Buhari And The North, Buhari And Lagos By Femi Kusa - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Sunday, April 28, 2019

Buhari And The North, Buhari And Lagos By Femi Kusa

The president is speaking through his actions. In the North, he is serving notice on a crackdown on aristocrats. Southern aristocrats would defend their kith and kindred in the north as attack on one  is attack on all. 

In Lagos, the DIVIDE and RULE posturing which saw Babatunde Fashola become minister against opposition from his kith and kindred back home, is shaping the Akinwunmi Ambode to become a minister and for outgoing Ogun state governor Amosun to successfully win a slot for his nominee in Buhari's upcoming cabinet. 

Amosun was in Lagos with the president to launch some of governor Ambode's completed and uncompleted projects. Fashola, a minister in Buhari's cabinet and predecessor of Ambode in office, was absent. So was the grand master of Lagos and South West politics, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

  In informed circles, Buhari may have no personal problem with Tinubu, but Buharists or the president's inner caucus fear him. They employed the All people's congress former chairman, Odigie Oyegun, to pull stoppers for Tinubu in Ogun, Ondo, and Ekiti states as he threatened to venture beyond a southwest conclave. They stopped him also in the senate and in the house of representatives. 

In a return match, Tinubu would get Oyegun out of the way, support his replacement with a friendlier Adams Oshiomole, stamp out the rebellion of governor Ambode, humiliate governor Amosun in Ogun state, lose Ondo state, gain marginal victory in Osun state, pulverise Bukola Saraki in Kwara state and stage a more purposeful return for control of the national assembly leadership.

 The Buharists believe Tinubu is staging plans for the 2023 presidency, an ambition he has denied. But which politician trusts another politician? So, the Buharists will stop at nothing to contain Tinubu's advances towards aso rock.

 Ambode and Amosun are, therefore easy and willing tools in their h├ánds. They need an opposition man in Lagos, not a full bodied Tinubu loyalist in the upcoming Buhari cabinet.

 Security has virtually collapsed again in the north, and, embarrassingly enough, the president's home state, KATSINA, is not left out. Popular talk in the streets is that the president is behaving like AMINU KANO, prince and lord of the poor known as the TALAKAWAs and fighting a deadly battle with the aristocrats. 

Buhari not only wishes to drag the aristocrats into the tax net,  to raise more money for his Administration, but he is also confisticating their private oil wells in the South South and Niger Delta once their licenses expire. The Northern aristocrats reportedly own about 80 percent of these private wells. Atiku Abubakar banked on them to sweep the north in the February presidential elections. But Buhari towered above him with a huge following of talakawas. The talakawas saw Buhari as a full spectrum moslem. 

Not only is he able to explain how he came by whatever property he possesses, he is also married to a moslem from the north and leads a modest life. Atiku Abubakar's wives from the christian south and his fabulous estate does not place him at this level. Again, while Buhari was empowering the Northern poor with easy agrarian loans from the anchor's borrower's project which, for example, enrolled more than 1 million farmers,  Atiku Abubakar's investments were largely in Dubai and the university he built in the north was elitist. His choice of a running mate from the south east offended the current political taste of the talakawas who were reminded of their father figure Sir Ahmodu Bello, his views on the south eastern region, and the circumstances of his killing in January 1966. 

 In the north east, Atiku Abubakar's region from where he expected a sweep clean, Buhari had gone before him, chasing away boko haram from 14 local governments, building modern housing estates to rehabilitate refugees dislodge from mud housing, and giving them soft loans to recultivate their once abandoned farms.
       Atiku Abubakar's campaign focused on insecurity in the North, with spill over threats to the south. This galvanised southern support for him, especially in the South West where elections are more issue based in Nigeria. The Buhari government believes insecurity has been stepped up in the north again by the aristocrats to soften the grounds for an Atiku Abubakar judicial victory in the petition against Buhari's declaration as winner in the polls. As a soldier who is aware of social stage setting for successful and acceptable military coups, president Buhari who, in active service participated in coups, smells a rat in the new upsurge of insecurity in the North.
     Currently, he is in London for a deserved holiday from the battery of the February election campaigns. As is now usual of him, the president speaks whenever he is abroad of coming events at home. Operation CROCODILE TEARS in the South east reminds us of this when, a few days ago, he spoke in London that purveyors of insecurity in the north will be brought to book. At about the same time, the military has insinuated that some emirs and prominent citizens are under security watch. Some people have linked possible coming events from the fact that the president went quietly to London without handing his office over to an acting president. Personally, I do not know how we came about this acting president mentality all the time the president is abroad, when he is not undergoing surgery or spending prolonged time in hospital. Do we hear of an acting president in the United States when the president is in North Korea? That said, we must wonder why the Nigerian tradition is now being abandoned. Even then still, there must be a first time for putting right what is wrong if it is wrong. 

That said, the reading of the mood of the president is that he smells a rat and he wishes to prevent an acting president placed under enormous pressure to Balkanize the presidency. 

The long and short of it all is that we should expect a brutal political battle yet again between president Buhari and Atiku Abubakar and his backers as the judiciary try to resolve the rift between them one way or the other.

 My assumption is that one way or the other, Atiku Abubakar would like to make himself relevant as an alternate president throughout the second term of Buhari's administration.If he wins in the court a presidency he lost on the political battlefield, and Buhari declines to let go because of a favourable talakawa uprising  in the north, Atiku Abubakar may literally turn Nigeria into a 2018/2019 Venezuela. 

This way, he would gain protection against those charges of economic misdeeds which Buhari would like to press against him. It is, therefore, going to be in the interest of Atiku Abubakar and the northern aristocrats that Buhari be kept on a precarious tight rope until he vacates power in 2023. 

What if Buhari wins in The court? Some events will still surface which will arm Atiku Abubakar with the shield and sword he would need for political safety and relevance.

Prince Femi Kusa is a former Editor of The Guardian and later, Editor - In - Chief of the rested The Comet.

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