remain focused to the job to which it was constituted to ensure that voters come en -masse to vote during the elections.

Given the interest of the International Community on the nation’s general elections,  the  US government,  the European Union, EU, and the United Nations , UN, were said to have dropped some numbers where officials could be reached over the elections which are still closely guided.

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