Obasanjo, Atiku And G5:Between Might And Reality, By Tunde Abatan 

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Obasanjo, Atiku And G5:Between Might And Reality, By Tunde Abatan
Election period has always been an interesting and entertaining period for Nigerians throughout its years of practising democracy from the defunct first republic days.
.For this category, they trade on their party’s manifestoes, programmes, if any,  and projects either executed and promises of a better country.
They trade Hope in the future  for hopelessness of today.
They do this based on what they have done before and what they are capable of doing if elected into office.
For others, their only claim to wanting to remain leaders who can influence direction of state is sheer popularity and not necessarily political structure and followership on which they could effect their wish to become reality.
They thus belief in rallying public opinion go support their desires and wishes.
 They rode on the back of public opinion and acceptability of their views or opinions.
 They lack neither appreciable political followership and platform to get voters to do their biding.
 They consist of opinion moulders, former leaders and socio cultural and political groups.
Former military head of state and later civilian president, Olusegun Obasanjo who ruled for eight years fall into the category of leaders who has voices but lacks followership.
In 1999 when he was drafted to join the presidential race by his military colleagues and Northern power brokers,he had neither  any political clout and followership  in Abeokuta his home town  nor Yoruba South West.
 He not only failed in his local polling unit in Abeokuta but his entire South west  region.
However,  his strong backers from the military and the North helped him to power using their resources.
 But for Afenifere,Yoruba socio cultural group who threw principle aside and backed him in 2003, while seeking reelection,Obasanjo had no electoral worth outside his military backers from the North.
As fate would have it,Obasanjos curious backing by Afenifere was a poison which saw to the end of political leadership and grassroot support  of Afenifere in South West .
The group which word was law in the region has since then been reduced to mere dog that can bite but cannot muscle the electorate to do its bidding contrary to what it was pre 1999.
Acting in conjunction with Obasanjo in 2019,the duo backed Atiku Abubakar,Obasanjos hitherto estranged vice for eight years, yet their influence failed to get popular backing, Atiku failed.
Since then, both Obasanjo and Afenifere now strongest backer of Peter Obi of Labour Party, LP, had their relevance removed.
Maybe if Obasanjo has remained not partisan as he promised when he tore the registration card of the PDP to shreds in 2015, his lot would have been better.
Today,like his partners in Afenifere led by acting leader,Chief Ayo Afebanjo ,he has not surprisingly,threw his weight behind Obi.
According to him, the LP candidate has “a thread attached to it from North and South,to pull him back not to get lost”.
Is Obasanjo referring to himself,Afenifere, Arewa Consultative Forum and Ohaneze Ndigbo as Obis masters who can “pull his ears”?
What a loaded statement.
It is apparent that like all leaders,Obasanjo now famous for his letter writing is in cahoot with the groups to install their own to power. They are just merely serving group interest.
It is also apparent that Obasanjos statement is a reflection of the mind set of him and other known and unknown power  brokers  who prefer to support or install,somebody they could manipulate in office.
Fear of Tinubus presidency difficult to be controlled by Obasanjo and his group is apparent in the way the former Lagos governor used the law to fight Obasanjo to a standstill over the creation of local government with the later seizure of states fund for eighteen months.
Besides,the fact of Tinubus capacity to mobilise resources big enough to campaign is enough reason to refuse to support or allow a man of means to acquire Nigerias presidency with all it’s powers.
But then, while it is now apparent that Obasanjo imposed  the late Umaru Yaradua in 2007 with the clear intent to manipulate or pull his ears to call him to order. However,hardly had the later got to power that he reversed most if not all Obasanjos policies.
The reversal of policies like  sale of three refineries to Aliko Dangotte,the termination of the  award of contract of construction of standard gauge rail line from Abuja to Lagos and many other policy changes in spite of Yaradua being a PDP member like Obasanjo points to pitfalls and failure of imposition.
If per chance Obi got elected, he would be a political orphan because chances that he could get any national assembly members to dominate the legislature would be remote.
Could the might being thrown arround him by Obasanjo and his ethnic groups save Obi from the legislature and give him enough clout to be in charge and direction of those who install him?
It is apparent that  both  Atiku and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu,presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress,APC,whose political platforms are far bigger and cohesive than Obi outside the control of the Obasanjo and the sectional self interest groups, whose primary goal is protecting selfish interests.
What level of political mobilisation is there in for the trio led by Obasanjo to pull behind Obi aside from the youths who are present in large numbers in all the parties.
Since politics is a game of numbers and influence, how many of the 35 state governors are there working for and mobilizing voters for Obi to get a reasonable portion of the 96 million voters whose vote will put him in power. ?
Same goes for National and state assembly candidates who today are incumbents struggling to get reelected ?
Will they abandon their parties that has a chance of returning them to power especially since the election is going to be fought strictly on both party and personality.
Atiku Abubakar and G5:
Few weeks ago,Atiku now practically abandoned by five strong governors in his party, warned them about the imminent death of their political future should they refused to retrace their steps and follow him?
What godly assurance has Atiku got to have the conviction that the determined governors are ready to play jokes with their future if they knew they cannot move their state.
Yes, Atiku is not a featherweight politician as a veteran of presidential contest, but it is hard for Atiku to wish away Southern presidency clamour on which the G5 governors are standing on even if their initial motives are personal.
With the equally strong presence of at least twelve governors out of nineteen Northern governors who for one reason or the other are supporting Tinubu, could Atiku get Northern electorate off their back for him especially when a fellow Fulani has occupied the seat for eight years?
Nyesome Wike, the leader of the five ‘rebel’ People’s Democratic Party,PDP governors read Atikus mind when he declared that his group can never play God because,”we knew what role God has played in our lives”.
He likened his groups fight against what is happening in the party to fight against treachery as shown in the decision of Atiku to retain Iyorchia Ayu as party’s chairman after his emergency as presidential candidate as treachery against the South.
Ironically,the five governors have the capacity to divide the 26 million votes in both the South South and South east between PDP and APC besides Labour Party’s threatening capacity to get a chunk from the two zones.
So take it or leave it, the G5 governors decision on who to support possibly this week will play a significant role in votes garnered by Atiku and Obi backed by Obasanjo,Afenifere and Ohaneze.
Since governors of Oyo,Enugu,Abia and Imo are all sitting governors,it remains to be seen how their influence on voters in their states could be wished away.
As for Tinubu, it remains to be seen whether the South West which had never really benefited from Obasanjos eight years and support for Muhammadu Buharis in 2015 and 2019 will not want their own there.
With four governors two of which are seeking reelection in it’s fold it is difficult how Obi or Atiku could make up.
Now,with Oyo led by Makinde who is spiritedly working for a Tinubu Presidency as a trade off for his reelection, and Ondo governor Akeredolu  the arrow head of Tinubu’s election campaign in the region, it is doubtful whether Labour or Atiku can stop Tinubu from getting the traditional block votes from the region.
At worst, LP and Atiku could manage to muster 20% of votes from the six states in the region.
If Obi gets 15% of the votes it will not be due to any Obasanjo or Afeniferes influence but to the youths in the region who are equally divided since most of them are present in large numbers as foot soldiers in APC and PDP.
Hence,from all indications, the February 25 election is not going to be fought by personality might of any former leader or socio cultural groups but by the grassroots mobilisation of the contending three dominant parties all over the country.
What is more,the past contribution of known supporters or backers of the three leading candidates will have limited effect on the outcome of the election s
As things stand today,the next seven weeks before the Presidential election now being vigorously fought by candidates from the three dominant tribes in the country is nit going to be a dinner party and business as usual as both Atiku and Tinubu on account of age may be in for battle of their life,hence they are likely to out everything into it.
Interesting days lie ahead of Nigeria.