Learnt? PDP Presidential Primaries; Was any Lesson
I congratulate the Dr Dalhatu Tafida lead Goodluck/Sambo campaign organization for their victory at the just concluded PDP presidential primaries. I am very sure by now they have started strategizing with a view to winning the April 2011 presidential polls. O n the other hand I feel sad that I read in one of the dailies that some misguided youths in Northern Nigeria were protesting against the Jonathan/Sambo victory at the PDP primaries. What came to my mind was that it is either their sponsors are not conversant with the history of elections in Northern Nigeria or they are simply mischief makers.
To write this article, I decided to delve into the history of elections in Nigeria and particularly the North. It is on record that even in the fairest election ever conducted in Nigeria in 1993, the North never voted in block. Chief MKO Abiola the winner won squarely in Kano State where Bashir Tofa the other candidate came from. Of course we also know that Ibrahim Babangida annulled that election.
Going down memory line in the political history of the North, between 1953 and 1959, the Northern region had various interest groups with various political associations and parties vying for office and relevance. In the 1959 Federal House of Representatives election for example, the following association sought elections and actually won some seats to represent their people-: Northern People's Congress (NPC) Mabolaje Grand Alliance (MGA) Igala Union (IU) Igbira Tribal Union (ITU) Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU In like manner, in the 1964/1965 elections, the following parties contested again the Northern People's Congress and won some seats namely Northern Progressive Front (NPF) Kano People's Party (KPP) Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU) United Middle-Belt Congress (UMBC) -
Zamfara Commoners Party (ZCP).
It is common knowledge that in 1979, there were more political parties in Northern Nigeria than in the South while there were just the UPN and NPP in the South, there were NPN, PRP and GNPP in the North. Even at that, the NPP made in road into the North and won Plateau State and House of Representative Members in Gongola and Benue States .
It is therefore more of a fiction for some people to be claiming monolithic North voting en-bloc. That never happened in the history of the North!
What should be of worry to Northern Nigeria now is the new found spirit of unity in Southern Nigeria which was never therefore before the June 12 election annulment. That is why they gave their votes 100% to Dr Goodluck Jonathan. It is obvious from the 2005 Southern forum meeting in Enugu that the South seems to have come of age while the North is getting more fragmented by the day as is seen in Jos Plateau State , Kaduna , Bauchi and Borno States . People that wage war against each other killings their wives and children can never be said to be united. Unity is still very far in Northern Nigeria what more of voting in en-bloc.
In the North, blackmail, coercion and intimidation will never bring unity. What will bring unity is acknowledging that there are various tribes and religious beliefs and understanding those differences that exist amongst the more than 200 ethnic and religious groups that inhabit the region. There are indigenous Christians in Kano , Zamfara, Katsina and even Sokoto as are indigenous Muslims in Plateau State .
In the April 2011 election, all those wishfully thinking of a block vote from Northern Nigeria for a candidate from the North will be in for a great shocker. It did not happen in 1959. It did not happen in 1979, it did not happen in 1993. It cannot happen in 2011 when the former Northern Nigeria is more fragmented than ever.
We should actually give kudos to governors like Shema, Lamido and others who voted for logic, national unity than on regional sentiment.
As for the Southern delegates who gave their votes 100% to Goodluck Jonathan, I do not blame them either. Alhaji Atiku Abubukar made it clear to them that he did not need their votes to win in the first place. North had 61% but Northern Nigeria is fragmented. It is more or like 30%, 31% and now the South has 39%. It is time for astute alliance now between the North, South and the Middle belt if I may use this most hated term again.
But generally with the discontent in all the regions of the country from the North-west to the North central, from the North-east to the South-west, from the South-south to the South-east, why do we as a nation try the sovereign national conference? It might help and sooth frayed nerves you know.
2011 election is pregnant as it is. We pray it will deliver a healthy baby for Nigeria .
My best pick is still Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the consensus candidate of most if not all Nigerians. Man chosen by fate and God (Allah) at this material time in the history of Nigeria . Allah's choice no appeal.
Thanks for reading, best wishes and God bless.
Ndiameeh Babrik (