Yar’Adua is on a Short Leash

The “coronation” of our “selected” president has come and gone. Political gamesmanship has since begun. Like every political transition, this one will come with its own bit of drama. I very well expect to see the first couple of impeachment notices to start flying very soon. Adamawa, Imo and Ekiti are top on my list- and no voodoo need tell you why. These states have a different party in charge of the executive and legislative arms and if the lessons of PRP-NPC crisis that sent Balarabe Musa to political oblivion are anything to go by, these governors better start watching their backs from day one.

Let us also not forget the impending legislative leadership drama. A repeat of the certificate and age scandals is highly probable if the rumor having it that OBJ has imposed his men again on the Sixth Legislature is anything to go by. Knowing the kind of company the ex-President keeps (read Enwenrem, Iwu, Salisu Buhari, Uba etc), I can place my bets that these OBJ’s scions are tainted and have a wardrobe full of skeletons which serves the PDP establishment need to blackmail them in turn for loyalty on one hand, but will be a liability once their colleagues start juggling for their juicy positions. Apart from these, the politics of giving positions to the boys will also come full circle. The early echoes are already being heard, but I shall leave that for another day.

The third drama to expect is that of election tribunals. The cases are still fresh and any predictions will be at best a guestimate. However, many states are likely to change hands and very quickly too. Oyo, Rivers, Ondo, Edo, Ekiti, Anambra, and Adamawa are the more likely venues of these dramas, listed in their order of probability. How Adedibu and Uba will handle the court verdicts is what we need to watch out for, but the subsequent likelihood that the Supreme Courts will even order a re-run of these elections will test the new President’s ability to manage elections under his newly reformed electoral commission. Not that I am expecting much anyway.

You can pardon my cynicism; while I understand that many of my readers, like most Nigerians, are incurable optimists – I refuse to share in your euphoria. It is on record, that even before his imposition and subsequent selection; I had already condemned the choice of this establishment candidate. How else can you describe a man that sees nothing wrong in the current over-centralized structure of the federation and would not restructure this ill positioned nation? Only fools and charlatans who benefit from the present configuration that encourage the emergence of mediocre “leaders” like Obasanjo, Bode George, Anenih, Adedibu, Uba, Omisore, Atiku and Lucky Igbinnedion will insist that the present configuration is satisfactory. For a proof, look to Ken Nnamani-this cerebral Senate President kicked for restructuring in his own way against all odds because he does not belong to mediocre assembly that he nominally answers to- which is PDP. Contrast this attitude with that of a mediocre like Mantu, then you will get the full picture why things are unlikely to change.

For the records, I do not have anything against Yar’Adua, same way I had little or no opinion about Obasanjo on May 29, 1999. But if history is anything to go by, you simply cannot build a tower on a shaky foundation. Falsehood cannot begat righteousness; evil cannot give birth to good. No matter how you shake it or tip it, I hear the voice of Jacob and the hand of Esau. If truly he who pays the piper dictates the tune, then this administration is unlikely to be different from its predecessor in its lack of vision, anti-people policies and disdain for the rule of law. Of course, I read President’s Yar’Adua’s interview. I was indeed taken in. He answered almost every question correctly, but I will wait till four years time (if he lasts that long) before I hold him to his words. One thing I am very sure will be different in his tenure however that is the brashness, meanness and pomposity if the OBJ administration is a thing of the past. Whether the bickering will remain, depends on a number of factors.

Chief amongst these factors will be how he (Yar’Adua) handles his godfather, Obasanjo, and court rulings that will soon come home to dismantle the perfidy on which his ignoble party is built. OBJ has made it very clear he will remain the chairman of the party, and if history is correct his immediate attention will be to belittle the Presidency and revert the pre-Yar’Adua era tradition of the President being the Party Leader (no wonder we just started hearing the phrase party loyalty instead of executive-legislative cooperation at the twilight if his presidential career). I do not expect Yar’Adua to give in without a good fight. History, education and public opinion will be on his side. Whether the fight will come is not a matter of if, it is actually a matter of when. Power and the source of power do not diverge for too long: this is a well known Machiavellian principle that Atiku, Chris Uba and Adedibu knows way too well now. On installing Obasanjo as President, it was impossible for Obasanjo to forego the all too important party machinery, so will it be for Yar’Adua. Who will the joke be on?

Lastly as I have previously mentioned, how Yar’Adua handles the torrent of unfavorable court rulings coming his way will more than his political fights with Ex-President Obasanjo determine how posterity judge him. Judges do not live in a vacuum and I sense that given the widespread domestic and internally outcry against the recent elections (with judges whom themselves were disenfranchised sitting over these cases), I do expect a number of the rulings to be favorable to the opposition. While I do not see the Presidential election being overturned, I foresee a possibility of a novel judgment. How Will Yar’Adua handle court rulings that pit his godfather and party against Nigerians and the Judiciary which represent us? Will he obey or behave true to character like the son of a vagabond? How the “unknown quantity” (apologies to WS) react in this circumstances will determine whether he will be a quantity or of quality. The ball is in Yar’Adua’s court, and it is our job to make sure you play ball. It is never too early to scrutinize him either- democracy is too precious and we must constantly be on guard.

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