I am the Incumbent. Who Can Defeat Me?
Dr. Aliyu Tilde
Nigerians are getting on my nerves. Right now world leaders like me are meeting in Johannesburg. I cannot be there. This boy Ghali and his group in the House are trying to birdcage me. They are mistaken. They do not know who and what Baba Iyabo is. I am the President. The Commander in Chief. The Oga kpata kpata for Nigeria. Olusegun Mathew Okikiola Aremu Obasanjo. I command. Nigerians follow.
I am the one and only who walked straight from Prison to the Presidency. On request. On my own terms. I am free to rule the way I like. Nigerians need me. I can tell them, even as bombs were killing their sons and daughters, that I have no business being with them. My constituency is beyond Nigeria. Beyond. I belong to the international community. Whether I do fine or not, write anything, say anything. Na you sabi. You asked for it. You made a prisoner a President. You got it.
I am here. Aso Rock. I will be here until 2007. And beyond, if I like. No Mandela option. No impeachment. No handing over. All it requires is resources to win election and change the constitution. After all, I am the best thing that has ever happened to this country. If I am not the president, this country will pack up. It will tear apart.
I can do whatever I like. I cannot be asked. Only I can ask. I have constituted a committee to investigate the accounts of the National Assembly and some ministries. The same day, the House moved a motion to impeach me on grounds of contravening constitutional provisions. They cannot question me. If they do, they have committed treason. It is a coup. They should be expelled from the party. They should be arrested. Questions are my exclusive prerogative.
Impeachment. I know the people in the House. They know me. Whenever their pockets are dry, it is then they make a lot of noise. They send me threats. I send them money. They keep quiet. I go on with business as usual. Even now, I will do the same. They have plenty threats to issue. I have plenty money to dish out. The equation is balanced. This threat is small.
2003. I will continue. I was not defeated before. I cannot be defeated now. No one knows the extent of my resources except I. No Nigerian can defeat me, because no Nigerian is incumbent, other than me. That puts me in a special position of advantage. Like other presidents before. Like other African leaders. Winning an election is not about performance or voting. It is resources. After all, I came out of prison koboless and I won election. Now I command over seventy percent of the Nigerian economy. How can I be defeated? Nigerians are ingrates. They have forgotten about the difficult past because of the joyful present. Look at fuel everywhere. Money everywhere. There is no hunger. It is sabotage to claim so.
The oyinbo said that percentage of Nigerians living under poverty has risen from 45% during Abacha to over 70% now. Nigerians should thank me. If it were someone else as the leader, it would have reached 120%. They should not bother that 70% of Nigerians live on $1 per day; over 90% live on $2 per day. After all, 70% better pass 45%. Mtsss. Oyinbo na Mumu.
My critics do not know God. I sabi God pass dem. Na God tell me say make I contest 2003. At Ota. That is why I arrested Pastor Bakari. He lied against God. Then Nigerians again came and begged me to continue. Lar talk say the whole middle belt, 100%, is behind me. Only Arewa, na dem no gree. But let them know that it is resources, not number, that determines elections in Nigeria. If they are in doubt, they should listen to the following. They are what we call incumbency in Nigeria.
The presidential race is 100 meters dash. I am already 99 meters ahead of other contestants. They have to start from the scratch. From point zero. Any contestant who has resources cannot contest against me, because I will probe his source of money, seize it, and imprison him. So only contestants without money can risk the foolishness of contesting with me. He will not defeat me because anyone with resources will be afraid to contribute to his campaign. You see?
Let me tell you the extent of my resources. First, If economy is life, I can give it and take it away. I sign every kobo, determine where it goes and for what purpose it will be used. I can withhold it, even if it is police salaries, salaries of magistrates, allocations of the National Assembly, etc. I can change the allocation formula by executive order. I can use dozens of billions on national ID cards and allocate only N3billion to agriculture, though it is the source of income of 70% of the population. I can give contracts at any rate I wish. Look at the contracts documents of extension of the National Assembly complex, the Abuja stadium, the cost of roads rehabilitation, of which we have completed several thousands of kilometres. Compare them with those of PTF. They are only six times more, if what Anenih told the world last year was correct. You will then know that I am an executive president.
So talking about money, you cannot beat me. Thisday has earlier reported that my campaign team has piled N32 billion as at the last year. That is an old figure. Jare. Money is not my problem. I have many well wishers. I have given so many contracts. And the oyinbo say, to whosoever much is given, much is expected. Scratch my back. I scratch yours. Have my opponents got any contract to give? How much do they have in their campaign account, right now? Central Bank governor, watch their accounts closely.
With this huge amount, I can buy any Nigerian. Cash down. Call him: oba, emir, professor, general, wife, husband, kai, everybody. I will pay every polling agent, going officer, returning officer, electoral commissioner, and every one. How much can my opponent afford? Who can they buy?
INEC. I write the electoral law in this country. I dictate the rules. The other time, I tampered with the electoral act. So what? I am the President. You can only shout. You can do nothing. I appoint all members of INEC. Whether you say Goubadia is my in-law or not, I do not care. He must do what I want him to do, when to do it, how to do it. If I like I will give him the money for voters register, after finishing my scheming. If he complains, I sack him. After all, he cannot complain. In the same way, I have appointed resident electoral commissioners. They are all PDP people, or those who have vowed to do business with me.
With this, I can determine the number of registration cards going to each place. Where I have supporters, like Lagos, I can send them over 6million registration cards, making everybody there an eligible voter; Bakassi, more than 100,000; but Bede, only 20,000, instead of 100,000. In any case, these northerners are lazy. Give them short notice for the registration, pair it with ID card, send few registration cards to opposition areas, and ask many questions, including the pictures of their wives. They will abandon the exercise.
Elections. When election comes, every electoral commissioner will report to INEC not less than the figures we require from his state, according to our pre-election computation. The worst my enemies can do is to appeal to the electoral tribunal. Tribunal? No election tribunal can listen to a case against me. They did not succeed in 1999 when I was not in power. How can they succeed today? I will learn from Abdulsalami how he made me president. As a late friend told his disciples, win the election anyhow first. Let the loser go to court, you will remain the winner. Which tribunal judge will decline N1 billion? After all, I make the appointments. I will not be a fool to leave a stone-headed judge on it.
I will determine whether any election takes place or not. The local government election is an example. I do not owe you any explanation as to why it could not hold on 10 August. I cannot be questioned. Therefore, no apology. And if I am not voted for, Nigeria should be ready to pay for the consequences. I am not scared of any coup. The Americans are here. They are my protectors. I can declare state of emergency and postpone the election using one excuse or another. There is no limit to what I can do.
Police. I have the law enforcement agents in my pocket. Remember I did not need to even follow the constitution in the appointment of the Inspector General of police. I am the constitution. I can change the police commissioners just before the elections. They must obey my command or risk losing their jobs. How can I even post my enemies there. All of them, like the electoral commissioners must be mine. 100%.
So whichever way you look at it, I am the law. I determine what it will be, who will use it, who will enforce it, and who will adjudicate on disputes regarding it. They must submit to my will, come 2003. But that is not the full measure of my strength.
Money and law aside. Who has a quarter of my influence as President and Commander-in-Chief with over 100 personal assistants and advisers who are ready to carry out my command. I am free to recruit them to do any of my campaign jobs. I do not have to fend for them. The government, by virtue of their position, does it. I have my loyal Vice-President who also has another battalion of assistants and advisers. He does not pay them salaries from his pocket, buy or fuel their cars. The government does so.
Imagine my over 40 ministers and their personal assistants. Each minister is controlling a budget of billions that must be carefully expended in ways that will further my re-election bid. There are hundreds of permanents secretaries, director-generals and directors, each praying for the day he will be invited for a dinner at Aso Rock, to receive my instructions and carry them out with the promptness of Big Ben.
Examples are my ministers of finance and of works and housing. They are my campaign managers. You see. Do I need to appoint a different campaign manager, putting him on a salary, housing him in Abuja, buying a jeep for him and so on? Ciroma is there, as well as Mr. Fix it. They can fix whatever I want with the abundant resources in their control. I am yet to sign a single check on my campaign and things are moving well. One of them awards all the billion-naira contracts in his ministry; the other finances them. Why should the funding of my campaign be a problem then?
And remember that in terms of strategy I have the best brains. It is by no coincidence that I chose Ciroma as the national coordinator of my campaign. He was among the topmost four in NPN during the Second Republic. He can still remember what it took to win a moonslide victory in 1983. Mr. Fix it is there also to fix any knotty officer or stubborn judge.
I also have the security agents with me. The other time they quizzed Ghali Na-Abba for at least two hours. It is his fault. How can he destabilize Nigeria by threatening to impeach the president? From this logic, you might as well ask why should anyone attempt to destabilize Nigeria by defeating me at the polls? If any influential figure tries to support my opponent, they will intimidate him with his past record, and he will yield. Every conversation of my opponents can be recorded and passed to me or to my campaign team. My opponent does not control a single security agent; he has no NITEL; and can never tap a single sentence from our conversations. I can block every move of his. Even if he wants to rent an office, I can find a way of frustrating his effort by offering three times the amount settled, or intimidate the landlord by blocking his contract payments and so on.
Every presidential candidate needs support in the states. I have the governors behind me, out of fear or persuasion. I have a file on each of them. All their cuwa-cuwa is here. In fact, I can smell corruption in their offices, as I sit here in Aso Rock. The anti-corruption tribunal is there. All of them, except one or two I think, are afraid of being arraigned before it. I determined the powers and composition of the tribunal, finance it and, therefore, I am free to dictate who appears before it, when and on what charge. They must therefore support my candidature at the convention, with all their commissioners, assistants and advisers, and chairmen of boards.
Right now, I did not pay for the billboards and other expenses for my campaign in the states. Why should I? All of them are coming here seeking for my support, and pleading that I do not field any opponent against them. I said agreed. But they must go back and prove that their states are behind me. That is why they are competing in inviting me to their states to witness that they have delivered their states. Kwankwaso invited Atiku. I was there too. Kano is a good town, except that they have stubborn children. Dem sabi stones o. Abi dem train for Palestine?
And my power, through the governors, has reached the local government level. They have appointed caretaker committees to run the councils. Aha. Again, each chairman, who must have proved to be a loyalist, has been briefed on his assignment and he is already doing his best to ensure that his governor and Obasanjo sun zarce. My opponents do not control over a single governor or a single local government chairman. How can they defeat me?
The Press. Finally. What about them? I know them. Brown envelopes kawai. I have many of them, including green, yellow and red ones. It depends on the type of journalist. That is why they have been silent about my inadequacies. Moreover, most of them are my tribesmen. Those from other places cannot afford to print anything against me. They live in Lagos. OPC can takul them.
Government press is already singing my praises and blocking my opponents. They must. Tune to network news, on FRCN and NTA. All the news must be filtered, such that nothing, no matter how factual, is said against me. In fact, it must all be about me, where I went, what I said or what my government has achieved. And the achievements of my government are many! (Garri is N100 per measure. Maize is over N3,500 a sac. There is no hunger. No poverty. The dollar is N140. Everybody is getting paid on time. All old roads have been rehabilitated and thousands of kilometres of new ones have been constructed. The economy has never been better. The morale in the army is very high. Etc.) My opponents are denied airtime. Ask Rimi. He thinks N12 million is enough to overcome my power at FRCN Kaduna. Leave him. He does not know the power of the incumbent. Before I knew it, Jerry Gana, or Ghana, has already fixed him.
As the NPN did in 1982 and 1983, I am establishing dozens of FM stations all over the federation. Do you think I do not know that the four FRCN stations can reach everywhere in the country or that the states do not have their local stations? I do. What you fail to understand is that no chances should be taken. After all, would not the contract of establishing them serve as another avenue to enrich some of my political associates? Like the controversial supply of equipment done by the NTA Director-General. Why should I probe him? It is better to create a friend than an enemy. What can Yusuf Mamman do? Nigeria is not Kenya, after all. They have their price; we have ours, even if the manufacturer is the same. They are poor; we are rich.
That is it. Too bad for my opponents. Nigeria has to wait until I agree to change the constitution to warrant only one 5-year tenure for the presidency. Then the problem of incumbency can be mitigated.
That is why all northern political leaders contacted to contest against me refused to be persuaded to do so, including all their long distance presidential aspirants. Rimi has been playing with fire. I will defeat him at the primaries. I will takul Na-Abba after the impeachment problem. My men will sponsor a motion to sack him as leader of the House.
Don’t mind this stubborn Buhari. He is new in politics. He will not reach anywhere. In fact we do not even consider as a variable in our political equation. He will be defeated at the primaries of the APP. I have my people working there. He must know that this is a Third World country where incumbency means using state resources to win election. He thinks that he can snatch power from me. He thinks he can be an Awolowo for the North. I am not intimidated. Politics is not for new comers. From where has he learnt politics? What are his resources? Where is his network and structure? After all, he has no police, no security, no radio, no money, no ministers, no assistants, no senators, no judges, no INEC, no CBN, no international community. Nothing. I have all these, and, above all, the law and the money. Who can defeat me? I am the incumbent.