Even if the senate president, Ahmed Lawan, eventually returns to the senate next year, many of us will not forget his opportunistic and duplicitous presidential run. For seeking the nomination of his party, APC, as its presidential candidate when it was widely known that the party has zoned the office to Southern Nigeria, Lawan came across as an unprincipled and unscrupulous politician who would do anything to grab power, even if it means jeopardizing the unity and stability of the country. I am thankful that the governors did not take him seriously and the delegates did not support him.
If Lawan had won the nomination, it would have thrown away our time-honoured tradition to rotate the presidency between the north and south and imperilled our delicate unity as a nation. It would also have presented APC as a party without honour and trust before Nigerians who have come to expect that based on the spirit and letters of our constitution and the urgent need to sustain and build a more cohesive and harmonious society, President Buhari could not be immediately succeeded by another Northerner. I am surprised that Lawan threw away all these considerations and plunged into the race just to satisfy his hunger for power. How insensitive could a man be!
Obviously, Lawan was supported by the national chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, who had planned to enthrone him as the consensus candidate. I note that Adamu himself has a history of skullduggery, dating back to his roles in Obasanjo’s third term agenda. He was one of the few PDP governors who backed the plot with an uncommon crusading zeal. His plot to install Lawan as the only candidate in the primary was capable of triggering a major crisis in the party and set it on the path to a momentous defeat, just as the third term plan could have created a major constitutional problem and plunged the country into turmoil.
I shall one day focus more on the politics of the national chairman, but for now, Senator Ahmed Lawan should take responsibility for his rascality. He has lost our respect as a ranking senator and trustworthy leader. He now comes across as a desperate power seeker who wouldn’t mind setting off a political inferno just to satiate his hunger for power. We shall not forget him so soon. The people of Yobe north senatorial district should send a replacement to the senate. It is time to retire Lawan. I do not know if President Buhari was part of the scheme to impose Lawan as it is widely speculated. Perhaps, we shall learn some more with time.
Having failed to secure the presidential ticket, Lawan is now fighting to return to the senate. He’s seeking help from Chairman Adamu, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and other party leaders to pressure Mr Bashir Babachina, the placeholder, to relinquish the ticket for him. I urge Mr Babachina to stay put and contest the election. It is time for Ahmed Lawan to go! Nigerians have lost confidence in him. APC governors, especially southern governors, will no longer trust him. Last year, the Forum of Southern Governors met in Asaba and affirmed that the presidency should be zoned to the southern part of the country. PDP has ignored this; and will most likely incur the wrath of voters in the south-west, south-east and south-south. I’m amazed that Lawan did not only flout this basic rotational principle but also failed to read the mood of the nation. A good leader must understand what’s good for his country. A selfless leader is one who sacrifices his personal ambition for the good of the country. A leader who is concerned with the welfare and wellbeing of his country will never hurt the political interests of his people. In the last seven years, our country has gone through enormous economic, political, security and religious challenges. There’s no gainsaying that a paradigm shift is needed to reset everything. Inclusivity at all levels of government engenders development, peaceful coexistence and nationhood. That’s what we expect from the next APC government.
Lawan jumped into the race on the ill-advised notion that only a northerner could beat Atiku Abubakar. It is an invention of some fringe extremist elements to exclude other sections of the country. APC has 22 governors, a president, a vice president, the majority in the national assembly and in most houses of assembly, in addition to commissioners, special advisers, special assistants and other political appointees. This is what Nigerians refer to as “structures”. Together, they constitute the vast network of people who make elections happen. So, whoever the party fields as its presidential candidates stand a high chance of winning, provided there’s a common purpose to achieve that. With millions of members and supporters in all the wards across the country, the party would beat PDP with any southern candidate as the standard-bearer. It is therefore the height of insincerity to assume that only a northerner would beat another northerner. Didn’t Goodluck Jonathan beat a northerner in 2011?
I am also worried that this same argument is peddled about a possible VP pick for Tinubu. The idea that only a Muslim from the north would provide an unassailable pair to the APC nominee is just a farce. A vice-presidential choice serves principally to make up for the shortcomings of the man at the top of the ticket. Prof. Osinbajo is a case in point. Similarly, Tinubu should pick a younger, cerebral, well-educated and well-spoken Christian with the requisite leadership skills from the north-eastern part of the country. With the support of the party, he would prevail.