Intervention: Fraudulent analogy of Naka Sai Naka
By Mahmud Jega
The political “analogy” widely circulated on the social media in recent days by the Kaduna State Chapter of Naka Sai Naka [roughly translated as Only Yours] campaign, that the 2023 election in Nigeria is going to be analogous to the 1979 presidential election, deserves closer scrutiny.
The group claims that “Peter Obi/Labour Party is analogous to Azikiwe/NPP [of the Second Republic]. That Tinubu/APC is analogous to Awolowo/UPN. That Atiku/PDP is analogous to Shagari/NPN, and that Kwankwaso/NNPP is analogous to Aminu Kano/PRP.”
It then added:
“1. Aminu Kano was from Kano and won only in Kano State. (Kwankwaso will do the same).
2. Obafemi Awolowo was from the South West and won the region. (Tinubu will do the same).
3. Azikiwe won his zone, South East (Peter Obi will do the same).
4. Shagari won the presidential election because he had North in his bag and also gathered meaningful votes from all other regions of Nigeria. Shagari also had spread all across the regions at that time. Atiku will do the same… North will massively vote for Atiku Abubakar. Naka Sai Naka!”
My observations are:
1. Kwankwaso/NNPP is not Aminu Kano/PRP. NNPP lacks PRP’s leftist ideology, lacks PRP’s long NEPU history dating back to 1949, lacks PRP’s spread into the old NEPU strongholds and, while Kwankwaso is charismatic and dynamic, he nowhere measures up to Aminu Kano in towering political personality.
2. Peter Obi/LP is not Azikiwe/NPP. Obi is the biggest political discovery of this election cycle, has made big impact on the social media and might sweep South East states. However, LP is not the South East Establishment that NPP was. Obi has nothing like Zik’s overwhelming national and Africa-wide charisma, Zik’s decades-long political staying power, his unrivalled education, intellect and dazzling eloquence. Besides, NPP went beyond South East and won old Plateau State. Doesn’t look like LP can do the same.
3. Atiku/PDP of 2023 is not Shagari/NPN of 1979. Sure, at one point PDP had more national spread than NPN, but it is now reduced to control of 14 states, 5 of them in rebellion, one more governor wavering, which NPN never experienced. NPN’s strongholds were North and southern minority states, while PDP’s strongholds since 2015 were South East and Niger Delta states, both of them now shaky. Atiku is more dynamic, more resolute and a more vigorous campaigner than Shagari, but Shagari recorded electoral success as an instantly sellable compromise candidate who had almost no personal enemies in Nigerian politics.
4. Tinubu/APC is a world different from Awo/UPN. The only historical connection is that Tinubu was probably an Awoist in 1979 and the AD/AC/ACN structure he subsequently built and led was an offshoot of AG/UPN. Yet, Tinubu achieved what Awo/UPN never did, i.e. integrated the West, once synonymous with opposition politics, into a truly national party that captured power at the federal level while retaining hold on the region. Awo could not even find a Northern running mate in 1979 and he settled for an Igbo man. Tinubu on the other hand is now supported by the Northern Political Establishment and most of the region’s governors. Awo never visited Northern Emirs during his helicopter-bound campaigns. But Tinubu receives the warmest receptions in emir’s palaces. [The emirs have no choice because most of the governors are on his side].
So all the Naka Sai Naka analogies are fraudulent.
A hush, pro-PDP Naka Sai Naka campaign is historically fraudulent because it was PDP that brought Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 and convinced Northerners that he was a tried and tested friend of the region.
Two can play the same game. It is now APC’s turn to bring Tinubu and say he is a tested friend of the region.
Naka Sai Naka is not true. It is also dangerous. What happens to Nigeria if every region says Naka Sai Naka?
Mahmud Jega is a respected Nigerian columnist