-Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA) -By Austen AKHAGBEME:
There’s something I love about a particular childhood friend of mine. Despite the fact that he’s not as educated as the rest of us, he sometimes have this knack for stirring up a political debate in his own limited way.
He it was, that first drew my attention to the possibility of a Buhari defeating a sitting Jonathan even when I never thought such feat was possible in Nigeria. Again, He has given me the above names as “very fit and likely candidates” of the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria come 2023.
Because we are from the South – South, I threw a question at him to suggest a possible candidate from our geopolitical zone, too. I told him I would prefer Donald Duke. He laughed and told told me that we do not need a handsome face to get the job done. And that a scary face like that of Comrade Oshiomhole will suffice. We all roared in laughter. That’s how humorous he can be.
He argued that when the Presidency comes back to the south, the South – south will not be considered. He was particularly angry about the East-West road and the inability of “our very own” to get the project done in six long years of “our opportunity”.
Then we jumped to the issue of the Emir Sanusi being the new touted Political bride from the north. He argued that the man had what it takes to climb the saddle of leadership. I told him that the same people that threw him away will never give him the ticket. He reminded me that it is possible and intelligently drew a not too coordinated inference with Chief Obasanjo and the Yoruba nation in the build up to 1999 elections. Just like Obasanjo, he argued that SLS doesn’t need the vote of Kano people to win the presidential election. I simply dismissed the argument and concluded that SLS need to rest, and recalibrate and think of other avenue to be of help to his beloved people than the Nigerian presidency
As our “Kitchen gist” progresses, I made attempts to pretend that I didn’t hear him suggesting the possibility of a Jagaban for our beloved people of the West. I quickly jumped to our amiable Peter Obi, the vice presidential aspirant of the PDP in the last presidential election.
I told him about my love and support for an Ibo Presidency. Here are a people, decimated physically, numerically and Economically by a needless Civil War ; reabsorbed into the federation, and then cheated in the geographical creation of states (as they’re the only geopolitical zone with 5 states against the rest) and yet unwrittenly and consistently being denied an opportunity too, to the Presidency of Nigeria.
We both ruminated on the reason why it is so. I told him that power is not given but taken. He begged to differ: not with a people of less than six million voters. We concluded that power can only come to the East through negotiations, alignments and realignments of political forces and blocs championed by a prudent, capable hands like that of Peter Obi.
Then we came back to the Lion of Bourdillon, the Jagaban himself. He is a political strategist, charismatic and an old war horse. He has seen it all. He stood alone in the early days of this political dispensation when other western states fell like a pack of cards as the moving train of the PDP, took a sweep of the west. Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu is highly respected among his contemporaries and feared or worshipped by his younger adherents. Jagabanism has become a type of political philosophy deployed to capture power locally and even nationally.
My friend told me how usually difficult it is for a King maker to become a King himself. I allayed his fears and told him that what a good King maker needs in our clime to become a King are two things: money and influence. He quickly reminded me that Atiku had both. I told him that I was shocked that he didn’t remember that Atiku was never a King maker but friend of King makers who have never, for once, trusted him.
As I was getting tired, I excused him to take some rest. He said he want to ask me this final question. “Is Peter Obi the best from the East, Why not Osita Chidoka?” I didn’t have a ready answer. I guess because I was tired and I needed to sleep. He noticed that and quickly dismissed me with a wave of the hand. This childhood friend of mine is quite an interesting fellow.
- Austen AKHAGBEME is a Columnist with Blank NEWS Online