What makes the suit critical is that its institution altered Buhari’s political stance and its fallouts facilitated the merger that gave rise to the APC and Buhari’s fourth contest to victory. It is only locating and treating the defining issues in the presidential election tribunal, particularly how the sacking of Justice Isa Salami created the conditions for the CPC/ACN merger, which made Buhari’s 2015 presidential election victory possible, that will give the true picture of the momentous political changes in Nigeria in 2015. Only then that the roles played by other critical individuals can be exhumed and appreciated.
But with the apparent missing vital link, it is not unnatural for the uninformed to fall into misperceptions, misconceptions, misrepresentations, and even mischief in accounting for Buhari’s almost mystical political turnaround from somewhat “a serial loser”, as some described him, to a gallant victor in 2015.
For example, there are those who often argue that APC would not have won the March 2015 presidential election if the ‘new PDP’ had not joined the newly formed party. That APC realised its victory through the instrumentality of two major impetuses: the CPC/ACN merger in the formation of the party, and the movement of the rebel “new” PDP group into the APC. Without either of these events, they assert, Buhari would never have emerged president”. With all due respect, I think they are right only on the first assumption; but totally wrong on the second.
With the consummated APC merger as it was, Buhari as its presidential candidate would have won the election whether or not the “new” PDP faction joined the APC. The political calculation is easy and the electoral mathematics is simple. There were five of the PDP governors who joined the APC: Rivers, Kano, Sokoto, Adamawa and Kwara; along with the former VP Atiku, Senator Saraki, and a few others. Beyond the political propaganda they created, their joining APC added actually insignificant electoral value.
The analysis is this – Gov. Amaechi’s Rivers State, as it turned out, did not vote APC. Guaranteed the governor may have heavily funded the campaign with Rivers State money and aircraft, but already with Tinubu APC was not lacking in finances and logistics. Therefore, in terms of practical electoral value, Amaechi didn’t actually add much. So also Rochas did not deliver Imo State to the APC at the presidential polls.
As of Kano and Sokoto states, they had always voted for Buhari without failing since 2003. So with or without Kwankwaso and Wamakko crossing over to the APC, the votes would have come in from their states anyway. In Adamawa, Gov. Nyako was long impeached and in exile in faraway London when the election took place; so he had little influence in the election’s turnout in the state.
And it was common knowledge that Atiku joined the APC to advance his self ambition of clinching the presidential ticket of the party, and when he took a distant 3rd position at the primaries he lost all interest in the whole thing and adopted a rather lackadaisical attitude in the ensued election campaigns. He, therefore, played a very inactive role in support of Buhari’s electoral victory. Thus, Adamawa voting for Buhari in 2015 was not principally on account of the decamping of Nyako or Atiku to the APC.
The only state where APC won as a direct result of a “new” PDP crossover was Kwara. Without Bukola Saraki moving over to the party from the PDP, APC would not have won the state in the presidential election. But even then, the difference in the result was less than 200,000 votes, which if subtracted from the total votes scored by APC over PDP, nationally would not have materially changed the total final result of APC victory.
So the often-stated above assumption is fundamentally false. The only thing APC needed to ‘bake its cake’ of victory in 2015 was a CPC/ACN merger. In other words, an alliance between Buhari and Tinubu; every other thing was only icing on the cake!
Ardo, PhD resides in Abuja