Click the link below for my article in the UK Guardian about how President Goodluck Jonathan blunder’s cost him the 2015 Nigerian presidential election.
Getting on the wrong side of Obasanjo is the political equivalent of crossing a mafia don. You will pay.
Excellent info-graphic charts by Voice of America:
An article I wrote for the UK Guardian’s comment is free section.
Two things are virtually certain, no matter who wins. The results will be disputed and there will be litigation (especially if the result is close).
Buhari – a man with a reputation for austerity and a no-nonsense approach to hard graft – is not the type of person to pay people money to not be violent. Those who have worked with Buhari describe him as “strong willed” and “completely inflexible; suggesting that his resolute and unyielding temperament means he will stick to his words and will try to force a result with insurgents on the battlefield, rather than in the negotiating room.
All the talk about the upcoming February 14 presidential election Nigeria is about President Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari. However there are 12 other candidates contesting this election!
|Goodluck Jonathan (President)||Peoples Democratic Party|
|Muhammadu Buhari||All Progressives Congress|
|Tunde Anifowose-Kelani||Action Alliance|
|Rafiu Salau||Alliance for Democracy|
|Alhaji Ganiyu Galadima||Allied Congress Party of Nigeria|
|Mani Ahmad||African Democratic Congress|
|Adebayo Musa Ayeni||African Peoples Alliance|
|Chief Sam Eke||Citizens’ Popular Party|
|High Chief Ambrose Owuru||Hope Democratic Party|
|Oluremi Comfort Sonaiya||KOWA Party|
|Chief Martin Onovo||National Conscience Party|
|Allagoa Chinedu||Peoples Party of Nigeria|
|Godson Okoye||United Democratic Party|
|Chekwas Okorie||United Progressive Party|
The Candidates’ bios:
Goodluck Jonathan is the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He is the incumbent President and is seeking re-election. Jonathan assumed office in 2010 after the death of former President, Umaru Yar’adua. He was elected into office in 2011.
Muhammadu Buhari is the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The former Head of State contested for the office of President in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 elections. He emerged the candidate of the APC in December 2014 defeating opponents which included former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.
Tunde Anifowose-Kelani is the Presidential candidate of the Action Alliance (AA). He was born in Agbokojo, Ibadan, Oyo state, on April 5, 1965. He earned a first degree in Guidance and Counselling combined with Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan and a Master’s degree in Personnel Psychology from the same university.
He has also served as the National President, Junior Chambers International (JCI), and Chief Executive Officer of The Siegener Sabithos Nigeria Limited. He is a member of the board of the Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) of Ibadan.
Rafiu Salau is the Presidential candidate of the Alliance for Democracy (AD). He is also the party’s National Secretary. The 58-year-old holds a Senior Secondary School leaving Certificate and believes that he is “the best candidate” for the number one office in the country.
He has pledged to create two million jobs if elected and also raise Nigeria’s foreign reserve to $200 billion.
Alhaji Ganiyu Galadima:
Ganiyu Galadima is the Presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN). Galadima was the acting National Chairman of the party before being named its flagbearer of December 11, 2014. Galadima has said that he believes strongly ‘in the need to end impunity in Nigeria’.
Dr Mani Ahmad:
Mani Ahmad is the Presidential candidate of African Democratic Congress (ADC). He has urged Nigerians to think about their situation and those responsible and vote for ADC for a paradigm shift. He also expressed optimism at his ability to deliver if elected into office.
Adebayo Musa Ayeni:
Adebayo Musa Ayeni is the Presidential candidate of the African Peoples Alliance (APA). He was the Deputy Governor of the old Ondo State from 1990 to 1992, the first civilian to hold the office during military rule. He is from Emure Ekiti in Ekiti State. Ayeni has promised to tackle corruption if elected into office.
Chief Sam Eke:
Sam Eke is the Presidential candidate of the Citizens’ Popular Party (CPP) and is also its National Chairman. He is an accountant and a native of the Ikwuana Local Government Area of Abia state.
He has attended the Pacific Western University, Janus University and the state University of New York, all in the US. Chief Eke has urged Nigerian politicians to shun “politics of bitterness” and the “do or die” mentality and also to refrain from gathering unnecessary wealth.
High Chief Ambrose Owuru:
High Chief Ambrose Owuru is the Presidential candidate of the Hope Democratic Party. He is the National Chairman of the party and has contested Presidential elections twice.
Owuru, who is a lawyer, was arrested and arraigned in 2013 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over an alleged N66 million fraud. Owuru has described his party as “a new generation party of statesmen who work for the future of our people.”
Remi Comfort Sonaiya:
Oluremi Comfort Sonaiya is the Presidential candidate of KOWA party. She is the only female contesting for the post. Dr Sonaiya, who was born on March 2nd, 1955, holds a doctorate degree in linguistics and is also a professor of French and applied linguistics at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU).
She has said that she is running for Nigeria’s number one office because she believes that an ‘ordinary citizen’ can do the job.
Chief Martin Onovo:
Chief Martin Onovo is the Presidential candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP). He is an engineer by profession and holds degrees from the University of Ibadan and the University of Houston.
Chief Onovo contested the 2011 Presidential elections on the platform the Action Alliance (AA) in 2011. Onovo has said that if elected into power, his administration would use $9 billion to double power generation, transmission and distribution in two and half years.
Allagoa Chinedu is the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN). According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Allagoa is 46-years-old and holds a Bachelor of Science degree. His running mate is 35-year-old Arabamhen Mary, a Secondary School leaving certificate holder.
Godson Okoye is the Presidential candidate of the United Democratic Party (UDP). He is a lawyer by profession. Okoye contested the governorship elections of Anambra State in 2010 and 2013.
Okoye has said that his vision is to vision is to “make Nigeria secure and prosperous, through effective governance to overcome [our] current educational, security and power problems.”
Dr Chekwas Okorie:
Chekwas Okorie is the Presidential candidate of the United Progressive Party (UPP). He is also the pioneer National Chairman of the party. Dr Okorie was a close friend to the late Odimegwu Ojukwu and was also one of the founding members of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) before his departure from the party.
Okorie has urged Nigerians not to vote for either the APC or the PDP as they are both full of “recycled criminals, former jail birds and corrupt and deceitful politicians.”
Good article in Africa Confidential about how the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria will affect next year’s presidential election.
One surprise from the infographic map above is that although Adamawa State is under a state of emergency even though the number of deadly attacks in that State are about 25% of the number of attacks in Kano State (which is not under a state of emergency). Also Bauchi state has had 600% more attacks than Adamawa State, and it too is not under a state of emergency.
Last month was the 20th anniversary of the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election. The annulment of that election created a question that Nigerians rarely ask, and will never know the answer to.
The facts of the annulment are well known. After the painstaking eight year conduct of a “transition programme” to return Nigeria to civilian democratic rule after 9 years of military rule, the then military government led by General Ibrahim Babangida voided the results of the June 12, 1993 election that was supposed to herald the return of democracy.
That act added the word “annulment” to the standard Nigerian vocabulary. Although the full election results were never disclosed, everyone knows that Moshood Abiola won. However, given his antecedents, background and temperament, would Abiola have been a beneficial President for Nigeria?
ABIOLA: FROM RAGS TO RICHES
The story of Abiola’s life is a classic rags to riches story that could be a Hollywood film. He was born into poverty in a large family. He eventually attended the famous Baptist Boys High School in his home town of Abeokuta, in Ogun State. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is another alumnus of that school. After training as an accountant, Abiola made his name and riches when he joined the telecommunications company ITT. Abiola eventually became the chairman of ITT and via series of cordial relations with key army officers, Abiola amassed so much wealth, influence and fame that he once boasted of being the richest African on Earth.
FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES
Two of Abiola’s closest military friends were then Minister of Communications Brigadier Murtala Muhammed and Lt-Col Ibrahim Babangida (Inspector of Recce). With Babangida and Muhammed eventually becoming Heads of State, Abiola exploited his relationship with them to secure extensive patronage via contracts with the government and became spectacularly rich in the process. His business empire grew massively as did his bank account balance, number of wives, concubines and children.
President Shagari was overthrown in a military coup on December 31, 1983 and replaced by a military government in which Abiola’s friend Babangida was Chief of Army Staff (number 3 in the regime). Less than two years later his friend Babangida became Head of State.
THE IDEAL PRESIDENT?
Abiola ran for President in an election stage managed by his close friend Babangida. As a southern Muslim (the religion of the north) and who was a close friend of the Head of State, an Abiola presidency seemed a virtual certainty.
As results began trickling in, it became obvious that Abiola was headed for a landslide victory. He even defeated his opponent Bashir Tofa in Tofa’s home state of Kano. For the first time Nigerians voted across ethnic and religious lines as Christians voted for a Muslim, and northerners voted for a southerner. However something went very wrong. On June 23, 1993 the election was annulled and Abiola was denied the presidency. Five years later Abiola was dead, having been incarcerated for treason for declaring himself the rightful president.
HOW WOULD NIGERIA HAVE BEEN UNDER “PRESIDENT ABIOLA”?
So what would have happened had the election not been annulled and had Abiola ruled? A powerful hard line faction in the military bitterly opposed his candidacy. Babangida later said that had Abiola become President, he would have been overthrown in a violent military coup within six months. With massive opposition to Abiola in the army, an Abiola presidency would almost certainly have led to new round of bloody coups and counter-coups that would have given the military a pretext to retain power. Nigeria might even have still been under military rule today.
However what if the military had supported Abiola? Would an Abiola presidency have been good for Nigeria? Abiola did not win the June 12, 1993 election because he was a massively popular candidate. He won and was adopted as an unlikely symbol of democracy by a public that was desperate to rid Nigeria of increasingly corrupt and authoritarian military rule. To the public, any candidate was better than the military. Olusegun Obasanjo warned that “Abiola is “not the Messiah that Nigerians are looking for”. How (in)accurate was Obasanjo’s assessment of Abiola?
WAS ABIOLA THE “MESSIAH”?
Having come from a poor background Abiola was extremely generous to the poor and made grandiose charitable donations. These took the form of bulk buys of rice and tinned milk, to constructing new wings in universities. He also awarded several hundred scholarships from his own personal fortune. Abiola made such gestures country-wide and did not limit them to his own ethnic or geographic group. He had contacts and friends across all ethnicities and regions of the country.
It was also hoped that Abiola’s stupendous wealth meant that he was rich enough not to be tempted to loot the state treasury. As a rich multi-billionaire southern businessman, who adopted the religion of the north and had extensive local and international contacts, the perception was that if Abiola could not govern, no one could.
ABIOLA – A LADIES MAN?
However Abiola had many weaknesses which might have proved his undoing had he become President. His first and foremost weakness was for female flesh. His appetite for women was such that over a decade after his death, not even his own family is aware of how many wives and children he had. Educated estimates put the number of his wives somewhere between 25 and 40, and children anywhere between 85 and 120. He also had a number of concubines. Such a complicated personal life could have proved embarrassing and destabilising for a President in the public eye and would probably have occupied several column inches for gleeful tabloids.
Although from humble origins, in adulthood Abiola was no firebrand political reformer and he was unlikely to rock the boat or risk physical challenge. In many ways he was part of Nigeria’s corrupt elite and a government led by him would have continued with business and corrupt dealings as usual. His emergence as a presidential candidate was predicated on his membership of that corrupt elite. In the end the same military Leviathan which Abiola sponsored and supported ended up devouring him.