The darkening clouds of uncertainty looming over the 2019 political horizon in the North have a chilling effect comparable aptly to the bleak and breezy harmattan currently enveloping the region. From the dizzying drama that heralded the epic election victory and resurgence of Arewa’s dominance over national geo-politics spearheaded by President Muhammadu Buhari, we have descended into the doldrums of economic hardship and political despondency. Our aged political leadership elite inspire little or no hope but provoke rising resentment from a burgeoning population of the new generation northerners dismayed and desperate about their disastrous legacies plaguing the region. With the old brigade’s last chance opportunity to redeem capacity and credibility now blown into the debris of the dissipated Buhari tsunami, there is a crying need for a groundswell generational shift if Arewa’s 2019 prospects are to be sustained and salvaged.
In the twilight of the era of politics of Sardauna nostalgia, the surviving old brigade and their recycled off-shoots have committed hara-kiri by collectively collapsing at the feet of their talakawa, now traumatized into rebellious rejection of “elder statesmanship”. Still reeling from the ravaging impact of dashed hopes, today’s northerner has definitely had enough of the sit-tight monopoly of leadership without development associated with the recycling retinue of so-called presidential politicians from the region. The serial presidential contestants see only vistas for personal and clannish aggrandisement as they scramble and squabble for power and privilege, exploiting the endemic poverty, ignorance and primordial sentiments of ethnicity and religion in the region as camouflage. It is just as well that the likes of Atiku and ElRufai engage in self-incriminating exchanges as a rude reminder of their leopard-spots and a timely trigger for the much-needed generational shift in Arewa leadership class.
Come to think of it, where is the one northern political leader commanding reasonable respect and followership throughout the region still standing tall today with an unblemished record? Most have passed on and the others have been overtaken by the vicissitudes of time and events. As with population science, a political leadership class that ages without allowing the natural due process of generational replacement casts a curse of diminishing relevance and progress on their successors and indeed the unborn generations. The current political predicament of Arewa depicts this tragic depletion of credible leaders at a critical time of need for sustenance and consolidation of the fortuitous national realignment that gave Arewa a new lease on life in the 2015 presidential elections.
The south west could have been in a similar conundrum by now but by virtue of the relative advancement of its political culture and the foresight of its old generation of political leaders, the ladder was accessible to the upcoming politicians. That is why there is Bola Tinubu as a widely recognized and influential national leader symbolic of a generational shift from the Awolowos and the Bola Iges. It was this generational shift that provided a bridge across which the south west transited into a major stakeholder and strategic partner in the dynamics of presidential politics with the epochal trans-regional political alliance engineered principally by the Tinubu Movement for the momentous outcome of the 2015 elections. It also provided a spring board for Arewa’s reclamation of the Presidency. That generational shift also gives the south west a recharged leverage in determining the tempo and outcome of the dynamics of presidential politics moving into the foreseeable future.
In the light of this reality, the circumstances leading to the seemingly unavoidable collapse of the historic political alliance packaged into the APC are especially worrisome from the Arewa perspective as the main beneficiary. The undeniable cause of the mishap resides in the rush and rash manner the alliance was conceived and implemented. But having achieved the intended success in regaining the Presidency much more was expected of the Buhari Presidency to whom all was given. It was a classical political blunder to disregard the south west ladder on which it ascended in the euphoria of victory and incumbency, a blunder that could very well put paid even to the presumed entitlement to a second term in 2019. The bottom line is that Arewa cannot succeed on its own terms and just has to engage and secure the confidence and support of the south in general but especially the south west.
Clearly, the body politic of the south west/Arewa 2015 alliance owes more to the pre-existing formal and informal mutual political rapport and partnership across party lines exhibited excellently by the immediate past National Assembly’s. The “accord concordiale” built around Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal gave new positive impetus to the essence of the principle of legislative independence and oversight. From the initial subterranean strategizing for in-house leadership selection to the bold and focussed promotion of national interest over partisan allegiances, our democracy gained tremendous potency and credibility in the face of marauding manoeuvres of an over-bearing executive arm.
A revisit and revitalization of the coalition of new breed northern and south western patriotic legislators that constituted a “shadow alliance” by strategizing across partisan and geo-political cleavages to uphold the national interest is now Arewa’s best bet for a realistic reconciliatory rescue of the Arewa entitlement to second term in 2019. We must now put our best “digital” foot forward in regaining the confidence and support of the rest of Nigeria currently flabbergasted and overwhelmed by the “analogue” calamities ravaging the nation. Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal should step out and stand up for generational power shift in the North and revitalization of Arewa’s future prospects for national political leadership. Period!
Adieza wrote this piece from Okene, Kogi State