Buhari’s Victory: Jostling For Positions Begin

A GREAT deal of strategic planning is going on among members of the inner circle of General Muhammadu Buhari’s imminent presidency, to settle the human capital component of the government, in a way that will minimize mediocrity that has been identified by another think tank as the fundamental weakness of the outgoing administration.

The Guardian confirmed at the weekend in Abuja that while celebration continues in many parts of the North, specifically about peaceful outcome of the presidential election, think tanks have been raised to deal with two specific issues: how to integrate the stranded South East geo-political zone that has been left in the lurch the morning after the results were released last Tuesday, and finding a strategic role and compensation for the big brain behind the success story of the APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu.

To match Interview NIGERIA-BUHARI/

Power indeed changed hands in Nigeria on Tuesday and its political map was redrawn when result of the keenly contested presidential election was announced and the country’s main opposition party, the APC, won and the incumbent president conceded.

The result that has sent the Western media back to base without the usual news items from crisis after elections has put the South East in a serious dilemma about where they are in the new dispensation. For instance, the party voted so massively for the ruling Party and in the end, there was no Senator in the entire region to be considered for any quota system in the distribution of political posts within the context of Order of National Precedence structure.

Though it has not been well documented in the print media, groundswell of opinions in political circles point to the fact that the implications of the miscalculation of the Igbo nation in the recent election when they put all their eggs in one basket are grave.

But The Guardian was told by those who should know that the strategic thinkers around the taciturn General from Daura are seriously finding ways of integrating the South East into the mainstream, as “a winner-take-all syndrome that is the hallmark of the presidential system of government may not augur well for the polity now,” an insider disclosed last night.

The source said the desperation of the APC chieftains from the South East has been so much that it has been suggested that Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the current Deputy President of the Senate on the platform of the PDP, should decamp to the APC so that he can take the top job if the APC leadership is disposed to zoning it to the South.

In the same vein, it has been suggested too that one of the Senators in Anambra should step down for Senator Chris Ngige who has been considered suitable for the job. None is ready to do that, it was learnt at the weekend.

Specifically, it was learnt that Buhari’s men are not opposed to a compromise that may lead to a Senate President emerging from the South East “if only one could be procured by any means before the first week of June when the National Assembly will be inaugurated.

The first task of the parliament on the day of inauguration is election of its presiding officers in both chambers in a bicameral legislature such as Nigeria’s.

The trouble with this proposal and disposition of the doves in Buhari’s kitchen cabinet is that a particular former governor and a returning Senator from North Central zone has positioned himself for the top job of the No.3 citizen that Senator David Mark from the same zone will relinquish on the day of inauguration.

It was learnt that the former governor who is generally believed to have earmarked a war chest for the presidency of the Senate is said to have got wind of the thinking in the core North about South East and is said to be mobilizing senators-elect from the South West to reject the political rehabilitation formula for the South East.

Incidentally, the former governor who substantially delivered his state to the APC in last weekend’s elections has some roots in the South West. His mother hails from Owo in Ondo State that has garnered two senators into the APC.

Besides, there are some hawks in APC who do not understand why the East that enjoyed most of the juicy positions in the outgoing administration should be reintegrated by political fiat. In the outgoing administration, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, is from the South East, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, is from the South East.

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, is from the South East. Incidentally, Hon. Ihedioha and PDP governorship candidate of Imo State was a co-rebel with Hon. Aminu Tambuwal in June 2011, when they disrupted the PDP power sharing formula then that had zoned Speakership to the South West and Deputy Speakership to the North East. The duo upset the apple cart then and left the two zones without any significant positions for the past four years.

The Tambuwal-Ihedioha political conspiracy resulted in an unfair formula, which has made both the Vice President (No.2 position) and the Speaker) No.4 to be from the same North West. In the same vein, the rebellion led to a situation whereby both the Deputy Senate President and the Deputy Speaker are from the same South East Zone.

This is the thing: In the outgoing administration’s power sharing formula that reechoed at the last Yoruba Academy meeting two weeks ago, the Vice President, Senate President and the Speaker are from the North (West & Central) while the President, Deputy President of the Senate and the Deputy Speaker are from the South (South & East) respectively.

It was predicted in this newspaper three weeks ago, that the ruling Party could pay dearly for the political naivety that led to the neglect of the South West for four years as the zone comprising six states would determine the outcome of the presidential election.

That prediction came true last week when votes from the Northern zone and South West, unprecedented in Nigeria’s history, did it for the APC. In the former republics, the South South and the South East had always had a handshake across the Niger to produce the president while the South West had always been left sulking.

But in the new political map of Nigeria, the new governing party, the APC, does not need the South East and South South to win the presidency and control the National Assembly, courtesy of the newfound love from the South West with second largest voter presence in the country.

Meanwhile, The Guardian also gathered that the northern wing of the APC is seriously considering a significant role and compensation for the genius of Bourdillon, Asiwaju Tinubu, “who was not initially trusted to see through the bloodless revolution of March 28” as another source told us at the weekend.

It was confirmed that there is so much joy in the North that power has unexpectedly returned to the region without the kind of rancour that followed succession politics after the sudden death of President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2010. The period witnessed a concoction called “doctrine of necessity” that eventually allowed the then Vice President, Jonathan to be acting President.

This same far North had then opposed the succession idea before the 2011 election, which eventually led to bloodbath in the region. Now, the region is bubbling with uncommon joy and even the aristocracy of the North is quite grateful to the resilience and brilliance of Tinubu that has seen them through.

It was confirmed that a small group is considering a post election role for the former Lagos state governor who is now banking on bandwagon effect of the presidential election to retain his stronghold in Lagos that he has held on to since 1999.

The scare from the presidential election with PDP strong showing has jolted the big man that the North has virtually adopted him as a rare political gem.

The reason for a special consideration for the Jagaban Borgu, according to sources, is that “if we do not have a special report on the role of the man in the struggle, the President from May 29 may be persuaded by some other sources to unleash the EFCC on him as a way of scaring him (Tinubu) away from Abuja and as a means of telling the world that we are living up to our promise to fight corruption,” as another source revealed last night.

The Guardian was told last night that while the President-elect’s men are looking for good and passionate men to run a good government, they are also conscious of special gratitude to both the president that “allowed the atmospherics of good election” and the brain behind the joy of the people in the North”, as another insider said to us at the weekend.


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