With the defeat of President Goodluck Jonathan in the March 28 presidential polls, the President-elect retired General Muhammadu Buhari has emerged as the new hub of power in the country.
Buhari’s election as president after three attempts has already generated an intense struggle among various individuals and power bases – all trying to ingratiate themselves and their cronies into the president-elect political calculus.
There are few individuals across the country believed to have the capacity of influencing some decisions of the president-elect because of their long standing relationship with him.
Aside these individuals, there are also emerging political power bases that are strategizing to position themselves in his power base because of the various roles they purportedly played in his electioneering.
Malam Mamman Daura, a veteran journalist and industrialist, is Buhari’s nephew. He was, among others, editor of the New Nigerian newspaper and later its managing director.
He is considered as one of the rare Buhari’s confidants and he was said to be one of the few individuals that played influential roles during the Buhari/Idiagbon regime in 1983.
His relationship with the president-elect is purely personal and non-political. He is seen as one of the few non-politicians that draw tremendous respect from Buhari.
Though he was not actively involved in the electioneering of Buhari, he is never far from the president-elect.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the national leader of the APC. He was two terms governor of Lagos State from I999 to 2007.
He is considered as the power house of the APC after the successful merger of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). His role during the party’s primaries that elected Buhari as well as the recent victory against Jonathan is legendary.
His political acumen, resilience was believed to be instrumental to Buhari’s victory at the Lagos APC convention at a time when the APC governors were said to have endorsed their counterpart Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano State.
Apart from his financial muscles, Tinubu also mobilized the South west APC governors for a robust campaign for Buhari. He also provided Buhari with his former state Attorney General Prof Yemi Osinbajo as running mate.
Tinubu has the required leverage to influence major policy decisions in the government.
It is instructive that even while receiving his certificate of return, Buhari singled out Tinubu, the former party chairman, Bisi Akande and the current one Odigie Oyegun for mention.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is another heavy weight that may likely have influence on Buhari.
Though he defected to the APC alongside the five PDP governors, Atiku is believed to have used his financial war chest during the March 28 and April 11 polls.
He is seen as one of the most experienced politicians from the North in the APC and therefore could play a key role in the administration.
His proposed choice as the party’s Board of Trustees chairman may not be unconnected with the fact that he’s one of the most senior politicians in APC coupled with his experience as vice president for eight years.
Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi is one of the Buhari die-hards. He endeared himself to the president-elect by serving as Buhari’s battering ram against PDP and Jonathan in the Niger Delta and in his role as director general of the Buhari presidential campaign.
Even though he didn’t deliver his state to the APC during the presidential and governorship polls because of the famed federal might, Amaechi stills draws sympathy and tremendous respect from Buhari.
He is also believed to have utilized his enormous financial goodwill during the APC presidential primaries as well as during the presidential campaign for Buhari.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo played an indirect role in delivering victory to Buhari.
His public attack on Jonathan as well as his public exoneration of Buhari from any wrong doing in PTF is believed to have amounted to endorsement of Buhari before the polls.
Obasanjo enjoys tremendous respect from Buhari, and he was recently seen to be coming closer to the president-elect.
In the course of the campaign, Buhari met Obasanjo twice and he visited Buhari in Kaduna just last week. He is therefore seen as one of the people that may influence things around the president-elect.
Former Defence Minister retired General Theophillus Yakubu Danjuma is one of the individuals Buhari respects a lot.
A philanthropist and statesman, Danjuma is said to be passionate about Buhari’s anti-corruption antecedents and moral uprightness.
Though he is not in active politics, Danjuma is said to be among the few senior retired Generals that believed in Buhari’s ability in leading this country since he joined the presidential race in 2003.
He is believed to have used his vast financial muscle to contribute to Buhari’s campaigns.
Ahmed Joda, one of the surviving figures of Kaduna Mafia, was one of the super permanent secretaries during General Yakubu Gowon regime. An elder statesman, he headed a Committee on Assessment of Federal Government Parastatals and also a panel on poverty alleviation in 1999.
He is a close friend of Obasanjo and a former chairman of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC).
Joda is believed to share same ideals with the president-elect when it comes to civil service, policies and governance.
He is also a no-nonsense person like Buhari.
Emir of Borgu Alhaji Halliru Dantoro is a close friend of the president-elect.
A former senator, the emir was one of the first traditional rulers that visited Buhari after his victory.
Emir Dantoro led his council members on a congratulatory visit to Buhari some days after INEC declared him as winner of the presidential vote.
Buhari commended the forgiving spirit of the Borgu emir, who was among many politicians detained under his military rule. Buhari said Dantoro never held it against him that he was detained but instead went ahead to establish a strong relationship with him.
The emir, who turbaned Tinubu with the cherished title of Jagaban Borgu, enjoys tremendous respect from Buhari.
There are also other political blocks that are bent in asserting their relevance in the Buhari’s government.
The El-Rufai group:
The former Minister of the FCT and Kaduna State governor –elect Malam Nasiru el-Rufai leads a group of technocrat-turned-politicians that may play a key role in Buhari’s administration.
Buhari admitted during the campaigns that he was dragged into the presidential bout for the fourth time by el-Rufai.
El-Rufai’s group of technocrats are said to be looking beyond the current dispensation.
The former minister’s intelligence, and knowledge of the post 1999 administration could play in his favour.
The Buhari loyalists:
Another group that is largely believed to play a critical role in the Buhari presidency is his middle cadre loyalists.
They are mostly professionals in various fields and they played vital roles during the PTF days.
Most of the members of this group have been with him right from the PTF days and they never wavered in their loyalty since his entry into politics in 2002.
Some of them are very visible around him now. They believed that their time has come having participated in all the presidential campaigns before his eventual victory.
The Tinubu ‘boys’:
These are the Tinubu political sons from the Southwest that comprises mostly of professionals and technocrats who are ex-governors, serving governors, lawmakers or even commissioners.
They include the likes of former Ekiti governors Segun Oni and Kayode Fayemi; Governor Raji Fashola of Lagos, among others.
They played key roles in the campaign and therefore eyeing some “technocratic” appointments.
The Igbo group:
This is a small group led by Chief Ogbonnaya Onu, the former ANPP national chairman and Ms Sharon Ikeazor, the APC women leader and one of the lawyers who have been around Buhari since he began contesting.
Though their zone didn’t vote for the APC during the polls, but because of their individual commitment, Onu, Ikeazor, Senator Chris Ngige, expect something for their uncommon loyalty.
It is therefore likely that the Onu-led group may play a key role in handling whatever positions are finally given to their zone.
There are also regional blocks that are busy showcasing how their region or zones delivered victory to Buhari.
For instance, the Northwest zone is canvassing for more strategic positions to be zoned to it both at the ministerial and National Assembly levels for giving Buhari the highest votes in the country.
The Northeast is also equally asking for the SGF or Senate presidency for giving the president-elect the second highest votes.
Tinubu’s Southwest is not left behind in the current scramble for power. It argues that the Northern block votes for Buhari wouldn’t have translated to victory (since it didn’t in 2011) without the Southwest votes.
In addition to all these groups are some retired military officers from different parts of the country who also chipped in their bit to a candidate they saw as their own at a time they perceived the Nigerian nation to be adrift. They and so many others will also try to influence a new president they helped to produce.
What remains to be seen is how Buhari will contend with all these and remain focused on his key pledge on security, corruption, employment and a better economy.