- ‘ Cases of rape rise to 84% in Nigeria’
- Dana air crash update: 23 aircrash victims’ families yet to receive compensation
- Mimiko inaugurates new Mother & Child hospital today
- N4.56b pension scam: Female accused hospitalised,trial stalled
- Construction workers hail FG’s decision on Lagos-Ibadan expressway
- Senate adjourns plenary for 1 week, dissolves to Appropriation committee.
- Blackout looms as Egbin power plant breaks down
- FMBN, NEXIM, BOA, IB lose N47bn in 6 months - CBN
- FirstBank wins Nigerian Bank of the Year award
- PDP tackles ACN over Tukur’s comments
- Electricity workers threaten strike over Wamakko
- ‘NDIC prosecuted 55 directors, staff of micro finance banks in 2011’
- Judgment in Oni’s appeal stalled, re-fixed for Jan 8
- Slain banker: Deceased had only 3 wounds -Accused’s father
- Appointments: S/West not marginalised —FCC
Of northern governors and mob rule
Northern governors are increasingly challenging federal positions on national issues. Regional Editor (News), Olawale Rasheed, asks whether the core northern governors are kowtowing to mob rule or truly championing the cause of their people.
In the midst of altercations between the north and some southern leaders, strong indications are emerging of a new strain of anti-presidency and anti-South positions among northern governors. The development has spread from some governors considered traditionally hawkish to some that are known for their moderation and conciliatory posture on national issues.
Checks by The Friday Edition in the last few weeks showed an increasingly militant Northern Governors‘ Forum taking new hard-line positions on contentious national issues. While the chairman of the Forum, Babangida Aliyu was originally thought to be the hawk, recent happenings have proved that the pattern of tough talks and posturing appears to be the new strategy in the mounting struggle for the control of national resources.
Findings had shown that until recently, northern governors had been largely immune from a spreading culture of anti-presidency posture which took root from the time of late President Umaru Yar‘Adua sickness and eventual death. Such sentiments were allegedly deepened by the outcome of the 2011 presidential poll, leading to the post-election violence. The situation had since graduated to a full blown Boko Haram insurgency with more bad blood being created by signals that the presidency may not be ceded to the North again in 2015.
Investigations showed that across the core North, there is a palpable sense of alienation with the region assuming a victim symbolism, leading to the grassroots of the region perceiving the center as opposed to its interests and creating a fertile ground for a blossoming of anti-presidency caucuses. An Arewa chieftain told The Friday Edition in Kaduna that the North is not just bitter but challenged by a revolting youth who he said hate the center as much as they hate their own elite in the north.
“The issue is, there is a groundswell of revolt first against us the leaders. They feel we have failed them. So most elite in the North are targets of attacks.Second, they hate this presidency with a passion and any defender of the president is a marked target. So we are all endangered species up the Niger“,the former presidential hopeful noted while craving anonymity.
Another previously close ally of the President from one of the Caliphate states also spoke in confidence on the challenges of being a president‘s man up north. According to him, “I was strongly advised to shut up or relocate. The sense of frustration up here cannot be explained. When you defend the Presidency, you are confronted with a lot of questions that you cannot even answer. For self survival, you cannot go against the wish of your people“
While the elite are perceived to be succumbing to street viewpoints, political office holders from the region are also seen to be increasingly under pressure especially as the ongoing insurgency is now targeting even the Emirs who are traditional leaders of the region. Findings showed that once back in their region, most core northern elected officials are confronted with the harsh reality of a core north desperately pushing to tame the incumbent occupant of the Presidency. The situation, it was learnt has become so bad that most senior politicians from the region are allies of the center by the day and its foes by night. The Friday Edition gathered that it was for this reason that Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, is fast becoming the preferred abode of most northern leaders since even Kaduna has become a danger zone of sort.
Checks further revealed that the streaming change of viewpoints as to the center and its power politics may have now reached the Chief Executives of many northern states. From the North-East to the North-West, it is said to be increasingly becoming hard for governors to openly identify with the center without mouthing what the populace on northern streets wants to hear. For the North East in particular, each of the governors is increasingly under political strains as the insurgency and its political plank is reaching for the jugular. The situation is said to be responsible for the increasing silence of governors of Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi, Yobe, Borno and even Gombe especially on some core national issues.
The same situation is said to be playing out in the North West where governors of Kebbi, Zamfara, Jigawa and Katsina have all suddenly faded away from national discourse. The Kano state governor, Dr Rabiu Kwankwaso, who is known for his closeness to the Presidency and many southern power brokers, only recently advocated the hard-line request of the North for a review of the national revenue sharing formula as well as the return of the onshore/offshore dichotomy in oil revenue sharing. That a Kwankwaso made the statement was seen by many analysts as a clear pointer to the vast changes occurring in the north.
The Friday Edition was told by many northern figures in Abuja that their governors are battling for political survival hence their sudden transformation into the mouth piece of their people on some sensitive national issues. The politics of survival, it was learnt is now driving some of the governors to pick between their friendship with the president and the increasing push from their constituents for hard-line stance on critical issues considered. This is said to be even more evident on the issue of 2015 on which many northern governors may have decided against endorsing the President for another term of office.
Informed sources disclosed that most governors of the core northern states are agreed on the need for power to shift to the North in 2015, implying their readiness to confront the president if he chooses to run. The situation is also said to have led to an increasing romance between some functionaries of the ruling party and the opposition on the ground that northern agenda to re-gain the presidency transcends party lines. What is not clear, however, is how far such coalescing of anti-presidency forces in the north can go and whether such has any appeasement link with the insurgent Boko Haram sect.
Findings also showed that beyond bending to mob thoughts, the northern governors are also using their new advocacy to position themselves for leadership roles in the new North. Reports had indicated that most governors in the region believed they are losing out to the likes of Mallam Nasir El-Rufai and his group in future leadership contest of the region. The former Abuja minister had in recent times transformed himself into the spokesperson of the North, condemning harassment of civilians by Joint Task Forces in Borno and Kano and calling to question alleged marginalization of the North by the Jonathan Presidency.
Rufai‘s activism is reported to be having street appears, a development said to be worrying many strategists who are afraid their bosses, the governors are fast losing ground in the battle for the minds and souls of northern streets. In an attempt to regain the initiative from the rampaging Buhari-el-Rufai caucus, state chief executives under the Northern Governors Forum may have decided to uphold the following and canvass for them in the ensuing national debate namely ceding the presidency to the North in 2015, opposition to State Police, return of onshore/offshore dichotomy and review of the national revenue sharing formula.
It was also learnt that even on the above, there is no total unanimity among the northern governors. Many governors in the north central zone appear to have problems with some of the position being canvassed as northern agenda. For states like Benue, rising against the President is not in the wildest imagination of the governor, Gabriel Suswam, his aides said. For Plateau state, the governor is in support of state police as that will empower him to flush out elements behind the communal conflict. Even at that, the Plateau chief Executive does not necessarily agree with the President on some issues. The Kaduna state governor, Patrick Yakowa is classed as also not subscribing to any anti-presidency sentiments as he is also battling core elements from the northern part of the state that still do not recognize his governorship of the state.
For the governors from the core northern states, ambition is also identified as a key divisive factor even after current resolves to pursue a northern agenda. More than six of the governors are reported to be nursing secret presidential agenda. Names being mentioned include the governors of Kano, Katsina, Niger, Bauchi, Jigawa and Sokoto. While none of the governors had openly raised such prospect, it was learnt that underground scheming is ongoing, leading to secret competitions among the six especially in fighting for northern interests.Share