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Friday, September 6, 2013

Discourse 353 - 2015: The Arithmetic of Bad Luck

2015: The Arithmetic of Bad Luck

By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde

The ongoing crisis in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is deepening by the day. I was among the sceptics that dismissed the crisis as one of those that the ruling party would weather. However, there are many indications that this one is proving to be different.


We have seen the disenchanted founding fathers of the PDP leave the party or politics entirely, one after another. Few, like Audu Obgbe, its former chairman, joined other parties and remained there. However, many, like Atiku, Rimi, Na’abba, etc, returned to the witch-mother, quickly or eventually. The overall picture that we have of such decampments is that for reasons of power and wealth, PDP members can hardly survive outside the party as long as it continues to occupy the presidency.

In previous conflicts, it was easy for the party and the president to use the material resources at their disposal and the power invested in his position to buy disgruntled elements back or force them to return. More important than the two is the fact that since they are hardly popular, PDP politicians cannot stand on their own outside the party and survive in the harsh weather of opposition politics. This was highlighted by Senior Special Assistant (on Media) to the President said just a month ago when he said that the rebelling governors must eventually return to PDP because they cannot afford to abandon the winning party. Subsequent developments show that he may be wrong

What makes this crisis different is a combination of many things. One, the new PDP faction is engineered by a good number of governors from states that cannot be ignored by the President in his election arithmetic. To lose seven will be substantial. They are outgoing, not in need of the party to give them a second chance, and from states that have substantial amount of votes. There are many first tenure governors belonging to their camp, claimed the rebelling governors, but who are advised to keep their heads low in view of the complications they may face now.

Never in the history of the PDP was it faced with a gang of seven governors. Atiku might have had many governors behind him but since he was central in the revolt against Obasanjo, persuading him and threatening the governors with EFCC was enough to close that chapter. And when he left the PDP and joined hands with the AD to form AC, he did not go with any governor behind him.

The situation outside the PDP has also contributed immensely. The formation of the APC has provided the rebelling governors with an alternative to join or align with in order to give the obstinate President a good run for his money. PDP no longer enjoys the monopoly of winning an election. It is not the winning party, as Okupe would like us to believe. Abandoning it is no longer a class suicide. Okupe himself has realised this and is tuning down his rhetoric of dismissing the tamarrud governors.

Also, the crises have hit the President when he is weakest especially with his breakup with the architect of his presidency, the former dictator president, Obasanjo. Essentially, the President has miscalculated that he could dispense with Obasanjo and get away with it, seeing, among other setbacks that the latter suffered recently, that he could not even get his daughter win a senatorial seat, that he could not install a speaker or Chairman of PDP Board of Trustees and, after all, he no longer enjoys an incumbent control over state resources as he used to do when he plotted the ascendency of the present President. Jonathan is misled by Mr. Fix and his position-happy assistants, forgetting that Mr. Fix too could not even fix his Edo constituency which he lost to ACN.

More than the Obasanjo factor, Jonathan is not assisted by his lack of popularity among Nigerians, arising mainly from his widely believed incompetence, which he did everything to prove right, willingly. If he had worked hard to earn the trust and support of Nigerians through good governance, he would have been in a position to pitch the masses against the tamarrud governors. Instead, his tenure has proved to be a disaster and as corrupt as any Third World leader could be.

Then the conflict between the President and the rebelling governors is of the insoluble genre: they are asking him to “forget” standing for another election in 2015 based on a promise he made in the run up to 2011. Here, carried by his power of incumbency, the President thought he could, as Obasanjo did, break the promise without attracting any harm. It is proving difficult. This time, the governors are not letting it go without a fierce fight. But few presidents can willingly yield to threats even in the face of American might or mass protest. The Presidency, especially to people like Jonathan, is a position of do or die.

On the other hand, the New PDP governors are equally stubborn, if not more than the President. Moreover, the conflict has been allowed to ossify so much so that it is impossible for them to back out. On their side are people like Atiku who are already warning them of the dangers of contemplation: “Do not make the mistake of contemplation, which I made in 2003. Once you do so, rest assured that the tiger of Jonathan will return to devour you mercilessly. Remain on cause.” Add to this advice the characteristic vengeance of Obasanjo that is adding oxygen to the fire in the background. With these voices and those fears, the governors could only become more dogged by the day.

We can go on and on in our comparison of past and present conflicts in the ruling PDP. Let us break that now and focus on the implication of the President’s position. Effectively, the crisis shuts the gates of 2015 before the President. The scenarios are obvious and they all point to a President in his decline and fall: Goodluck is faced with bad luck in all directions. Let us look the arithmetic.


Starting from the APC governors, the President should not expect a support from their eleven states. For ethnic reasons, one may allow him the majority votes of Edo state. That takes away the support of eleven governors and the majority votes of ten states.

Then Jonathan is certain to lose the majority votes in six of the seven New PDP governors – that is granting him Rivers State who may decide to support him for ethnic reasons. This brings the number of states that the President may lose their majority votes to sixteen.

Then come the five states of Bauchi, Gombe, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi and Kaduna in which the President will also lose their majority votes though the governors are yet to abandon him. He lost them in 2011, some woefully. This brings the number of states against the President to a staggering figure of twenty-one

Taraba state is uncertain, the votes being likely to be shared equally between the APC candidate and the President. That leaves the President with the majority of the votes of only Benue and Plateau States in the North for obvious reasons, plus, of course, the majority votes in the southeast, South-South and, possibly, non-APC states of Ondo and neighbouring Ekiti in the southwest. Even here, the states and zones are not big enough on the voters register to make any significant impact, with some having as low as 472,00 votes (Bayelsa) when compared to Lagos (6million) and Kano (5million) votes, both of which are not supporting the President.

I will come to another possibility where the opposition can win the overwhelming majority votes in all states of southwest without exception. But before then, let us see what the above arithmetic means in terms of voter-opportunity for the President – a complete bad luck: 22.9million against 45.7million or one-third against two-thirds!// I have presented below the total number of voters in each state belonging to the President and the opposition APC. (I am afraid that the formats of my blog and Facebook page may not keep the table intact.)

Jonathan States

1 Bayelsa 472,389
2 Ekiti 750,753
3 Ebonyi 876,249
4 C/River 1,018,550
5 Enugu 1,301,185
6 Benue 1,415,162
7 Abia 1,481,191
8 Ondo 1,558,975
9 Imo 1,611,715
10 A/Ibom 1,714,781
11 Anambra 1,758,220/
12 Delta 1,900,055
13 Plateau 1,983,453
14 Rivers 2,419,057
15 Edo 1,412,225
16 Taraba 1,308,106

TOTAL = 22,982,066

APC Candidate States

1 Fct 886,323
2 Kwara 1,115,665
3 Yobe 1,182,230
4 Kogi 1,215,405
5 Nasarawa 1,224,206
6 Gombe 1,266,999
7 Osun 1,293,967
8 Kebbi 1,603,468
9 Adamawa 1,714,860
10 Niger 1,721,478
11 Zamfara 1,746,024
12 Bauchi 1,835,56
13 Jigawa 1,852,698
14 Sokoto 2,065,508
15 Oyo 2,577,490
16 Borno 2,730,368
17 Katsina 2,931,668
18 Kaduna 3,565,762
19 Kano 5,135,415
20 Lagos 6,247,845
21 Ogun 1,869,326

TOTAL = 45,782,261

Depending on who the APC fields as its presidential candidate, the President may not even get the votes of Ekiti and Ondo states. That makes his chances bleaker: 20.6million against 48million votes.

This picture is a complete bad luck for the President in two ways. If the opposition is able to join hands with the New PDP, pick a winning candidate, mobilise its voters and fight fiercely to protect the votes, then it is certain to defeat the President at the polls in 2015, hands down. There is simply no way the President can bridge the gap between 14 states that he would have and the 22, plus the FCT, against him. I cannot see how he can leap from a majority of N22million votes to position himself above the majority of 48 million.

Stepping Down

What may make the depiction even darker is the possibility that once the ship of the President starts sinking, the remaining governors may abandon it and he may not be sure of anything anymore. At that point, I have no doubt that the party will be wise enough to prevail on him to step down and stay as a lame duck for the rest of his tenure, defeated, deflated and disgraced by bad luck.

That is the path he has chosen and he has himself to blame for it. The nation, including this writer, rallied around him when he was fighting to be recognized as Acting President. After becoming the President, he blew the opportunity of becoming a statesman and, instead chose to become a gangster that is bent on installing his loyalists and members of his ethnic group in every position of influence. He swallowed the poison of greed alone. He will die alone.


The days ahead will definitely be interesting to watch. Will the President be able to weather the storm and turn the table against his opponents in the PDP to enable him clinch the ticket and face the APC and its allies in the next election? Will the opposition itself forget its regional differences and personal ambitions and oblige itself the indisputable winning candidate that will enable it give a devastating blow to the President in 2015? Will the PDP see the writing on the wall and ask the President to honourably step down from his 2015 ambition such that it can at least have the energy to stand up to the opposition and possibly defeat it at the polls? What are the possible cards that each side will use as we approach 2015?

Bamanga, the chairman of the old PDP faction, for example, is already threatening the use state institutions to sanction legislators who joined the New PDP. This is stupid. The PDP has set the precedence already that once a party is factionalized, its elected members can decamp to other parties. That judgement is returning to harm it severely. The law enforcement agents, the judiciary and INEC will also be calculating in their response to Bamanga’s threat: they have their self-interests to protect in a post Jonathan Nigeria. Once they calibrate that the position of the president is unpromising, they will be unwilling to harass anyone on his instigation.

Our assessment above is limited to the sight that today can afford us. Regardless of the how wide that band is, tomorrow could give us a different possibility altogether that may favour the President or it could further collaborate against him and corroborate the testimony of its immediate predecessor, thus relieving us of the calamity of having a president that is destructive, corrupt and incompetent.

6 September 2015

Friday, March 22, 2013

Clarifications on Islam and Our Suicide Bombers

Clarifications on Islam and Our Suicide Bombers By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde I must apologise to my readers that I have not been around to comment on issues raised since I posted the article Islam and Our Suicide Bombers at midnight yesterday. I have returned to find that over 286 comments were made on it after it has been viewed by over 22,000 readers in the first 18 hours. Scanning quickly through the comments, I think it is important to make some few clarifications about some points which some readers have misinterpreted or those I did not sufficiently make clear in the first place. 1. The first is the reason behind the writing. All I intended to put across is a simple message: Islam does not support whoever targets civilians in the name of Jihad. It is very doubtful if there is any reputable scholar that has justified this. My guide on this matter, Sheikh Yusuf Qardawi, has been clear in his objection to this. This is also the general understanding among Nigerian Muslims in particular. I have never met a single Muslim among the Nigerian public that supports suicide bombings that targets civilians, inside or outside the country. Those behind these bombings, though still Muslims in my consideration, do not enjoy our support and hardly can I find any evidence in the Quran that they enjoy the support of the Almighty. 2. The second was to provoke a probe. As sufficiently worried as we are, I believe the Muslim world should start a critical diagnosis of this social ailment. Which part of the body is affected and why? This is the more important because we have witnessed the woeful failure of military action. Behind Boko Haram is an idea that is more potent than bullets. It can only be conquered by a superior idea. In Nigeria we got this wrong from the first day. Led by the thinking that the government will successfully check the group as it did previously with Maitatsine and other revolts, many of our clerics jumped to condemn Boko Haram as Kharijite, some even giving government the license to kill them. Little effort went to engaging them intellectually after they were ransacked from their bases in Bauchi, Gombe, and Maiduguri and their leader killed. I remember writing an article then warning that it is dangerous for the clerics to issue such a blank cheque for the government. The law should be allowed to take its course. I think it is time to return to that point of ideological engagement and identify the ingredients that lead our youths to this path. Such investment may yield better fruits than military action. 3. Actually the context of the writing was universal, not local, though I expected people to relate to it more in the latter than in the former. A dispassionate survey of the bombs for which different groups claimed responsibility in Iraq and Pakistan, for example, will easily show that bombings that have targeted Muslims in mosques and markets are planted by Sunnis against Shiites. The converse may be true but very negligible in frequency. Likewise, recent insurgencies that attack civilian populations in the Middle East, Asia and Africa have largely been claimed by Sunni groups. So who am I to say that they are not Sunni? I have seen that some people, instead of accepting this reality, have chosen to label me as Shiite. Foul! In any case, whether I am Shiite or Sunni is irrelevant to the fact here. I thought we will pause for a minute and ask ourselves this simple question: What is there in the our set of beliefs, as Sunnis, that make the idea of suicide bombing even against civilian population attractive to some of us? Is it because some of us believe that the victims – who are usually Muslims of a different sect – are lesser Muslims than us or infidels altogether? Or what precisely is the reason? Bombing of fellow Muslims in mosques and churches is absent here in Nigeria but they have been happening frequently in multi-sectarian Muslim communities especially in Pakistan, Iraq and, now, Syria. (As a prominent exception, there are bombings reportedly carried out by the supporters of Alawite regime in Syria against Sunni populations. The difference is that Asad does not claim to be fighting a Jihad.) 4. Finally, let me say that I find it surprising that there were some readers that understood the content of the article as saying that Muslims are responsible for ALL the bombings in Nigeria beyond the premise of the largely inter-sectarian bombings in Muslims populations which some groups have claimed responsibility. If such readers were objective, they would have recalled that I have always been in the forefront in trying to make other Nigerians appreciate that there are elements other than Boko Haram involved in the bombings that take place in this country. I still have a picture of the IED that a Christian tried to use at a Church in Miya Barkate, which I was quick to report to the world last year. There are several other cases that we have discussed in the past and so many vested interests have now come to play. All Nigerians know this so much so that the phrase “there are several Boko Harams” has now become commonplace. Yet, we cannot deny the claims of Boko Haram that it is targeting churches, Christians and law enforcement agents, as their leader mentioned in his first video broadcast to the world. The group has claimed responsibility for many of the bombings, rightly or wrongly, after all. How do I deny that? Then Boko Haram members, to my understanding, are still Muslims; of course, some may think otherwise. As for me, it is enough that they profess the Kalimah and continue to regard themselves as Muslims. I definitely differ from them on a number of crucial issues but it is not my business – or to put it another way, I am not pious enough – to regard them as infidels. I think the mention of “Sunni” in the article has destabilized quite a number of readers so much so that they were eager to discredit every word in it. Facts are sacred, however. These are the points that I craved your indulgence to clarify. May God remain our guide on the Right Path. 22 March 2013

Islam and Our Suicide Bombers

Islam and Our Suicide Bombers By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde Few hours ago, a suicide bomb killed a very popular senior cleric in Damascus, Muhammad Said Al-Bouti, while he was delivering a regular lecture in his mosque. Twenty other worshipers lost their lives along with the 84-year-old cleric. The cleric was a Sunni supporter of the Assad regime. Three days ago, a suicide bomb killed over thirty passengers aboard a luxurious bus in Kano, Northern Nigeria. It is widely believed that the victims were targets of a sectarian attack, like many previous ones. The victims were innocent Nigerians of different ages, unarmed and unsuspecting. In Pakistan, the Shiite community is under constant attack in their place of worship or neighbourhood. Between December 30 and March 3, four different bomb attacks have targeted Shiite communities killing 19 in Baluchistan on 30 December 2012; 21 in Hangu on February 1, 2013; 83 in Quetta market on February 18; then 45 in Karachi on March 3 as the victims were leaving a mosque. A witness to the March 3 attack said, “I saw people burning to death and crying with pain. I saw children lying in pools of their own blood and women running around shouting for their children and loved ones.” In Iraq, suicide bombing, according to a 2011 study, there have been 1,003 suicide bombings between 2003 and 2010. The number of deaths from these attacks is at least 12,284 civilians. In the latest that happened just two days ago, Reuters reported that “more than a dozen car bombs and suicide blasts tore through Shi'ite Muslim districts in the Iraqi capital Baghdad and other areas on Tuesday, killing nearly 60 people on the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.” And there have been several other bombs that have been killing innocent people across the globe in Afghanistan, Algeria, Mali, Somalia, etc. There four common features of these bombings. The first is that they are performed in the name of God. Nothing other than belief in self-correctness would give up a person to the destruction of his self. All these suicide bombers believe in a theology that tells them that they are doing the right thing through which they hope to attain God’s pleasure and for which they will be rewarded with Paradise. The second is that they are all coming from us, Sunni Muslims. Rarely do other sects in Islam engage in suicide bombings that target civilians of different sects or different religions. The third is that they are all about power. Whether it is in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Mali, Algeria, Somalia, Nigeria or wherever, all the bombings are about power under various disguises: fighting against invasion, Shiite domination, establishment of an Islamic state in which members of the rebellious sect dream of becoming the new leaders. Finally, the targets are always cheap – innocent civilians – when the strong power of the state cannot be successfully confronted. Is this the peace that Islam promises mankind? Are we turning religion into an enemy of mankind instead of presenting it as a friend? Is our God happy at the sight of blood, suffering, orphans and widows? Is not there a better way of attaining His pleasure than the killing of innocent people? Is His paradise impossible without stripping us of our humanity? The correctness of everything – including beliefs and ideologies - is judged by its fruits and not by the beauty of its arguments, the determination of its adherents, the courage of its defenders or the name of God that it mentions. On this count that is better than any other, our suicide bombers have failed woefully, very woefully, to convince us that the violence they perpetrate is Islam. They may name God, but God is free of their action. This is His testimony about anyone who spreads mischief on earth: “Among people is one whose views about this world will fascinate you and he calls God to witness about what is in his heart; yet, he is the most contentious of enemies. When he turns his back, his aim everywhere is to spread mischief through the earth and destroy crops and cattle. But God loves not mischief. When it is said to him, “Fear God,” He is led by arrogance to (more) crime. Enough for him is Hell; an evil bed indeed.” (2:204-206). That is the honest stand of God about these unwarranted destruction of lives and property, about these pains and sufferings and about every evil perpetrated in His name. I remember that this was the verse that opened a documentary I once watched in 1981 on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that was authored by the Mujahidun. Today, the same verse could be quoted against al-Qaida and its affiliates. I see no difference between President Truman that dropped nuclear bombs on the innocent citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and my Sunni brothers who bomb members of other sects or religions in Pakistan or Kano. If anything, such actions only bring shame to Islam and Muslims. This short essay is an admonition for the God fearing, whose heart trembles at His mention and whose faith increases at the recitation of His verses. As to he that is unrepentantly committed to the path of destruction, he must understand that the human spirit will certainly triumph over him as it triumphed over the most brutal times of its history. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. 21 March 2013

Friday, January 4, 2013

Obasanjo Planned Jonathan’s Presidency in 2006 By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde Yesterday, I posted on my Facebook page ( the January 3 cover story of Daily Trust, “Maj. Gen. Minimah (from Cross Rivers) May Become Army chief, More Retirements Coming”. It was not until later in the evening that it dawned on me that Obasanjo did indeed planned Jonathan to become president as early as 2006. Surprisingly, I missed the point even when I wrote my widely circulated piece, The Departure of Azazi, five days ago. Read at

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Discourse 352 Is the South Finally Set to Colonize the North?

Discourse 352@@@ By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde@@@ IS THE SOUTH FINALLY SET TO COLONIZE THE NORTH?@@@ I received a text message yesterday that read, "Senate Committee on constitutional Review is collating people's vote via text on replacing state of origin with state of residence. Text 'Yes' or 'No to 20052"."@@@ Then an advice followed in the text: Read at 'Like' the page if you feel compelled.@@@ Thank you. Aliyu