Families and friends jumped for joy in Abuja on Monday as ex-cons Jolly Nyame and Joshua Dariye, both former governors from the north-central, got released from Kuje prisonmonths after President Muhammadu Buhari pardoned them.
And the clinking of glasses going on will most likely go beyond their kith and kin, and reach their political circles.
Many think the timing was well choreographed. At least for the APC presidential flagbearer Bola Tinubu whose Muslim-Muslim ticket is threatening the party’s chances across the northern Christian communities.
Nyame and Dariye were two Christian governors from Taraba and Plateau respectively. And the release, apart from serving as a bromide to their Christian relatives who could have felt hurt, will equally buoy up the chances of Tinubu.
The APC presidential candidate needs a counter-force against his ally Babachir who suddenly became a turncoat.
The former SGF, in a Channels TV interview during the APC presidential primary in Abuja, claimed he, though a Christian, had been on the Tinubu presidency for years.
But things changed after Tinubu chose Borno ex-Gov Kashim Shettima, also a Muslim, as his running mate.
Babachir, along with some like minds, including former Speaker Yakubu Dogara, has since begun an Islamization campaign against his party and its flagbearer.
“Expecting Nigerians to ignore this crass insensitivity to the country’s diversity amounts to acceding to the perpetration of very grave injustice and discrimination against a huge segment of the society,” he said in his first salvo following the choice of Shettima.
“No one who seeks to be president of Nigeria should ever deploy the tool of religious extremism and exclusivism as a tool to win elections. This is very very dangerous. And this is very sad.”
He and Dogara are now mobilizing northern Christians to reject a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
But as far as Christian political clout goes, Babachir and Dogara are no match for Dariye and Nyame.
And the two former governors are expected to swing things in any way possible–either by pacifying the aggrieved party members or roughing it out with Babachir and others.