Any tears for Bola Tinubu?

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THAT things are no longer at ease with Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu inside the All Progressives Congress, APC, of which he is touted as the “National Leader”, is beyond

dispute. His recent call on his former protégé within the APC coalition, Chief John Oyegun, to resign as the National Chairman of the party ended all speculations as to the current state of the relationship between him and President Muhammadu Buhari.

Before now, we heard rumours that Tinubu could not get Buhari to accede to certain choice appointments. We also heard that he had to visit Buhari in London during one of his medical trips there in order to see him. Gossip had it that some of his “boys”, especially Babatunde Fashola and Kayode Fayemi, were now more of “Buhari boys” than “Tinubu boys”. You know, the goat always follows the man with the fodder. Tinubu had it yesterday and they followed him. Now that Buhari has it, they have changed direction.

The real signs that the APC train driven by Buhari has left Tinubu behind showed in the Kogi governorship bye election and electoral tribunal processes, where his handpicked candidate, James Faleke, was allowed to lose out, despite the fact that he, along with the late Abubakar Audu, won the election on a joint gubernatorial ticket before fate took Audu away at the threshold of victory.

The next episode was the APC governorship primaries in Ondo State, where his preferred candidate, Olusegun Abrahams, was allegedly rigged out by party officials working for Buhari’s interests. He complained bitterly. A panel set up to look into the matter called for a repeat of the exercise, but Oyegun, his former Man Friday whom he had sponsored to occupy the chairmanship post sent the name of Rotimi Akeredolu, the disputed winner of the primaries, to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the party’s candidate.

Oyegun initially met Tinubu’s loud and angry call for his resignation with mute indifference. But as soon as he conferred with the President over the matter, this political lamb grew the teeth of a wolf, and he basically called Tinubu’s bluff. Some unemployed youth were even hired to demonstrate on his behalf against Tinubu at the Abuja party secretariat.

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The unkindest cut came from Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Tinubu’s former Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General. Osinbajo went to a church and declared that he was made Vice President “by God”. It coincided with the launching of a biography of Buhari written by a renowned foreign bootlicker of the Northern political elite,
Professor John Paden, who brazenly lied that Osinbajo’s choice as Vice President was “opposed” by Tinubu! We know it was Jagaba Tinubu who, after failing to nick the VP post because of the Muslim/Muslim ticket it would have created to destroy the chances of APC’s victory, offered Osinbajo to Buhari. Buhari willingly accepted Osinbajo as a way of showing Tinubu his gratitude for giving him a winning platform.

So, for Buhari to allow his biographer to lie to the world that he did not owe Tinubu for his VP is a shocking development. Even more shocking, for me, is the fact that Osinbajo to imply his emergence had nothing to do with Tinubu. Within the space of one year, how many of Tinubu-made politicians have deserted him for the man with the yam and knife? Please, may your loyalty never be tested!

Yet, I warned on this column, when Tinubu was orchestrating the APC coalition in favour of Buhari, that what is happening today awaited him.

When Tinubu was putting together the APC coalition, his usual sense of caution and political foresight which made him the sole surviving former Alliance for Democracy, AD, governor who became the leader of his former colleagues deserted him. This political commonsense guided him to avoid drinking from former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s poisoned chalice, unlike the rest of the AD leaders. While those who did either died or lost their political relevance along with the AD, Tinubu went on to become the new political leader of the South West.

The mistake he made was the step he took towards becoming a national leader or planting his feet inside Aso Villa. He only looked at the man mostly to win the vast majority of Northern votes which, added to those of the South West and those of some battleground Minority states could swing his party into Aso Villa. Of all the Northerners lined up before him – Atiku Abubakar, Nda Isaiah, Rabiu Kwankwaso and Muhammadu Buhari, only Buhari wore the halo of victory across the Muslim North, so Tinubu swung his South West delegates behind him in their November 2014 presidential primaries in Lagos.

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He did not check out the man’s personal profile. If he did, he would have reasoned that Buhari was an ethnic, religious and military far rightist. A former head of state who descended to the level of becoming the grand patron of an ethnic-based cattle breeders association says it all. A man who was on record saying he would always propagate Sharia to all parts of the country was a warning bell, but Tinubu being a Muslim probably did not care. And a man who as military head of state, destroyed the political class in the name of recovery of public funds and property and who promised to do so again as president should have been approached with caution by a politician of Tinubu’s stature. And we all know that Buhari is frank.

But most importantly, Buhari is an ethnic Fulani to the core, with Caliphate ideology, politically. Northerners who belong to this school of politics believe that Nigeria is an estate of the North, to be exploited, ostensibly for the primary interests of the North. They do not believe that Nigeria belongs to all Nigerians equally and equitably. It did not come as a surprise to me that Buhari propounded his “97%/5%” formula for sharing of the “national cake, which he has implemented faithfully.

History teaches us that the Caliphate types do not share power with people from outside the North. They are not like Shehu Shagari or Umaru Yar’ Adua who saw all Nigerians as equal stakeholders. Give them power, and they would invade your political kingdom, steal your disciples who are ready to sell out on you, and dump you. If you raise your voice, the agencies of state coercion would be mobilised against you. The late Obafemi Awolowo experienced this. Even Chief Moshood Abiola was scorched by this, yet Tinubu refused to learn.

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The Caliphate types do not believe in the “true federalism” core value of South West political ideology. They see it as a threat to their own interests in Nigeria. Tinubu peddled this ideology all through until Buhari became president. Then we heard nothing more about it. He was so carried away with the prospects of being a stakeholder in Aso Villa that he did not bother to extract assurances from Buhari over restructuring and true federalism. He took his region to the North without factoring in its core interests. Rather, his people lumped “true federalism” into the APC litany of promises just to lure voters into thinking the party was a “progressive” one.

Tinubu is faced with two choices. It is either he pipes down till the Buhari era lapses (whenever it does) or he rallies what remains of his camp to beat a new path, most likely with Atiku. If he chooses the latter option, it involves getting back into the trenches. Then he must be prepared to be pushed around by state agents. How many of his people are ready to join him in the trenches, with some of them enjoying the goodies of Buhari’s presidency? How Tinubu will deal with his political dilemma is an event worth watching.

Source: Vanguard

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