The Presidency has noted that the 2015 presidential election is about the stability of Nigeria and not about the two leading contenders – President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
Specifically, it advised the north to wait till 2019, when Jonathan would have completed his second term, saying by then, the region would have “unequivocal” and “indisputable” opportunity to rule the country for the next eight years.
This was the argument of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, while speaking with State House correspondents at the weekend.
Acknowledging that the north was far more advanced in terms of politics and political leadership than any other section of Nigeria, Okupe noted that the Yoruba people were no longer causing trouble because their son had been allowed to rule Nigeria for eight years.
“Why can we not concede this remaining four years?” the presidential aide queried, even as he said that the northern region had always been Nigeria’s political stabilizing force.
Asking the north to wait until 2019, Okupe said, “A country cannot be roasted or derailed purely on the ambition of one person. If Jonathan completes his next four years, the north has a chance; an unequivocal chance, an indisputable chance and an opportunity that cannot be denied to present a candidate they want who will rule the country for another eight years.
“Even if Buhari wins this election, which is impossible, he cannot do a second term. So, when the second term comes, why would other people not contest against him? He is a northerner and if he cannot run for election again, then, the thing should go back to the south.
“So, would the north be satisfied with only four years? These are the issues. That is why I am saying this 2015 election is beyond Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari. It is a matter of national stability.
“The north, since independence, has been the political stabilising group in this country. The north is far more advanced than any section of this country in terms of politics and political leadership”.
The presidential aide observed that the north had always had partnership with the south, including the southwest, south-south and southeast, however, he argued that somehow, they miscalculated this time around.
“They assumed wrongly that Bola Tinubu was the leader of the Yoruba race, and that if they can strike a deal with him, they have got the south-west. While doing that, they left their former allies that included General Adeyinka Adebayo, Richard Akinjide, Olunloyo and others”.
He recalled that when the late MKO Abiola died and civilian politics was brought back for Nigerians to vote, the north sat down and met and decided that because of the injustice done to the Yoruba people, the Yoruba must present the next president at that time.
He continued: “And they called this nation to accept and buy into a national consensus to patronise Yoruba people and that had a salutary effect on the political stability of this country. That is the role the north has always played in the politics of Nigeria.
“The consideration and implication of the 2015 general elections for this country go beyond Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari. It is beyond both of them. It is about stability of this country. And both the north and the south have always given concessionary consideration to each other. When we went for independence, the north was not ready, the south waited.
“In 1958, the colonial masters had agreed to give Nigeria independence, but the north said they were not ready. Nnamdi Azikwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and other southern leadership conceded. They agreed and said they would wait for their brothers. So, we did not start the concession for peace just now”.
Speaking further, Okupe said the country’s political equation had always been tinkered towards balancing the polity and not creating problems in the country, adding that President Jonathan, comes from an area that, in perpetuity, has always been the strongest ally of the north.
“Shehu Shagari said that, and that is why, irrespective of what is going on in the north, he knows the history and will never support the north to be against a son of the south because when things were tough, hard and there were no friends and when there were hostilities against the north, the south-south stood by the north.
“How conceivable would it be that the north had been ruling for so long and when there was a crisis, the north conceded to Yoruba people? And now, the goose that lays the golden eggs was not brought up by anybody, but by God; an act of providence. The man is doing well, and you are saying that just because they are in minority, you can chase them out”.
Stating why the Yorubas had been silent on the presidency, Okupe said, “Now that we have allowed Yoruba to rule, Yoruba have kept quiet and they are no longer causing problem. You don’t expect any upheaval from Yoruba land anymore. Why can we not concede this remaining four years? Nobody killed Yar’Adua.
“For some of us, Yar’Adua was our person, but God knows best. But if this has happened, let us exercise a lot of patience, maturity and understanding. Why do we want to drag this country to a cliff because of the ambition of one man who is supported by some greedy people who don’t even represent their people?”