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Between selfish interest and selfless communal goal

Reports that the northern Christian bloc within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) led by former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir…

Reports that the northern Christian bloc within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) led by former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal, has ‘ditched’ the APC presidential candidate, Ahmed Bola Tinubu and has ‘endorsed’ the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, is quite enlightening and hardly surprising, given what we know about some Nigerian politicians. This type of news helps to reveal in bold relief the type of ‘leaders’ we have who are in the business of politics to serve their own interest as opposed to those who are in it to serve a selfless common communal interest. 

Here is a Babachir Lawal, who during the APC primaries, was speaking glowingly about the then one of the leading presidential aspirants, Bola Tinubu, as a mentor, a nationalist, a strategist, a builder, a unifier, a generous giver and a great friend-maker and a type of leader Nigeria direly needs at this time. From what we can now see of Babachir, he revealed these truthful leadership credentials of Tinubu only because he was hoping and dreaming of getting something personal and substantial from a Tinubu whom he and most notable persons in APC knew was likely to emerge as the party’s flagbearer. 

From what has now emerged Babachir, as a Super Smart Alec always on the lookout for his personal political interest for it has now come to light that he wanted to be picked as the running mate to Tinubu. Tinubu himself has confirmed a few days ago that Babachir had pleaded with him to make him the vice-presidential candidate, a plea he rejected not because he hates him personally or Christian northerners in general. It is this failure to oblige Babachir his expectation that has now led to the efforts on his part to de-market Tinubu and the party at all costs. It’s just not cricket.

Our man Babachir has said and done a lot of disparaging and unprintable things about Tinubu and the party which has done so much for Babachir’s very successful adventure in partisan politics since 2015, culminating in his occupation of the position of Secretary to the Government of the Federation. Some of our politicians are also ungrateful and unappreciative of what their political platform has done for them over the years the moment they are no longer holding any office.

We should all be Japanese

Famous leaders are made, not born

Loyalty to their platform is dependent on whether or not they hold an office or whether there is a prospect or concrete promise of one. If Babachir wants us to believe him that his move against Tinubu is altruistic and not a desperate, self-serving maneuver of a highly ambitious man, he has to answer the following questions: What was the deal he cut for himself with the Peter Obi camp and the one he cut for the northern Christians bloc he is supposedly fighting for? How was the decision to ‘ditch’ the APC arrived at? Who were for and who were against that decision? This question in particular deserves a clear-cut answer because quite a number of northern Christians were obviously unhappy with the decision of their party to run for the presidency with a Muslim-Muslim ticket but when an explanation was provided for the decision, many of us were convinced and resolved to go ahead with our support for the party.

Other questions for Babachir include: Who and who were in the meeting where the final decision was taken to support another party’s presidential candidate? Who and who among the totality of northern Christian leaders were with him in the delegation that went and pledged support for Obi and what was the mandate given them? These and more questions are meant to unveil the truth that Babachir does not enjoy the unanimous support of the northern Christian group of the APC. We northern Christians are realistic enough to see that although our agitation for the vice-presidency of our country is well founded, even though it didn’t materialise, we may end up getting much more from another party government under a different candidate than we can ever hope to get from another party, no matter how benevolent that party or its leadership may be. Now that he has revealed himself for who he is, let us make a move to jettison him and mandate more rational and strategic leaders in our fold to engage with the leaders of the APC. 

We, northern Christians, should distinguish between the selfish interest and our communal interest. All that Babachir wants is to spite Tinubu and Shettima. And some of us can clearly see through his gimmick. In the end, he and his followers are bound to lose out. We cannot be led by the nose to endorse a candidate we have not discussed with or negotiated with for us to be assured of our collective interest.  

Chibok writes from Abuja

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