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Date Published: 10/14/09

State Of The Nation: Why The North Wants To Correct Yar’adua’s Inaction By Senior Fyneface


Although President Umaru Yar’adua has done his best under the prevailing circumstances, it is widely believed that his best has turned out not to be good enough to give the country the urgently needed dynamics in leadership, at least, this is the view from afar. In actual fact, politicians of northern extraction widely believe that his best as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has become more or less an inertia in the wheels of progress of not only the north but the entire nation.

More so, with the zoning arrangement that keeps the Presidency in the North till 2015, northern political leaders may be worried that their slot at the helm of affairs at the centre is being squandered by Yar’adua’s peculiar style of administration.

In addition, the Yar’adua Presidency has obviously discredited the north and the process that selects leaders in that section of the country. The North may not want to gamble with their slot at the centre as failure by Ya’adua (as already insinuated by other sections of the country) may on the long run translate to the failure of northern leadership to even march the south-west bravado as played by Gen Obasanjo between 1999 and 2007.

Against this background, majority of the political elites of northern extraction see those scheming for a second term for Yar’adua as being mischievous and against the general interests of not only the region but the entire country.

They believe that what we have in the country is failure of leadership, which is an embarrassment to the north that is being looked up to for good leadership under the rotational arrangement.

Agreed that President Umaru Yar’adua is a Nigerian like every other person and entitled to aspire for whatever position he likes, the truth is that the ongoing campaign for a second term for the incumbent president shows signs of the “hands of Esau but the voice of Jacob.” This is because those involved know fully well that the President has very serious challenges that have greatly impeded or rather diminished his capacity to function as the man in the driving seat.

The widely accepted decision across the north that the incumbent should be edged out of power and replace with someone who has drive and commanding inertia to lead the nation may have informed the meeting in Kaduna on Wednesday 7 October of over 15 prominent northern political leaders to seek alternative platform to actualize the replacement agenda come 2011.

Former Head of State and presidential candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in the 2007 presidential election, Muhammadu Buhari, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and former Sokoto State Governor Attahiru Bafarawa amongst other over 15 prominent northern political leaders have kick- started moves to construct a credible alliance all across the country and see if they can raise a new platform of political party  on the basis upon which a credible challenge can be raised against the PDP in the 2011 elections.

Though it will be very interesting to see how this will unfold, the northern leaders at the Kaduna meeting believed that what is happening in the country demands personal sacrifice and therefore decided that the question of presidential ambition by any of them should not arise now.

It is still unclear at this stage how a flag bearer is going to emerge from this new political structure particularly among the three major contending forces- Atiku, Buhari and Bafarawa. However, there was a clear signal from the Kaduna meeting that the trio have agreed to bury their political differences in the overall interest of the nation through the formation of a political party that could wrest power from the PDP.


According a participant at the Kaduna meeting “the proposed new political platform it’s about bringing together people of strong political character with vision and patriotism, who want to make the required sacrifices to save the democratic process in the country and free Nigeria from the mismanagement of the PDP.”

Interestingly also, the scheme to salvage the north’s turn to occupy the presidency seems to be even hotter right inside Yar’adua’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party. The top PDP chieftains either for genuine or selfish reasons seem deeply disgruntled with the manner Yar’adua had ran the affairs of the nation since he was installed by Obasanjo in 2007 and are equally pushing what they described as the “great gamble” to replace him with a credible leader with enough steam.

Recent developments have shown that contrary to the impression of absolute unity painted by the PDP, there are serious cleavages that have produced four strong opposing factions inside the party.

There are various contending forces from the north within the PDP that are already working hard to scheme out Yar’adua for the 2011elections. The party itself has been fractured along five major camps. The fulcrums of the divided house hinge on Yar’adua himself, Obasanjo, Adamu Ciroma, and Babangida.

Frankly assessing the contending forces, nobody would be in doubt that while some of them are really serious some are mere jokers who may be playing the spoilers’ role.

Adamau Ciroma and Obasanjo are at best, for now, invalids in the politics of deciding the next candidate from the north although they could play very serious spoilers’ role.

Interestingly, Gen Ibrahim Babangida in his usual maradona style has opted to leave his decision to contest the 2011 presidential election to speculations.

What is not very clear now is how the new plot to unseat Yar’adua come 2011 will affect the unwritten but well-established equilibrium of rotational presidency between the north and the south. Under the arrangement, the north has only four years to occupy the presidency before the post goes to another part of the country. Anyway, when we get to the bridge, we will know how to cross it and this is a frank talk.


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