The largest group in the merger was the ACN, which should have produced the presidential candidate. But, for shrewd political reasons, the slot was zoned to the North. Eventually, the party settled for Buhari, a man Nigeria needs more that he needs Nigeria. In fact, if there were no Buhari, the APC would have invented one. Tinubu is believed to be instrumental in the emergence of Buhari, who was the leader of the second largest group in the fold. He is the most qualified for the job.
It was in recognition of its role in the formation of the APC and the support for Buhari that made it imperative for the APC to zone the slot the running mate to the ACN, who were dominant in the Southwest. It was for the purpose of justice, equity and fairness, so that members of the defunct ACN would not lose out in the whole arrangement. Not doing so might have offended the sensibilities of the Southwest, which commands an intimidating number of eligible voters.
Tinubu then came out with a masterstroke. He came out with a distinguished professor of law and a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who is not only a devout Christian, but also a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) as a running mate to Buhari. That was the clincher. For the first time in the history of Nigeria, we are on the verge of getting a professor in the Presidency. This turned out to be a popular choice because it has received the backing of Nigerian intellectuals, including men and women in the law profession, captains of industry and other intellectually-oriented groups.
What came to my mind after the announcement of Prof. Osinbajo as Buhari’s running mate was that Asiwaju Tinubu had once again exhibited his penchant for picking competent people into high political offices, as he did in the case of picking Fashola to succeed him. Fashola has turned out to be the most successful governor in the federation. Therefore, Asiwaju and other leaders of the APC should take the credit for the choice of Osinbajo as Buhari’s running mate. Nigeria needs both of them at this time of her chequered political history.
According to Tinubu, “when America was in big trouble, she turned to General Dwight Eisenhower; Britain turned to Sir Winston Churchill and France to General Charles de Gaulle, in their most difficult times. Tinubu therefore sees Gen. Buhari as “the person Nigeria needs, and must turn to at this critical time of her travails in order to liberate her from her current state of stupor, corruption, insecurity, impunity and general hopelessness, as the above leaders did for their countries.
It is a known fact that Buhari and Osinbajo are disciplined, religious, honest, humble, transparent and not obsessed with power and material wealth. Buhari and Osinbajo are known to be incorrupt and incorruptible, with no skeletons in their cupboards. Both of them have reached the highest levels of their careers: the one an army General and the other a Professor and a SAN. Buhari had been Garrison Commander, Military Governor, Head of State, Chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) among others. Both of them are happily married with children and live a peaceful, honest, simple and decent lives. In the United States, for example, these are part of the qualities required for persons who aspire to rule the country.
Throughout his career in the public service, Buhari never looted the treasury like others before and after him. He is not known to have acquired wealth and property at home or abroad. While our public officers have many mansions in choice locations in Nigeria and overseas, Buhari is reported to have only two houses; one in Kaduna and the other in Daura, Katsina, his home state. As for Osinbajo, we all know that people of his kind, intellectuals like the present writer, are not known for amassing wealth and property, but are interested in the pursuit of intellectual satisfaction and peace of mind. This shows that Buhari and Osinbajo are a perfect match for the nation. They are not the kind of people who worship money, wealth or indulge in extravagant life. Buhari’s stance against indiscipline and corruption, the twin evils that have brought Nigeria to the present sorry state, is legendary. In order to prevent Nigeria from collapsing like a pack of cards, the APC has in its wisdom carefully fished out Buhari as a man who could fix Nigeria by rescuing her from imminent collapse.
Buhari has kept a low profile for more than 30 years in the public domain, and has earned the enviable reputation as an honest, disciplined, incorrupt and incorruptible man, and a man of integrity. Under his previous short regime (1983-84), indiscipline and corruption were fought with vigour. If Buhari had ruled Nigeria for 4 years at that time, the twin evils of indiscipline and corruption would have taken their hurried flights from Nigerian social and political space. He now wants to be president, definitely not for self aggrandizement but to deliver Nigeria from the regime of indiscipline, corruption and impunity; and this is precisely what he would do because he is himself self disciplined. As Awolowo said, “in order to discipline others, you must yourself be self disciplined”. And so, like Awolowo’s doctrine, we are on our way to the regime of mental magnitude. Fortunately, Buhari has an able vice-president in the waiting, and from whose intellectual prowess he could tap to his own advantage, his government and Nigerians as a whole.
Professor Osinbajo, in my judgement, has some of the characteristics of President Barrak Obama. Like president Obama, Osinbajo has a great capacity for hard work. He is smart, eloquent and has the look and features of Obama. Our prediction is that Buhari plus Osinbajo means the change – perhaps radical change – that Nigeria needs at this time for a just, corrupt-free, safe and sane society, the greatest good of the greatest number of Nigerians (egalitarianism) and life more abundant for all. They are the best ticket to lead Nigeria, at this time of her need, to the Promised Land instead of the Desert.Ugly Campaigns
While the APC continues to campaign on the incontrovertible issues of corruption, insecurity, impunity and unemployment, the PDP continues to chase shadows on the mundane issues of certificate, age and health of its opponent, as if those are the issues Nigerians are interested in instead of rebutting, with superior arguments, the serious issues of corruption, insecurity, impunity and unemployment that have confounded Nigeria for six bad years!. A party which lacks confidence in itself is usually jittery and hence is prone to making mistakes (I have called these necessary mistakes) that turn the electorate against the party. This is precisely the position of the PDP in its attempt to distract voter’s attention from serious issues to mundane ones by such logical fallacies of argument: argumentum ad hominem (“attack against the person” instead of arguing on the issues), and ignoratio elenchi (irrelevant argument) . All this is happening simply because PDP has no answers to the pertinent issues of corruption, insecurity and unemployment raised by the APC in their vigorous campaigns.
The whole world was aghast at Ayodele Fayose’s crude and uncultured advert on the life and probable death of Buhari that is better forgotten for the primitive mentality of its sponsor, and Femi Fani-Kayode’s miserable rantings and orchestrated political howlers on the mundane issue of certificate that has been beaten to death, as if that is what Nigeria needs to fight corruption, insecurity and unemployment that a masters or “Doctorate” degree holder had entrenched during his corrupt regime. As one female electorate said about PDP’s gaffe about certificate:”Na certificate we dey chop? “ Unfortunately, the issue of certificate on which Fani-Kayode had spent so much expenditure of energy has backfired, like that of Fayose, his compatriot in noise making. Both of them have succeeded in offending the sensibilities of many Nigerians, especially the sensibilities of northerners and the military whom Fayose and Fani-Kayode have unwittingly attacked, first, that all the past three northern presidents had died in office, with the implication of death-wish for Buhari and, second, that the northerners are incapable of producing a graduate even in the military, as President of Nigeria, and so Buhari must be ridiculed with the school certificate saga. Rightly, prominent northerners have kicked against these wicked innuendos. From now till the time of election, the PDP would make more mistakes that are necessary for its own downfall. Surely, those who are too clever sometimes overreach themselves.Conduct of Election
From all indications, the 2015 elections would be like the 1993 election which M.K.O Abiola won fairly and squarely. With the same enthusiasm that accompanied the “ Hope 93” election, the INEC must try to meet, if not surpass, the standard set by Prof Nwosu in the conduct of the freest and fairest election in Nigeria in 1993. Like in 1993, the general enthusiasm of the electorate is so great that voters would troop out to vote in order to put an end to their sufferings caused by the thieves in Jonathan’s administration. On the conduct of the coming election we dare say that rigging would be difficult for a party that has seen the handwriting on the wall. Incidentally, rigging is difficult, if not impossible, where a party and its candidates are popular, as anybody attempting to rig in those areas would be on a suicide mission. All the parties should appoint strong, competent and reliable people as party agents for all polling units and collation centres. Electorate must be educated, as Aregbesola did in the last election in Osun State when he displayed to them how to fold their ballot papers so as to prevent their thumb prints from disappearing into the PDP’s logo.
Now, the electoral law has stated that ballot papers must be counted and the results announced at every polling unit and collation centre before all the results are sent to Abuja where the INEC would only perform the ceremonial function of announcing the already known results from the polling units and collation centres. That the results are known to everybody and even in the internet before they make their ways to Abuja is made possible by information technology through the prompt recordings of results at polling units and collation centres on smart phones of various technological devices. Were it not for those technological devices, an entirely different result would have been announced in Abuja during the August 2014 gubernatorial election in Osun State where announcement of result was embarrassingly delayed for hours for possible dislocation. It was a rigging aborted by the aid of modern technology. This means that it is now possible for Nigerians to know the winner of the election even before its final announcement in Abuja, and the loser would congratulate the winner as it is done in civilized countries, including our neighbour, Ghana. If the election is free, fair and credible, the loser should congratulate the winner even before the final results are announced at least for a change, in the 2015 elections. Nigeria deserves this civilized political culture.
Makinde is the Director General of Awolowo Centre for Philosophy, Ideology and Good Governance, Osogbo, Osun State.