Letter to Mr. President; By Joseph Shopade
I am compelled to write you this letter in view of recent developments in Nigeria 's political landscape, and the seeming reality of your candidature in 2011 Presidential election. In writing this letter to you, Mr. President, I was driven by two major factors. In one breadth, I reflected not only on how good-luck and fate had combined to take you to the pinnacle of political office, but also on how the good Lord has worked through you to solve several protracted problems that include pump price of fuel in Nigeria. Secondly, I am concerned by the concerted conspiracy theories around your candidature by persons and groups that are 'wolves in sheep skins'. Mr. President, permit me to draw your attention to the following political possibilities and analysis regarding your 2011 Presidential ambition, using each geo-political zone as reference points: South-east: The political gladiators from this zone are asking you to contest for reasons that are neither in your interest nor that of the South-south zone. An average political actor from the South-east remains committed to ensuring the emergence of an Ibo president in 2015. The support from this zone may be based on the political calculation that if you fail in 2011, it will brighten the chances of an Ibo candidate in 2015 when the North would have completed its two-terms. You may want to be wary of a majority vote from the zone going to a northern candidate in 2011, to actualize its 2015 agenda.
South-west: This zone completed its political turn with former President Obasanjo in 2007. Major political actors from the zone are still grappling with the 'reality' or 'possibility' of having to wait for 40 years, when each of the remaining five geo-political zones would have had two terms of eight years. Political gladiators in the zone may be asking you to run in 2011 for extraneous reasons. These actors may be interested in presenting a Vice Presidential candidate with a 'popular' Presidential candidate from the North. The fact that your vice would come from the North remains a strong factor for predicting the outcome of votes from the zone in 2011.
South-south: Unlike southeast and southwest zones that may 'block-vote' in 2011 for political realities, political dynamics in south-south remains fluid. Internal divisions and political bickering within the zone are strong factors that you need to consider. Some ethnic groupings in the zone continue to sing discordant tunes. There are concerns about perceived dominance of Ijaw nation in Niger Delta affairs, and its emerging political relevance may change voting pattern of other ethnic nationalities in the zone in 2011.
North-central: Political actors from the six states in this zone appear to be sharply divided between supporting your candidature and that of northern extraction. Religion may be a determining factor in 2011. While you may be rest assured of majority votes from two states in the zone, the pattern of votes from the other four states may be unpredictable. Political gladiators in the zone may switch allegiance in 2011 to northern presidential candidature to avoid the possibility of committing 'political suicide'.
North-west and east: The seeming reality from these zones is that the next president in 2011 must complete the term of the north. The different groups and political actors from the zones that tend to support your candidature seem to be complying with the 'theory of strategic political positioning'. Their alliance with your political caucus is meant to make them ultimate beneficiaries as possible northern choice in the event of your concurrence not to contest. You may not be surprised to see a sizeable number of these groups becoming more vocal for a northern presidential candidate, if you decide to run in 2011. Aside from the possible scenarios from the geo-political zones, Mr. President, you may also want to consider the following analytical frameworks, that:
Some elected representatives, such as governors and national and state legislators, appear to be interested in your candidature in order to compromise the integrity and credibility of 2011 electoral process. While the Nigerian public is yearning to replace most elected representatives, their strategic alliance with your presidential candidature may be perceived as a constraint to free, fair and credible election in 2011.
Some political gladiators may want to use your candidature in 2011 as a 'games theory' that is meant to checkmate certain presidential candidates. You may want to consider the likelihood of these games theorists supporting a seeming neutral presidential candidate that is outside the mainstream of political horse-trading in 2011 elections.
In most developing countries, the 'incumbency factor' is a fait accompli in elections. This problem is often a function of weak and compromised electoral institution. You may wish to consider the pedigree of members of INEC under Prof. Attahiru Jega. The absence of clear victory in 2011 may not be in the interest of the entire south-south zone. You may also write history as the first incumbent to lose election in Nigeria and Africa .
The 2015 prediction of a failed state and a disintegrated or balkanized Nigeria was, amongst other things, premised on the possibility of unresolved leadership crises along the north-south political dichotomy. Your emergence as President in 2010 was divine. You have temporarily halted the beginning of fulfillment of the prophecy of doom. You may wish to consider the implications of your 2011 presidential ambition on the appreciable gains you have made in stabilizing the polity and restoring hope of a stronger and prosperous Nigeria .
Mr. President, in view of the postulations above, you may wish to consider the following analytical suggestions, that:
You stand down your interest in 2011, and midwife a credible, free and fair general election that will turn you into a hero in Nigeria and Africa .
You return in 2015 when the north would have had two terms, and possibly rule the nation for eight years as the credible candidate of both the north and south.
You mitigate political hawks that may wish to solely interpret political transition in plural state like Nigeria as mere game of number, and not that of compromise, consensus and equity.
My dear Mr. President, permit me to bring to your memory the activities of political sycophants during the failed democratic transition under late Gen. Sani Abacha. Please remember 'Youth Earnestly Ask for Abacha', 'consensus candidate', 'five fingers of a leprous hand', and so on. This class of political opportunists appears to be on the prowls again. May the wisdom of God guide your decision concerning 2011 presidential election! May God continue to teach you to profit and lead you in the way that you should go!