From Jibril To Pablo: The Jagabanization Of Democracy As Nigeria Moves Closer To Tyranny

David Hundeyin

CC™ Viewpoint 

By Boyejo A. Coker - Editor-in-Chief

In my preceding piece, I alluded to the fact that, it actually does not matter what aisle of the political spectrum you belong to, the problem with Nigeria is not one of ethnicity or a lack of resources, both human and natural to propel that great nation to its deserved lofty heights, Nigeria's problem remains the same - the rudderless, improvident and imprudent band of usurpers and brigands, masquerading as leaders since the inception of the 4th Republic in May, 1999. 

For those who thought 2023 was going to be different, I must ask what they were smoking to have thought it possible for one to put old wine in a new bottle and expect a different taste. In what parallel or alternate universe would that have been possible giving the antecedents of Nigeria’s crass political class and the generality of its people? When you have Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi as the standard bearers of the three main Parties, was anything actually going to be different? 

Most people conveniently forget that Peter Obi launched a third force as a form of ‘grievance’ against the PDP. Obi felt he was never going to win the nomination ticket to be the presidential candidate of the PDP. Obi was in fact the first protagonist of the spirit of Emilokan, or in his case, Awalokan, as he felt it was the turn of the Southeast to produce the next President of Nigeria. Peter Obi is not new to the political arena in Nigeria. He is in fact an integral part of the establishment and while many laud his purported achievements when he was the Chief Executive of Anambra State, one remains puzzled as to exactly what his signature accomplishments were, besides being a supposed egalitarian steward of the coffers of Anambra State, as governor


For the record, Obi was Atiku Abubakar's running mate in 2019 under the auspices of the PDP, the Party that had held sway over Nigerian politics for 16 years from 1999 to 2015. He and Atiku lost the election to the then incumbent (and outgoing president) Muhammadu Buhari.

Obi was also named in the Pandora Papers controversy. The result of the Pandora Papers leaks, the Premium Times reported on Obi's involvement in offshore companies in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands and Barbados. This was before he held any political office in Nigeria. Further reporting showed that in 2010 as well, Obi had Access International help him set up and manage Gabriella Investments Limited, a company in the British Virgin Islands named after Obi's daughter. 

One of the directors was also the director of a Belize-based shell company that was issued 50,000 shares in Gabriella Investments. In 2017, Obi reorganized the company under the name PMGG Investments Limited and created a trust named The Gabriella Settlement which became the sole shareholder in PMGG Investments Limited. Obi was not holding any political position at this time. 

The Premium Times report claimed that Obi had broken several laws due to his business dealings. The report claimed that firstly, Obi remained as director of Next International (UK) Limited while serving as Governor of Anambra State, which is in direct violation of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act. Obi described that claim as misleading and wrong in an interview with Arise News stating that he resigned from all companies before taking the office of Governor of Anambra State. Secondly, it claimed that Obi's non-declaration of his offshore companies broke the Nigerian Constitution's provision that requires public officers to declare all their properties, assets, and liabilities. 

For the record, no criminal case has ever been filed against Obi. 


To his credit, Obi's Labor Party (LP) galvanized a movement that threatened the very foundation of Nigeria's entrenched political establishment. He selected a charismatic running mate of Northern extraction, Senator Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, a Nigerian economist and politician who served as Senator for Kaduna North from 2011 to 2012 and member of the House of Representatives from 2003 to 2007. 

The 'Obidient Movement', as it was aptly named, re-invigorated the youth of Nigeria and energized a political base that had been marginalized, oppressed and suppressed for far too long by the Kleptocrats who had run roughshod over the Nigerian populace for far too long. For the first time in the history of Nigerian politics, the entrenched political establishment had to reckon with a veritable third force, and Bola Ahmed Tinubu's All Progressives Congress (APC) ruling Party as well as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Atiku Abubakar, were left reeling in the face of a formidable display of organizational discipline and focused messaging by the Obi-Datti led LP. 

While the Obi-Datti led LP sought to project a unity of purpose coupled with disciplined messaging, Tinubu's APC took the often travelled path of ethno-religious bigotry by presenting a Muslim-Muslim ticket with Tinubu's running-mate Kashim Shettima having a well-documented history of being in bed with the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, while the Atiku-led PDP again put forth someone with a well-documented record of not only losing major elections dating back to the early 1990s, but also being one of the most corrupt individuals in the history of Nigerian politics.  

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria's supervisory electoral body promised a free, fair and transparent election with a veritable voter authentication mechanism, as well as real time upload and transmission of election results. At the end of the day, the 2023 elections were at best a sham with widespread issues of voter suppression through intimidation and in some cases, murder, including the blatant altering/falsification of results to favor the ruling APC.  

Even more damming is that Tinubu’s own organization, the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), which was formed on 15 May 1994 by a broad coalition of Nigerian democrats to challenge the then military junta of the sadistic dictator, Sani Abacha, challenged the transparency and legitimacy of the just concluded 2023 general elections. 

Worse still is that barely a month after the elections, the Islamist terrorist groups have once again resumed their blood-letting, perhaps in recognition of the fact that the incoming administration of Bola Tinubu and his second-in-command, Kashim Shettima, will subtly acquiesce to their ethnic and religious killings, as the two (Tinubu and Shettima) are known sympathizers and benefactors of Boko Haram and its sister band of killers. 


If President Buhari's goal was to leave a legacy beholden of the true tenets of democracy, he failed woefully, which is not surprising when one considers the rudderless leadership, he has subjected the country to over the last 8 years.  

The legitimacy of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, if he is sworn-in will always be a viable conversation piece. He will be the first person chosen to lead Nigeria to get less than 50% of the votes. There are also doubts as to the veracity of his educational qualifications, as to date, his purported degree from Chicago State University in the United States of America, remains unsubstantiated.  

Furthermore, there are serious legal questions surrounding his forfeiture of close to $500,000 to the United States government in 1993 for his involvement in drug trafficking. The latter, as well as the specter of the fact that he may have presented fraudulent educational credentials may be enough to cast a shadow over his fitness for that exalted office.  

There is a palpable air of illegitimacy hanging over Tinubu's hollow victory, and regardless of what the Supreme Court rules in response to the petitions filed by both the LP and the PDP, near irremediable damage has been done to the collective psyche of Nigerians, as well as the nation's nascent democratic institutions.