By Muhammad Ajah
“We have endorsed Buhari’s re-election because the policies and template of development already laid down by him in the last three years are already yielding fruit and needed to be actualized in his next four years in office”, His Royal Majesty, Eze Dr. Oliver Ohanwe, from a communiqué he read on behalf of Southeast traditional ruler at Okigwe, Imo state.
“Anybody who wishes this country good, who wishes this country well, will want Mr. President to continue after 2019. So, we wish he will continue by the grace of God’’, theEmir of Maradun in Zamfara, Alhaji Garba Tambari, expressing the feelings of some traditional rulers across the country who have resolved to ensure the re-election of President Buhari in the 2019 presidential election.
What quantum of power do the traditional rulers possess in Nigerian politics? To refresh our memories, the fact of the last presidential elections in 2015 showed that the current President Muhammadu Buhari won elections in 24 states of the federation. As events to the 2019 general polls gather momentum, there are projections that he may win more states: the 12 core northern states, four in the Southeast, two or more in the South-South, five in the Southwest and four in the north central zone.
I can stand bold to predict the total victory of the President come 2019 from three substantial sources: the traditional institution, the religious groups especially the Church and overwhelmingly from the plebiscite. I will take the support from the church and the commoners later. But from the custodians of our ethics and culture, I would like to begin in the Southwest of Nigeria which evidently has proven to have the overbearing shadow and strength as “Jagaban of Nigerian politics today”; the determinant factor and the fulcrum of political pendulum in the nation. Bola Ahmad Tinubu alone is a colossal factor but it is often said that one tree does not make a forest. Yet, I can confidently assure that with the full support of the first class obas of the decisive region in the Nigerian politics, the 2019 Presidential elections will be won by the performing leader.
Ooni of Ife was reported to have said: “Buhari has done well enough to seek reelection”. Alaafin of Oyo was reported to have said: “I don’t expect thieves to like Buhari”. The Oba of Lagos was quoted to have said: “We will support Buhari in 2019”. And the Alake of Egbaland reportedly said: “I am going to be part of Buhari campaign team in 2019”.
On the part of the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, Buhar’s uprightness, conscience and integrity has always placed him ahead of other leaders. The Oba observed that he did not support ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election because of his confidence in Buhari’s ability and trustworthiness. According to him, people who are used to free money will never like Buhari, no matter whatever convincing evidences. “If I loved money, I would have supported former President Jonathan. Spending was never his problem. Conscience is the reason why I will always support PMB”, he explained. The Oba cautioned first class traditional rulers in the country against making inflammatory statements that could fuel acrimony and disunity amongst Nigerians.
In a statement he issued, the Alaafin said that as the longest-serving first class traditional ruler on throne so far, he had acquired experience more than any other traditional ruler across the country in relation to traditional rulership and political development of the country, thus hisbelief that equity demands support to the government to move forward.
The Southeast traditional leaders have joined the league of supporters for Buhari’s reelection. The declaration made by over 200 ezes through a communiqué at Okigwe local government area in Imo state was distinct. The monarchs want Buhari for his selfless service, drive for peace, unity and progress of Nigeria, added to the fact that corruption under his watch has reduced by over 75 per cent. They said he has justified the 2015 mandate and has restored the dignity of Nigeria. The communiqué read by HRM, Eze Oliver Ohanwe, however, urged the President to support an Igbo President of Nigeria after completing his second tenure in 2023.
On a general note, the Association of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria is behind Buhari. For instance, in a communiqué jointly signed at the end of its 103rd conference in Abuja by the national chairman, the Okairuro Umudioka Ancient Kingdom of Imo state, Eze Thomas Obiwuru Obiefule and the National Secretary, Dalhatu Katsina of Jigawa state, Alhaji Abubakar Lawal, the custodians of tradition and culture expressed support for Buhari. I will attempt next to look at the support the President enjoys from the Church.
Muhammad Ajah is an advocate of humanity, peace and good governance in Abuja. [email protected].