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OPINION: Stabilising Nigeria through balancing acts

By Dr Ademola Adegoke

Interesting developments within the polity deserves a deeper review than most analysts have done.

National strategists had earlier called for a conscious stabilisation strategies to balance the polity and lower national tension.

Recent outcomes indicate somebody somewhere is listening and acting against the tendency of winner takes all.

After the bitter presidential poll and the cut throat assault that dominated initial phase of the state elections, consequent development within the supplementary polls pointed at a tactical rethink, leading to element of fair sharing and accommodation.

Some readers may wonder why electoral outcomes should be a subject of horseteading.

Some may outrightly dismiss any suggestion that balancing act actually took place during the final phase of the polls.

It is of course strange that we should be talking of stabilisation efforts when the ultimate determinants of who rule should be People’s votes.

One must concede that the opposition fought for what it earns. It was never a gift.In the same breath, the opposition had lost out in many spaces where it ordinarily should have won.

One fact is clear-somebody somewhere accepted that a winner takes all approach after the big prize of a presidential win is inimical to post election stability.

If the ruling party had forged ahead with conquering mentality of the first phase of the election, political instability and associated social tension would have rattled and endanger the incumbent. Centrifugal forces would have overwhelmed the centripetal forces.

But even if still undemocratic and full of questions, where Nigeria is today would not have been a possibility if the conquering powers had not moved away from the precipice.

With full control of security and bureaucratic forces, Nigeria was inches away from Cameroonian or Chadian scenario. If the plot had gone full throttle, it may have backfired, considering the complexity and volatility of the Nigeria nation.

So it took cautionary steps to get the outcome the nation witnessed at the supplementary elections.

Let look at some of the outcome and how it has stabilised the polity. Sokoto eventually went the way of the opposition for many reasons namely the need to acknowledge the popularity of Aminu Tambuwal, the imperative of respecting the office of Sultan of Sokoto who is known to be pro-Tambuwal among others.

A friend said Tambuwal winning with less than 500 votes was a political and strategic concession.

In the same vein, Bauchi was let go to satisfy public outcry against a failed Abubakar state government.

But the other reason was the unusual popularity of The PDP candidate, Bala Muhammed.

Conceeding Bauchi, an APC state, possibly paints the ruling party in the garb of a tolerant platform even if it manifests glaring intolerance in other sphere.

Letting go of Benue was also tactical because it would have been unsustainable to announce an APC win in such volatile rabidly anti-APC state.

Kano was a different kettle of fish. Many APC apologists withdrew their backing for Ganduje re-election bid. It was obvious Kabir Yusuf was the clear choice of the Kanawas.

But political expediency encouraged what turned out to be an open violent rigging of the suplementary poll. APC inner team was probably afraid of losing Kano as that will grant the opposition strong foothold in the heart of the North.

Somebody also cited ongoing challenge to the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari. Kano was too big a price to lose, hence the brazen manipulation and clearly unpopular outcome.

Again, the period witnessed a shocking development on the Osun governorship tussle.Nigeria cannot truly stabilise the polity post-general election without resolving the Osun conundrum.

The national consensus across party lines was that Senator Ademola Adeleke was violently rigged out. The restoration of his mandate is therefore considered a strategic move to restore normalcy in a state adjudged the spiritual capital of Yoruba nation.

The report from the grapevine is that the APC at the topmost inner caucus level has decided to trade away Osun for many reasons.

One is to show the public that the judiciary is still independent and capable of balancing and resolving national disputations. Insiders noted that Osun will eventually go to PDP even if Gboyega Oyetola takes the matter to Supreme Court.

A friend noted on Osun issue: “Osun is a major restorative tool. Let the Senator have it. By that act, Yorubas on both sides will see Buhari is not a Yoruba hater. Oyo is PDP and Osun will join. That alone is rebranding the President”, the APC chief said.

And of course, the master stroke was the Adamawa guber polls won by the PDP. Accepted that APC was badly fractured and that Jubrilla Bindow was left alone without federal back up, the PDP win was a great concession.

Adamawa is the home state of Atiku Abubakar, the presidential flag bearer of the main opposition party.

Returning Adamawa to PDP through the electoral process is a possibly a gift to Abubakar. It makes interesting reading to see Atiku Abubakar holding Fintiri hand as elected governor of the state.

The preceding balancing acts do not however whitewash whatever public image crisis the Buhari presidency may be having. What it has done was to lower political tension through application of restorative justice.

This may not be entirely what genuine democrats had hoped for; many will settle for nothing less than the prevalence of the will of people in all elections. That no doubt is the ideal destination.

The intriguing thing is that this stabilisation acts whether real or false have delivered many positive results.

One, it has halted the drift towards national implosion. Nigeria could not have survived the heat of post-state election without an unseen tinkering with electoral outcomes in some states.

Two, there is the readiness to hurt insider’s interest in favour of overall national goal. Osun wont remain the Tinubu territory not because he is not loved but because returning Osun to PDP serves a more strategic populist national interest.

But how far can APC and her strategists go? Will the hawks allow the process to be completed?

Time will tell.

•Dr Ademola Adegoke sent this piece from Iwo, Osun state.

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