Bola Tinubu: Countdown To 2019? | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Bola Tinubu: Countdown To 2019?

Posted: Apr 1, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Tiko Okoye

There it was prominently displayed on the front page of Sunday Nation: “Tinubu Blasts Kachiku”! The surprise was not that Kachiku, the beleaguered minister of state for petroleum resources, was criticized but that a national leader of the reigning political party chose to express against a member of the federal executive council controlled by his party on the pages of newspapers. Talk about members of a household washing their smelly dirty linen in public! American academician John Bogart once famously quipped that “When a dog bites a man, it is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news.

An Olisa Metuh or Ayodele Peter Fayose impugning the integrity of President Muhammadu Buhari or a member of his cabinet or the reigning All Progressives Congress (APC) apparatchik not newsy because that is in line with their job specifications under a democratic dispensation. But a leading light in the APC doing the same thing is tantamount to a man biting a dog; it is, in fact, more surreal than any satire!

For crying out loud, Tinubu is not only the national leader of the reigning APC that produced the sitting president, but also a key member of both the party’s national executive committee and board of trustees with unrestricted access to the President. When you situate Tinubu’s angry outburst against the evolving sea change in the positions of members of the editorial board and prominent columnists of The Nation group of newspapers, you do not need rocket science to conclude that things are dangerously amiss in the APC.

The real question is: what exactly does Tinubu want? I raise this poser most respectfully and very circumspectly in consideration of Tinubu’s antecedents. He is a battle-scarred crusader of the democratic ethos and true federalism. It is doubtful that without his political sagacity and foresight, the opposition would not have achieved the historic feat of dethroning a ruling party.

It is an open secret that Tinubu wanted to be the running mate to then candidate, Buhari, as compensation for his uncommon contributions to the merger of several legacy political parties to form the APC against daunting odds.But he was persuaded to shelve his ambition supposedly in the best electoral interests of the party. Tinubu, they said, had become too controversial – those who hate him hate with a passion, and those who love him equally do so with a passion. Whether he was fully convinced or not, Tinubu bowed to pressure and nominated Prof. Yemi Osinbajo in his stead. My take is that the Tinubu camp is beginning to rue that decision and has fashioned a game-plan of their plan for 2019.

Still, I am bothered that given his political sagacity, Tinubu failed to appreciate the wider implications of his open attack on Kachiku. Apart from the fact that they belong to the same party – and it is a taboo for dog to eat dog – he is squarely playing into the hands of ethnic jingoists in the PDP who cry ad nauseam, that Buhari and the APC see Ndigbo as “enemies.” Few days ago, the Minister of Labour and former Anambra State governor, Sen. Chris Ngige, rolled a scheme, aimed at alleviating youth and graduate unemployment. A prominent columnist with The Nation wasted no time lambasting for, supposedly, lamenting the dearth of white collar jobs, when in actuality, the scheme was designed to produce employers of labour and not those hawking certificates from one government MDA to the other, looking for white collar jobs!

Just the other day, Fayose called Tinubu “Asiwaju Of  Yorubaland” – expect Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko to join the choir pretty soon. These are the same governors who based their election campaigns on being seen to be running against a rampaging ‘stranger’ from Lagos, who was allegedly seeking to loot the resources of the various states through his surrogates if voters of the respective states did not properly shine their eyes.

Tinubu should know only too well that with his present course of action and reaction, the APC would have no need for external enemies. All the PDP needs to do is to chip away at the internal differences and fan the bruising internecine strife among key leaders of the reigning party; but I have this final word for the Jagaban: while one is free to cut one’s nose to spite one’s face, the resulting deformation is hardly uplifting.



Okoye writes from Abuja