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Agada Ikechukwu

The age-long aspiration which petered out the secret cold war between the two Southwest Statesmen remains an interesting narrative that will shape the 2019 elections.

One is a Nigerian and international leader while the other is an APC national leader. Loaded with the fact that a bridge can still be built, while the bitter waters of anger and betrayal are flowing beneath; these two great men put aside their differences and collaboed together to ensure the victory of the incumbent President in 2015 presidential election.

Like battle ready generals that heard the sound of a trumpet, the eyes of their interests were stimulated prompting them to break into camps with foot-soldiers in a clever attempt to outwit each other in the distribution of appointments immediately following the 2015 general elections. The Abeokuta camp led by a governor backed by one of the statesmen and the Lagos camp led by the nation’s second in command but bankrolled by the other statesman. Both leaders are reputed as strategists, tacticians and men with the creative monicker to influence the outcome of any political game. They set out for fishing.

With their guns fully loaded, they went off the beaten track to give each other a good run for their money and political braggadocio in reminiscence of the earlier show of strength as President and Governor respectively. Basking in their Alumni as ex-Soldiers (Former President and incumbent President), one gained earlier mileage over the other by kidnapping all the Southwest ministerial and board appointments to his field marshals using his state governor(co-ordinator) as the point man with the towering backing of the Aso Rock Cabal. The shouting reason the President is very close to that governor today.

They ganged up and outsmarted the Lagos camp to the game of appointments. The Lagos camp leader’s political children turned foes catalysed the process and got juicy and mouth-watering offices from the Aso Rock Cabal. Like a sea-worn vessel crashing against the trunk of an iceberg, the Lagos godfather was randomly humiliated and his ego deflated. His attempts to plant the leaders of the National Assembly were frustrated by the Abeokuta camp in conjunction with the Aso Rock Cabal and others who saw him as overbearing and domineering in Nigeria’s political lexicon. His anointed second in command was caged and his office watered to sheer ceremonial accommodation. His anointed son’s lone appointment of EFCC helmsman was marred with controversies midwived by the cabal (who spoke through a letter by one of them against his appointment) prompting his non-confirmation by the National Assembly to date. The Lagos camp went bananas leaving their leader in the cold of political wilderness because even his anointed party chairman abandoned him. His Lagos mansion became a mecca of sorts for sympathizers who thronged in their numbers to console and encourage him in his most trying times. He felt decimated, demystified, used and dumped politically. It dawned on him that his traducers know their game and have no apologies how they play it. He became one sentence short of alluding to the truism that politics is a game of smartness.

The plot had always been in the cooler from the outset but was suspended as a bait to get the merger of the legacy parties sealed. But before you say Success, the friendship between the two military generals (the former President and incumbent President) went sour as the 2019 elections gather momentum and the President’s strategists have no choice but to reconcile and pacify the aggrieved leader of the Lagos camp as an ingenious strategy to win Southwest. They brandished salivating promises to get him onboard. They quickly reactivated his influence in the presidency and the party. Sensing that he is now the cock of the wall, he tabled his demands as a prerequisite to joining the ship. Some of his demands and influence axed the APC former chairman and a security chief who was sacrificed in a palace coup. His influence also watered the prestigious award decorated on the 1993 Comrades to humble the backer of the Abeokuta camp. The dusting and exposure of the NYSC certificate (Of former minister of finance) squabble of one of the favourites of the Abeokuta camp cannot be divorced from the Lagos camp politics and the Aso Rock cabal who are now enraged by the Abeokuta camp pilot’s constant criticism of their government.

The Lagos camp leader consolidated his position by moving against all the forces that conspired against him and other perceived 2023 Presidential contenders from other zones. This explains why some three APC governors could not anoint their choice gubernatorial aspirants successfully. If his party wins 2019 Presidential elections, the Lagos camp with the entrance of a minister (owing to the intrigues that made his man to deputise their party’s gubernatorial candidate in Lagos-indeed, power and loyalty are transient) who used to be a political foe, stands a good chance of taking over the mantle in 2023 (with the Ogun camp as the albatross because they have interest too) to be deputised by the President’s wife or a strong political heavyweight in the North. But this calculation will turn to a mirage if PDP wins in 2019. Religion will be the chiefest criteria in 2023 selection as it will traditionally be the turn of Christians to wear the crown.

Awolowo was a great Nigerian of impeccable integrity just like Nnamdi Azikiwe. Their shoes are sometimes too big for their successors but it a legacy that must be filled. The two leaders are Great Nigerians; the cold war between them will definitely shape 2019 permutations.

The tactical refusal to assent to the electoral bill is an offshoot of the battle to wear Awolowo’s shoes. Whilst one is one of those behind the presidential decision to reject the bill to water the ground for his 2023 projections, the other is putting machineries in place to check him. The reason one takes on another at the slightest provocation. When two elephants fight, the grass suffers. Signing peace accord is a patriotic service to one’s nation but doing that without signing the electoral bill that will guarantee free and fair elections two months to the general elections is an exercise in futility. Congratulations to the Vice Presidential Candidates for a successful debate yesterday. Let all the Presidential Candidates offer themselves too to enable Nigerians to do a thorough assessment of their capabilities.

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