PBAT-elect: The Cicero of modern day Nigerian politics.

By Tahir Ibrahim Tahir Talban Bauchi. 
President-Elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is scheduled to be sworn in God willing, as The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 12 days time. In the heat of this count down, is the 'musical chairs' at the National Assembly once again, as members jostle for Leadership positions in the incoming 10th Assembly. The Senate seems settled with an Akpabio as its President, on a joint ticket with Barau as Deputy Speaker. The heat is formenting more rapidly at the lower chamber level where Tajuddeen from the North West is anointed as Speaker, with Kalu from the South East as Deputy Speaker. Present day Deputy Speaker Wase from the North Central, is challenging the Tajuddeen anointment on so many basis, with the most formidable being a case for the North Central and their contribution to the success of the party - aside his Legislative experience and party doggedness, having stepped aside before out of party loyalty. Betara from the North East, another very grounded veteran and popular figure at the House of Representatives is equally challenging the status quo arrangement of the party. As for the party's anointed, Tajuddeen, dismiss him as just a party candidate at your own peril, because he is fully loaded with his own laurels and merits. So the North West has two slots of the top four leadership positions and that has set the stage for all the rigmarole and politicking coming after the elections. 

In retrospect, before getting here, the structure and composition of the parties before the elections, birthed the present day situation of the 10th Assembly battle. If the parties had not broken down, it would have been as easy as the 2015 and the 2019 tussles. But the parties broke down with those breaking away as losers and those sticking together as gainers. The broom philosophy is a reflection of the hausa adage, 'tsintsiya dubu, madaurinki daya', (translates to: many broom sticks tied together by one rope). APC remained tied together despite the challenges faced, roaring into the chants of emi lo kan. Not so for the main opposition parties. Peter Obi was in the PDP and Kwankwaso was in the NNPP. Peter Obi left the PDP and joined the LP, along with him a little over 6 million votes in the general elections. PMB also tried but failed in keeping Kwankaso in the APC and he left for the NNPP, taking away with him also, another 1.5 million votes in the final analysis. Abdulmumin Jibrin left with the Kwankwaso camp too, and is now one of the arrow heads of the opposition parties who could challenge the APC zoning and anointing. Jibrin was the DG of Amalgamated Tinubu Support Groups before he decamped. Wike also fell out with PDP and we had nPDP2 otherwise known as G5. Wike ended up supporting APC at the Presidential elections as a result of the fallout of the PDP primaries, and has today pledged all National Assembly members from his state to the APC leaderships direction at the 10th Assembly. So these fragments are now back in all kinds of machinations that will decide what happens at the 10th Assembly. 

Way back in 2015, when Saraki outwitted the party's intentions and won the Senate President position, PMB was not involved with the politicking and the jostling that took place and the party was helpless with the more clever political bricksmanship of Saraki. The party recovered in 2019 though, and the so called 'rubber stamp' Assembly of 2019, was perhaps one of the most productive assemblies in the history of our Legislature. After the 2019 recovery, all hands are now on deck not to allow a repeat of the 2015 loss at the musical chairs game. This time around, The President elect is robustly and very keenly following the details and pulse of the 10th Assembly politics, so as not to get it wrong again. The difference with the 2015 and the 2023 scenarios is that the 2023 aspirants for the leadership of the 10th Assembly are not routing to come on board and subvert the Tinubu Presidency. They are party faithfuls who are edging for Leadership positions, as a healthy competition between equals I dare say. While some are counting on their zones for support, others are counting on their individual merits and performances, both at the legislature, and at the party level.

In 2023, things are different as Tinubu is very keen in helping to resolve the tussle. Breaking news has it that Tinubu and Kwankwaso, along with Abdulmumin Jibrin, were at a meeting abroad. It is more than obvious that just as Wike has quite a number of the opposition Members and Senators elect in his corner, Kwankwaso too has the same, and even more; including Abdulmumin and the other NNPP Members and Senators elect. Jibrin also has the support of other opposition party members that he has been able to garner, as they campaigned for their own candidate for speakership, before The APC's zoning formula was announced. Abdulmumin led the Dogara campaign as well as the Gbajabiamila one so he is one to reckon with when leadership campaigns in the National Assembly are being run. The 10th Assembly musical chairs is within his political craftsmanship. Tinubu's meeting with these gentlemen, is not too far from a drive to settle the 10th Assembly fiasco. Tinubu, as the oldest in the game and the most successful, will eventually have Wike and Kwankwaso's Senators and Members elect, tow the position of the APC. Further along, in the pursuit of his call in his acceptance speech to other candidates and party loyalists, to come join hands with him, in building a more prosperous Nigeria - he will not relent in wooing Kwankwaso to support or join his government of National Unity and Nation building. According to the Cable, President elect,Tinubu, is expected to brief The Vice President Elect, Senator Kashim Shettima. Kashim has been assiduous in putting heads together to douse the tension, that has been the outcome of the party's zoning arrangement. He has been meeting with the different factions and contending with all the fractions, in the calculations that will add up to a party level resolution. So far, it seems his efforts are attaining resonance and balance. He is of the National Assembly and definitely has very close, cordial and frank relationships with the Members and I believe his efforts will solve half of the problem. The North Central is the most aggrieved as the North West has two slots. Will the North West relinquish one? Or will the North Central be compensated with the much touted SGF position (Secretary to The Government of the Federation), which is arguably as prolific as The Deputy Senate President or Speaker/ Deputy Speakership positions? Will the SGF be picked from the members? Possibly!  Will he/ she be another stalwart from The North Central outside of the members elect? Will this appease them? Only God knows. The Aces are up the sleeves of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, The Dakare of Birnin Gwari and The Cicero of Modern day politics in Nigeria. It is definitely not beyond his political wizardry.

Tahir is Talban Bauchi. 

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