The Abeokuta Declarations: The Political Strategies of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) By Prof. Ojo Emmanuel ADEMOLA
By Prof. Ojo Emmanuel ADEMOLA
For a political strategist of immense values, the uncommon abilities to decipher locking challenges (and indeed, great opportunities) on the path of political attainments are given to only a few. In Nigeria’s realm, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) has, in recent times, proven to be first among equals imbued with natural skills, not only to set political agenda for others to follow but to dictate the space, speed and directional outcomes of such endeavours.
In June 2022, in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, BAT intuitively set new technical words in the political lexicon of Nigeria; his adversaries/detractors were lost and mesmerised by his ingenuity in philosophical waxing. It was in Abeokuta that the much vibrated “Emilokan and Olu’le” concepts emanated and have since been subjected to a series of interpretations, and in some cases, have been internalised across the political landscape by the players, including no less a personality of the former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ).
When I wrote about the intellectual assumptions and propositions around the concept (Emilokan), I had submitted partly:
Within the conceptual framework of ‘Emilokan’, another Socrates of our time is regenerated in BAT with divine abilities to envision the progressive path to self-discovery and a rebirth of a new Nigeria, which, when adequately distilled, have been manifestly captured in the 2023 Renewed Hope Manifesto. The concept, derivatively derided by myopic and visionless oppositions, has broader and deeper positive meanings and applications.
‘Emilokan’, subjected to intellectual explorations, can be broken down to “Emi” (meaning “l”/ “My” literally in Yoruba) and “Lokan” (meaning “Turn”/ “Next” literally in Yoruba). When the prefix (“l”/”My”) and the main subject (“Turn”/”Next”) are fully expressed or combined, one gets more apparent perspectives of “My Turn” (It’s my turn); “I’m Next”; “I step up”; “I take charge” (I’m responsible), etc. And in building a relationship with the political subject of Asiwaju’s presidential aspiration, BAT is expressly inferring that: “I’m offering myself to serve the Nigerian people with the single-minded proposition of being responsible, capable, dedicated, equipped, ready, programmed and envisioned, among other positive attributes of service.
BAT’s propositions on the ‘Emilokan’ concept are in cognisance of his well-known antecedents in public administration, which have spanned over decades, culminating in excellent performances at the State and National levels. I ask myself, and I am putting it to you, what is wrong with the concept of ‘IT IS MY TURN’? Have you thought about why God answered BAT and favoured him to get the APC presidential ticket with such crowded and qualified aspirants? God answered BAT’s prayer of Emilokan. It is also becoming more apparent that God will also grant him victory in this general election. Notwithstanding his adversaries’ anger because he said EMI LOKAN, I ask, when has a positive confession to oneself become a sin in Nigeria? I also make a confessional prayer to you and us again, AWA LO KAN.
Unlike his opponents, Asiwaju has chatted his political paths in several ways that the entitlement mentality of ‘Emilokan’ can be justified to a more considerable extent, and it will amount to a disservice on his part if he couldn’t lay claim to the concept. The justifications for this audacious position are many, viz: resilience, selfless sacrifices, etc.
But that was as the ‘Emilokan’ concept is concerned, and Asiwaju seems unfinished with his political postulation and declarations. Precisely on Wednesday, 25th January, the political philosopher of our time had, once again in Abeokuta, peeped into the periscope of the presidency journey thus far, and offered timely, statesmanly and patriotic counsel on looming challenges to the outcome of a successful 2023 General Election. Genuinely, Asiwaju had identified the ongoing nationwide fuel scarcity and the deadline set for the swapping of the old Naira notes with the newly redesigned ones as areas of concern to achieving successful, fair and free elections in the country. Rather than subjecting the timely warnings to practical perspectives, the naysayers have been busy applying their myopic senses on the merits of the concerned issues.
Critically, like the old sage of the 1st and 2nd Republics, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, BAT has thrown the political gauntlets. The onus is on all stakeholders to act responsibly in extending the frontiers of the discourse on the dangers posed by the identified two nagging issues of fuel scarcity and the deadline for swapping new Naira notes close to elections next month.
First, the potential danger of not addressing the fuel scarcity borders on the national security of a higher dimension that could derail the election. If not checked effectively, movements across States and transportation of electoral logistics could be hampered. Besides the fact that it could hinder economic activities, fuel scarcity has a ripple effect on inflation to the extent that other goods become costly for the people. This will, in development, cause anger, malice and disaffection among the people. And to think that fuel scarcity falls under the purview of the ruling party (APC) to manage beats one hollow.
While the opposition has lashed out the defective criticisms of the declaration to score cheap political points, Asiwaju must be commended for seeing through political lines to offer statesmanly advice on the subject. Even as a contestant, the gains of resolving the lingering fuel scarcity are to the benefit of all and sundry.
Secondly, Abeokuta’s declaration on the swapping of the old currency, Naira notes for newly redesigned ones, has been to lend a good voice to the need for an extension of its deadline, which has now been granted due to BAT’s timing intervention. Evidentially, the public space has been awash with debates on its timeliness and necessity for the new monetary policy in an election year. And for Asiwaju, it’s not about personal sentiments; it’s about the ease of ensuring the success of the exercise with the interest of the people at heart. As desirable as the redesigned Naira notes are, they must be managed with the utmost economic advantage.
As stated earlier, there’s much opposition to feasting on Asiwaju’s declarations, reading wrong motives to an otherwise intended political message. The narrative has been extended to suggest a sharp disagreement between President Mohammadu Buhari (PMB) and BAT. The opposition has been quick to create an imaginary dispute between the duo to the extent that People Democratic Party (PDP) needed to issue a sarcastic public statement on the same day the declaration was made in Abeokuta. It smacks of desperation and awful judgment from the main opposition party, evil intentions and lack of goodwill towards Asiwaju. Have you asked yourself why the presidential candidate of the PDP has now fully endorsed the position declared in Abeokuta by BAT? Why the turning? Indeed, Asiwaju is the best political strategist of our time.
Undoubtedly, it must be affirmed that no strategy or political design from the opposition can stop Asiwaju from winning now or later. It’s too late to stop the election and undoubtedly too late to stop Asiwaju. Beyond the facades of the declarations, Asiwaju has scored another masterstroke, drawing attention to critical issues affecting the masses away from electioneering matters.
On the whole, it’s appropriate to see beyond the politicking of Abeokuta’s declarations and begin to analyse the personality of Asiwaju as a political leader with great foresight, one that should be overwhelmingly embraced and used for the general good of the nation. BAT is the leader we need at this time. Those he beat at the APC primaries should now stop nursing an old wound as BAT offers hope and renewed hope for all Nigerians. PDP and other oppositions should remember BAT remains unbeatable in this raise, and all Nigerian will vote overwhelmingly for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on 25 February 2023 to bring the full benefits of democracy to all. For all the progressively minded democrats, this is one clear lesson of Abeokuta’s declarations.
Prof. Ojo Emmanuel ADEMOLA