by Abraham Ogbodo
The crowd currently building around President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, is not unusual. His victory wasn’t a fluke according to the narrative. It was carefully planned and delivered. At all stages, men, women and huge resources were involved. People invested heavily in the Buhari victory, and since it has turned out fruitful, investors should earn profit.
On the whole, the brokers of the Buhari stock did a good job. It was well marketed causing it to be almost oversubscribed. There were early buyers, late buyers and very late buyers. Even now, people are still struggling, as evident in the mad rush by politicians to become APC members, to buy from the secondary market after the IPO (Initial Public Offer) was closed on March 28.
Governance, which effectively begins on May 29, when President Jonathan will hand over the presidency to Buhari does not seem a primary challenge in the circumstance. The bigger issue in the APC’s victorious camp is equitable distribution of the dividends of the victory (not democracy please) in a manner that will obliterate rancor among the multitude of shareholders.
Last Thursday, a meeting, not exactly an AGM, called to discuss and agree on a sharing formula, was reportedly deadlocked. One insider at the meeting revealed that the unwieldy crowd of investors needed to be properly screened and ranked to separate the preferential shareholders from the ordinary shareholders. This is to say that the investments came in varying intensity and the arising dividends cannot, therefore, be flat-rate.
For instance, the Northeast, which claims second position to the Northwest in the investment matrix wants something commensurate. This is natural and socially correct too. From whom much is taken, much is given. The Bible says so in Luke 12:48. Put differently, he that gives little, takes little, and he that gives nothing, takes nothing.
It explains why the Southsouth and Southeast, which contributed very little to the Buhari victory, shall have very little or nothing in the ongoing allocation of political largesse. Northwest has the presidency as the biggest investor.
The region returned the most votes to put Buhari in Aso Rock. But for purposes of geo-political balancing, the Southwest, which ranks third in contribution, is allowed to have the vice president, which in strict business sense, should go to the second largest contributor of votes, the Northeast.
Going forward, let us agree that this is a very big sacrifice that the Northeast is making to balance up Nigeria. It is, therefore, not too much, if by way of making up for the silver trophy it has magnanimously yielded to the Southwest, which is only good for a bronze, the region is asking for the Senate presidency, speakership of the House of Reps and Secretary-ship of the Government of the Federation.
On the whole, the formula is beautiful. If it is followed through, it can offer a new power template that will be less rancorous and energy sapping. That is, instead of fielding candidates and going through calumnious campaigns every four years, a presidential election can be conducted without candidates. Call it candidateless polls if you like, but it seems to hold the key to peace in Nigeria, before, during and after elections. Guided by the existing zonal structure, the zone that returns the most votes will automatically donate Nigeria’s president. The vice president will come from number two in the voting strength and number three and four shall produce the leadership of the Senate and the House of Reps respectively.
No other arrangement is more transparent in our current circumstances. The same process can be applied to source the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), who is number five in the order of protocol. The fifth largest voting region should bring somebody, even if all it can get is a charge-and-bail lawyer, to head the judiciary to keep the political arithmetic running. This leaves just a zone and the one with the least voting power uncompensated.
What do we do? Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), which is the third ranking officer in the Federal cabinet after the President and the Vice can go that way to bring the equation to a glorious balance. This will suffice for now. If there is need to drive down to the specifics of ethnic balancing, as we increase in time and self consciousness, we shall adjust to spread equitably the common heritage also called ‘National Cake’ among the 400 or so ethnic nationalities that make up Nigeria.
The cake sharing is usually a serious national assignment.
While thanking his constituents for giving him the mandate to represent them at the National Assembly, one senator-elect from Kogi State called Dino Melaye, promised that, his constituency — Kogi West — would no longer be short-changed in the sharing of the national cake. In effect, he was saying that for eight years that he has been in the Senate, the man he (Melaye) is succeeding, Smart Adeyemi, has not been bringing home for onward transmission to the people, a fair share of the ‘national cake’.
All the emphasis is on the sharing of the cake. Nothing is said about its baking. And that is not likely to change even as Buhari vows to change the DNA of Nigeria. He has threatened to fence out evil men from his team. Na shakara be that! In Warri, the boys will tell him to stop ‘raking anyhow!’ In case, he has forgotten, evil men were substantial part, almost 99 per cent, of the crowd that created his victory. How will he cut off 99 per cent of his body parts and still hope to live?
Could someone, please, tell the General that just one per cent of goodness is not good enough for good business. Even the Good Lord did not stop the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah because of one good man. He had insisted on more good men in exchange for salvation. In other words, the respected General is only posturing. For now, he is morally (permit the use of the word) obliged to do business with the devil.
Look at it this way. The devil was staying on his own quietly in the PDP when Buhari who wanted victory at all costs after three failed attempts, invited him over. Even at the risk of sounding repetitive, the point must be stressed that Buhari did the invitation. Terms were agreed and a deal was struck. The devil will always deliver and he has since delivered regarding the March 28 deal. He is now anxiously waiting on Buhari to do something good and cool.
Christians or Muslims know that the devil does not offer free food and a deal with him cannot be reworked midstream. He does not also accept ‘I beg sir’ in exchange for a definite demand. He must have his pound of flesh even if blood will be spilled. Remember Dr Chris Ngige? As then PDP Governor of Anambra State, he had unilaterally repudiated a deal with the devil. The devil came and kidnapped him even as a sitting governor. The PDP establishment under former President Olusegun Obasanjo simply told him to learn to honour all agreements for
peace to reign.
The same Obasanjo, who publicly tore his PDP membership card, is now very sympathetic to Buhari and the APC cause, although he has not announced a formal switch over. So many behemoths (I don’t want to mention names) of the PDP who had troubled the party to no end until they were cast out by a benevolent spirit are now loaded in the APC. They are the same forces that made Late President Umaru Shehu Yar’Adua win the 2007 presidential election, in spite of himself. They have just made Buhari to win the 2015 presidential poll in spite of himself.
The devil does not change character. That is the simple truth. And so, for General Buhari to proclaim loudly, as if on a parade ground, his disengagement from a reliable partner that has stood solidly by him, is not only unethical, but treacherous. He can think of a more peaceful way to handle matters much later. For now, he has accepted the devil’s offer for dinner and there is no backing out. His only option is to create a very long spoon to avoid being eaten in the course of the dinner, which is about to start.
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