Southwest Votes; The Pivotal Element In 2019 Polls

Nigeria News takes a look at the pivotal role of the southwest in the coming 2019 general election

President Muhammadu Buhari’s singular gesture of posthumous awards to late Chief Moshood Kasimawo Olawale Abiola and late legal luminary Chief Gani Fawehinmi have since changed the thoughts of many people, especially in the southwestern part of Nigeria.

Perhaps, the president had presented the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, GCFR to MKO, Abiola to win the hearts of the Yoruba ethnic group, the timing of the gesture is appeasable as it heals old wounds and reconciles aggrieved minds.

For a long time, the characters that gathered in Abuja for the investiture of the national honour on MKO Abiola and Fawehinmi had not been seeing together since the return of democracy in 1999.

The likes of Professor Wole Soyinka, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Frank Kokori formed the core of the pro-democracy group, NADECO that fought the military junta for the return of democracy.

When he became Lagos State Governor, one was expecting that Tinubu would drop the radical robe but he never did. He fought the Peoples Democratic Party-Led Federal Government, using the court to seek true federalism.

He created 56 local government areas out of the 20 recognized LGAs by the federal constitution. When he observed that the idea would not sail, Tinubu quickly renamed the 36 LGAs as Local Council Development Areas, which stand till today.

Until recently that he gave his backing to the election of Buhari and consequently became a prominent member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Tinubu had always been a leader of the opposition.

He held the southwest politics and ensured that his allies became governors and members of the National Assembly. He became a force in the southwest politics and played pivotal roles twice in electing former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 and the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.

The southwest has always been the fulcrum on which the results of presidential election rotate in Nigeria over a long period. It is the decisive factor because the region is good at playing opposition role.

For any party or candidate to rule Nigeria, the southwest is key and possibly that is why Buhari has thought it wise to appease the region by immortalizing two of the southwestern great leaders who fought and died so that democracy might live in the country.

Of course, there are divergent views about Buhari’s gesture. While Tinubu had been speaking louder about his readiness to work for the reelection of Buhari to appreciate the MKO Abiola and Fawehinmi’s posthumous awards, a chieftain of the Pan-Yoruba, socio-political group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo had described as bait.

Adebanjo says that Buhari cannot bamboozle the Yoruba with posthumous awards on Abiola and Fawehinmi. He is of the view that the best way for Buhari to win the heart of Yoruba is through the restructuring of the Federal Structure.

While it is good that Buhari declared June 12 as Democracy Day, there is the need for him to take a further step to restructure the country so that a true Federal system is enthroned.

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