electoral voter

Intervention: Fraudulent Naka Sai Naka Analogy, by Mahmud Jega

The political “analogy” widely spread on social media in recent days by the Kaduna State Chapter of Naka Sai Naka [roughly translated as Only Yours] campaign, that the 2023 elections in Nigeria are to be analogous to the 1979 presidential election, deserves further examination.
The group claims that “Peter Obi/Labor Party is analogous to Azikiwe/NPP [of the Second Republic]. That Tinubu/APC is analogous to Awolowo/UPN. That Atiku/PDP is similar to Shagari/NPN, and that Kwankwaso/NNPP is similar to Aminu Kano/PRP.”
Then he added:
“one. Aminu Kano was from Kano and won only in Kano State. (Kwankwaso will do the same).
2. Obafemi Awolowo was from the Southwest and won the region. (Tinubu will do the same).
3. Azikiwe won his zone, Southeast (Peter Obi will do the same).
4. Shagari won the presidential election because he had North in his bag and also gathered significant votes from all other regions of Nigeria. Shagari had also spread throughout all the regions at that time. Atiku will do the same… North will vote massively 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 history of NEPU dating back to 1949, lacks PRP’s spread in former NEPU strongholds, and while Kwankwaso is charismatic and dynamic, he is nowhere to be found. Aminu Kano’s height in imposing political personality.
2. Peter Obi/LP is not Azikiwe/NPP. Obi is the biggest political discovery of this election cycle, he has had a huge impact on social media and could take the southeastern states by storm. However, LP is not the Southeast Settlement that NPP was. Obi has nothing like Zik’s overwhelming national and African charisma, Zik’s decades-long political staying power, his unrivaled education, his intellect and his dazzling eloquence. Also, NPP went further to the Southeast and won the old Plateau State. It doesn’t look like LP can do the same.
3. Atiku/PDP of 2023 is not Shagari/NPN of 1979. Sure, at one point the PDP had more national coverage than NPN, but now it is reduced to the control of 14 states, 5 of them in rebellion, a more vacillating governor, which NPN never experienced. The NPN strongholds were the minority northern and southern states, while the PDP strongholds since 2015 were the southeastern and Niger Delta states, both now unstable. Atiku is more dynamic, more determined and a more vigorous activist than Shagari, but Shagari recorded such electoral success as an instantly salable compromise candidate that he had almost no personal enemies in Nigerian politics.
4. Tinubu/APC is a different world from Awo/UPN. The only historical connection is that Tinubu was likely an Awoist in 1979 and the AD/AC/ACN structure that he subsequently built and led was an offshoot of AG/UPN. However, Tinubu achieved what the Awo/UPN never achieved, namely, he integrated the West, once synonymous with opposition politics, into a truly national party that captured power at the federal level while retaining the region. Awo couldn’t even find a northern running mate in 1979 and settled for an Igbo man. Tinubu, on the other hand, now has the support of the Northern Political Establishment and most of the region’s governors. Awo never visited the northern emirs during their helicopter campaigns. But Tinubu receives the warmest receptions in the palaces of the emirs. [The emirs have no choice because most of the governors are on his side].
So all Naka Sai Naka analogies are fraudulent.
A silent campaign in favor of the PDP Naka Sai Naka is historically fraudulent because it was the PDP that brought in chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 and convinced northerners that he was a proven friend to the region.
Two can play the same game. Now it’s APC’s turn to bring in Tinubu and say that he is a proven friend of the region.
Naka Sai Naka is not true. It is also dangerous. What happens to Nigeria if all the regions say Naka Sai Naka?

Mahmud Jega is a respected Nigerian columnist.

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