This has been a recurring debate for as long as many Nigerians can remember. Every time a northerner is occupying the office of the president of the federal republic of Nigeria, the question as to whether the north will relinquish power always crops up. It has become a permanent fixture in our politics. It is a morbid fear that Nigerians outside the northern region of the country will always carry with them for as long as we continue to co-exist together as a nation.
To the average Nigerian who is not a northerner, it is believed that the north loves power. They are said to relish power and would do anything to cling onto it for as long as possible. It is even more so when the Fulani stock of the northern region are the ones in power, like we have now. President Muhammadu Buhari is a full blooded Fulani man. And from time immemorial, these are people traditionally known to be perpetually hungry for power. They crave for power and will do everything they can to hold onto it the moment they are in possession of it. For the northerners, power is almost like their birthright. In some cases, they insist it is their birthright. It is the only thing they can lay claim to as their own and would never be ready to relinquish power unless they are compelled to do so.
President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), Shettima Yerima, said sometime ago in an interview that it irritated the entire North for some southern politicians to think Northerners would leave power for them in 2023. He said, “How can you think we will cede power to the South in 2023? The North still wants the presidency. The south is in charge of the economy and they have everything, so why would they want to take away the only thing we have. What would you call that?”
Shettima Yerima was not just expressing his own personal opinion, he was actually expressing the opinion of the average northerner. This has been the mentality of the north and it will take a lot to purge them of that mentality. Even the Fulani herdsmen go about committing atrocities and slaughtering innocent people with the mindset that this is their land. Nigeria belongs to them and they can take over any land or farm that catches their fancy and there’s nothing nobody can do to stop them. And truly, often times, when these criminals are caught by the security agencies, they are always ordered ‘from above’ to be released afterwards.
It looked even more unlikely that if the north would hand over power at all, it would hand over to the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. From City People findings, the Northern power bloc cannot be comfortable with a southerner of Tinubu’s immense status. He is perceived as somebody possibly too big for the northern powers to control once he assumes office. There are many northern interests to protect and an Asiwaju presidency, it appears, may not be willing to accede to all of the needs and requests of the northern power bloc.
Tinubu is also somebody that cannot be intimidated by anyone. He will not allow himself to be held down to the whims and caprices of anybody, no matter how powerful. He believes in fairness. He believes in equity. He would speak truth to power and demand honesty and sincerity. And the northern power blocs know this. They are afraid of the fact that he is somebody that cannot be manipulated and this makes them wary of him. This got a lot of people wondering if the north would ever hand over power to Asiwaju, a southerner.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s body language did not help matters either. Many wondered why the president of the country was reluctant to throw his weight behind his party’s presidential candidate, more so when that same candidate played a pivotal role in his emergence as president. The president had been reported at several fora to have said that Nigerians should vote for any candidate of their choice. He did not specifically say that Nigerians should vote for his party’s candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. And more worrisome was the fact he was barely seen at APC rallies. As the president, he should’ve attended a handful of these rallies to support his friend, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. It was when none of this was happening that many began to draw the conclusion that all was not well with Tinubu and Buhari.
Finally, the one that more than anything else began to raise the most doubts about the sincerity of the north to hand over power was when the governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai raised the alarm that there were ‘elements in the Aso villa who did not want the APC to win the elections.
He said: “I believe there are elements in the villa that want us to lose the election because they didn’t get their way. They had their candidate but their candidate didn’t win the primary election,” El-Rufai said. “I think they are still trying to get us to lose the election and they are hiding behind the president’s desire to do what he thinks is right.”
The Kaduna State Governor insisted that the ‘elements’ are behind the non-removal of petrol subsidy after he had a conversation with Buhari where it was agreed that subsidy should be removed. El-Rufai noted that the same Aso Rock ‘elements’ are allegedly behind the faulty implementation of Naira notes swap introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Coming from a personality like Governor Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, everyone listened to what he had to say and made their deductions from it. It was clear he knew what he was talking about. Governor El-Rufai has never been a cantakerous person. He doesn’t just open his mouth and talk without making any sense. Many took him seriously and that was when a lot of people realised there was a huge cause for concern. It was looking increasingly clear that not the whole of the north was ready to see a southern president emerge Buhari’s successor. And this threw up a lot of conspiracy theories. There were speculations about a powerful group of retired northern Army Generals who were hell bent on ensuring that power remains in the north. There was also the story making the rounds that an Interim National Government could be set up after the polls may hve been cancelled. So many theories, so many fears, so many concerns. The issue of distrust will always rear its head when it comes to sharing of power between the north and other parts of the country.
With bated breathe, we are still watching with fingers crossed to see how things will eventually pan out.
– WALE LAWAL
Send Us News, Gist, more... to email@example.com | Twitter: @CitypeopleMagz