Bukola Saraki manipulated “northern elders” led by Professor Ango Abdullahi to simultaneously endorse him AND Bauchi State governor Bala Mohammed as the North’s “consensus candidates” for PDP’s presidential primaries.
But by what woolly arithmetic logic do two distinct people emerge as the “consensus candidates” of one region?
Well, Abdullahi reportedly said Saraki and Mohammed were “required to make further concessions so that in the end, one of them would be presented as the consensus candidate.”
How? Of course, other PDP candidates have dismissed the “northern consensus” exercise as an immature political flimflam.
The clearest indication that the consensus circus was perpetrated by Saraki (with Bala Mohammed as one of the supporting cast) emerged from what Ango Abdullahi said about the “third phase” in the “zonal assessment” of the PDP candidates from the North.
He said the North-Central has not had an opportunity to present a candidate for election in the PDP since 1999 but stopped short of saying Saraki should therefore be the region’s consensus candidate.
It’s true, of course, that the North-Central hasn’t produced a president since 1999. It’s also valid to make the case that in the interest of representational justice in the North, the Northcentral should be favored to produce PDP’s candidate.
(For the record, my own personal preference, about which I’ve already written, is for the next president to come from the South-east, which has also not produced a president since 1999, in the interest of national unity).
But Saraki himself doesn’t believe in the sort of representational justice he wants to benefit from at the national level.
Kwara PDP zoned its governorship ticket to Kwara North (which consists of the Baatonu people of Baruten, the Bokobaru people of Kaiama, and the Nupe people of Edu and Patigi) in recognition of the political and symbolic marginality of the area in the state.
Of the three ethnic groups that make up Kwara North, only the Baatonu and Bokobaru people (who used to belong to what was called Western Borgu in the old Kwara State and who’re ethnic, cultural, and historical cousins) have never produced a governor.
The Nupe had Shaaba Lafiagi in the stillborn Third Republic, and most of them in PDP have conceded that, in the interest of symbolic unity, former Western Borgu (i.e., Baruten and Kaiama) should have the privilege to present the party’s next candidate.
But what did Saraki do? He arbitrarily and unilaterally decided that PDP’s governorship ticket should again go to Nupe people for no other reason than that he has a slavishly dutiful stooge from the place that he wants to puppeteer like he did former Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed who was a governor only in name.
Because of Saraki’s egocentric shortsightedness, PDP is now all but certain to lose the next governorship election in Kwara State even though Kwara APC is at its most vulnerable state since 2019 in light of its enduringly enervating internal turmoil, which pits Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazak’s camp against Lai Mohammed’s in an intense battle of supremacy.
How can a self-conceited, thoughtless, and narcissistic political bully like Saraki who has shown a chilly disdain for fairness in the representational politics of his own state expect to benefit from the same ideal at the national level?
Most importantly, though, why does Saraki need “consensus” to emerge as PDP presidential candidate? Why is he in dread of actual democratic contest against other contenders in a primary election?
I think it’s because he realizes that his political star has dimmed irretrievably in both Kwara State and nationally, so he wants to get his political desires through dishonest shortcuts.
For years, he’d ridden on the coattails of his late dad, who was a way better politician than he is, but the coattails are now threadbare and past their sell-by date.