The easiest way to become Nigeria’s President is by not wanting the job in the first place. This is because the acquisition of Presidential power in Nigeria has always followed a particular pattern.
Last night, I remembered a conversation that I had with one of my mentors about the fact that all Nigerian Presidents have been people that were first chosen by the elite or circumstance — not people that actually actively campaigned for the job.
Interesting to note also, all Nigerian Presidents have been propelled to power by other people’s resources — not their own.
President Buhari was chosen by the amalgamated interests and individuals that formed the APC to unseat Jonathan in 2015 — this was after he decided that he would never run again. He was recalled into politics by political interests that knew that he could defeat an incumbent.
President Jonathan was ‘chosen’ by the death of Yar’Adua. Interesting enough, he too apparently did not want to become Vice-President — as he had just won his election as the Governor of Bayelsa state. Read more here
President Yar’Adua was chosen by Obasanjo in 2007 — despite the fact that he only wanted to go back into academia and focus on his health after serving as Governor of Katsina State. Read the full story here.
President Obasanjo was chosen in 1999 to pacify the Southwest and ‘inherit’ Chief MKO Abiola’s June 12th mandate after Nigeria returned to democracy — despite the fact that both men never saw eye-to-eye. Read more about it here
Interim President Shonekan was chosen by IBB in 1993 — when IBB was ‘forced’ to resign. We all know how this story ended with Abacha — who was Defense Minister i.e. Leaving a hungry wolf to guard a naive sheep. Read more here
President Shagari, the 1st democratically-elected President of Nigeria in 1979, only wanted to become a Senator. However, he was chosen as a sort of ‘consensus’ candidate by the powers in the NPN to go up against the notable Maitama Sule — who was the front runner.
In fact, Maitama Sule — who clearly wanted the job, was on track to win the NPN nomination on the night before the primaries, however, the special interests, acting on behalf of Shagari — not necessarily with his consent— told the delegates that Maitama Sule had stepped down.
According to a former Secretary of NPN in Kano State, Dahiru Yahaya, the elite special interests actually moved against the ‘Servants Son,’ Maitama Sule, because he was considered too independent — aka he was not beholden to anyone.
This pattern in Nigeria shows that:
- 1. Presidential power in Nigeria is not earned by antecedents, it is given by the endorsement of a group of the elite.
- 2. We have had leaders that have been ‘forced’ into the Presidency by other interested parties.
- 3. Nigeria is yet to elect a President that actually worked hard to get the job.
- 4. Nigeria is yet to elect a President that has primarily spent his own resources on becoming the President.
- 5. The special interests always control the options. Our choices in the dominant parties have always been limited to the inherent special interests. Hence, ordinary Nigerians play with the cards that the special interests deal in general elections.
- 6. The easiest way to become Nigeria’s President is by not wanting it at all.
With all of this as a guide, you can see why the early angling and posturing for 2023 are useless? Our next President most likely doesn’t know that he/she will be called upon to serve. I wonder who that is…
Also, read about G Boat and Uber here.