Presidency 2019: Dogara’s Daring Challenge And Why It Is Credible

 

The Oasis Reporters

September 1, 2018

Yakubu Dogara, Speaker, House of Representatives

When Yakubu Dogara teamed up and schemed with Bukola Saraki to separately emerge as speaker of the House Of Representatives and President of the Senate respectively representing the new-PDP that changed the game and gave Muhammadu Buhari victory at the 2015 polls, many Nigerians thought that with a name like Yakubu Dogara, the honourable member of the House was a Muslim, thereby making the two arms of the legislature, the presidency and the judiciary to be manned by only Muslim northerners to the detriment and resentment of the largely Christian South of Nigeria.

But in reality, Mr. Dogara is a Christian from a minority tribe in Bauchi State, north east of the country. His home state produced the first Prime Minister of Nigeria, Sir Tafawa Balewa, a minority tribesman from Bauchi.

Playing his cards to his chest, Yakubu Dogara has not yet quit the ruling APC party. Though neither him nor his Yoruba deputy, Mr. Lasun attended the last NEC meeting of the ruling party that received defectors like Emmanuel Uduaghan, former governor of oil rich Delta state and Senator Godswill Akpabio of another oil rich South South state of Akwa Ibom State.
Dogara gave an acceptable excuse that he was outside of the country.

One secret thing in the open is that the hat at the side of the presidential ring waiting to be thrown in for the PDP primary election contest, belongs to Dogara. In other words,going by current events that led to the defections out of the APC party, Dogara is likely to be on his way out, just like Bukola Saraki did, pressures notwithstanding.

The next logical step for Dogara is to run for the presidency. He’s not a Fulani that can run and easily become the governor of his home state of Bauchi, neither would the angry muscles of the APC party allow him to go back to the House of Representatives. The Senate race may humble him since most Nigerians prefer to vote along tribal or religious lines. The largely senatorial district he belongs to is composed by an admixture of Christians and Muslims.

But there’s a huge goldmine Dogara has seen at his feet which he can tap and offer a credible challenge to President Muhammadu Buhari and his reelection bid in the first quarter of 2019. The People’s Democratic Party, PDP where Dogara first cut his teeth as a politician and legislator, has zoned the presidency to the North.
In 1960,Nigeria’s first parliamentary government was headed by a Muslim northerner. The second republic also threw up Alhaji Shehu Shagari, another Muslim northerner who is Fulani.
When power rotated back to the North, yet another Muslim Fulani northerner, Alhaji Umaru Yar’adua got the position.
The third civilian administration in Nigeria that accrued to the North is the current one headed by Muhammadu Buhari, yet another Muslim Fulani northerner.

Fulani tribesmen keep lining up one after the other for leadership from the North to the detriment of the other tribes in the region and unfortunately, what is becoming more obvious is the glaring pursuit of the ethnic agenda of one tribe, against the interests of the larger majority. There have been killings of indigenous farmers to dispossess them of their ancestral lands by people suspected to be Fulani herdsmen militia acting with impunity, largely unchecked and unrestrained. That is the perception, or what the generality of the people believe.

The abysmal security situation in the North and the need to build confidence makes it imperative to elect another leader and the northern Christians believe this is the time to be considerate to the northern Christian segment of the region.

Of the most visible northern Christian aspirants like Prof. Jerry Gana, David Jonah Jang, and a few others that may spring surprises in the coming months with their declarations, Yakubu Dogara has many factors going for him.

He is young and vibrant. As speaker of the House of Representatives, he already has interpersonal relationships with the representatives of virtually all the grassroots local governments in the country.
Besides as a Christian, he will draw a lot of sympathetic support from the largely Christian South of Nigeria, added to the northern Christian community and agreeable middle belt Muslims, and that’s a clincher for him.

This is more so as President Muhammadu Buhari has squandered a colossal amount of goodwill generously given to him by a broad spectrum voting population in 2015 owing to his seemingly nonchalant attitude towards cracking down on alleged Fulani herdsmen militia displacing and killing Christian minorities in the North and local Muslim Hausa peasant farmers in Zamfara state of Nigeria’s north west.

Most of the leadership on behalf of the North for Nigeria have always come from the North West. Shagari, Yar’adua and Buhari are all North Westerners. Dogara is from the North East. This is the time to try someone from either the North East or the North Central. Since most of the killings have occurred against the North Central farmers, any leadership from the region would have a harder task convincing the Fulani that there won’t be a policy of vengeance. Dogara would therefore be a new try.

Most southern Nigerians who have never been to the northern part of Nigeria would hardly believe that a sizable population of Christians exist in the North. Because the Muslim North dominates the national politics of Nigeria as representatives of the North, non – northerners believe that everyone in the geo political region is probably Hausa and definitely Muslim.
It is not so. The Christians in the North belong mainly to the hundreds of minority ethnic tribes who have been unable to fuse themselves under a common leadership due to largely linguistic barriers and therefore, the politically astute Fulani would more often than not, seize all opportunities accruing to the north, but selfishly use same to pursue and elevate a pan Fulani agenda only.

That is the bane of the North, which has constituted the killing fields of the most backward region in terms of education, female emancipation from child marriages,forceful kidnappings for sex slavery and every other vice, bringing the North to the bottom rung of poverty indexes in Nigeria. Despite the region’s huge human and natural resources, waiting to be harnessed.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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