Between The Elitists Interest And The Masess Interest: Is Aminu Waziri Tambuwal The Consensus Candidate? – By Nurudeen Dauda

Tambuwal: Leader, Mentor, Visionary Clocks 52 - By Imam Imam


In my humble views, the recent entry of Rt. Hon. Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal into the presidential race can best be understood from the elites’ theory. As the speaker himself acknowledged, he said: it was the decision of some of his colleagues in the national assembly to buy him the presidential nomination form of the All progressive Congress, APC. He, however, said: I accepted the nomination form and I would consult most particularly with my people of Sokoto state and respond soonest.

Some analysts were of the opinion that fielding Tambuwal by the opposition APC, would be more appealing to the southerners, adding that among the major contenders of the “number one office” within the opposition, APC, Tambuwal would be more sellable in the south, considering the fact that, his emergence as the “Speaker”   was backed by southerners against one of their own whose PDP’s zoning formula favoured then. In addition, they argued that Tambuwal gives equal opportunities to all members in the House irrespective of their political party. Another point advanced was the fact that, Speaker Tambuwal has been going to wedding ceremonies, Burial marks and commissioning of projects of his colleagues in the House “in person”(not by delegation) irrespective of their parties or   personalities and no matter the remoteness of their villages. As such they look at him as rallying point.

On the other hand, some analysts were (or are) of the view that it is the handy work of the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP to draft Tambuwal so as to have an easy sail in the 2015 General Election. Notwithstanding, in my modest opinion, I strongly believe that Tambuwal is a consensus candidate of the elites. I will come to the “elitists fronting” later.

In every society there are classes of individuals and each of these classes of individuals has conflicting interests or views from one another in order to protect. In most cases, the elites interests are their Business interests, Economic interests, political interest (political patronage), and or financial interests etc. On the other hand, the masses interests are mostly basic needs(food, clothes and shelter) good health care services, employment opportunities, access to qualitative education, access to portable water supply and or poverty eradication (or reduction) etc.

The Elites in Nigeria, in my opinion, are in the following classes: (1) The retired Military officers (or retired Military Generals), (2) The Retired Civil Servant (i.e Retired Senior Civil Servants cadre),(3) The Political Elites( i.e those who transit from The Military-Police-Civil service class), (4) The Business moguls and (5) The Traditional Rulers ( and are those also those who transit from The Military-Police-Civil service) class.

On the one hand, the masses are the unemployed (or the under-employed), homeless (or the under-sheltered), uneducated (or less educated), poor (or  the mal-nourished), and the destitute etc.

Generally speaking, the masses are not comfortable with the existing order in the country, but the elites in Nigeria are very comfortable with the existing order, not until probably recently when the security challenges in the country is frightening and threatening everyone. In the light of this, perhaps the elites in the country have now lost   confidence in the present administration and they want a change, but however, what the elites have probably not agree on is the alternative from the opposition ( or what one may say, the likely candidate that will emerge from the opposition, APC). And to my mind, in their attempt to protect their interest they might have probably settled at the Rt. Hon. Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal as the man to guards their interests.

A head up the 2015 presidential elections the opposition All Progressive Congress, APC has been consulting very widely among its major presidential candidates. One recalled that, the last time Asuwaju Bola Ahmed Tibubu visited former president Olusegun Obasanjo in his “Otta residence” it was reported by the media then that, the delegation which was then led by Tinibu sought to know “Baba’s” interest (or opinion) on his boys who are vying for the office of president; some sections of the media reported that,former president Olusengun Obasanjo warned (or advised them) not to field former vice president, Atiku Abubakar. Nevertheless, few days later, former vice president Atiku Abubakar’s    men reacted to the media reports stating that,  former Vice president Atiku Abubakar does not need Obasanjos’s endorsement for his presidential bid.

It appears that President Olusegun Obasanjo is sympathetic to the opposition, APC but perhaps, Baba is not sure as to who will be its presidential flag bearer. The sympathy issue perhaps came to the fore soon after, the former head of state, General Moh’d Buhari granted interviews to one of the media houses where he was reported to have said: I contested for the office of president three times, adding that, he picked Late Senator Chuba Okadigbo, in 2003; Edwin Ume- Uzeoke, in 2007; and Pastor Dunde Bakari, in 2011 as his running mates. He added that, he went to court for three good times and all the justices that presided over the cases were northerners or Housa-Fulanis but the General said he lost all the cases. The General was therefore, reported to have said that: if he wins the primaries of his party, he has not made of his mind about the Muslim-Muslim tickets or nots.

Former, president Olusegun Obasanjo, in his swift reaction, was reported to have said: no political party should contemplate fielding Christain-Christain tickets or Muslim-Muslim tickets giving the suspicious relationship among Nigerians. From the foregoing, one would have concluded that President Obasanjo either has sympathy over APC or foresaw victory in favour of the party of which he wouldn’t want to be left out.

Interestingly too, one recalls that, former president General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida once told Rt. Hon.  Aminu Waziri Tambuwal to aspire for a higher office. Equally worth noting, is the fact that, the speaker has a close contact with General Olusegun Obasanjon; more so, the speaker in his consultation before defecting to the opposing, APC, he visited Otta Farms.

The political environment in the country suggests that, the incumbent or the ruling party has lost touch with a greater numbers of the country’s elites. If so, then the elites have shopped for an alternative. Before the rumoured presidential ambitiom of Aminu waziri Tambuwal, the political arithmetic will likely favour General Muhammadu Buhari who was ( or is) enjoying support from the Tinibu political bloc. Obviously, Nigerian elites would never be comfortable with General Buhari giving his standing on anti corruption and indiscipline of which most of the elites in the country are guilty of ( or beneficiaries of).

If one travels through the historical antecedents of the ascension to power of our leaders past as well as the present one, one will but acknowledge the fact that, all our leaders past and even present were ( or are) products of “elites fronting” or manipulation or anointment weather Military or Civilians.

Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa- Prime Minister from 1960-1966:

Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa the fist and the only Prime Minister that our country had, was never prepared to be the Prime Minister (or to be polite was not supposed to be the Prime Minister ) This does not suggest that the man was not competent, not at all. But going by the doctrine of parliamentary system of government, the leader of the party with “majority seats” in the parliament after elections automatically becomes the Prime Minister. The late Sir, Ahmadu Bello was the leader (or president) of Northern People’s Congress, NPC not Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. The late Sir Ahmadu Bello preferred to remain as the Premier of Northern Region when his counterparts; namely, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe left his position of Premier of Eastern Region to become the Ceremonial President while Chief Obafemi Awolawo also left his position as the Premier of Western Region and became the national leader of the opposition party  as was the requirement under the parliamentary system of government.

General Thomas Aguyi Ironsi Head of state- from 16th January, 1966-29th July, 1966:

The General was never prepared to become the Head of state, more so, he knew nothing about the Coup that brought him to power, in fact, he was among the officers to be arrested in that “Black Night” only for him to be away for a “Night party” as destiny would have it; although some people argued that he was missed deliberately due to nepotism by the coup plotter who were his Kinsmen. However, what is relevant here was the fact that, the “Coup” that brought him to power was planned and executed by the “Five Majors” Major Patrick Chukwuma Nzeowu, Kaduna; Major Emmanuel Ifejuna; Major Donatus Okafor, Major Emmanuel Anuforo; Major Adewale Ademuyiga and their co-travelers on the 15th day of January,1966.

General Yakubu Gowon Head of state- from 2nd August, 1966-29th July, 1975:

General Gowon was never prepared to become the Head of state, more so, he knew nothing about the coup that brought him to power; upon receiving information about the coup through in subordinate and he tried to avert the coup by trying to reach General Ironsi but as destiny would have it he could not reach him. The Coup was masterminded by Lt. Col. (Later General) Murtala Ramat Mohammed, Major (Later General) TY Danjuma and Capt. (Later General) Martins Adamu though the coup was unanimously planned and executed by Northern Soldiers as a counter coup to the January 15, 1966.


General Murtala Ramat Mohammed- Head of state from 29th July, 1975-13th February, 1976:

General Murtala was not directly involved in the coup that brought him to power; although, he was contacted by Col. Joseph Nanven Garba, Col. Abdullah Mohammed, and Lt. Col. Shehu Musa yar’adua  who were the major planners and executors of the coup. General Murtala thought was contacted did not partake in the coup that brought him to power.

General Olusengun Obasanjo-Head of state from 14th February, 1976-1st October, 1979:

General Olusengun Obasanjo was never prepared to become the Head of state; in addition, he knew nothing about the coup that brought him to power, in fact, he was part of the major targets of the coup plotters but as destiny would have it the coup plotters missed him and General TY Danjuma who was the Chief of Army State . Nevertheless, General Obasanjo was adamant to assume the leadership of the country not until when he was said to have been threatened by some soldiers that, if he refused to assume leadership of the country they would call on Lt. Col Buka Suka Dimka one of the leading coup plotters to take over. General Illiya Bisallah was the highest ranking Military officer in coup.

Alhaji Shehu Aliyu Shagari- President- from 1st October, 1979-31st December,1983:

President Shehu Shagari never canvassed to become the president of Nigeria in the Second Republic. Shagari wanted to go to the senate. The candidates that canvassed to be presidents then under NPN top among them were Dr Yusuf Maitama Sule, Danmasanin Kano, and Malam Adamu Ciroma, Former Minister of Finance among others. President Shehu Shagari then was drafted by the elites to be the NPN presidential flag bearer and later become the president.

General Mohammadu Buhari-Head of state from 31st December, 1983-27th August,1985:

General Buhari never knew anything about the coup that brought him to power; in fact, he was in far away Jos as GOC 3rd Division while the coup took place in Lagos. The major actors of the coup were Brigadier (later general) Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Brigadier Ibrahim Bako who died in cross fire while the coup was ongoing and Col. Aliyu Mohammed Gusau who was said to have financed the coup. General Gusau was said to have made so much money from his import license and other Business which he used in finance the coup.

General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida the first Military president-from 27th August, 1985-26th August,1993:

General IBB was the only leader among the successive heads of states that was prepared or driven by ambition and who later became the president; although, with the death of Brigadier Ibrahim Bako his co-sponsor of the Shagari’s coup had he prepared (or wanted it then) he would have become the head of state then not General Buhari. On the other hand, it was said that, what actually happened was not that General Babangida did not want it, but General Buhari was selected so as to appeal to (or to gain acceptance from members of the public) giving his clean records then in the Army and in view of the fact that, he was from his fresh battle victories along lake Chad border.

It was argued that, the retirement of his Siamese twins (or conjoined twins) Col. Aliyu Mohammed Gusau from the Nigerian Army by Buhari government over the issue of “contracts passing” was the major trigger of the Babangia’s coup against Buhari; general IBB became very jittery and suspicious with the Buhari’s government, not knowing whether he would be the next victim or not. Col. (later General) Aliyu Mohammed Gusau retiment was immediately reversed after IBB’s coup because it was not gazetted.

Chief Ernest Shonekan- Head of Interim National Government from 27th August, 1993-17th Novermer, 1993:

Chief Ernest Shonekan was brought in by General IBB’s government having annulled the June 12, election of 1993, which was described as the freest and fairest in the history of Nigeria. Shonekan was brought in to assuage or pacify the “Yoruba ethnic group” who felt shortchanged by the annulment of June 12 election, even though Chief MKO Abiola was voted by all Nigerians, in fact, he won in Kano state where Alhaji Basher Tofa comes from.  Chief Olusegun Obasanjo wanted to be made the Head of interim National Government but was not made by IBB’s government instead; Chief Ernest Shonekan who did not canvass for it was made the Head.

General Sani Abacha- president from 17th November, 1993-8th June, 1998:

General Sani   Abacha May have been planted by General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida’s Government, this is in view of the fact that, General IBB was supposed to have retired (or stepped aside) with General   Sani Abacha, but he left General Sani Abacha behind. General Sani Abacha who participated actively in the coups against president Shagari and General Buhari, in fact, he was the one that made the two broadcasts for the appointments of Generals Buhari and IBB as heads of states. General Sani Abacha couple with his civil war experience and being parts of the successive Military regimes, it was only natural that he would later take over.

General Abdulsalami Abubakar president-8th June, 1998-29th May, 1999:

It was widely reported that, General Abubakar Abdulsalami was penciled down for retirement by 1st October, 1998 by General Abacha’s government. But soon after the death of Abacha there were so many intrigues that took place. By virtue of Rank Lt. General J. Husseini and Lt. General Ishaya Bamaiyi were ahead of Major General ( later General) Abubakar Abdulsami but because General Husseini was the last person that interacted with his lifelong friend. General Husseni became a suspect according to Major Hamza Al- Mustapha in his prisons note after Abacha’s death. As Major Hamza Al- Mustapha said in the said prisons note there was high level of intrigues before the emergence of General Abdulsami Abubakar as president.

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo-president from 29th May, 1999- 29th May, 2007:

The second coming of President Olusegun Obasanjo was singlehandedly masterminded by General IBB and to some extent General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau and General TY Danjuma. The Government of General Abdulsalami was seen as the “Surrogate government” of General IBB. General Abdulsalami and General IBB entered primary school same day and same class, they are also from same state. Also, General IBB played a major role in the emergence of General Abdulsalam as president.

General IBB was up to clear his name from the annulment of June 12, election. Following the June 12 saga there was the emergence of National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, and Odua Peoples’ Congress, OPC, whose activities gave the late General Abacha’s Government top times. To appease the “Yoruba ethnic group” whose son, the late MKO Abiola was widely believed to have won the June 12, 1993 election but was annulled by IBB’s Government they selected General Obasanjo in relation to his role in Shagari’s presidency in 1979; by the virtue of our 1979 constitution the election was supposed to go for “Run off” Election between the candidate with the highest vote (then President Shehu Shagari) the “Runner up”( then Chief Obafemi Awolawo). The 1979 constitution said for a candidate to be declared as winner, he was supposed to score two-third majority votes of the 19 states of the federation then. President Shagari of National Party of Nigeria, NPC, won seven (7) states; late Chief Obafemi Awolawo of Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN, won five(5) states; late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe of Nigerian People’s Party, NPP, won three (3) states; late Malam Aminu kano of People’s Redemptions Party, PRP, won two(2) states and late Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim of the Great Nigerians People’s Party, GNPP, won two(2) states in the 1979 General Election which was conducted under General Olusegun Obasanjo Military Government.

General Obasanjo became a “Hero” to the Northern elites for not hesitating to swear in President Shehu Shagari. President Obasanjo, on the other hand, became an outcast among his “Yoruba Kinsmen” by that singular act. In view of said role played by Obasanjo in 1979 he was brought out by the afore-mentioned elites from “Yola prisions” to contests the election of 1999 the rest is history as say.

President Umar Musa Yar’adua-from 29th May, 2007-5th May, 2010:

Late President Umar Musa yar’adua did not aspire to become the president of Nigeria in 2007. Those who aspire to the presidency among others were former president Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, General Buba Marwa, Dr Peter Odilli, Alh. Ahmed Adamu Ma’azu, and Senator Ahmed Makarfi etc.

President Obasanjo having served two terms in office, he wanted “third term” although he has repeatedly denied plotting the agenda. Malam Nasir El-Rufa’I who was a member of Obasanjo’s Kitchen cabinet as FCT Minister in his Book  “Accidental Public Servant” confirmed the “third term agenda” he further said that, president Obasanjo once told them that, “No term third, No Nigeria.” President Obasanjo having lost the “third term bid” he decided to offend all everyone including his “benefactors” who showed keen interest to succeed him in office.  The late President Umar Musa Yar’adua a brother to President Obasanjo’s second in command between 1976-1979 became president Obasanjo’s anointed candidate singlehandedly.

President Good luck Ebele Jonathan-from 6th May, 2010-Date.

President Good Luck Jonathan just as late President Yar’adua was anointed singlehandedly by president Obasanjo so he was. President Umar Musa Yar’adua died on the 5th of May, 2010 and he was sworn in as the substantive president on the 6th day of May, 2010. In 2011 there was heated debate over the PDP’s zoning formula which had it been upheld it would have zoned him out. President Obasanjo played a major role in the emergence of president Good Luck Jonathan.  President Obasanjo used his network and convinced the Northern Governors of which he brought most of them to power with the understanding that he would do only “one term “ and support one of them to be the next president though President Good Luck Jonathan denied that but his “benefactor” President Obasanjo confirmed that in his  open letter to president Jonathan.

Conclusively, if the candidature of Rt honourable Aminu Waziri Tambuwal sail through,for me,is nothing but the re-enforcement of the anointment system that has been in existence throughout the country’s history. The questions to ask here is that, if the idea sees the light of the day at the end of the tunnel:

  1. Can Tambuwal serve the interest of the poor?


  1. Can Tambuwal bring the needed change in the country?


  1. Can Tambuwal improve our security?


  1. Can Tambuwal fight corruption?


  1. Is Tambuwal government going to serve the elites only?


  1. Or it will serve both the elites and poor?


May the Almighty save our beloved country.


Nurudden Dauda is a Political Analyst, and can be reach at N0 12, Unguwan Shanu

Kaduna. 08052023613




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