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The tantrums by northern governors – a threat to democracy

As it stands, the APC presidential campaign faction of Tinubu is treating Buhari like an old friend who is no longer a friend. The Tinubu…

As it stands, the APC presidential campaign faction of Tinubu is treating Buhari like an old friend who is no longer a friend. The Tinubu camp and the northern APC governors are taking a position against Buhari’s implementation of the naira redesign, dragging the public into it.  

The APC presidential candidate has accused many people of being traitors, and they feel they owe him a duty to show they are not part of it. Without any bad intentions, I hope Tinubu is aware that he is currently working with the Accidental Civil Servant, who documented a four-page story about how Atiku prevented him from scamming the federal government in his book.  

Not long ago, the northern governors, Tinubu, and everyone in APC called on people to support the government in whatever it was doing. They said it was an act of patriotism. But now, the governors are going to the media to pressure Buhari to address their immediate problem – a personal one that will only benefit them individually. They want him to postpone the deadline for using the old naira notes to a later date, until after the presidential election, to fulfil their promise to Tinubu to get him elected. 

Buhari’s motive behind the naira redesign is to curb voter fraud in the form of vote buying. It remains to be seen. Unlike Buhari, Tinubu thinks the naira redesign is implemented to work against his presidential campaign. Other political parties support the implementation because they feel it will be in their favour when financial incentives are avoided during elections. I maintain my opinion about the effects of the naira redesign, using it to implement the cashless policy, and its timing, which is not the topic today. However, if the policy implementation were to be successful, Nigeria would be the first country in the world to use currency redesign to fight electoral fraud. Therefore, it is in the public interest to have a free and fair election in Nigeria that will strengthen the democratic system. 

Public interests tend to be at the forefront of campaigns during elections, not selfish interest – in rare cases, that too. For these northern governors, their focus is on selfish interests, and the unintended consequences may be disastrous. We can deduce it from the assertions of Ganduje and El-Rufai as northern governors met with Buhari. These two characters lead the historically volatile states in the North. 

Ganduje ranted that the policy implementation is a vendetta designed by Emefiele. He also made several efforts to create conspiracy theories that some fictional cabals have been whispering into Buhari’s ear to go against Tinubu. But the public evidence says otherwise.  

Emefiele said his goal was to use the naira redesign policy to implement his cashless policy and fight inflation. It is ambitious and out of economics textbooks. Still, we must take his word over some fabricated claims.  

Buhari has publicly declared to support Tinubu, has been campaigning with him and even presented him to his home state – Katsina – among other state capitals. The governors should know that Buhari is an adult and has a mind of his own. He stated that he only consulted with Emefiele. Some may remember that he did this  in 1984, and he was fully aware of the consequences of the hardship it would bring and the potential benefits, all things being equal. 

The Buga-Dancing, 63-year-old-grandfather, took several moments with the media to make many accusations that cannot be backed in a court of law. At one point, while speaking with BBC Hausa, he went off the rails. He dragged northern elders as he struggled to draw a picture of the fictional cabals everyone was talking about. I do not intend to address his opinion on northern elders; posterity will judge that. I say fictional cabals because he claimed they are not elders. He has boasted that he is not afraid of anyone and would not kneel before any cabal. Pictures show him kneeling before all the usual suspects, including those Aisha is fighting with. Are the fictional cabals that powerful?  

He once publicly accused Nigeria’s founding fathers, Ahmadu Bello, Azikiwe and Awolowo, of not working hard enough to build a nation – that they maintained what they found and benefitted from it politically – and refused to apologise for saying it. So why is he not telling now? The obvious answer is that the statement is fabricated, and the consequence of such lies is undesirable. 

In a polarised country with so many agitations, and anger due to poverty, hunger, cash crunch and fuel shortage, misinformation of such magnitude must not be tolerated. Tinubu is known for his gaffes and has made similar comments, and the Yoruba nationalists welcomed his idea. One of their elders even joined in calling for war if the presidency did not go to the South. If we continue to hear these kinds of anger-triggering rhetoric from governors, our democratic system may be threatened.  

In hindsight, they could have used other means to influence the president. He might not be right, but two wrongs cannot make a right. The governors have crossed the Rubicon and can only plan for damage limitations. Therefore, for our democracy and institutions, the government must seriously address the ongoing assertions. 

If serious measures are not taken, Nigeria may see a replication of the January 6 insurrection in the United States after the elections. The American riot was copied by the Brazilian only a few weeks ago. For those who do not know, the Brazilian crisis erupted due to an election that polarised the country, similar to Nigeria. If that were to happen, God forbid, the authorities must remember those who instigated it.