By Mideno Bayagbon
nyone who has been around the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in the last two months, would not have failed to notice something peculiar about the air around him and his team. There is a suspicious confidence, a certain, palpable arrogance, a cocksuredness that is troubling. You cannot but suspect that there is something underground, something going on that you just can’t put your finger on. The Waziri Adamawa himself behaves and carries on as if he is already president or a sitting monarch or even emperor. He carries on as if he is just waiting for the day of crowning and inauguration.
Around HIM, there is scant attention to what the two other prominent candidates’ camps are up to. They behave as a group just waiting to step in, as if the elections won’t matter, as if it is going to be a fait accompli. I nose around them and I come out with the impression that most of them believe that nothing, except perhaps death, can stop Atiku Abubakar from becoming the incoming president. And I am intrigued. Something may be loading for which the public has no knowledge. A conspiracy is possibly afoot. As it is, only an intervening circumstance can bring them down from their Olympian euphoria, of certain victory, to the reality of what they are perhaps failing to see or envisage.
This has given room to speculations and suspicions. That this bird, dancing on the road, has musical backings from the nearby bush. Questions include: what are they depending on, what fuels their confidence? What are they doing or seeing that the rest of us are not seeing or that their opponents are not seeing or doing? What role is Aso Rock, and the emergent, opportunistic ruining class created under the Buhari misrule, and the plot to use religion to hoodwink the masses, playing in fuelling this feeling?
Forget the rascalities, and measured tantrums of the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and his band of four governors and other senior members of the opposition PDP. But take a look at how Atiku and his handlers have chosen to handle them. Truth be told, the feelings one gets is that they do not give a hoot about whatever the Rivers state governor chooses to do. They don’t care. They believe he is expendable and peripheral to the envisaged, assumed victory of the former Vice President. That perhaps explains why they have chosen to give him the caustic side of their tongues. That too explains why they have continued to ignore and rubbish his grand standings.
From my findings, I can confess that they have a working plan to outwit him, even in Rivers State where he is currently the political tin god. Part of their strategy has been to go behind him, recruit all those with a grudge against him; those who have been sidelined, those who plan to position themselves for the possible goodies of an Atiku presidency. And they are legion. The Uche Secondus, the Austin Oparas, the Chibudum Nwuches and so on have already abandoned the Wike train to team up with the Atiku gang.
Atiku is doing the same thing in Oyo state where Governor Seyi Makinde is sitting on a keg of conspiratorial detonators. They plan to ensure that he doesn’t get a second term. An alliance with several elements including the Accord Party in the state is in the works. Even in Benue, the same underground schemings are afoot. Even while not going for outright wins, the target is to get the enabling all important 25 percent votes across these states.
But all these are child’s play compared to what they are said to have perfected to do in the North. Deep throats urges one to just cast a discerning eye on the All Progressives Congress and the underground schemings going on in the North West and North East. The prediction is that a repeat of the Jonathan treatment is being perfected.
Which brings me to the one his fans love calling Asiwaju or Jagaban. I am talking of Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu. From intel on ground today, except something major happens within the next few weeks, he will find himself a victim of the scam those masquerading as the party’s political leaders in the North East and North West have perfected. Tinubu, from all indications, may probably find out, too late, that he has been taken on a foolish man’s ride; on a superior political gimmick, on the road to monumental disgrace. He and his supporters will be shocked, when a day after the elections, despite spending, huge, uncountable billions of Naira pushing his aspirations, he ends up third behind Atiku and Peter Obi.
The feeling is that though the governors under the APC flag in the north threw their weight behind Asiwaju Tinubu during the primaries of the party, they will either appear hamstrung in what will likely appear, as ineffectual support for the APC candidate, or blatantly throw an underhand support for the PDP candidate. Pundits already predict that more than half of the APC states will fail to return victorious votes for their party in the presidential elections.
Observers are currently of the view that should the hoopla around Peter Obi candidacy continue, unabated, that should the self-funding mobilisation find a leeway into the North East and North West, and the youth and marginalised elites queue behind it, the Obi-Datti phenomenon may just be the real surprise. In share numbers, it is predicted that the Labour Party candidate may just garner a majority of the popular vote. But it is likely to fall short of the 25 percent votes in two thirds of the states in the country. This in itself will bring about a new headache for the electoral body who may be forced to declare the candidate with the two thirds requirements as winner.
As at today, it seems, from what can be gleaned from careful speculation on the support base of each candidate and party, PDP is more likely to get the 25 percent votes in two-thirds of the states of the federation than the APC and Labour Parties. Tinubu and the APC will need to struggle very hard to get up to the required numbers. As it is, the South South and South East may likely return the 25 percent vote to him in less than four of their eleven states. This will make him come second in this regard but he might still end up getting less total votes than Atiku Abubakar and Obi. These speculations sound crazy now but they might eventually turn out as the reality.
My assumption is that, perhaps, these calculations and speculations are what majorly fuel the almost invincible confidence being displayed by Atiku Abubakar and his circle of handlers.
But then, Tinubu is known to be an astute political strategist. And as they say, a day in politics is a very long time. Who knows, the seemingly impossible can still happen. But my guts feel, as at today, sees this race as a youth versus the old brigade. With the expected betrayal of Tinubu by the northern elites, projected, the result might just turn out to be a contest between Obi and Atiku Abubakar.
PRESIDENT BUHARI TO BE A STAND UP COMEDIAN AFTER LEAVING OFFICE
To those who were not privileged to listen to President Muhammadu Buhari make the announcement himself, here is the news: he is to retire to the budding profession of stand up comedy immediately after handing over as President on May 29th, 2023.
The President, who was a guest of the one, the media and his enemies call the Supreme Court Governor of Imo State, gave the reasons why he will opt for that profession. Nigerians are hard of hearing; they are blind to all his good works and they are diseased in the mouth. That is why they keep claiming that they have not seen all the monumental accomplishments which his government has chalked up in the last almost eight years.
Giving himself a pat on the back, even if those who should do so refuse to, the President was particularly unhappy with fifth columnists in and around his government and party, APC. He says they have so far refused to turn on the Goebbels loudspeakers to announce to the deaf, dumb and blind Nigerians all the goodies he has blessed Nigerians with since he became President. For example, those who should be hailing him, like his garrulous, caustic and propagandist spokesmen, his lying Minister, his party flag bearer, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu and all those campaigning under his party flag, are all making strenuous efforts to distance themselves from his government’s achievements. Why?
As one of his major supporters, I agree with him that not enough publicity has been given to the gross governmental incompetence, the avalanche of killings, terrorism, kidnapping, unemployment, the Naira getting cheaper than toilet tissue; hunger induced by bad economic policies or lack of same of his government; ASUU strike and the general downward spiral of everything in Nigeria. Not even the railway line to Maradi in Niger Republic, or the refineries built and donated to them by his government are getting publicity. Instead, the little efforts on the 2nd Niger Bridge, the Lagos to Ibadan railway and all the other too insignificant to mention things are what they are excited about and magnifying, and dishing out to the public. Nigerians keep yapping about the N42 trillion debt burden he is leaving behind. What is wrong with them? Why are they so ungrateful? Why are they so mean?
Out of office next May, President Buhari will surely rake in millions of Naira as a top range comedian as he tries to convince the nation that no other Nigerian President will ever achieve the level of calamity he has visited on the country.