The issue of who the next president of northern extraction will be has become more and more topical among concerned northerners. This development is also positively indicative of the sobering fallouts of the Buhari presidency that cast a cloud of uncertainty and even pessimism on the feasibility of another election tsunami powered by Buhari and APC . It has also given consideration of candidature to galvanize a resurgent victory of an Arewa factor in 2019 a tone of urgency, if not desperation. There is no question as to the political entitlement of the North to produce the next President of Nigeria but the identity of the candidate which should be an assured Buhari second term is triggering serious second thoughts across the North and Nigeria as a whole.
Evidence of turbulence in the presidential region of Arewa political firmament has been sustained by the hasty compromises of diametrically opposed political ambitions fabricated solely to capture Nigeria’s presidency rather than producing a president. With power once secure but now fading fast, the APC itself has been agog with emergent 2019 presidential explorers plainly provoked by the serially-shattered but irrepressible presidential ambition of Atiku Abubakar. The generational aberration of a post-Buhari Atiku Presidency has dawned nation-wide and Buhari surely knows who will not succeed him in 2019 should he excuse himself from re-contesting.
The line up of other northern presidential explorers is not encouraging if indeed all we have to present are the likes of Kwankwaso, Sule Lamido, Saraki, Modu Sheriff, Makarfi, el Rufai et al. Northern presidency has ceased being at the mercy of the old brigade. Invariably these power rangers have been lording it over their parties and people at state level with arrogance, opulence and impunity which make them non-starters for seeking the presidency of Nigeria as the confluence of our complexity. Even without the resurrected threat of EFCC prosecution and consequent public indictment and infamy, the territorial limitations and geo-ethnic context of their gubernatorial antecedents constitute abominable recommendations for the nationalistic Nigerian president Nigeria now desperately demands.
By now the settled equation subjecting the legendary national political prowess of the northern elite to the enabling endorsement of the southern constituents as conspicuously exhibited in the epic emergence of the thrice-defeated Buhari presidential bid should be recognised and embraced. In terms of constructing a pan- Nigerian political coalition for the realization of electoral consensus on the presidency, the APC insoluble mixture of conflicting convictions was a melodramatic milestone. The precarious balance of edgy egos and vaulting ambitions was maintained by the allure of opportunities to recoup, re-strategize and rebound in the corridors of the presidency which have now fizzled into a mirage. Very soon the roosting chicken will be on the loose and in pecking condition, especially in the north in whose court the egg must remain until 2023.
The clincher will not be so much determined by the acceptability of the northern nominee among Northerners but rather the emergence of a northern nominee who can earn the confidence and cooperation of the southern politicians and power brokers. This preposition is informed and activated by a gut feeling that the Buhari presidency, far from redeeming the northern presidential entitlement, has actually truncated it with the excruciating experience of mis-governance, inflexibility and unpopularity overtaking the initially ecstatic expectations of change-enchanted Nigerians. Coupled with the visibly evaporating physical and fiscal competences of the Buhari presidency, the inevitability of a replacement candidate to complete the entitled tenure of the north is a looming if not forgone conclusion.
It is therefore realistic politics devoid of hero-worshipping sentiments for the northern political elite across party lines to gather round the presidential drawing board once again but this time with a commitment to salvage the power and prestige of northern politics from national devaluation and possible rejection brought about by the shortcomings of its elected preferred candidate. In this reflective mode due consideration should be given to the new factor of enabling endorsement of the southern politicians and power brokers necessary for the successful election of the next northern nominee. The north must not run the risk of taking its reputed political invincibility in presidential politics for granted but initiate and maintain a proactive engagement process with southern politicians for the formation of a new virile coalition for the salvaging and endorsement of what remains of the northern entitlement tenure in the interest of peace, unity and our democratic dispensation.
The need for a robust pan-Nigerian political consensus with the potency and credibility of a doctrine of necessity should not be underrated in moderating the process for the desired objectives to be attained against the background of potential geo-ethnic tensions and tribulations tragically triggered in the past by deviations from agreed power-sharing schedules and denials of entitlements to presidential tenures. The 2019 scenario is a crucial indicator of the prospects of achieving yet another ‘miraculously’ amicable but longer lasting negotiated consensus and cooperation towards defusing the escalation of animosity and conflicts of interests in transiting to a post-Buhari northern presidency.
Recent expressions of concern and interest over the ominous uncertainty of the future of the Buhari presidency in particular and the sustainability of the northern entitlement beyond 2019 in general provide pointers to the positive potentials of capturing the political composition and nationalistic disposition that characterised the National Assembly under Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal as the preferred template for kick-starting the proposed NEW DEAL for pan-Nigerian consensus and endorsement of the imperilled northern entitlement for a second term. The composition and disposition of the membership of that National Assembly was fortuitously marshalled and navigated onto a nationalistic non-partisan agenda for remarkably vigilant oversight and checkmating of policies and practices of the Jonathan presidency, not withstanding a shared political affiliation.
With hindsight those were our democracy’s glorious days upholding the desired hallowed principles of separation of powers and independence of the legislature; the same standards and qualities now so appallingly lacking in the current dispensation. There can be no better congress of tried and tested politicians from different political parties but sincerely loyal and devoted to upholding the national interest at all times. They should summon themselves and rise to this national challenge as a reserve body to resuscitate and replicate the spirit of nationalism and legislative vigilance that won the enthusiastic confidence of a cross-section of Nigerian political and economic stakeholders and the masses.
Indeed this was the fundamental political foundation for the groundswell of popular and patriotic affirmative action that culminated in the wind of change 2015 election outcome and it is just what Nigeria needs to facilitate a realistic national resolve and agenda to salvage and safeguard the endangered northern entitlement to second term in 2019. Verily, it can also salvage and safeguard the drifting ship of state with its proven capacity for statesmanship and responsive political leadership. This proposal should be seen through nationalistic political lenses for best results.
— MUDI GAMBO wrote from Kan