London party

A new political battleground for presidential candidates

Of Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

Ahead of the presidential election of 2023, London and other European cities have gradually turned into a sort of Mecca allowing almost all the presidential candidates of the different political parties to hold strategic meetings, to network and also to reconcile the political differences of the main stakeholders.

In the current dispensation, the three frontline presidential candidates from the main political parties, including Peter Obi, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar, apparently did not adopt this traditional strategy, but were also caught in the net of its deployment. for their benefits.

However, such offshore meetings may come as no surprise to many political observers and those with a sense of the history of Nigeria’s political trajectory.

The method has worked perfectly for almost all successive presidential candidates who have used it as an instrument of intimidation towards their contemporaries by showcasing the quality network of international connection available to them.

In successive Democratic dispensations, history is replete with candidates who embark on such journeys to prove to the Nigerian electorate how far they have risen to a towering international height.

For example, in the run-up to the 2015 presidential election, then-All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate President Muhammadu Buhari visited London Chatham House among other reasons to possibly attempt to bury the ghost of the past and other hatchets with Great Britain.

He had used the then hastily arranged conversation at London’s Chatham House to briefly outline the sketchy architecture of his foreign policy, it was also seen as an attempt to confirm that Nigeria will maintain its status quo, looking forward west for patronage and upsetting no apple carts with good old Brittany.

Whether deployed as a winning strategy to boost his chances ahead of the presidential poll and lend him legitimacy and credibility, the trip to London has become the potent symbolism in the minds of the Nigerian electorate, leading to its emergence.

The strategy was also deployed in the 2019 presidential election when Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Atiku Abubakar made the United Arab Emirates (UAE) a second home, where PDP stalwarts gathered to plot the downfall of the current Buhari-headed administration. The strategy could only guarantee him millions of votes which helped him finish second.

It will come as no surprise, however, if the trend continues among top gladiators in the build-up to next year’s presidential elections, as travel to Europe has become ideal ground for plotting and solidifying their winning strategies.

There is, however, a slight departure from the usual trend in next year’s ballot, as trips to Europe now combine strategic conspiracies with reliable ground to mend fences and settle the accounts of the fallout from the bitterness of the presidential primary conducted.

Above all, overseas travel has become fertile ground to intensify lobbying for the endorsement and blessings of the man gradually becoming the beautiful bride of the 2023 general election, and governor of Rivers State. , Nyesom Wike.

Since the conduct of the presidential primaries by the political parties, not a week has passed without famous media reporting that the candidates are meeting with one political stalwart or the other in France, London and/or other parts of the world. ‘Europe.

Call it colonial mentality or the deliberate deployment of psychological tactics to give gladiators a free advantage; many political observers believe that holding such meetings on neutral grounds could be an attempt to showcase the qualities and abilities of gladiators.

“Imagine the status symbol a meeting in London or France will bestow on presidential candidates. It comes with the psychology that they have international clout. Take, for example, the case of Atiku’s meeting with the Governor of Rivers State in London, which comes with the interpretation given to Nigerians as a mark of honor and respect,” one noted. observer.

But in reality, it has become a disgusting development that they are spending taxpayers’ money on such a trip and a case that could have easily been settled in the country.

“Many Nigerians now feel that beyond demonstrating their international influence, the country is no longer comfortable enough to host such high-profile meetings or hone such networks,” a chief of the APC to Sunday Sun with confidence.

Reacting further to the development, the leader said: ‘Also remember that outside the country like London or France is a neutral place which will place gladiators on equal terms with each other and give them the freedom to discuss freely. Yes, it can be construed as neo-colonialism, but it didn’t start with the current candidates running for president next year.

“Such strategic meetings have always served as a psychological tool for the manipulation of the Nigerian electorate by one or other of the presidential candidates. What I can’t guarantee though is if it can still work now like it did in the past. It could also be interpreted as a possible continuation of the trend that Nigerian presidents feel more comfortable talking to citizens outside the country,” the leader noted.

Although information is still very sketchy on whether Governor Wike actually met with APC presidential candidate Tinubu, such a meeting, if any, may have little or no bearing on the outcome of the the presidential election.

“We have continued to see the romance between Governor Wike and some APC stalwarts, but I don’t see that translating into an electoral win for Asiwaju’s presidential ticket. Wike certainly cannot leave the PDP to join the APC. Meeting Wike with Asiwaju can only mean making yourself politically relevant,” another leader explained.

In his own reaction, APC leader and chief executive Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu, dismissed the meeting, yielding no meaningful outcome.

Okechukwu instead advised Governor Wike to bow to Asiwaju or Peter Obi, warning him to beware of the dangers of Dagger Syndrome in dating Atiku.

Commenting on the development, Okechukwu said, “My view is that Governor Wike is simply taking advantage of the moment or what could easily be called the Wike wave. I think it’s better enjoyed overseas with less distraction. Isn’t it characteristic of Nollywood that he met the three main presidential candidates – Asiwaju Tinubu of APC, Peter Obi of LP and finally Atiku Abubakar of PDP?

“My sincere advice is that Wike should not make the mistake of rewarding Atiku who betrayed the South and by extension himself, who could have won the PDP presidential primary election.

“It was the same Atiku who won when only the northerners contested in 2018 in Port Harcourt, and deliberately belied the convention of rotating the president from North to South and South to North, who ruled the 4th Republic of Nigeria since its inception in 1999,” he noted.

Okechukwu warned, “The grave danger of Wike making the gross mistake of returning to Atiku, who is now the new sheriff in charge of the PDP, take my bet, is that he will definitely suffer from Dagger Syndrome.

“Dagger Syndrome states that in the heat of battle, if someone draws their dagger, it is better to pierce it through their opponent. Otherwise, they will pay dearly, if they sheath their dagger. This mainly happens in men who have lily liver.

“Atiku himself is a victim of Dagger syndrome, from which he has not yet recovered. Recall that on the eve of the presidential primary election of 2003, the young Turks, led by governors James Ibori, Orji Uzor Kalu, ministers Dubem Onyia, Yomi Edu and co, pushed him to run for president .

“In the flurry of the moment, the wily Olusegun Obasanjo, then president aspiring to a second term, pulled off a quick one; according to impeccable sources prostrated, knelt and begged furiously Atiku, promising the future Eldorado, to a man who had already drawn his sword to sheathe it.

“Atiku fell into the trap and lost a golden opportunity, which is almost impossible to recover. Dagger syndrome will be the fate of Wike, if he dares to withdraw his dagger, which has been unsheathed; therefore, he aligns himself with either Asiwaju or Peter Obi.

“Who to choose between them is left to those around him. Each has its own benefit, for Asiwaju, it will reap from our spread. For Obi, his constituents and allies are perhaps more comfortable.

“The truism is that patriots in the North and South are not so happy with Atiku’s betrayal of the rotation convention, it has cast a lot of doubt on his claim to be a unifier.

“He is not a unifier, as a unifier cannot contravene the constitution of his political party and the principle of federal character enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Head or tail and whichever side you belong to, the response from the beautiful bride, Governor Wike, that the trips are consultations for a better Nigeria will arouse curiosity.

Speaking on his arrival from London at Port Harcourt International Airport, Governor Wike confirmed meetings with Atiku, Bola Tinubu, Obi and former President Olusegun Obasanjo in London, explaining that the priority was how to make Nigeria better than it is now. .

Since the perception of Nigerians will make no difference in the candidates’ strategic resolve to continue the trend, these overseas trips may not have a positive impact on the outcome of next year’s presidential election.