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2019 Presidency: Emirs, Generals Narrow Search For Presidential Candidate To North West


The Oasis Reporters

June 2, 2018

Ibrahim Shekarau (top left), seems to be the odd man out not promoted by northern emirs and stakeholders.
Top right is Rabiu Kwankwaso, Obasanjo’s preferred candidate.
Tambuwal is bottom left with Tanimu, who they say took no campaign fund and therefore the EFCC may not touch him.

The North West zone that has always cornered the presidency anytime it shifts to the north, is busy scheming again to ensure that the People’s Democratic Party, PDP or any other visible party picks it’s candidate to duel with President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 from the same zone.

Many concerned northern political watchers have often wondered why the northern political pendulum is not swinging to the north east or the middle belt each time.
Do they not have stakeholders too?
In 1979, it was Shehu Shagari for president. He’s from Sokoto State.
The next civilian president from the north was Umaru Yar’adua from Katsina in the North west. And of recent, Muhammadu Buhari from the same Katsina state in the North west as well.
It is really not that they served in a superlative fashion.
No. They are all from just one ethnic stock out of the hundreds in the North.

Word has it through the grapevine that they are shopping three North – west politicians, viz: Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto state, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso from Kano and former minister of special duties, Turaki Tanimu from Kebbi State.

While Governor Tambuwal and Senator Kwankwaso have for long been in their sights, a Vanguard newspaper report says there seem to be increasing gravitation towards Tanimu by “high-level stakeholders who see him as lacking the kind of baggage dogging others, including Tambuwal and Kwankwaso”.

These high-level stakeholders are said to oppose a second term for President Muhammadu Buhari

Vanguard also learned that former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is in the thick of it all but has however, stuck his neck out for Senator Kwankwaso. Among those said to have endorsed Tanimu are several emirs who were said to have also been moved by an influential North-West traditional ruler. “Obasanjo has been briefed on him, but he is holding back,” a source privy to the development told Vanguard.

An associate of Obasanjo’s did not hide the former president’s preference for Kwankwaso. “Even the manner of his (Tanimu’s) entry into the contest inspires suggestions of some high-level influence pushing his candidacy,” another source privy to the development said. Tanimu’s original aspiration was to be governor of Kebbi State.

“Obasanjo’s determination on Kwankwaso is based on the long-running political association between the former president and the former Kano governor who also served as a minister in the Obasanjo administration between 2003 and 2007. “Kwankwaso is someone like Buhari, a northern irredentist who will appeal to the same political base as Buhari and that is one reason counting for him,” an Obasanjo ally said.

Besides the association with Obasanjo, also counting for Kwankwaso is the extensive political machine he has been able to build since his last days as governor of Kano State. The governor-turned-senator, despite being out of Government House has been able to sustain his political structure across the country, holding regular meetings with political coordinators in many of the states.

The entry of Tanimu into the contest at the instance of former PDP ministers and some former governors. The Tanimu aspiration, it was gathered, has been successfully taken in by former President Goodluck Jonathan and at least two former military leaders from the Middle Belt and the Northern establishment. “Tanimu is the dark horse,” one of his canvassers said as he pointed out that the Buhari administration has not been able to link him with any of the alleged corruption acts that has been traced to several aspiring presidential aspirants. “Tanimu, despite being the minister from Kebbi State did not collect the election money for the state as it was left for a former national officer from the state,” the canvasser said, adding that pressure by the Buhari administration on other PDP presidential aspirants will amount to nothing in the case of Tanimu. The momentum for Tanimu has inevitably put canvassers for Tambuwal at odds.

Governor Tambuwal with a nationwide support base consisting of mostly former and serving members of the House of Representatives was the face of many who believed in a young and dynamic northern politician to confront Buhari. However, his past political infidelity has bothered some, especially some die-hard PDP enthusiasts. “How can we empower the man that helped drive us from power?” one PDP enthusiast queried.

One man who wants to alter the narrative is Ibrahim Shekarau, also a politician from the north west but clearly his origins are north east, and his tribal language is different. Maybe that was why the stakeholders from the north west have not put him in the equation.
There are also others like Jonah David Jang from the Middle belt or north central but many write him off as being non Muslim so his candidacy is a non starter in the largely Muslim north.
Ironically, that his asset. Gathering the minority tribes and synergizing with the south can tip the scale for him .

Another significant upset that may be waiting to happen would be the deep penetration of Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria’s former vice president who faces determined opposition from the former president he served as vice, Olusegun Obasanjo.
Atiku Abubakar seems to make Obasanjo nervous. Perhaps Obasanjo’s rallying of forces may seem to be targeted at Atiku.

The first hurdle has been mentioned.
The next and more potent one would have to do with EFCC cases hanging on the neck of other politicians. The cases may go nowhere, but they are definitely primed to discourage them from rising up to challenge the incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari.

Sources :
In-house analysis
Vanguard Newspaper

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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