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Watch how many more heavy weights will sink their boat. The man with the biggest ego right now is Bola Tinubu unaware of his imminent fallen grace. He feels he has captured the Yoruba votes. Not so fast my man. Nah! Nah man! Just watch. The West voted against Obasanjo not against Ebele, not for Tinubu but as individuals for the grace of Fashola influence in Lagos. They also wish for a governor like Mimiko in Ondo State. All you have to analyze is the votes spread between ACN and PDP. ACN won mostly by default from PDP implosion but could have won a couple of seats in Ogun State anyway.

Tinubu must learn from the strongman of Kwara politics, where Saraki's ACPN that lost his clout. Fashola albatross is Tinubu and without the open wallet of Lagos State facilitated by Fashola, there is no ACN. He who pays the piper calls the tune. Fashola pays and is about time he learnt how to call the tune by paying Tinubu the same coin Tinubu paid his AD godfathers.

If the West is going to be the battle ground, with or without ACN and CPC alliance, Ebele wins the West. People now realize that Ribadu does not have what it takes to be a president, which is why he could not carry Adamawa his home State for ACN. ACN lost Ribadu senatorial seat and two others to PDP. ACN got 2 out of 8 Federal House seats, CPC with one and PDP had 5 in Adamawa. As much as they love Ribadu in the West, as a wasted vote, he carved for Buhari. Sophisticated voters know that, Tinubu knows it and the West will not throw their votes away.

So back to square one between Tinubu and Buhari's agreement that still fell apart because Tinubu insisted on the Vice-President slot. Bakare will not bow out, even for Tinubu's nominees. So if Tinubu have to go along with Buhari original plan that he had rejected, he would look like a fool. Oh please, Tinubu is no fool. All he wants from Ebele is that he will not be prosecuted. No matter how attractive ACN and CPC may look mathematically even if there is a run off as ACN wishes, it does not add up because there are more important factors missing in this equation.

Buhari is an honest man but with a weakness for royalties and very vindictive. The explanation he gave for derailing the subway system in Lagos preferring loss of Lagos State millions deposit rather than put up less to accomplish the rail system never made sense then or in tears now. The money suitcases, that went “unnoticed” by his administration through the Lagos Airport still hangs on him. Not even a pastor as a running mate can improve his image or dictatorial stand. If he is made anti-corruption Czar, many looters will pack out of Nigeria. How great!

Fortunately, there are other men of timber and caliber that will perform well in that role better than Buhari and better than Ribadu. Jega is more determined to give us a credible election after the false start. If we can get acceptable election from Jega backed by Ebele, we can also get anti-corruption Czar backed by Ebele. There are too many decent Nigerians to think that a few of us can soil the rest. The problem with ACN and PDP is that their founders are so desperate, they will drive a hot shaft through their mothers to win an election. This is why we have old men crying do or die politics that are discussed in their board meetings. Rigging election by fiat is a well planned plot like a coup that involve more than the spokesperson. It is a culture of the same corruption we decry. What matters is getting there not how they get there.

Another brilliant candidate for president is Shekarau. The exposure made possible by the debates point to the fact that we still have brilliant men and women in Nigeria that can lift the Country up if they are sincere. Those that know him praised his performance in past positions. In spite of this, he failed to deliver Kano to his party, ANPP because of the rift between him and Buhari. So they split Kano and PDP won 11, ANPP 8 out of 21 House seats. In the senatorial seats PDP won 2 from Kano central and north while ANPP retained one. They may kiss up later.

The equivalent of a run off wished for by ACN is the same as if all Northern presidential candidates present a unity candidate. Since Buhari won where Shekarau voted, Kano may switch to Buhari anyway for presidential, Kwankwaso for gubernatorial leaving Shekarau empty. Ribadu is in a worse situation, he hardly has a say of where Tinubu's ACN swings. The ANPP Ali Sheriff suffered the same fate in Borno in his run for the Senate because of the explosions, security and some claimed money extortion problem in Maiduguri. PDP Alhaji Zannah won with about 70,000 votes to the celebration of youths and akada operators. Wahala dey O!

So far PDP is doing fine in the North-western state of Jigawa, Kano, Kebbi and Zafara and Buhari CPC is trailing far behind PDP in North-central. This may change if there is a runoff. It may be a mistake for Ebele to be seen in the North to be in bed with Tinubu because PDP lost most of its heavyweight like former governors Agagu, Oyinloa and senators Adeleke, Omishore that won from prison in the last election by fiat and Iyabo has Obasanjo as her father. South-south looks good but attention must be paid to the creative way of voting in Akwa Ibom where bitter nuts and palm kernels were used to thumb-print. South-east may even revolt if too much attention is paid to Tinubu ACN in the West instead of the real voters that split PDP by implosion.

While Ebele cannot take the West for granted, he must also be seen as reaching out to even where PDP lost like in Katsina, Buhari home state where the daughter of Yar'Adua lost with most of the seats going to CPC. In Zamfara where Yarima's ANPP beat Shinkafi's PDP, they may return to Buhari in parties merger or run-off. Watch out for Kaduna that embarrassed PDP in the riding of Sambo, Ebele's Vice-President; Nasarawa and Niger. They cannot rely on North-west alone. In order to maintain its national spread Ebele must fight for every vote in the North, not only later day converts. A reason he still dances with characters like Ciroma and Babangida.

Unfortunately for Buhari, with Tinubu's ACN he cannot capture the whole North either. Nigerians are voting for individual candidates more in this election than for party leaders in the past elections. Left to individuals, they will be looking for the best candidates between CPC, ACN and PDP. If people had their choice they would replace those individuals they consider too corrupt or dictatorial as the party leader. Tinubu is both while Buhari has the benefit of just being a dictator.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Farouk Martins Aresa and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Articles by Farouk Martins Aresa