Next Years presidential and other elections promise to be Nigeria’s hottest by any standard evaluation. For at no time has the opposition to the establishment been as formidable and nation-wide as it is today. The outcome should affect all of us not only in our pockets but in our health as well. Last week, this column saw the line-up as between the powerful and rich, that is the establishment, and an opposition fuelled by progressive or left-wing of the establishment and the motley crowd of largely poor people. Last week, column suggested as well that retired General Mohammadu Buhari, leading the opposition with no more than N1 million in his bank account and only two houses to his name in Nigeria, could defeat President Ebele Jonathan if the poor of Nigeria stand solidly behind him like the Rock of Gibraltar, immune to manipulations by the Establishment on ethnic, religious and “stomach infrastructure” terrain stomach. The stomach-infrastructure is a Nigerian coinage to describe rejection of roads, bridges, schools and hospitals, among other public facilities, in preference for such personal benefits as rice, vegetable oil and some cash.

Last week, the establishment party, the people’s democratic Party (PDP), rolled out the tanks, as it were, at a fund raising for president Jonathan’s campaign. The haul was impressive in 1979 or thereabout, Chief Moshood Abiola made a N1million cash contribution at the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) national headquarters fund-raising, and this raised eye-brows. Abiola was later to make a bid for the presidential ticket, perhaps because of this large investment, but was told by party-man Alhaji Umaaru Dikko that the ticket was not for sale. A few weeks ago, Jonathan had the PDP ticket. The PDP, by the way, is an offshoot of the NPN. More than N25 billion was raised by a few persons who had not been in public limelight recently, with the exception, perhaps, of Alhaji Dangote, one of Africa’s richest men, who said he was not a politician. One of the donors was Alhaji Bola Yahaya, said to be a friend of Nigeria’s first Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan. She gave a whopping N5billion. Prof. Herry Gana, former Information Minister and former chairman of MAMSER, who had not been seen around lately in public, gave another N5 billion to the fund. He said the donation was from his humble self and his friends from the energy sector. Incidentally, the power sector as gulped trillions of dollars in public investments with nothing yet to show for it.

Mr. Ayeni, chairman of Skye Bank and a power sector business associate of Gen. Abdusallam (rtd), a former Head of State, gave N2billion. This first-round donation of over N20billion by far exceeds what the finance minister has said would be austerity measures in which salaries will be cut and jobs lost.

Gen. Buhari (rtd) must be wondering where all the money was coming from. So must the army of the poor he is leading. From the donations, it is evident Nigeria’s rich is ready for battle to protect the Establishment. Lots of money will go into advertising and “stomach infrastructure”. In Ekiti State, where PDP man Fayose is governor, the government has already wheeled out live chickens as Christmas presents for the citizens. In Jonathan’s campaign, Buhari’s poor brethren will stretch out their hands for the forbidden fruit. Some will take it and still vote according to their conscience. Some may buckle. But there would be some others who would rise beyond the Tempter and bread and butter. Already, poison arrows are flying at Buhari on the internet. One says: Who stopped the lagos metroline? Buhari’s stoppage of the Lagos metroline project when he was military Head of State in 1983 or 1984 was one of the counts against him in Lagos in the presidential election of 2011.