It’s always surprising when I see experienced politicans make illogical calculations. We have a generation of politicians who never allow events unfold, make hasty decisions that most times turn out to be horrible mistakes and never learn from it.
We’re 10 months into a new regime and permutations about 2023 are already in motion. Nigeria’s democratic dispensation began in 1999 and this system produced 4 Presidents in 20 years. The circumstances that brought them all have never been identical. Series of events beyond human control have always influenced events in ways we can’t imagine. These events we often call them UNFORSEEN CIRCUMSTANCES.
“My prison experience enriched me, infact it contributed to my performance while I was in office. A leader must learn from every situation” those were the words of a once convicted prisoner serving a life sentence for coup plot charges. Released from prison 20 years ago, financially broke, the man became Nigeria’s democratically elected president in 1999 and won re-election in 2003. This man is off course, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. His imprisonment he said was a blessing.
Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s (GEJ) Presidency officially took off in 2010 after the death of Umaru Musa Yar’ adua. Actually, his political journey began on 29th May 1999 when GEJ was sworn in as Deputy Governor to Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. Fast forward, 2005, GEJ was sworn in as Bayelsa State’s Governor after Alamieyeseigha’s impeachment by the state House of Assembly.
A year later, GEJ’s Party paired him with Northwestern, Katsina State then Governor Yar’adua. The duo were elected into the Presidency and and Vice Presidency respectively, 3 years on, in a turn of events GEJ became Nigeria’s Acting President and later President after the demise of Umaru Musa Yar’adua. GEJ went on to contest for Presidency after elapsing Yar’aua’ s term in 2011, he won and served until 2015 after eventually been defeated by General Muhammadu Buhari.
This is a man who contested and lost thrice consecutively. He won eventually in the fourth trial, after making alliances. Whether it took him all the years to realize he needed alliances to win is only known to him, but the actual fact remains, without those alliances 2015 would’ve been his 4th loss.
Some said Obasanjo’s choice of Umaru Yar’adua back in 2006 was because of his friendship with the late Shehu (Umaru’s brother), others said it was a ploy to strategically install GEJ as president as Yar’adua was seen as a “walking ghost”, a dead man walking because of his illness. Yar’adua won, though in an electoral process marred with numerous misconduct, he came on to become one of the best since the beginning of Nigeria’s democratic dispensation.
Buhari needed to try three times and eventually had to make alliances to win in his fourth try. GEJ on the other hand didn’t have to make three trials, all he needed was to be Deputy Governor.
Chief Obasanjo’s imprisonment was a blessing in disguise and might have played significant role in his emergence.
Unforseen circumstances have always influenced notable events and will always defy political strategems, planning and political campaigns.
Unforseen events such as Gen. Abacha’s death, Yar’adua’s demise, Goodluck Jonathan’s concession call, Prof. Jega’s calm during Orubube’s outburst and Tinubu’s alliance with PMB are all events that 3-4 years before they happened were not conceived by no one and these events have changed the course of Nigeria’s political history.
Hassan Sani writes from Kano