(BACK PAGE) Towards 2018: State Of Play

 

Osun Defender’s resident Data Analyst, DAMILOLA OJENIKE begins a series on the factors that could affect the electoral calculations in next year’s general elections.

Towards 2018: State Of Play

Will the herdsmen crisis currently ravaging the land upset the apple cart of the electoral calculus in 2018? Osun Defender will be using psephological (The statistical study of elections and trends in voting.) analysis in the weeks ahead to forecast and project the emerging trend.

Coincidentally the crisis has been most pronounced in the zone where the 2015 presidential election between incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan and his challenger APC candidate Muhammadu Buhari was most competitive.

The rest of the zones, the South West was an exception, were not really competitive.

The electoral calculus shows that unlike elsewhere, the marginal percentage difference between the two candidates in the ‘’ Middle-Belt” ranged from 8% to 28%. If there is a backlash against the government with the perception, erroneous or otherwise, that they have been tardy or even conniving in the crisis, then there could be swings against the APC in the decisive middle-belt which could throw the election wide-open.

Benue state which  is a hotbed of the herdsmen/farmers conundrum is clearly in play. Hitherto held since the commencement of the third republic continuously by the PDP, it swung to Buhari in 2015 by 10%. It ought to be leaning towards an APC victory. However recent events have produced a clearly disgruntled state governor and a restive population. Of note is that there always have been religious undercurrents perennially lurking beneath the surface in the electoral nomenclature of the state. This state could therefore swing into an electoral background. It will, with what is on ground, require some tactical maneuvering and great political management to contain a possible backlash against the APC here.

Plateau State is another hitherto held PDP stronghold although going to the APC by a bigger margin (16%) than Benue’s 10% in 2015. The state could also prove dicey for the APC in the event of a backlash. The incumbent governor for example took only 51% of the vote in the governorship election. This indicates that the then candidate Buhari was running well ahead of his party in the popular votes. Indeed it is plausible to argue that the coattails of Buhari might have clinched the governorship for the APC.

It is looking unlikely for example, that the crises will help the APC candidate in Taraba which they lost to Jonathan and the PDP by 80% in 2015.

Crisis management of the public perception will be key in this region in order to forestall a backlash. The presidency is embarking on a sensible containment strategy. This week’s letter from the president to the Senate is a much desired step. Unfortunately, the incoherent response of the president’s own “communications team” has clearly not helped matters. For a start, the state governments are clearly culprit, in some cases in dereliction of duties. This has shifted all the blame rather unfairly  to the central authorities.

The President’s communications team should have used the State of Osun as a positive example. In that state as we have pointed out in our editorial this week on page 4, the pro-active, well thought out containment strategy of the government shielded the state  from the herdsmen/farmers clashes, even as they became more pronounced across the country. Osun State showed that even with a state government having tenuous control over the national internal security mechanism, containment pro-active crisis management can still be creatively deployed to avert the bloodshed witnessed elsewhere.

For its own good and for the sake of the electoral calculus, the communications team must be braced up and continue to explore this theme and get the message across. It’s looking dicey in the middle-belt but the personal authority of the President should take the ruling APC out of its pickle. The clear absence of a credible alternative opposition figure in Nigeria like Raila Odinga represents in Kenya or like candidate Muhammadu Buhari was pre-2015, is very much in favour of the electoral prospects of the APC.

In the weeks ahead; we will continue our surveys on the calculus both nationwide and in the toss-up states.

 

BACK PAGE ‘Captain: In The Storm Of Life’

 

‘CAPTAIN: IN THE STORM OF LIFE’ is a biography of ISRAEL ADEMOLA GBADEBO HAASTRUP, who the author, OLAKUNLE ABIMBOLA described as a living legend –a treaties into the history of the Haastrups, a ruling family in Ilesa, beginning with their great progenitor, Oba Frederick Adedeji Kumokun Haastrup, Owa Ajimoko I.

Ademola Haastrup could have been yet another Ijesa prince living on old glory like a faded coin. Or used this privileged connections to join the wheeler-dealers, gorging on easy money in Nigeria’s rent-driven economy that he chose neither is the story of his illustrious life.

Structured into three parts, Cradle, Career, and Charity/Religion, Captain x-rays the life odyssey of captain Haastrup, a man of immense means, yet humble mien; a shrewd businessman with interests in real estate, international shipping, aviation, hospitality and banking.

Captain Haastrup has bountifully reaped from the material and the spiritual, thanks to his industry in business; and total devotion to his Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) Christian faith. More importantly, he has lived a life without stain. To the younger generation, he is a study on how integrity is the real success story.

The Author, in the preface to the book had said that Captain Hastrup’s profile fitted the series concept of projecting genuine heroes and role models in this era when people of integrity are rare.

With the project afoot, the author said no one deserve bigger appreciation than Captain Hasstruup himself, as he sat through three long interviews and a couple of short ones to supply information, despite his busy and punishing schedule. To show how tight for time he was – and always is – one of the interview sessions held on Christmas Day, 2004, “when we talk almost for the whole day, in the captain’s magnificent country home at Alatise Village, Ilesa, Osun State”.

The biography is “a celebration of Captain Haastrup, a rare species among the tribe of the rich and the affluent. Still, enough care is taken to do some cold, serious analysis  of his life and times”.

About The Series

The biography is the second in the series of the Continental Gold Network Communications (CGNC) Modern Nigerian Leaders Series (MNLS) to celebrate Nigerians of high integrity, in an age waiting for the harsh pronouncement of history as the High Age of Turpitude. But even with this sweeping moral paralysis, many Nigerians have held up banners without stain. Though this tribe may seem few, they hold a profound lesson for the younger generation: you don’t have to be crooked to count among the successful. CAPTAIN: In the storm of life (2007) is the second in the MNLS. Chartered Teacher (2000) was the first.

About The Author

Olakunle Abimbola, author, columnist and public affairs analyst, is a journalist of many years standing. A Language Arts graduate of the University of Ibadan, Abimbola earned both PDG and MSc. in Mass Communication with stress on print journalism from University of Lagos. A career journalist, he is at present a visiting member of the Editorial Board of New Age and The Nation newspapers.

CAPTAIN: In the Storm of Life’ is Abimbola’s second  published biography. The first was Chartered Teacher: A Biography of Ganiyu Adio Akintola, which he co-authored with Bola S. Disu.