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By Simon Reef Musa

The dust over the electoral triumph of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the 2023 presidential poll have settled finally, following the validation of the poll by the Supreme Court, but on Monday, the matter rippled to the centre of public discourse when the Northern Elder’s Forum (NEF) regretted the choice by the north in electing Tinubu for president. NEF’s claim contradicted what the then All Progressives Congress (APC) vice-presidential candidate, Senator Kashim Shettima when, during a visit to Emir of Daura, Alhaji Faruk Umar Faruk, lamented how the region had turned its back on the party to support the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar on account of his (Atiku) membership of the Fulani ethnic stock.

Troubling impression
The concept of Arewa as ‘One North, One People’ had since wobbled, mostly due to religion and ethnic bigotry that has led to a strain in the unity of the region. The Sardauna legacy of uniting Arewa has been replaced by subtle enthronement of religious and ethnic supremacy. Under the government of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the prisoner-turned-prisoner was accused of appointing non-northerners, even though largely from the North-central zone, into sensitive positions, while ignoring core northerners.

Between the Yar’Adua and Jonathan-led governments, the hope of salvaging what was left of the promising region frittered away, as cold-blooded murderers were engaged in influencing the pendulum of politics. The man who had wept for the poor called ‘Mai Gaskiya’ (the truth bearer), Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) would emerge on the scene with a vow to tackle insecurity. Buhari’s presidency not only plunged the country into World Headquarters of Poverty (WHP), but also turned Nigeria into one of the countries most terrorised by non-state actors. Unprecedented and unbridled corruption stalked the country and the enthronement of religious and ethnic supremacy became the sole signature of the government.

Deep division
Against the backdrop of intense loathing deployed strictly for political advantage, northern politicians, if they exist, lost capacity for consensus-building across regional divides. In their quest for political power, they relegated the interest of the north and replaced it with the survival instincts in the power game. Faced with the inevitability of yet another round of insurgence that has largely crippled the North-east, former President Goodluck Jonathan showed a clean pair of heels from the corridor of power, insisting that his ambition was not worth the blood of any Nigerian.

For now, the north has murdered unity and consensus on the altar of bigotry and shattered the basis upon which mutual collaboration and cooperation was founded on. When this week, the loquacious group that claims to speak for north declared the region regretted voting for Tinubu, not a few asked on whose behalf NEF was speaking for. For the defenders of the ghost called Arewa, their anointed candidate was candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar. The Labour Party (LP) and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) contributed to the victory of the APC through splitting of votes. It is certain that if 2027 comes today or tomorrow, Tinubu will still unleash a collateral defeat on them, as convincing the opposition to unite against an incumbent as was done in 2015 could turn out a long and dreary dream.

Tinubu’s hurricane
Ahead of the 2023 polls, Tinubu was unstoppable when it became obvious that the powers that be were opposed to his electoral victory. When he declared ‘Emi Lokan’ (It’s my turn), not a few predicted that his political tomb had been dug. The man, who then was known as the godfather of Lagos State Politics, would prove bookmakers wrong when he emerged as the presidential candidate of the APC against all odds. Unlike the APC previous presidential candidate, who rode to power through a meagre contribution of N100 recharge cards from supporters in 2015, the man, who said the presidency was his life ambition, had the requisite financial muscle for logistics.

Tinubu never relied on political money lenders; he worked his way to presidential victory, using every ingenuity at his command. The wind of good fortunes blew across his way in the absence of a united opposition. Despite being the most hated presidential candidate, the APC candidate pulled through to realise his presidential dream.

Having seen through the frivolousness of northern politicians whose love for money superseded other interests, Tinubu cannot be frightened by those he forced to kiss the dust. Those who think the president can be blackmailed into submission are in for a long hurl. If those in the corridors of power could not prevent him coming into power; what powers do they now possess to deny him power? I don’t think this president would allow power to slip through his fingers. For those who think there is a Jonathan in Tinubu, I can only wish them good luck.

Socio-cultural groups splitting fire and brimstone must acknowledge the fact that their days of relevance have long been diminished. In the modern world of competence, those factors responsible for the north’s past dominance of others through quota systems are no longer feasible. Northerners must work fast to rid their region of insecurity and unite the zone for development across ethnic and religious divides. It’s now a new awakening now, and northerners, on whatever platforms they operate, must strive for the common good of all. For so long we have borne the hypocrisy of greedy northerners that have continued to eat kola nuts on our behalf. The catharsis of the monstrous greed is about to burst on us all, and threatening Tinubu now amounts to only seeking to be warmed by painted fire.

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