For the PDP everything is going into the campaign for the must-win 2019 elections, including as many aspirants as possible. The more the merrier translates politically into more hands on the campaign deck and wider and more impactful campaigning. The real deal however is the repeatedly-restated resolve of the rival aspirants to remain loyal to the party and rally round whosoever emerges as the preferred candidate after the presidential primary.
At the last count there were more than a dozen aspirants jostling for the coveted candidature, from die-hard former vice-president Atiku Abubakar to pace-setting newcomers like Senate President, Bukola Saraki and legal luminary, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, SAN, flying the flag of generational shift. As reassuring as the common resolve among the competing aspirants may sound, the fact remains that each of the aspirants is flaunting qualifications to win hearts and minds of the party members.
Going by Nigerian political practice, the bustling crowd of aspirants also translates into a bonanza of patronizing gestures from aspirants whose words alone are insufficient to sway the crowds of supporters and need to be backed with more gestures in kind. At the end of it all it will devolve to a number of delegates or indeed the entire members, depending on the type of primaries, to decide who is the fairest of the aspirants.
On the political catwalk the chin-wagging assembly of pundits, propagandists and allied prophets of popular choice are already far gone in blowing trumpets of various orchestras in tandem with their conductor’s rhythm. They are consequently unreliable for anything more than sycophantic endorsement of their sponsors. But if political science is of any relevance, there should be a method to decipher the potential fates of the contenders.
There are some non-starters, one or two dark horses and one candidate-elect whose qualities and prospects outshine the pack. Informed political analysts have already reached a consensus of assessment bringing up Atiku Abubakar, Bukola Saraki, Kabiru Tanimu as we have already captured in this submission. We don’t have the luxury of time or space to rationalize the de-listings and in any case there can be little or no contention about the pre-eminence of our top three.
There is also no shortage of pre-qualifying yardsticks for sorting the wheat from the chaff such as integrity of antecedents, credibility of pedigree, education and exposure to leadership insights, the trending issue of age, mental alertness and dynamism, burdensome baggage of controversial linkages, pending litigations and incriminating charges, pan-Nigerian acceptability and clout, dependable loyalty status, capacity for inclusiveness in governance and ideology, character traits and reputation as well as professional or career track record.
Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, SAN, stands out in a singular scale of uniqueness of political stature compared with Atiku Abubakar and Bukola Saraki as far as presidential bidding for 2019 in the PDP is concerned. The most significant aspect of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria’s stand-alone qualifying clout is precisely his comparative insulation from the infectious antecedents of previous political complicity upon which virtually all other aspirants including Atiku and Saraki perch for controversial consideration. This gives him substantial momentum in presenting the most credible challenge to the claim of incomparable integrity of the Buhari candidature that has, at any rate, suffered drastic devaluation since 2015.
If truth be told, neither Atiku nor Saraki as leaders of the bearers of burdensome political baggage among aspirants, can possess the confidence to deflect disabling devices of the ruling party that Kabiru Tanimu’s candidature is loaded with, not to add the SAN badge of professional and intellectual integrity and competence. By contrast, the Saraki and Atiku candidatures are politically dead on arrival as far as the potency of the ruling party’s prowling paraphernalia of disqualification goes and recent indications of targeted investigative stumbling blocks.
Kabiru Tanimu Turaki also personifies the perfect alternative to the suffocating stranglehold of recycled “analogue” ex-servicemen and their entrenched political cabals of which President Buhari is anxiously expected to be the last General. The legal luminary (Turaki) represents the much desired generational shift with all the attendant “digital” dividends of new perspectives in nationhood, especially with his intelligent and profound articulation and endorsement of the restructuring template which is widely accepted as the way forward for Nigeria’s progress. This is a value-added factor of Kabiru Tanimu’s candidature that is inapplicable to the Sarakis and Atikus by reason of the aforementioned infectious antecedents.
In a remarkable referral for his all-round political leadership proficiency, in-depth insight on salient national issues and cross-country network of partnership platforms, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, SAN, was a major strategist, adviser and team player in the Northern Union (NU), the most well-organized and result-oriented non-politically affiliated movement which had in its membership none other than the great political strategist, ‘Oloye’ Dr Olusola Saraki of blessed memory. Kabiru Tanimu Turaki was the chairman of the movement with the late Dr. Olusola Saraki as the chairman of its Elders Council. The Northern Union then was the arrowhead dynamo of the highly successful national mobilization drive for northern presidency in 2007 that enlisted major regional power blocs like Afenifere, Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Ohaneze Ndigbo and the South-South Peoples Assembly and still retains their linkages.
This is not to talk about Kabiru Tanimu Turaki’s chairmanship of the highly-rated influential former PDP Ministers Forum which has continued to exert considerable and credible influence in the PDP family.
By these strokes of political fortune, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki was bestowed with the awesome national political superstructure for bridge building across geo-political zones and among a vast array of distinguished personalities in politics, academia and business’, while Bukola busied himself hijacking Oloye’s Kwara State enclave where today he cannot guarantee his own senatorial seat let alone boost his presidential bid! Obviously, political predestination was also in favour of Kabiru Tanimu Turaki who ascended to the leadership of the North-West zonal caucus of the PDP composed of respected political juggernauts, perfectly paving the way for eminent qualification to confidently aspire to Nigeria’s Presidency in 2019 with the fresh focus of a rejuvenated PDP.