Aribisala’s naked truth for Buhari, and the North, By Maikano Ahmed

Muhammadu Buhari

Truth is bitter. And a Hausa adage has it that it is he who loves you that can give you that bitter pill. The columnist Femi Aribisala has just published a long and analytical essay which contains a fair dose of truth pills for General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) and his cohorts, as well as for the North in general. With some air of finality, Aribisala’s article is entitled “Why Buhari will never be president of Nigeria”. The piece in question has, in more ways than one, re-echoed some of the things some of us having been drawing attention to, about the Buhari presidential project. Reading through Mr. Aribisala’s essay, I found myself nodding along in agreement of most of the critical points he raised. Though I have my reservations on a few points, on the whole, I found the main thrust of the thesis overwhelmingly accurate and convincing.

As the election further draws closer, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) consolidates its gains thus far, its major Achilles heel is solving the riddle of who flies its flag. This is a decision that is akin to a double-edged sword; capable of winning the fight for the party or inflicting it with a life-threatening wound. Permutations are ongoing and as far as the North is concerned, all eyes are on the APC as the PDP ticket is not up for grab for just anybody. But at the centre of the permutations for the APC ticket is General Buhari who has become to the party, in the words of a friend, like the proverbial lizard that hovers over a gourd which is capable of contaminating the water or getting the gourd destroyed in an event the owner insisted on sending it off.

In an article published in September last year,  I noted that; “It is therefore the saying that once beaten twice shy that once beaten, twice shy that made people who were otherwise emotionally attached to the cause of Buhari to have a rethink. It is a consensus among most key observers of Buhari’s foray into politics that serially losing the election could not just be attributed to rigging.

But instead of the General and his team to conduct self-searching introspection, they keep riding on the egoistic pony that he is being rigged out and that his victory is assured in the next election. But this pressure on Buhari to contest again and again has since been discovered to be a money spinner for some people who literally box him into a corner, massaging his ego for their own ends.”

No doubt, the former head of state is very popular within his own northern Muslim enclave. Mayhem was severally unleashed to protest what is perceived among our largely uneducated crowd that have no exposure beyond the markets of Kano, to be disenfranchisement of Buhari’s mandate. Several people had put their lives in the line, in the cause of this decade of Buhari politics, cheering on the “messiah” and wrecking havoc on his opponents (verbally and otherwise).  As Aribisala himself acknowledged in his write-up, Buhari has the popular mandate of the downtrodden masses especially in the Muslim dominated states of the North.

But is it enough to be a president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? Aribisala helps us out: “Without a doubt, Buhari has massive support in the North. Indeed he is the most popular Northern politician in the North today. But that precisely remains his undoing at the centre. The more he is identified as a Northern champion, the less attractive he becomes as a national choice. Even in the North, his support base is limited to Muslim population. He does not appeal to Northern Christians. Then there is the added factor of the opposition of his implacable opponents among the Northern elite.”  Truth be told, this man is not viable as a presidential material because of the oft-stated (and experienced!) factors, as also elucidated by Aribisala. Here, the columnist puts it rather bluntly:

“One thing is certain, the South-South and the South-East will not vote for Buhari in 2015. Not only that; there are no buyers for Buhari’s sectarian politics in the South-West. No matter what Tinubu might be telling him, the people of the South-West will not vote for Buhari in 2015. We already had the template in 2011, when Buhari tried to sell himself, first by balancing himself with a Yoruba man: and then by making sure the Yoruba man is a Christian; a pastor no less. But it just did not wash. It will not work in 2015.”

At a time the North is agitating for the return of the presidency to the region, we cannot afford to file in someone whose defeat would be rather predictable. Here, Aribisala sounds words of caution, which the North and the APC should only ignore at their risks. His words: “The worst thing that can happen to the Northern presidential aspirations in 2015 is for Buhari to be on the APC ballot. That is a sure guarantee that the North will not be providing the next president.

“Buhari will be a shoo-in in an election for president of Northern Nigeria. But in an election encompassing the entire country, the best he can envisage is to be a kingmaker. He cannot be a king. The nearest Buhari will go to Aso Rock in 2015 is by attending the Council of State meeting.”  One, therefore, is wont to wonder why shouldn’t Buhari annoint anybody from the army of his associates.

The APC, as a historical and unprecedented amalgam of the opposition, has the burden to make the best use of this God-endowed chance. For the first time we have an opposition party that has at least one governor in all six geopolitical zones of the country – a good omen of things to come. It therefore falls on the leadership of the party and all those who toil to see to its formation to ensure that a more acceptable, pragmatic and trusted person is given the chance to pick the party’s ticket. The party is not in short supply of credible and trustworthy individuals to pull from. The mistakes of 2003, 2007 and 2011 should not be replicated this time when there is clearer coast to victory.

Ahmed wrote from Wuse II, Abuja. Email:


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  • Yusuf Lawal

    Aribisalaaaaa I always love your piece! Especially “Article Of Faith” as a scientist your piece always draw my attention with its well arranged pre-text and dexterity. keep up to the good work.

    • Abubakar

      Buhari or not buhari, Nigerians are crying for change pls don’t bring confusion…. Stop saying south-south and southeast won’t vote for APC, we’re not doing politics of religion, even you can contest, if you are okey by Nigerians you will be voted

      • NelsonEhiaris are on politics of hausa/ fulani never belive in nobody from other religion or ethnic group.apc will be a dead party if they venture to nominate another candidate than buhari.

    • ldris A. Abdulsalam

      There’s no naked truth here, we already know who SS and SE are going to vote for. Nothing Aribi has said that we have not heard before. I keep on asking, how much has Aribi collected for writing his trash?

  • BlackieUmukoro

    Buhari and APC ain’t going nowhere. They are both doomed to fail and whofully too

    • Bala R

      GEJ is the last president of Nigeria.

      • BlackieUmukoro

        After which we go our different ways
        Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

        • Obongawan

          Says who ‘u or God’?

          • Hameed

            Says me!

          • BlackieUmukoro

            Wait and see
            Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

    • Issei

      Blackie.that is your thought on national politics,but be rest assured Dr Dumbo will loose the elction in 2015. A lot of things had happened which in my opinion may work against the status qua,eg impunity,corruption,lawlessness,lack of direction,dwindling fortune of Nigeria,and Nigerians,the only sane person that will vote For Oga @ top is the one who believe in all honesty that Nigeria is doing fine presently,any other person who’s thinking otherwise will not vote for Dr Dumbo.I voted for him in 2011,because i was mislead by the I have no shoes slogan,but bros never again will I vote for shoes less man.

      • BlackieUmukoro

        So those in APC have shoes
        Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

    • John Byarowanga

      God willing, BlackieUmukoro and his likes will eat their words come 2015. Nigerians are no fools, mind you. They know where the problem lies and who has the guts to tackle it.

      • BlackieUmukoro

        Yes, they know APC is the problem
        Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

  • Armstrong

    Aribi u ar a fool go hide nd never come out Mumu we need APC weda u like it or no omoale

  • Garkoji

    It is quite sympathetic to read your article in PT, about Buhari and his
    chances in election. i will really not say much but this your research
    seem to be poorly conducted and reported. For you to say Buhari is
    popular only among northern Muslim clearly indicate your ignorance and
    that you have not been following the polity of this country especially
    the Buhari campaign rallies in other part of the country. Even where he
    is unpopular it is you and your sponsors who were painting him as
    religious fanatic to those who were never integrated. For your
    information Mai Abuja not Kano, Buhari is not and will never be
    desperate to rule only that he want to further prove how transparent he
    is and how bless Nigeria is. IN FACT DID HE EVEN TELL YOU OR YOUR

  • Everfrank

    The poster is obviously paid to write this article. Shame on you as the entire generations of your family cannot produce a Buhari.

  • Okey

    A poorly crooked write-up; a campaign to discredit Gen. Buhari for Tambuwal. It had long been predicted that after Buhari would have laboured, some crooks hunted by their dark shadows will sponsor articles to discredit the man and bring in an “as usual” person so that they won’t be in jail should Buhari become president as the General will not spare anybody even if he or she is an APC member, founder or follower.


    State robbery otherwise known as corruption in Nigeria is cross religious and ethnic. Candidly speaking, Babangida, Abdulsalami, Obasanjo, Danjuma would rather work for Jonathan to continue ruling Nigeria in 2015 instead of Buhari who they know would compell all the past and present state rogues to surrender their loots to the nation with appropriate legal punishment.

  • Hisham Habib

    The writer has failed maths since high school, if Jonathan has scored only south south and south east who would have sworn him? The propaganda PDP and its slaves are spreading is that Buhari will lose come 2015, this is unscientific, misinforming and sheer stupidity, Nigerians knew Buhari when the zoning was not there, and by election figures Buhari without the alliance he expected from Tinubu and co in 2015 got 12 million votes but I still wonder the myopia in guys calling for his displacement. Those calling for Buhari to step down are ethnic jingoist who want the country to be divided so the would continue with looting or are opportunists who want their bosses to have the seat.
    We can feel the fear in intonations from Aribisalas et al who cannot point weakness of the General but prefer mixing the stew of tribalism with mischief when Nigerians are in need of nationalists who have maintained credible records, democracy goes beyond sectional issues and we as a people should come of age and shy away from the true yearnings of the vast majority, if you are not voting Buhari for the sake of FAIRNESS allow those willing to

  • You and Aribisala belong to the hellest part of hell. You are part of the gang always on the internet protecting the interest of your master, Jonah. When did Aribisala become the standard of values and norms? He is a demented fellow and not a person to be taken seriously. He just writes his junks to be noticed.

  • Xavier

    When analyising issues , it’s good to attack the subject and not only the premises of the subject , this writer us so bias and is findings can’t withstand empiricism. So Shocked at his biasness. This is the last of the writers piece I will ever read. Just compare Buharis era to jonathan era and pick the very. Rubbish. Aribisala koo aribidaku niiii

  • Shettima Agumdear Gulak

    Hisham Habib, God bless you. I am disappointed in Aribisala for his shallow understanding of the Nigerian electorate.