2023 Presidential Elections: Consolidating North West/South West Hitherto Elusive Alliance
By Tunde Abatan
The much dreaded 2023 Presidential election has come in spite of all hysteria and gone.
Though the full results is yet to be released by the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, snippets and details of results already released points to several developments.
These developments in one way or other represent the mood of the nation, the birth of new electoral realities and the consolidation of hitherto fledgling alliances from across the socio political landscape of the country.
From the results from the Northern and Southern parts of the country, it has shown the appearance of new fault lines in the political relationship between the North-South and among the various contending forces in the individual regions.
This development is not without connection to the formation of the All Progressives Congress, APC in 2014 by nine progressive governors from the North and South West who tried to breathe life into a hitherto still born relationship between both regions which dates back to the first republic of the then Nigerian National Democratic Party, NNDP of the late Premier of Western Region, Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola and then Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, who had the then Northern Peoples, NpC which resulted in the formation of the Nigeria National Alliance, NNA.
The rest as they say is history.
The sustenance of the birth of APC in spite of the failings of the Muhammadu Buhari regime as regards his nepotistic and clannish attitude in governance is quite significant.
It is because the South West which the convener of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu brought into the federal government displacing the Igbo South East which had over the years enjoyed a cordial but often rancorous relationship with the Northern conservative block is today not too happy about Buhari’s performance.
This has in a way encouraged the birth of clamour for a separate nation in Oduduwa republic.
Perhaps, if there is no Tinubu in today’s SW, the alliance would have crumbled because of Buhari’s fault lines.
That results from this election so far shows a consolidation of the alliance shows the dynamic and increasing sophistication of Yoruba in tolerating Tinubu.
This is as a result of their reservations about Buhari’s clannish and nepotistic attitude to governance.
It is apparent that for more than anything else, this election is about personality not political party.
The two major political parties, the APC and the main opposition, People’s Democratic Party, PDP it would appear have failed the citizens having taken turns to misrule Nigeria.
However, it is instructive that the resuscitation of the Labour Party, LP through the emergence of Mr Peter Obi who left the PDP due to power shift crisis has added a new impetus.
Though, it remains to be seen if Obi’s presence in the party will increase its power base as much as it represents the generational shift of power to favour the youths and it’s potential of being a third force or rather an alternative to both PDP and APC which had collectively ruled Nigeria for twenty four years.
However, the gradual ethnicisation of LPs clamour for power through it’s been seen as Igbos road to Presidency has robbed off on the genueness of its potency of being a pan Nigerian alternative to the older parties.
Conversely, it is apparent that members of the LP and it’s commanding heights are more of South East inclined as the party is seen as the only vehicle for it’s attainment of elusive Presidency.
For a national party and presidential candidate to appoint most of its coordinators in other parts of the country from the South East has somehow reduced its claim to pursuing nationalistic interests.
Yes, the youths from other parts of the country especially the South West embraced the LP, probably as a protest against the handling of the EndSars youth crisis, yet the party’s limitation in using only Obi as a rallying point diminish it’s standing and support of larger electorate who are more disposed to a nationalistic candidate.
It is apparent that in spite of former President Olusegun Obasanjo openly endorsed Obi as did some other senior citizens and Church leaders has not robbed off much.
This is because Tinubu’s campaign strategy and style appears to draw more trust and confidence from the North.
His being able to win the confidence of twelve Northern governors and their steadfastness in standing by him is a master stroke to change the dynamics of power in the North.
While the Muslim-Muslim ticket appears to be a cross for APC and Tinubu, voting trends and behaviour even in the South, seems to have dismissed earlier threats to the party and it’s presidential candidates choice.
Another factor which have diminished PDP in spite of it’s fielding a vice presidential candidate by Atiku Abubakar from the South South geo political zone of Delta in person of Governor Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa is that such appears to have done little by emerging voting trends.
What is more, the disconnect between Atiku and Nyesome Wike of Rivers state also diminish the impact of PDP and it’s propensity to win the election.
Ordinarily, the SE and SS are political bed mates of the North since the days of Ahmadu Bello up till second republic as attests to by voting pattern and alliances, the rupture in the relationship as a result of power shift affected PDP and it’s candidate.
Had PDP been able to pick a SE as running mate maybe it could’ve been a different story but then emergence of Obi in another party propel Ndigbo to see him as their hope.
But then, both Atiku and Obi running separately has been a blessing of sort to Tinubu and APC.
Had PDP and SE find accommodation in the presidential ticket, maybe Atiku would have been another story.
While the power shift clamour influenced the relevance of LP, as it further divided the Conservative camp which both the core North and SE represents since 1959 when its fledgling relationship via alliances started.
Obi’s emergence of sort is a blessing for APC which performance indicator has not help edits retention of power especially the I’ll thought currency redesign which had visited pains and anguish on citizens two months to the election.
Fortune has a way of smiling on divine destiny careers even when all odds appear to be against them.
For Tinubu, disagreement among hitherto old allies in Nigeria power groups, has helped the realisation of his life-long ambition.
This ambition is set for ultimate actualisation except a miracle happens between now and Wednesday when counting of votes in the presidential election would have been concluded and winner declared.
The implication of Tinubu becoming eventual winner of the election portends a dimmed hope for SE as it has to wait for another four or eight years before it could make a shot at the presidency.
But then, based on its traditional political behaviour, the PDP or any other bigger party appears to be the vehicle for realisation of it’s Igbo Presidency agenda.
Can Ndigbo find accommodation in either PDP or APC in the next four years .
That is a big question which will be decided by unfolding political and social developments in the country.
The nation waits.