Gandollar and the complications of 2019 elections
Last week, the Presidency, led by the President rejoiced greatly over the receipt of an attestation certificate of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) that it believes will put an end to the insinuation that the President does not have a higher school certificate. It was made possible since changes to the law that allows the receipt of attestation certificate in 2015.
Unlike many others that do not support the President for a second term, the evidence that he attended or wrote WAEC has never been an issue for me. I believe, without any shadow of doubt, that his military career and the content of that career, should suffice and qualify the President for the position he seeks. More so, he has been in that position for almost four years and seeks a reelection into the office. So, I will not bother about the certificate or none of it. My grouse with the President is that he has not changed his mindset since when he was first head of State, thinks and rationalises Nigeria’s entire problems from the prism of corruption, and he is very narrow minded to oversee a complex and diverse Nigeria. Given this mindset, he fails to see the deep structural problems we face, and his inability to address these problems flows from this.
In all of this, and given the background of poor and weak economic and governance of the last four years, one cannot miss the importance attached to the certificate by the President and his team. The big laugh displayed President rejoicing with the Minister of Education (by the way, what’s happened to that sector in the last four years?), photo op with the head of WAEC, and doing a thread of twitter on the attestation certificate betrays any notion that this is a well orchestrated plan to ensure no hindrance to the President’s second term. And this only signifies one thing – the President is desperate for a second term and nothing is too minute or mediocre for this purpose, and will continue to carry on governance in the mode of “the end justifies the means”.
Let’s translate this to another issue, which also exemplifies the drive and desperation for power – the deaf silence on the unhinged, shameful, astonishing videos of Gandollars making round on social media. The videos show different scenes of the Governor of Kano State Abdullahi Umar Ganduje obviously collecting bribes from contractors. The videos demonstrate a baby like excitement of the governor receiving dollars, or that of an experienced collector of antiques – in this case, dollars, and or the preparedness of a desperate armed robber that had the premonition of how much was involved, and so would ensure that all that is due, is duly collected.
Anyone familiar with the Nigerian environment will acknowledge that this happens on daily basis in the different parts of the country. The difference is the scale and who is involved. But the silence of the presidency, just as the initial silence when it was reported that Kemi Adeosun forged her NYSC certificate is a reflection of the dynamics of the 2019 elections, and the desperation of Mr. President to keep power.
Prior to the release of the Gandollar videos, the governor had promised that he would deliver 5 million votes in Kano State to the President. In the 2015 elections, the President won the State by a landslide of nearly 2 million votes. Kano is not only important in the Presidential elections, but it is strategically important for whoever wants to become the President come 2019. So, while the presidency has kept quite about the videos, there is no doubt that the Presidency is weighing the ramifications of such a blatant and clear videos of a rampant governor, who is also its supporter. The discussion in the presidency is made complicated by the fact that it is not sure if all the videos have been released, considering that this video are been released in piecemeal fashion.
In 2015, Kano delivered almost 2 million votes to President Buhari. The presidency will look forward to a similar victory in 2019 if the President is to be reelected.
But the Gandollar is only one of the issues at play. In 2015, the President had virtually all the heavyweights in the State in his corner, including Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, who recently moved to the People’s Democratic Party in order to fulfill his presidential ambitions, though he lost to Atiku Abubakar in the keenly contested primaries in Port Harcourt.
Nonetheless, there are some defining moments in every election circle, and Gandollar is certainly one of them in this election circle. It reinforces the tried and tested approach of Mr. President to issues like this, which is to keep mum and feign ignorance until the President or his inner circle realises either it will not go away, or long enough to determine or figure out how the person can be sacrificed. What makes the Gandollar episode very delicate, however, is that it involves a sitting State governor with immunity, and a State with enormous strategic implications for 2019. The wish of the presidency, therefore, is that this will quickly go away or the people of Kano totally ignore the shenanigan of their governor in relation to 2019 elections. More importantly, no one knows if there are more videos. In the context, time will tell.
I thank you.
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