By Inuwa Bwala
Assuming what Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje said is to be true: that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, presidential candidate of the APC, has accepted to pick a northern Muslim as running mate for the presidential ticket, the choice of who it is going to be becomes the next question.
Going by permutations in the media, who is it going to be between Senator Kashim Shettima, former Borno State governor, and Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai, incumbent governor of Kaduna State, is a question of time.
With Kashim Shettima coming from Borno State in the North East, and Ahmed El-Rufai from Kaduna State in the North West, the choice impliedly further boils down to the salient rivalry between the North West and the North East.
That rivalry, which many people would rather one does not talk about, has been around since the First Republic, and has often shaped and reshaped events surrounding the emergence of leaders from the North.
It is what sociologists define as the center/periphery theory of power. And in the northern political configurations, the theory depicts the North West as the Center and the North East as the periphery.
In it, the North East beats the drums of a monolithic North, with one destiny and agenda while the North West claps for them and eventually benefits of the spoils of the eventual victory.
In recent times, this theory finds interpretation in the emergence of Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Shehu Musa Yaradua, and Muhammadu Buhari as elected presidents, and Nnamadi Sambo as vice president.
Earlier, it also defined the emergence of Murtala Muhammed and later Muhammadu Buhari as military heads of state, and even defined the political dominance of the revered Sardauna of Sokoto, against Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, in the early days of our political metamorphosis.
Unfolding events since the indications were made to the effect that it could be either El-Rufai or Kashim Shettima point to the re-enactment of the old tricks, where the North East plays the role warrior in fighting and then a renegade when it comes to sharing the spoils of the collective Northern war.
Some political elite from the North West recently started what will seemingly culminate into a scenario, where El-Rufai or any north westerner could be picked ahead of Shettima: now that it seems Governor Babagana Zulum has conceded to his boss.
Somebody asked me to ignore the angle of the North West vs North East equation, so that we will not be seen to be at war amongst ourselves in the North, but I decided not to heed to that advice, knowing that my region is again about being shortchanged and my people further reduced to perpetual second status of the North.
El-Rufai is a partaker of Senator Kashim Shettima’s exceptional leadership qualities when he served as chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum and can also attest to his political sagacity, when it comes to the Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s candidature.
El-Rufai: until it became very clear to him that there was no stopping Tinubu had never hidden his disdain for the APC national leader. Very often, his media hirelings had written obscene and unprintable things about the man: ostensibly under his tutelage.
It was surprising when he suddenly became visible at the eleventh hour before the primaries in working for Asiwaju. Some might regard it as a deft political move, but I am sure Tinubu is not blinded to the events culminating into the massive support from El-Rufai at the convention.
Abdullahi Ganduje has been with Tinubu from the start, just like Kashim Shettima; and has been Shettima’s compatriot in the Asiwaju struggle. If he is a factor in choosing who should be, between Shettima and El-Rufai, he might remember the viruptations poured on him in the Sanusi Lamido Sanusi saga by El-Rufai.
Time will not permit a detailed analysis of all the prospective choices, but it is public knowledge that Kashim Shettima presents better credentials than the rest.
Except if the mission, as it obtained in the past, is intended to promote North West presumed suprermacy over the North East, Senator Shettima deserves this shot: at least to disabuse this notion about our relationships.
I personally think, that, in the face of emergent trends in political regional allignments, the North West lacks the moral rectitude to again take up this opportunity from the North East.
It is on record that successive leaders at the national level, since 1999, have all come from the North West, except Atiku Abubakar’s tortuous vice presidency under Olusegun Obasanjo.
This is a time to speak out. He who comes to equity must come with clean hands.
The choice ultimately remains the prerogative of the candidate, who he chooses will either give him an easy ride or a pyrrhic victory. My take.