By: Okanga Agila
Self-styled national leader of the ruling APC, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu is in the political wilderness. For a politician of his status, whose passion for power is unsurpassed and believes in the kingmaker syndrome, but of a dubious dimension, President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to support his faulty permutations has been a sore in the throat. Buhari’s integrity to always see things straight has unknowingly ambushed his political ambitions and his is quite sad.
Many times, when Nigerians argue that politicians’ lust for power is for themselves at the expense of the ordinary masses, some skeptics vehemently deny the assertions. But the proofs are becoming clearer by the day.
Nigeria condescended to the abyss of a messy political decay, where all laws, rules or creeds governing the sanctity in party affairs or the polity were brazenly floated. At the turn of every political dispensation, the country would produce a mesh of wailers wailing for their ill-treatment, snatched party nomination tickets and a dangerously skewed democratic system, where some leaders assumed the status of demigods and other party members, pawns on their chessboard or slaves.
These desire to change this inherently defective posturing was the crest of “Change” upon which the APC anchored its campaigns in 2015 and eventually ousted the now opposition PDP. Tinubu’s constant refrains were loud chants of “change” and the broom waved symbolically to suggest the sweeping of the stains in the system, which he proudly emphasized, it was for the good of the country.
But Sen. Tinubu and some of his cohorts have gleefully forgotten all about “change” and the betterment of Nigeria. He has forgotten his pledge of commitment to make Nigeria great again. With PMB as captain of the ship, it is now about who gets what federal job patronage and not about who is competent to serve Nigeria. It is anger about what any APC political kingpin has not gotten enough in patronage; instead of strengthening the weak institutions of government to deliver good governance.
In his inured conviction, Tinubu thought having played a significant role in the enthronement of PMB in 2015; the President would sign off a chunk of Nigeria to dash him in appreciation. But PMB is a different kind of person or politician and the least to downplay public interest to please political godfathers. Tinubu is sufficiently angered with this reality and nothing seems to please him more than to contemplate a new platform, nurture it and begin another round of flirting on the innocent souls of Nigerians with all sorts of deceits.
There have been weeks of speculations about Tinubu’s intention to dump the APC to float a new party preparatory to confronting his political foes in 2019. Tinubu speaks less on this issue, but acts more. And an English idiom says, action speaks louder than words. He has given up hope that PMB would ever bow to his whims and caprices, by his refusal to sack APC national chairman, Chief John Oyegun or just like he declined directing the replacement of Ondo state 2016 APC governorship flagbearer, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu, with Tinubu’s candidate floored at the primary polls.
Therefore, when Nigeria’s former Vice President Atiku Abubakar barks in the uplands of the North about the wrongdoings of the Buhari presidency, he has sighted a disgruntled Tinubu and in him, “his soul must be well pleased” in 2019 for his dream of ruling Nigeria as President. He believes, when Tinubu coughs or thunders, the skies are pulled down and every Nigerian bows to his alluring political charm.
Now, Buhari’s series of reconciliatory meetings with Tinubu for amicable resolution of the crisis have proved abortive and Tinubu cannot ever be settled insofar as PMB is unwilling to be manipulated or do his bidding. So, Tinubu has decided to make a bold statement.
Tinubu shunned the party’s mega governorship campaign rally, in Akure, Ondo state. But no one expected him to grace it. How could he attend the campaign of an enemy, who snatched the ticket from his anointed candidate? While PMB personally attended the rally, with all APC governors, except that of Lagos state, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode; his Osun counterpart, Rauf Aregbesola and Ogun’s Abiola Ajimobi who also stayed away, obviously in allegiance to Tinubu for assisting them mount the throne in their various states.
In any case, even without their presence, the Akure rally was a resounding success. The interpretation of the failure of some of the APC governors to attend the rally in their geo-political zone based on the suspected prompting of Tinubu is their acceptance of being the apron strings of the APC national leader. It is this primitive loyalty Tinubu expects from Buhari. The APC leader thinks when he barks to PMB, his words should remain sacrosanct. Failure of the governors of nearby states to grace the presence of the President in their vicinity is indication of the disregard for the office of the President.
What the conduct has conclusively argued is that for the Tinubus and his clique what matters in the Nigerian project is how their stomachs are filled. That they are dissatisfied each time patronage extended to them is not enough. It is reason not to see anything good in the Buhari presidency or his other committed lieutenants’ and so, he must be unseated in 2019. Tinubu’s intemperate political ambitions and wealth accumulation flair has been ambushed so that Nigerians would come out better for it.
His kind of mentality is old logic to Nigerians. No amount of intrigues from Tinubu can blind Nigerians and re-baptise him with another name or the garments of a selfless politician. He is just a man after his “stomach,” after an incurable and deadly lust for power.
Whether Tinubu or his political friend of convenience, Atiku Abubakar discredits PMB, Nigerians whom he is serving faithfully are the witnesses and shall pass the verdict at the appropriate time. But what is certain is that Nigeria, at least under Buhari would not revert back to the doomed era of sharing the country’s commonwealth to a few greedy political elite. Nigeria’s NNPC will no longer be anybody’s ATM card to unfettered access to illicit cash; no cronies of the President, his friends and even the President himself would administer CBN from Aso Villa with secret codes to its US Dollar or other world currencies vaults to siphon Nigeria’s money.
Nigerians are excited that no long list of dead woods or unproductive persons are heading or make up membership of federal government boards or parastaltals, on the altar of party patronage. The country would no longer have political Military Generals, who spend more time at the Presidential Villa for cocktail parties’ while criminals’ challenge and take over swathes of Nigeria’s territories. Now, time tested, flat bellied and devoted military Generals who can command the Army, Air Force, Navy to achieve results are in charge. The Inspector General of Police (IGP) is berthing #ChangeBeginsWithMe in the Nigerian Police.
Ultimately, PMB pledged that he believes in any Nigerian who has the capacity to serve the country dedicatedly and truthfully, irrespective of party affiliation or religion. It is this dogmatic adherence to party patronage in appointments’ in the past that has destroyed or weakened public institutions of governance in Nigeria. And PMB is the least to succumb to blackmail in order to allow the mess in the polity flourish.
Okanga writes from Benue