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Pendulum: Tinubu and the Heavy Burden of Calvary 



By Dele Momodu

Fellow Nigerians, I know you must be wondering what the business of a former PDP Presidential aspirant is with the APC Presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. My response is not far-fetched. Everyone knows that we go way back. We were friends and Brothers, ever before we became comrades-in-the-struggle in the heady days of the NADECO operation for the revalidation of the annulled June 12, 1993 Presidential election, which was won fair and square by Chief Moshood Abiola. We had become acquainted in 1991 and became much closer as we worked assiduously, in diverse roles, for the eventual success of Chief Abiola at the 1993 polls. After the annulment, we collaborated in several critical ways during our period of self-exile overseas, particularly in the UK, but that is a story for another day. As my Elder Brother and older friend, it is incumbent on me to continue to relate with him despite any differences of political affiliation and opinion and this means reaching out to him whenever I feel the need to do so. Therefore, even if we have now recently found ourselves in different Political Parties today, I must continue to be his younger friend and Brother. Brothers remain Brothers, no matter what and one of the strong principles that I have imbibed since childhood is that loyalty and fidelity to friends and family is sacrosanct and sacred.

Nigeria is in a far worse state than we found ourselves nearly 30 years ago. We must necessarily and urgently rise above political sentiments to seek out the best of about four major candidates that have emerged for the 2023 Presidential polls following heavily contested Primaries in the two major Parties and the unanimous coronation of others in the lesser and fringe Parties. Apart from Asiwaju Tinubu who polled the majority of Delegates votes to win the APC Primaries, the other serious contender for Presidency of our country is Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of my own Party, PDP whom I supported in 2019 when I was not yet a member of that Party. The two other visible contenders, and not in any particular order, are the Labour Party Presidential candidate, former Governor Peter Obi, and the Presidential candidate of the NNPP, former Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. Please, let me stay on these four for now.

My role today is principally as a journalist who’s a chronicler of events and recorder of history. It is not as a member of any political Party. It is strange and bizarre how history often repeats itself with almost mathematical precision. Let me describe this in a jiffy.

Nearly 30 years ago, Chief Moshood Abiola won the SDP Presidential Primary in Jos. It was a victory well anticipated and long foretold by me. I had written a letter to Chief Abiola about two years earlier informing him of how I was so sure he still nursed the Presidential ambition and I spelt out what I believed he should do to achieve his dreams. I was barely 31 years old then, but Chief Abiola did not dismiss me as a young boy or an inconsequential novice. We didn’t have a proliferation of telephones then and so Abiola physically sent someone to bring me over to his house. As soon as he was ready for me, after hosting some members of the National football team, he asked why I wrote him the letter. I was confident enough to present my cogent reasons and vivid ideas. He appeared very impressed. I advised and pleaded that if and when he finally decided to run, he should join the main dominant party of his Yoruba people and not go into opposition like he did with NPN. I reminded him that this was what had brought him at loggerheads with the Awoists. We also discussed likely Vice-Presidential candidates from the North, and I suggested a few Northern Christians that I felt suitable and worthy enough to be on the ticket. He thanked me profusely for my suggestions and I left. What struck me at the time was that we were both very confident that Chief Abiola would be victorious at the elections. He was convincing and I was convinced.

The day I had anticipated eventually came, in 1993. I was cock-sure Chief Abiola was going to pick a Northern Christian as his running mate. We got the shocker of our lives when Dr Mrs Doyin Abiola invited a few of us, Dele Alake, Segun Babatope, Tunji Bello and I, into her office at Concord Newspapers to break the news that Chief was not going to pick a Christian as his runningmate. Worse still, he would be flagging off his campaign in Kaduna without even announcing his VP candidate. We already knew that Chief was under intense pressure from the SDP Governors to pick Babagana Kingibe. The Governors have always been very powerfully influential and obstinate, and it was clear that they were determined to get their way because they felt that they had been largely responsible for Chief Abiola getting the SDP ticket.

So, we all waited with bated breath for his ultimate pick. When Chief Abiola finally dropped the bombshell, it reverberated with such velocity that shook many Christians. It is not true that the Christians, or Nigerians generally, were just liberal or reticent about Chief Abiola’s gamble. Many notable leaders protested vociferously. One such great Leader was the former Governor of Ondo State, Papa Adekunle Ajasin, who put a call through to Abiola and told him in very stern and unequivocal voice: “You this boy, you have crucified Jesus Christ a second time with your decision!..” Abiola tried to pacify Papa by jocularly saying “Baba mi o si ni Calvary… (Baba I’m not in Calvary). Calvary represents the place of crucifixion in Christendom where Jesus was nailed to the cross and killed. Chief Abiola was well versed in Biblical passages and often quoted copiously from it. He had attended the famous Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta, where he crossed paths with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former World Court Judge at The Hague, Prince Bolasodun Ajibola and other distinguished Nigerians too numerous to mention here.

Chief Abiola later confided in us that powerful leaders in the North had told him a Christian cannot represent the North and that even Chief Abiola himself as a Southerner was not considered Muslim enough. And it was for those genuine and germane reasons that he capitulated. However, despite that huge sacrifice, none of those who forced him to make the compromise was available to rescue him in the days of tribulations.

This is the didactic lessons I wish to commend to one of the highly possible winners of next year’s election, Bola Tinubu. A leader must begin his job even before winning the election. He must demonstrate the uncommon courage hitherto lacking in others before him. He must right the wrongs of the past.

I’m reasonably convinced that Tinubu is the only one with a religious albatross around his neck right now because none of the other candidates would dare contemplate the idea of a Muslim-Muslim combo in today’s Nigeria. Not even Major General Muhammadu Buhari with his legion and battalions of fanatical supporters could ever take such a monumental risk.

I have had the opportunity of reaching out to Islamic clerics and Christian leaders, everyone is worried about the possibility of a religious conflagration if care is not taken.

I am confident that Tinubu will make his decision after sincere consultations with most of those concerned, especially his gcerebral team which prides itself in the level of research that they have embarked on. Tinubu is in the contest to win it ,and not to merely make up the numbers. He will do what he has to do, even if it is a bitter pill for him to swallow. I expect that he will genuinely weigh the pros and cons, and look at the odds very critically, before making what is an informed decision. I am also filled with assurance that whatever decision he makes would be one, which like Abiola, he is convinced of, and will seek to convince the majority of Nigerians about. It is fascinating that Tinubu was a close confidant who had understudied Abiola’s template fastidiously and must have learnt valuable lessons from the great legend.

The fiery Northern Christian Preacher, Prophet Isa El Buba, reached out to me last week. The content of his essay is worth considering by all veritable patriots and I reproduce it verbatim:

“Good morning sir.

Please sir, take time to read through this note and then we will talk, this is the reason why I am doing what I’m doing for the redemption of Nigeria.


The two most disadvantaged groups in Nigeria’s representational politics are northern Christians and Southern Muslims. In Nigeria’s internal geopolitics, these two groups are structurally invisible, politically subjugated, and told to be content with their political and symbolic marginality”.

“Good” Northern Christians are thought to be those who subordinate their Religious Identity. In some meetings in the North some Christians don’t mention Jesus while praying just to please their Muslim friends.

One thing with the Muslims in the North of Nigeria is that you can’t believe them hook line and sinker.

Nigerians do not understand the Northern Muslims. This group do not want to lose out. A Muslim from the South picking a Christian from the North as Vice President they believe they will lose out politically. Because they don’t even trust the Yoruba Muslim. They are the only true Muslims, descendants of Uthman Dan Fodio. Therefore, it is either they are the President, or they must deputise for whoever is President period. They convince you and everyone else that they have the numbers to make that happen.

The century long Propaganda by the colonial Masters and the Muslim Northerners who control the media in the North made the world to believe Christians in the North are insignificant, maybe 95% Muslims to 5% Christians. The Nigerians in the South and Middle Belt have believed this.

Many Southerners never believed there were indigenous Christians from Borno State until the Chibok girls Kidnapped were 90% Christians, indigenous to Chibok in Borno State.

Population statistics in the North of Nigeria.


1) North East:

Adamawa State is 60 percent Christian.

Taraba State is 70 percent Christian (The Muslims here fear the Christians who do not take any disrespectfully (sic) lying down).

Gombe State is 40 percent Christian (It could be more).

Borno State is 30 Percent Christian.

Bauchi State is 20 Percent Christian.

Yobe State is 20 percent Christian(it could be more).

 2) North Central

Benue is 95% percent Christian.

Plateau State is 90 percent Christian.

Nasarawa State: The two largest ethnic groups are: Eggon, the largest ethnic group that is 80 percent Christian, and Mada, which is 90 percent Christian, Others are in the least of 65 percent Christian. Nasarawa has a lot of animists even in LGAs near Abuja the FCT.

Kogi State is 60 percent Christian: Igala is 70 percent Christian, Okun is almost 100 percent Christians, while in Ibira Land Christians are 30 percent.

Kwara: Christians are 40 percent (it could be more).

Niger: 40 percent Christian (High number of animists in Niger especially among the Dukawa People in Rijau LGA of Niger State).

North West:

Kano: 10 percent Christian (It could be more with a very high population of Igbos who have been part of the driving force of commerce there for decades).

Katsina is 20 percent Christian (Christians could be up to 40% in Katsina, many indigenous Hausas in Katsina call Maguzawa are Christians).

Sokoto is 5 percent Christian.

Zamfara is 20 percent Christian.

Kebbi State is 30 percent Christian (High number of animists & Idol Worshippers exist in Kebbi especially among the Zuru and Dukawa people in Shanga LGA and around Yauri)

Kaduna State is 55 percent Christian (this population has been systematically thinned out under the watchful eyes of El-Rufai).

Many villages in the Northern parts of Nigeria are predominantly Christian or animists (why do you think there have been incessant attack in the North West since the past 8 years?). Yes, the big cities are overrun with Muslims, but the hinterland harbours a remnant of Christianity.

Many big Mosques are empty in the villages, nobody prays inside. Usually only the village head and his family are Muslims under the payroll of Government, but the others are Christian or animists.  When you ask some of the villagers they say the Muslims came from Government house through their traditional ruler and built the mosque believing one day all the villagers will convert to Islam and worship in the mosque. That is why they built the mosque and you a stranger will think the entire village are Muslims.

The Middlebelt is not less than 50m People. If Kaduna alone can have about 3 million Christians by 2006 census according to LGAs, the entire Northern Nigeria should have not less than 60 million Christians.


*1) Wrong Training.*

A Northern Christian boy is trained to be quiet ,while a Northern Muslim boy is trained to speak out from Quranic school. With the whip, the Mallam makes the silent one talk, be bold and tough . Many Northern Christians are made to believe there is honour and dignity in keeping quiet while injustice glares you in the face.

*2) Fear:* Many Northern Christians ask you to keep a low profile and be silent, don’t put your family in danger.

*3) Timidity:*

You have to respect Government even in injustice. Northern Christians believe Government cannot be spoken against even when they are wrong. The Bible says Pray for Government.

 4) Many Northern Christians are selfish.

They are self centered and if they can provide for their families, everybody else should go to hell.

*5) Inferiority Complex:*

Northern Christians, for centuries have been marginalised and persecuted by Northern Muslims therefore inferiority complex has set in. Many feel they cannot aspire for anything in life without the help of a Muslim.

*6) Northern Christian Elders and politicians have not helped matters.* The youth look to them for direction but never get a clear directive.

 *7) Northern Christians have a Slave Mentality.*Many see the Northern Muslim as a superior specie since he strolls about with confidence even in a foreign land.

The Christians in the South are totally ignorant of the Northern plots and are also so self centered, the South has all the resources that is required to change the narrative and now is the time to team up with the Christian North and recapture the soul of Nigeria.

Sir, with deep pain in my heart, we have to work at changing this reality. This is the reason for my state tours and visit.

Christians as a whole in Nigeria appear to be unnecessarily afraid and weak, we thank GOD for the few reawakening and more needs to be done in the next few weeks .

Prayers and actions must go hand in hand. Christians must step forward, speak their minds and stand for their rights or die second class citizens in their own nation, it will cost us a lot of fortune but is worth paying the price.

Christians must have one voice or perish. The Church leadership has failed in the past but has one last chance to be bold and redeem the nation, it’s not about a party now but about the candidate that we will back up, not a Muslim but a Christian candidate from the South.

We must rise and contend with them fire for fire, this is our best and almost last chance to rewrite history and make Nigeria great again spiritually and politically.

Today the initiative for better and brighter Nigeria has been able to break into most of the strongholds and more should be done to mobilize Nigerians behind one Christian candidate.

This is the reason I have decided to confront the Northern powers at the risk of my life and family but it’s a fight that must be fought.

Thank you for taking your time to read.

Prophet Isa El-Buba.”

I must confess that I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the figures stated in the letter. There is simply no empirical evidence to support them. Also, the views expressed in the letter are solely those of the author and do not represent my views. I understand some of those views, but I am for the most part an objective person because of my training and experience as a seasoned journalist.

However, I have taken time to reproduce this letter because I feel that a multitude of people certainly share and echo these sentiments, and it is incumbent for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to give careful consideration to the sentiments expressed therein and react as appropriate.

I would be one of the happiest persons in Nigeria, the day parochial, primordial religious and tribal sentiments no longer play a part in our polity. Sadly, we still seem far away from that day.

I will close by saying that Chief MKO Abiola’s feat of winning with a ticket comprised of one religious coloration was almost matched twice by Chief Obafemi Awolowo in 1979 and 1983 when he almost won on both occasions with a ticket that was not only Christian and Christian, but also wholly Southern, as his running mate was Chief Phillip Umeadi SAN. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu may take some comfort from these salutary examples, but he should still be cautious because those were different times to some extent. The palpable, volatile religious and ethnic tensions we now face threaten to tear our nation apart. Patience, tolerance and understanding is sorely required.

I do not envy Bola Tinubu the difficult situation he is confronted with and the hard choices he has to make. However, I have faith that he will be man and courageous enough to stand by his decision and explain and justify it. Whether it will be a successful gambit and gamble, or a sorry and sad mishit and mishap will soon be known to us all by the end of February 2023.

What is paramount is that Nigeria remains at a crossroads, and this is not a time for fun and games, but of great reflection and prayers for us as a people and a nation.

 May God save Nigeria.

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Pendulum: How FIFA Rescued Me from INEC




By Dele Momodu

Fellow Nigerians, please, let me express
how happy I feel returning to writing my Pendulum column today. Special thanks to the Publisher of Thisday newspapers and Chairman of Arise News Television Channel, Prince Nduka Obaigbena for always inspiring me to excel. So I’m back to what I truly love and treasure, READING and WRITING… But politics of opposition remains my part time vocation. A story for another time.

You must be wondering already, I’m sure, about what FIFA has got to do with INEC, a most notorious Nigerian electoral Commission that has attracted unprecedented odium and global condemnation to our already battered country’s image.

Yes, you can say Nigeria is not new to election rigging but the recent Presidential contest took the cake and its reverberations are yet to subside.

Let me go straight to my point. INEC managed to scam most of us by pretending to be serious about its job. I have had to go back to many of Professor Mahmood Yakubu’s speeches in the last couple of years and I have come to the conclusion that he’s nothing short of a drama king but a very poor one at it. It remains a mystery how he manages to keep such a straight poker face when selling lies to his captive audience.

Let me give one example only. I lost my last hope and faith in him while watching the melodrama that played out during the last collation exercise, an unnecessarily drab and terribly cumbersome exercise, at this time and age. Why do we need to assemble and engage those Professors as returning officers when the right and easiest thing to do was to TRANSMIT the results straight from the polling units!! Why would a so-called learned Professor not work towards changing and improving on the illiterate methodology and processes he met in place? Yet this man, Mahmood, sits comfortably for hours, like the Lord of the flies, supervising a complete charade while rushing palpably to Golgotha, a place of death.

FIFA Council Members, Mr Amaju Pinnick and Ms Isha Johansen with Chief Dele Momodu and President Paul Kagame at the FIFA Council dinner in Kigali days ago…

I will never forget, nor ever comprehend, how and why Mahmood appeared so recalcitrant and unmoved by the pleas of Senator Dino Melaye who had tried to rescue him and our dear beloved country from eternal damnation that has befallen him and his team and the calamity that was wittingly foisted on Nigeria. All that was needed by anyone with a conscience, love for, and loyalty to his country was to allow more time to re-examine the barrage of obvious and obnoxious infractions arbitrarily committed nationwide. But Mahmood studiously ignored all genuine and germaine entreaties. It appeared like a case of a man on suicide mission and reminded me of the tortoise in one of Ola Rotimi’s plays who was asked when it will return from its senseless journey and responded “not until I have been disgraced…” In one fell swoop, Mahmood Yakubu recklessly frittered away a golden opportunity to join the rare and exclusive pantheon of great Africans who saved their countries and people from perfidy and brink of collapse.

Please, note that I have not written about who won or did not win but only about the lack of transparency in the entire process. The same technology that worked well for the other electoral offices suddenly developed tuberculosis and high fever for the Presidential race. This is the crux of the matter.

Mahmood was just too predictable. He was working from answer to question, like a somnambulist or a victim of hypnotism. Everyone knew he was acting a dangerous script and that his macabre dance would reach its crescendo in the dead of the night, as if it was a meeting of witches and wizards. So I switched off my phone in order to spare and save my eyes from witnessing this inglorious show of shame. And when that minute finally came, it was a cataclysmic fall for a country that parades some of the brightest men and women on planet earth. The damage and its collateral effects were absolutely brutal and almost irreversible. Even the supposed winners appeared too stunned that it could not celebrate its pyrrhic victory. It became a de javu of sorts. The world instantly joined Nigerians in mourning. It was the global press that jolted us out of our comatose state.

On a personal note, I had so much faith in the promises made by President Muhammadu Buhari about wanting to leave a worthy legacy, despite my usual reservations and paranoia about such grandstanding in the past. I had prayed fervently that the President would not blow this second chance God has mercifully granted him after contesting for a record four times. But, unfortunately, the man on whose behalf I was fasting was actually busy gulping away voraciously…

Anyway, in order to unwind, I decided to travel to Tanzania and Zanzibar. But man proposes and God disposes. A call from a prominent member of FIFA Council, Ms Isha Johansen, former boss of the Sierra Leone Football Federation and a football club owner, changed my plans. “Bros D,” as she fondly calls me, “if you’re passing through Kigali, let me get you a VIP invitation to the 73rd FIFA Congress…” I can smell a good opportunity for networking from hundreds of kilometers away and I was not going to let this pass me by. Let me confirm that what eventually transpired in Rwanda actually surpassed my expectations.

Last Sunday, I boarded Rwandair after seeking permission from my bosses at the ATIKU/OKOWA Presidential Campaign Council. I needed a break after the frenetic work we had put into one of the most phenomenal Presidential campaigns ever. As soon as we got off the plane in Kigali, I felt the overwhelming power of FIFA. Rwanda has become one of the most welcoming destinations of choice for global events and I must say FIFA chose right. Rwanda’s biggest strength lies in President Paul Kagame’s magical performance in a country that went through one of the worst genocides in human history. Love him or loathe him, history will record him as a leader who brought his people back from eternal perdition. PEACE is what makes Rwanda livable. I saw some of the world’s most famous stars under one roof at the Kigali Marriott hotel. We bonded as one big family and there was no discrimination whatsoever.

For me the FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, was quite a big revelation and huge inspiration, for a man his age and at his peak of success. He is extremely friendly and down to earth. He is a good friend of Africa. This was evident in the way he relates to my two friends on the FIFA Council, Ms Isha Johansen and Mr Amaju Pinnick. He laughed heartily when I told him he is probably the most powerful President in the world.

I met and mingled with the movers and shakers of the football fraternity. I was profoundly honored to meet the former Manager of my favorite football club, Arsenal, Mr Arsene Wenger, as calm and composed as ever. Meeting him a few times was surreal. Our videos went viral several times.

Our African representatives on the FIFA Council are making us very proud. Isha and Amaju introduced me to who’s who in attendance. I met the FIFA Vice President & CONCACAF President, Mr Victor Montegliani, former US Soccer Federation President and current Adviser to FIFA President, Mr Carlos Cordero, the 2002 Senegalese World Cup hero, Mr Kalilu Fadiga, Ghanaian soccer star Asamoah Gyan, our own indomitable Jay Jay Okocha, The Bull Daniel Amokachi, and too many superstars to mention from over 200 countries. It was such a delight meeting the extremely influential UEFA President, Mr Aleksander Ceferin, the great Senior Vice President of FIFA and the Asia Confederation President, Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa. I met the South African Billionaire businessman and CAF President Mr Patrice Motsepe.

I was truly humbled by the humility of the Secretary General of FIFA, Mrs Fatma Samoura. But my biggest inspiration came from meeting President Paul Kagame at the FIFA Council dinner where he mingled freely with some of us. I discovered in him a hands-on leader. He was available and approachable. He even played in a soccer match. He’s admirably cosmopolitan.

The FIFA President has worked assiduously to take the organization to a much higher level than he met it. I saw the joy of fulfillment on his face as he reeled out highlights of his spectacular achievements. He was given a standing ovation after he was reelected unopposed for another term of four years. The voting process was electronic and it was done almost effortlessly. It brought back memories of a dashed hope and lost opportunity back home in Nigeria. I wondered what’s wrong with us such that when we think we’ve taken two steps forward, we actually take ten backwards. All I could muster was SHAME UNTO INEC for its ignominious rascality.

I remembered my Boss, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and felt a sense of pride that I took the right decision when I chose to support him and Governor Ifeanyichukwu Okowa. The Wazirin Adamawa has demonstrated the traits of a true democrat. His faith in the rule of Law is unassailable. You will never see hooligans around him. His supporters will never terrorize anyone on social media. This is the kind of gentleman Nigeria desperately needs.
To those crying that I should have supported someone else, I have nothing but pity. I marvel when highly educated people tell me I should be loyal to a friend and not to my country. I made my choice with my eyes wide open and I stand by him, in thunder, lightning and in rain.

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Pendulum: My Personal Take on Atiku, Wike and Ayu




By Dele Momodu

Fellow Nigerians,

I come in peace. According to the Holy Bible: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God…” Matthew 5:9.

The political party I belong to is PDP. I had contested its Presidential Primary months ago but lost spectacularly. I’m not here to offer excuses about what happened or did not happen. I’m writing this epistle first as a peacemaker and also, secondly, as an academic exercise. I’m interested in exploring the possibilities of how our big gladiators can re-embrace one another. Once upon a time, they were all friends. Friends sometimes fight bitterly. Even husbands and wives do disagree vehemently and, at times, to a point of irreconcilable differences. However, even in those times, miracles can happen and events and circumstances bring them back together.  This is the stage we are right now. Only a miracle can save the once buoyant and vibrant relationships that existed between these major anchors of the PDP and restore the trust between The Wazirin Atiku Abubakar, Dr Iyorchia Ayu and Governor Nyesom Wike.

The key words in the middle of this war of attrition are MISTRUST and DISTRUST.

I need to emphasize that earlier this week, I and four other former Presidential aspirants visited our Party’s Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in Abuja.

The delegation was led by Alhaji Mohammed Hayatudeen. Those former aspirants that attended the meeting were Mohammed Hayatudeen, Dele Momodu, Tari Oliver, Bar Charles Ugwu and Bar Chikwendu Kalu. This was the first official meeting of it’s kind by any group of aspirants after the National Convention that saw Alhaji Atiku Abubakar emerge as the Presidential flag bearer of our great Party, PDP. I must emphasise that we represented the small group of six former aspirants who had met in Lagos and reached a decision to meet our candidate. Only one of us was absent, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, because he had to leave for the US before the meeting took place.

It is not true that our small group was snubbed by anyone of the other aspirants. We did not invite Governor Nyesom Wike since he we understood and knew that he is still angry about the conduct of the election, it’s outcome and events that transpired shortly thereafter. Before meeting with our Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku, we had reached out to some of our party’s leaders who were reachable. We had even paid a visit to former Governor Ayodele Peter Fayose who is currently recuperating from a major surgery, in order to show our empathy and consideration for him and his condition. Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State had actually agreed to host us soon. Chief Anyim Pius Anyim also promised to host us since he was unavoidably absent and away from Abuja at the time we met Atiku. Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki also offered his apologies as he was out of the country.

The truth is that everyone is anxious to see an end to the imbroglio rocking our party. Even our opponents are eager to see an end to it, one way or the other, because PDP has been getting all the good and bad attention (and every publicity in PR parlance, is good publicity). So we decided to start the peace process from our own side as former Co-contestants for the Presidential ticket of the PDP, in a bid to ensure that we reduce the almost perennial bad news about our Party.

Our candidate was happy and delighted to see, and welcome us to his home. The atmosphere was both convivial and jovial. He expressed his great pleasure to see his former colleagues and co-contestants and assured our team of his readiness to collaborate and build a formidable team that would not only see the PDP winning the upcoming election, but also strategically position the Party for the upcoming business of governance after our resounding victory.

The team spoke about our foremost interest in ensuring peace and stability in the Party, stressing the need for the Party to walk and talk through the difficult challenges that it currently faces, and restore peace speedily through meaningful dialogue and reconciliation.

I need to interject by stating that my article and opinion herein is strictly personal to me. This would be my third troubleshooting intervention following on the earlier two I had circulated widely on other platforms. The first was addressed directly to my very dear friend and Brother, Governor Nyesom Wike as follows:


My dear Brother, good evening. I have watched you in recent months with trepidation. I’m scared about your inability to comprehend the country called Nigeria. You must have underrated how the owners of Nigeria operate. I have studied the biography of CHIEF OBAFEMI AWOLOWO. I was an insider in the June 12 1993 crisis, and a veritable witness to the tribulations of my great mentor, CHIEF MOSHOOD ABIOLA. Closer home, you must have seen how your predecessor, DR PETER ODILI, was stopped in his tracks in 2007.

You’re certainly one of Nigeria’s best performing Governors, if not the best. Personally, I’m very proud of your uncommon achievements. I know you are very angry. It is your right to be. But I’m begging you in the name of God not to take decisions based on anger… Nigeria has been very kind to you. Rivers State has been extremely generous to you. GOD has blessed you beyond imagination. You have such a beautiful family. Your people love you stupendously for services delivered to them. PDP has been your solid platform. You should never destroy a bridge after crossing the river. Even if you no longer need the bridge, what of your friends and family? I pray you kill this excessive and perpetual ANGER. It is getting out of hand. Most people around you will keep quiet for fear of losing patronage. Many politicians survive only on power. My Brother, I love you. But someone must be able to tell you the truth. No General fights on too many fronts. Please, apply the brakes, before it is too late…”

To his credit, Wike called me that night and although he was still simmering we spoke briefly, but cordially, about my humble admonition.

Wike has been like a combination of Ronaldo and Messi in our Party and I believe he must be appeased by all means possible. I was encouraged when I saw pictures of his meeting with our Party’s Presidential candidate with a few of our Governors having dinner in London. But nothing seemed to have come out of what I thought was an auspicious meeting.

So I wrote a second letter addressed to the generality of the Party faithful as follows:


My dear party members, good morning. I woke up thinking about the sad and unfortunate crisis rocking our party. I’m wondering if we’ve not been victims of mass hypnotism. Someone needs to wake us up from this state of somnambulism.

Months after we concluded our Presidential primary, we are still busy fighting and calling ourselves unprintable names, thus forgetting that, once upon a time, we were friends, with shared dreams and aspirations. We all looked forward to how our party would dislodge the APC behemoth that deceived Nigerians with highfalutin promises but failed spectacularly on delivery.

Agreed, costly mistakes were made in our party Presidential primary, some of them avoidable, but we cannot continue to dwell on it, lest we  throw the baby away with the bathwater.
Now that we’ve narrowed the principal actors to our National Chairman, Governor Nyesom Wike and our Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, I wish to appeal once again to them to urgently rise above this war of attrition for the sake of long-suffering Nigerians who need our attention desperately. PDP is the oldest party in Nigeria, since 1999, with the requisite experience to tap into in order to reverse our perfidious descent into anarchy.

I salute the courage of Governor Wike in boldly and vociferously letting the world know what went wrong and what should be done moving forward. He should please sheath his sword and allow party machinery fix the rest. I also appeal to our party elders to resist making inflammatory statements that may further escalate the crisis. Truth is, we can, and should, defeat APC spectacularly in the next election and hopefully form a Government of National Unity in 2023, as suggested by our candidate. Let’s not destroy this opportunity with our own hands.
Nigerians are waiting to see the practical presentations and demonstrations of our manifesto. Majority of the other candidates and members of their parties were at different times members of our party, PDP. For every finger they point at us, four others will point back at them.
Time has come for our party to retake the victory and regain the glory.”

My personal takes today are that one, we must recognise that issues of injustices in our Party must be addressed and not swept under the carpet. No attempt should be made to make the Southerners in our Party feel like bystanders. We need massive votes from every part of Nigeria. Two, whatever promises were made privately to Wike should be re-visited and reviewed and if they have changed and can no longer be sustained, fresh decisive and sincere negotiations should take place between our candidate and Wike. The aim should be to try and meet him at a point closely aligned to those initial promises. That is the hallmark of justice and integrity on which our great Party was founded and built. I’m not saying anyone is indispensable, but Wike deserves our respects for his humongous support for our Party. There was a time that PDP would have been consumed and destroyed, but Wike was one of those few who stood tall like a colossus and held the Party together. Three, I will plead with Wike to calm down and let God fight his fight. I’m not happy the way the media is exploiting the crisis while making him look too cantankerous and obstinate. He has proven his point too well. Now he should let his cause take its course. I believe history will eventually vindicate him. The head that will wear the crown can never be denied. No matter how long it takes, it will happen if it is God’s will. King Charles III is the most recent example of this truism!

Four, PDP should link up more to the many younger talents and self-accomplished technocrats that abound in Nigeria and abroad and stop giving attention only to career politicians. A political party that wishes to dislodge a ruling government must target and attract first time voters.We must appeal to those in the Diaspora who send money back home to their families and friends.

I pray our leaders and elders would see reason and embrace peace urgently…


I have often been asked who’s the greatest personality I ever met and my unequivocal response was always: HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II. The extraordinary and remarkably graceful and regal woman and monarch has impacted the whole world in a way none other has. She is one of the few people known only by their Titles, the Queen. But, of course, she is the most renowned of them all.

On July 29, 1995, I landed at the London Gatwick Airport from Accra, Ghana. For me, it was the beginning of an unplanned and unanticipated sojourn in the land of unpredictable weather for the next three years.

I will forever treasure the unbelievable support and the unimaginable protection my family and I enjoyed as asylum seekers and later, refugees, from Her Majesty’s Government…

I was so grateful on behalf of myself and family that I started dreaming of meeting Her Majesty, but never knew how this tall dream could ever be actualized. However, nothing is impossible with God. And when things happen for me they do so oftentimes in a blaze of honour and glory. Indeed, when the appointed time came, the Deputy British High Commissioner was the one who contacted me, shortly before Her Majesty’s last visit to Nigeria in 2003. Apparently, the High Commission had been trying to reach me for a while because they had a mission for me. I recall that I was in Ghana when the call came through that Ovation International magazine and Thisday newspaper were the only two publications shortlisted by Buckingham Palace as the official titles allowed to cover the extraordinary visit…. I was thrilled beyond measure at the recognition and honour. I knew then that dreams come true in the most unusual of ways. Naturally, I was invited to be a guest at the cocktail reception organized by the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Sir Philip Thomas, and I got an opportunity to introduce myself to the Queen.

I had rehearsed and rehearsed what I would say to her within the few minutes of standing before her and it was a most fulfilling experience indeed…

The rest is now history…

May her beautiful soul Rest in Peace…

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Pendulum: My Early Permutations on 2023 Presidential Election




By Dele Momodu

Fellow Nigerians, let me make a few clarifications before going into the nitty-gritty of this epistle.

Today, I’m wearing two caps on this page. I’m a journalist as well as a politician. I have been both for decades, although I remain pre-eminently a journalist. Also, I have been a non-partisan politician for a long time until recently. Even then I have seen it fit to support candidates from the two mainstream political parties depending on the capacity and performance of the ruling government party. Since this is my column, it is expected that it will reflect my personal opinion and not that of any other person. This has always been the case although my opinion may sometimes be shaped by not only the voracious reading culture that I have made the mainstay of my career as a journalist but also the wide consultations and interactions that I continue to have both as a journalist and politician. And opinions can oftentimes be subjective, although I try to be as objective and fair as possible. I am aware that even objectivity and fairness can be relative, but they are standards one must strive to attain, maintain and exist by in life. Equally importantly, I am also brutally frank and open to self-criticism at all times.

Going on to my early permutations for the 2023 Presidential race, let me state categorically that I have at least six good friends in the race, namely, Mr Abdul-Lateef Kolawole Abiola, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Mr Omoyele Sowore, Mr Peter Obi and Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. All six of them are eminently qualified to lead our country Nigeria. They all have distinctive personal characteristics and attributes which enable each of them to be individually considered strong candidates for the position of President. However, each of them cannot be considered in isolation. They must be looked at from the viewpoint of Party, background and relationships. I must therefore establish some methodology for my assessment of what would determine the ultimate winner of the 2023 Presidential contest.

In present day Nigerian Presidential elections, there are certain major factors at play. These factors have become majorly important given the prevailing circumstances in the country particularly those of agitations for restructuring and secession, insecurity, failed economy and poverty, gross unemployment, infrastructure deficit and decay, educational maladministration and maladjustment and parlous health services. These major factors include the following:

One. There were usually two mainstream political parties. In 2023, they will be APC and PDP. A third force is still warming up as a major challenger, especially in the Southern regions. It is not yet known how much power it can garner and galvanise in the coming months. That is the Labour Party. In all honesty, that is as far as my third eye can see for now. I apologise therefore to my three other friends in what I call fringe parties, namely, Kola Abiola, Rabiu Kwankwaso and Omoyele Sowore. Kwankwaso has a chance of doing much better than the other two because of his popularity in the massive electoral cauldron that is Kano State. He also has some following in the North, but I still do not see him making such an inroad as to garner more than 3-5% of the total votes cast.

Two. Ethnicity, or what is called the race factor in the United States of America, will play a major part in 2023. A lot of Nigerians have seen the ethnic factor play out by a division of the country into three large parts, the monolithic North, the South West Edo and Delta States, and an amalgam of the other South South States and the South East States. On my part I do not see a monolithic North as well. The Middle Belt including Kwara and Kogi States have been much maligned and marginalised in this respect. Yet they have their own strong force and voice. I will break down its beneficiaries in the next few paragraphs.

Three. Religion will play a significant role in 2023. We have already seen how this has become a major thorny issue due to APC’s decision to present a Moslem/Moslem ticket. It is also frontloaded as a major factor because of the prevailing distrust and insecurity that is all pervading in the country. This used to be largely a Northern thing with grave vicious violence being unleashed upon one another by Moslems and Christians alike. However, this distrust, and insecurity, has spilled over into the South and is part of the reasons why agitations for restructuring and self-determination have risen to a crescendo.

Four. Money. This has always been a major player in determining who succeeds to the Presidency of the country. The ruling Party has always had an advantage in this area. For starters, as of June 2021 there were almost 180,000 polling units in Nigeria. It is not unusual for additional polling booths to be created a few days to the election. What is constant is that every serious political party has to have at least one agent at each polling unit and these polling agents need to be adequately remunerated and provided with all necessary logistic material to ensure effective and efficient return as a party polling agent. To man all these Polling stations will need at over N20 billion by my reckoning and that is being on the cheap side. Loads of cash will therefore be needed by all of the contestants.

Five. The Buhari factor. The Federal Government is too powerful as it controls INEC, Police, Army other security agencies, even the Central Bank and so on, to a large extent. This is a major tool for any government which is unwilling to give up the stranglehold it has on power, particularly when it realises that the populace is thoroughly dissatisfied with its performance.

Let me now take you on a tour de force of what you should expect to see next year.

From my crystal ball, I can foresee a straight fight between APC and PDP candidates. In this round one, APC candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu seems to be at an advantage. His party is currently in power and controls all the appurtenances of government. Nevertheless, the strength of APC is also its main weakness. After eight years of monumental failure in office, it has lost most of the attraction that brought it to power in 2015. Its victory in the 2019 Presidential elections is still controversial till this day. Nigerians may wish to punish APC for its terrible performance which has not only seen them more impoverished but also more insecure and afraid for their very lives. Tinubu’s case is worsened by the fact that he has a dilemma in being unwilling to distance himself from this government’s policies which have failed the people so woefully because of the fact that this will be seen as wilting criticism of the Buhari administration. The withdrawal of the support of Buhari apparently still sends shivers down the Tinubu camp.

On the issue of ethnicity, this may be the major clincher in the race. There are two Southern contenders in the Presidential election. The major Southerner is the former Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and to a lesser degree, the other Southerner is former Anambra State Governor, Mr Peter Obi. My brothers and friends, Kola Abiola, and Omoyele Sowore, both Southerners as well, have little say in this battle royale which the 2023 Presidential election portends. The principal challenger for Tinubu and Obi will be former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. In the South East, I believe that the Igbos are likely to back their son, Obi and the Labour Party for the most part. Obi’s Anambra State is a hybrid State presently controlled by APGA. The State does not have a serious Presidential candidate contender. It is noteworthy, that the South East has traditionally been a veritable stomping ground for the PDP. The Party presently controls Enugu and Abia States. This is not likely to change too much, and the PDP may win or come a close second to the Labour Party. Notwithstanding the fact that APC has made some inroads into the South East by virtue of the fact that it controls two States, Imo and Ebonyi, one of which it does by virtue of the defection of the Governor, I still feel that it will come a distant third. My opinion is that the Labour Party is likely to take the lead with about 45 to 50 percent of the total votes cast in the South East because of the Obi factor, even though it presently has no showing in that region at the moment. Atiku will follow with about 30-35 percent and Tinubu 15-20 percent.

In the South South, Atiku will take the chunk of votes because these have always been predominantly PDP States, although in some States like Rivers, Delta and Edo, the crisis in the Party may cause the PDP to lose votes some of its normal votes, if not quickly resolved. Similarly, the defection of Governor Ayade of Cross River State may also cause the PDP’s margin of victory in the Zone to shrink, especially in Cross River State. My belief is that the Zone is guaranteed for Atiku because his Vice-Presidential candidate, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, comes from this zone. There are usually huge votes from here, although these were emasculated in 2019. PDP is likely to record up to 60 percent in most parts, if Governors Nyesom Wike, Ifeanyi Okowa, Udom Emmanuel, Douyi Diri, Godwin Obaseki and other party loyalists give their all. If the Party’s crisis in the zone is allowed to fester and worsen, the PDP may get no more than 50%. The rest will be split between APC and Labour with APC taken between 20 and 30% depending on how the PDP intra Party mess develops.

The South West will be extremely dramatic, and the results may be very shocking. APC controls four States here, Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti and Ondo and PDP, two States, Oyo and Osun.
While Tinubu will definitely win Lagos, his margin of victory may be reduced by the popularity of both Obi and the mass grassroots mobilisation of the PDP Gubernatorial candidate, Mr Olajide Adediran, aka Jandor. This is the only State in the South West that may feature three strong contenders. The Igbo population in Lagos and the EndSars Movement will favour Peter Obi more than it will favour Atiku. The other South West States will witness a tough battle between Asiwaju and Atiku with Tinubu holding the sway because he is a Yoruba man.

Now, let’s move to North Central and start with Kwara and Kogi States. The Saraki factor will help PDP in Kwara. The former Senate President has obviously regained his bounce especially because of the perceived frugality of the incumbent governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq. This may give Atiku a major edge over Tinubu here. Kogi may be tougher to win for Atiku because of the young Governor, Yahaya Bello, an APC stalwart, but the two parties will run almost neck and neck. Obi is unlikely to feature significantly in these two States. Plateau State is an APC State but with the Muslim/Muslim brouhaha, APC will face an uphill task because this is a major Christian State in the North. PDP is in charge in Benue and again the Muslim/Muslim ticket of APC is highly contentious here and will swing even more votes to PDP. I feel that most of the Northern Christians may support Atiku for having a more balanced ticket. Though I understand that some people in these parts of the North Central are tempted to consider Peter Obi, but their leaders are reaching out to them and telling them not to waste their votes. Niger and Nasarawa are presently controlled by APC Governors. Obi will not feature in these States. It will therefore be a straight fight between Atiku and Tinubu, with Tinubu winning more than 60% of the votes in Niger State and no more than 55% of the votes in Nasarawa State based on the incumbency of the APC Governors countered by the Atiku factor.

The North East will be very interesting. Many pundits are wondering why Tinubu chose a Kanuri man, Kashim Shettima, from Borno State, as running mate and not someone from the largest voting zone in the North West. Well, as an experienced politician, he probably knows what we don’t know. The PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar, is a Fulani man from Adamawa, a North Eastern State. The North East has not produced a Nigerian President in a long time and the crave for one favours Atiku sentimentally. I know Atiku will do much better than he did in 2019 because the Buhari factor is absent. And in any event Buhari has performed abysmally. This may spread to Bauchi, a major PDP State, as well as Taraba State which is also a PDP State. I believe that there will be some swing towards Atiku in Yobe State although the State is a prominent APC State now and Shettima’s Kanuri influence will help the APC ticket here. The race will be hotly contested but the result will still be a victory for Tinubu though the margin will be slimmer when contrasted with the massive victory for Buhari and APC in 2019.

The king of voting in Presidential elections remains the North West which is the largest voting bloc in Nigeria. It is almost impossible to become President of Nigeria without winning big in this region. The State of Kano takes the cake in this respect. Kano State alone could close almost any margin that a Presidential candidate is bringing from other Zones. Despite being an APC State with a strong Governor in Umar Ganduje, Atiku Abubakar may likely lead others, namely Tinubu and Kwankwaso, because of his Fulani lineage and heritage. Blood, they say is thicker than water. Having said that Kano is predominantly a Hausa and not Fulani State and this should augur well for Tinubu. What is clear is that Tinubu definitely needs Kano, like a million dollars lifeline, to borrow that popular proverbial cliche. To this end he has worked assiduously to build bridges in this State and other North West States. This is one of the primary reasons that he won the APC Presidential Primaries, and he still count on the people of Kano to vote for him against the Fulani, Atiku Abubakar. In fact, the three Ks of Kano, Kaduna and Katsina are absolutely needed for victory by any Presidential candidate. Kaduna is a bit tricky because of its preponderance of Christian population, but Nasir El-Rufai is a strong no-nonsense APC stalwart who will want to deliver massively for his Party. Sokoto, is a major PDP State and Tambuwal has shown deep loyalty to Abubakar and his cause. Atiku will win easily here. Zamfara and Kebbi States are under the control of APC, but Atiku’s cultural affinity may give him some edge in these two States but maybe not too much as to give him overall victory, which still seems likely to go to APC in these two States, if the 2019 results provide some indication although again, the Buhari factor will reduce APC votes here as in other core Northern States as he is not on the ballot….

I will be back with more updates in the coming months…

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