If the mood of the country is anything to go by, then one could safely say the Peoples Democratic Party has had it, or, to put it another way, the people have had enough of it with the PDP and it's time to "kiss and say goodbye."
Disenchantment and disgruntlement over rigging and impositions in many of the primaries have also sent a wave of deflections by hitherto stalwarts of the PDP into other parties, together with their loyalists. Fair to say that this is not limited to the PDP, other parties have also suffered from this deflection syndrome, the only difference is that whilst deflectors move into other parties, very rarely do deflectors from other parties find the PDP an agreeable alternative.
The big talk in the media now is the prospect of merging or alliance-ing of arguably the other two of the "big three" to ensure the PDP is once and for all displaced from its smug "biggest-in-Africa" claim. The "alliance" is essentially for the presidential election, although in the course of hard-core negotiations, trade-offs affecting lesser elections cannot be ruled out.
Right now, that "dream" alliance is faced with the prospect of floundering on the altar of individual egos and "irreconcilable" differences in party vision and ambition. Of course, the PDP is (to quote Obasanjo) laughing! They know the characters wanting to "ally" well enough. But I am proceeding with my proposition for whatever penny it's worth.
The presidential standard-bearer of the Congress for Progressive Change is retired Gen. Muhamadu Buhari, an old warhorse and veteran of many a presidential attempt; that of the Action Congress of Nigeria is the youngish Nuhu Ribadu, the forced-to-retire Assistant Inspector-General of Police and no-nonsense former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission boss and reputable anti-corruption crusader.
Readers of my column must be familiar with my position on Gen. Buhari. There are lots of positive things going for Buhari to possibly counter-balance the unpleasantness of his past as a military dictator. And I must also concede that the lean and hungry-looking general has admirable qualities that draw me to him, regardless of his unfriendly mien. He is as straightforward, highly disciplined, and incorruptible as they come. I would like to add, too, that he is a gentleman whose word, when given, you can take to the bank!
But I'm just simply not sold on the idea of having the lanky, dour general to follow the footpath of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo as a returnee-head of state (president).
Some of my readers have pleaded with me to try and "like" Buhari for what positive reordering his presidency may bring to our decadent milieu, but Obasanjo has sufficiently messed up the precedence of "militrician" as president that the chance of taking on yet another one is a foolish one, to say the least.
There is a saying that "you can take the monkey out of the bush, but you cannot take the bush out of the monkey." The same with these Nigerian (their training and exposure in power makes them different from those of, say, the US) military boys - you cannot take the 'soja' out of them; and no matter the sweet talk of being a "convert to democracy" that Buhari or any of them may proclaim, you trust these guys at your own peril. They do not like anyone challenging their authority.
Importantly, what, besides being a principled disciplinarian (authoritarian, some would say) and an avowed anti-corruption crusader, is Buhari bringing to the table to persuade us to make him president? I just can't see it, and my doctor says I am not blind. Yes, he ran the PTF under his colleague-dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha, with some modicum of credit, even though there was evident lopsidedness in the geographical spread of the projects he executed (disproportionately favouring his northern base). But what the heck is PTF in a résumé to beat one's chest about as "track record"? All that could be said for that is that Buhari as president would 'try' to spend our money as judiciously as possible on whatever project he sets out to do.
Nigeria at this point needs and deserves more than that. We are so far back the rest of the world it is no longer funny. What the country desperately needs now is a youthful, dynamic, intelligent achiever in the mould of an Obama. Geriatrics like myself and my friend Buhari, should cede the space to the younger "internet-age" generation.
If Buhari wants to be or remain my friend, he should negotiate to bring Ribadu out as the joint candidate in the aimed alliance, with all the clauses and provisos that would make the general rest assured that his dream (limited, as it may be) for his beloved Nigeria would be pursued as vigorously. Gen. Buhari is an asset worth cultivating. Nigeria needs him. But not as president but as the head of an institution within the governance structure (even if it has to be created by constitutional amendment, as was done for the EFCC) legally empowered to oversee the reorientation and discipline of Nigerians and our adherence to law and order, no matter whose ox is gored.
The EFCC, ICP, Police, etc, could be subsumed under such a body. That's the role I see for a Muhammadu Buhari; that's what he is suited for, and that's where Nigeria needs him.
My allotted space for this column is up and I cannot here go into the merits of a Ribadu over a Jonathan beyond the fact that my brother Jonathan has "hidden" all his better worth, if any, for when he becomes the president "for real," i.e. on his own merit. We gamble on that foolishly if we do!