A Case For Buhari-Fashola Candidacy
I'm no fan of the People's Democratic Party(PDP), and I want them dislodged from Aso rock. Evidences abound to support describing PDP as an evil cult that is bent on sucking the nation's blood dry. In fairness, the other parties may not be much better either, but at least let's try them and see what they have to offer, especially as most of the politicians today that have a modicum of credibility and principle are in other parties.
Thankfully, this appears to be a good time to dislodge them on the following grounds:
-we expect INEC leadership to conduct what should be close to free and fair election this time around, rigging should be minimal
-GEJ doesn't appear to have the liver of Obj to militarize the whole process and crush opposition
-PDP doesn't have a formidable presidential candidate - GEJ, IBB, Atiku?
-Obj, their strongest man, even if still powerful, cannot be as influential as he was while in power
With these realities, I think the only ticket that can give PDP a run for their money is a Buhari-Fashola ticket and merging of CPC and ACN.
I used to think Ribadu/Fashola ticket was the best before but after reading an advertorial in a national daily few days ago, proposing Buhari-Fashola candidacy, I'm more than convinced it's more formidable than Ribadu-Fashola ticket.
I present the following reasons:
1, Buhari is more popular in the north than Ribadu. In fact, Buhari polled up to 6 million in the 2003 and 2007 presidential elections. He was the heart of ANPP and the party won six states. He is very popular among the masses. Ribadu is not liked in the north among the elites, and the masses hardly know him. Buhari will be a massive sell in the north, especially now that the north sees GEJ as an intruder to their slot. 2, Fashola is very popular in the South-West. I see him sweeping Lagos, the largest voting population, as well as doing well in other Yoruba states.
3, ACN is reasonably popular in other states like Edo, Ekiti, and even Ondo
4, If GEJ gets the ticket ahead of IBB, Bukola Saraki and co, I expect rebellion in PDP, splitting their votes.
5, Buhari is increasingly becoming popular even among the educated, non-northerners. The religious and ethnic bigotry, the greatest albatross to his previous ambitions, is gradually been shed by many people. I have seen pastors, core Yorubas & Igbos, highly educated people making arguments for Buhari presidency.
In fact, in a recent poll by Nigeria Village square after their interview with Buhari, 44% say they will vote for him, 44% say they will not, 12% say they are not sure yet. This is as I type this. Majority of the visitors and members of Nigeria Village Square are from the South and highly educated. For somebody so derided and despised by Southerners and non-Muslims and even Southern Muslims before, this result is not bad at all. It shows he's being gradually accepted among this class of people. 6, Buhari is widely believed to be a solution to the cankerworm called corruption in Nigeria. Almost every Nigerian agrees to his disciplined stance on corruption. He is perhaps the only living past Nigerian leader that doesn't have a corruption question dangling on his neck. If corruption, is fought head-on, and the mindset of the populace changes, then many other things will fall in place 7, From past experience, Buhari is known to give his deputy free hands(remember Idi-Agbon). With a proven administrator per excellence as Fashola as vice, we expect great works. Imagine a Fashola as a working, not a figure-head, Vice President. Imagine the transformation of Nigeria. Imagine the wonders.
The following are however the low points of this dream ticket: 1, Muslim-Muslim Ticket: This will be the greatest stumbling block to the realization of this project. But Nigerians have shown that they can discard religious considerations when the need to do so arises. The Abiola-Kingibe ticket comes to mind here. 2, Another Yoruba-Hausa combination: Unfortunately, this is another flaw of this arrangement, given the regional balance reality in this country. Obasanjo-Atiku just completed the Yoruba-Hausa ticket, and here we are saying another Yoruba-Hausa ticket. I know our Ibo and Niger Delta brothers will not find this funny, especially as this will involve dislodging a Niger Deltan(GEJ) that currently occupies the position. I will not, like Chidi Amuta, suggest an 'Eastern Bye-Pass', but I believe we can find a way round this by dialoguing with easterners and making them see reason behind this arrangement while promising to hand over power to them at the expiration of this tenure.
Suraj Oyewale Ajah, Lagos