Underrate the South to your peril

    Atiku Abubakar

    By Julius Ogunro

    In 2007, after Obasanjo’s tenure, the four major presidential candidates came from the north: Yar’adua, Buhari, Atiku, and Ribadu. No serious candidate from the south threw his or her hat into the ring. It was because of the understanding that after the eight-year rule by a southerner, power should shift to the north.

    In 2023, after the eight-year rule of Buhari, the northern political elite did not abide by this gentleman’s agreement of power shift. Northerners such as Atiku and Tambuwa, aided by deluded southerners such as Dokpesi, came up with the silly idea that only a northern Muslim can win the presidency. This idea was beyond silly because of how Nigeria is configured with the two regions and two major faiths sharing an almost equal portion of the population.

    But haughty Atiku was confident in his belief that the alleged northern demographic advantage would give him victory. He and Tambuwa made this very foolish argument on national TV! This argument and the inherent injustice and unfairness in Atiku’s candidacy alienated his party among southerners and the PDP bled in the south, especially in the southeast and south south.

    Atiku got his wish though, he won the majority of votes in his dearest northwest and northeast. But that was not sufficient to give him victory, thankfully. He has learned too late that he needed the south as much as the north to win.

    His condescending attitude to southern Christians made him quickly delete the tweet condemning the unjust killing of Deborah, the young girl who was murdered in Sokoto. Atiku didn’t want to offend his fellow northern Muslims but had no qualms about offending Christians. It was this haughty attitude that made him resolve the PDP crisis in favour of the PDP National Chairman against five Governors.

    Haba! The PDP was going into a presidential election with a northern presidential candidate, and northern chairman, after the tenure of a fellow northerner. Complete alienation of the south, the party’s stronghold, and where it won most votes in 2019.

    I have no tears for Atiku. The PDP’s defeat is self-inflicted and well-deserved.

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