PMB and the side effects of selecting a successor- Bala Ibrahim
All Attention have shifted to the forthcoming national convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, as the party unveiled 18 sub-committees, which will take charge of activities of the convention, scheduled to start on the 6th of this month.
There are many issues at stake, but the biggest and most talked about, is the question of who the party would field as its presidential flag bearer.
The issue became more momentous, after the main opposition party, the PDP, had elected Alh. Atiku Abubakar, the Waziri of Adamawa to fly its own presidential flag. The conundrum confronting the APC now is, getting someone with the political clout to beat Atiku at the polls.
Ordinarily, it ought to be purely a party affair, of course with the input of the President as the head of the party. But news from the grapevine, partially supported by official by-line, say PMB, in his meeting with the APC Governors, had made it clear to them that, like he gave them free hand to pick their successors, they should also give him the freedom to select his own successor.
This is good. But when one looks at the history of political successions in Nigeria, especially with regards gubernatorial seats, one may be quick to say to the President, hold on, there are a lot of side effects to such resolution.
And the Governors, from whom the President is seeking the concession, have the most sour tale to tell about the perfidy of anointing, or single-handedly selecting a successor.
The journey would start in a rosy way, with promises that are suggestive of a good future and sustained political fortune for the benefactor, but within a short period of time, the situation would deteriorate to a rusty relationship, that often results in the opposite of happiness for both the benefactor and the beneficiary. The reason is because, in Nigeria, leadership is mostly piloted by pretence, deceit, and highbrow or high level hypocrisy.
It is such deceptive attitude from the benefactor, that when eventually discovered by the beneficiary, that always leads to treachery, and a new story emerges in town, talking about the betrayal of trust on the side of the new leader. That is the side effect of selecting a successor.
In Nigeria, since the coming of the fourth Republic in 1999, the first governor to anoint and hand over to his deputy was Ahmed Sani Yarima, the first elected Governor of Zamfara state. Ahmed selected Alhaji Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi to succeed him in 2007, after Yarima had completed two terms as the governor of the then newly created state.
Less than a year on the throne, the hitherto good rapport, cheerfulness and conviviality that existed between the two, suddenly turned into a sour relationship, culminating in Shinkafi dumping Yarima and the then ANPP for the PDP. Things got to extreme unfriendliness, that they were virtually at daggers drawn, politically. In 2011, Yarima fielded Abdulaziz Yari as the ANPP flag bearer, who eventually defeated Shinkafi at the polls. That is the side effect of selecting a successor.
Another case of selecting a successor and the situation turning sour multi-folds is in Osun state, where Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the victim. Former governor Aregbesola was selected by Tinubu to be the governor of Osun state, after serving as his commissioner in Lagos state. In turn, Aregbesola anointed Oyetola as his successor at the government house. Less than four years later, Oyetola is at war with Aregbesola and Aregbesola is at no love lost with Tinubu. That is the side effect of selecting a successor.
The story is the same in Kano, between Kwankwaso and Ganduje. The same in Gombe, between Danjuma Goje and Dankwambo. The same in Kaduna, between Makarfi and Namadi Sambo. The same in Akwa Ibom, between Bassey Atta and Godswill Akpabio, and Akpabio and Emmanuel Udom. The same in Edo, between Adams Oshiomhole and Godwin Obaseki.
Perhaps the most prominent is the case of Anambra State in 2004, when political godfather Chris Ubah kidnapped his political Godson, Governor Chris Ngige, for allegedly failing to keep to the terms of their agreement.
If we paraphrase the saying of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, that, “In Africa, we don’t have a Crown Prince because rivals will make sure he dies before the King”, we can see the wisdom of PMB saying he doesn’t want to make public, the name of his successor, because if he does, they would kill him.
But who are the THEY? The president didn’t give us the clue, yet he was said to have said to the governors, that they should allow him select the person to succeed him.
I hope history would not repeat itself, by making the President suffer the unfair side effect of selecting a successor.
Ibrahim, a media advisor writes from Abuja