Asiwaju Bola Tinubu
By ike Abonyi
“You cannot influence a political party to do right if you stick to it when it does wrong”-John Bengough
When a doctor is called in to handle an ailment after the disease has eaten deep into the patients, the task of saving that life would depend only on divine intervention. It does not matter the quality of that doctor or his antecedents in handling such issues in the past.
The challenge of such Doctor is analogous to the one being faced by the former Governor of Lagos state, Aswaju Bola Ahmad Tinubu who was recently appointed the arbitrator and at the same time a reconciliatory officer to the obviously diseased ruling All Progressives Congress APC.
Incidentally, President Muhammedu Buhari who gave Tinubu the gigantic task cannot absolve himself from the problem. In fact political observers believe that the problem of APC derives largely from the short comings of its leader the President due to his indifferent approach to political party matters.
Going by the analysis of experts, the style of the President in political party management has been underwhelming and clearly falls far below the required standard and this has led to the emergence of all kinds of cliques within the party. Pundits in political matters would always say that there can never be a vacuum in political space. The space President Buhari’s poor political strategy could not fill easily got occupied by pockets of chiefdom.
It is largely believed that the foundation of the myriads of APC challenges was long laid when the President at the inception of his administration told all who cared to know that he would not be interested in who emerges as the leaders of the National Assembly but when those he did not want emerged, he led the onslaught against them since June 9th 2015.
Political watchers believe that on the issue of National Assembly the hide and seek approach from the President actually helped to fertilize the crisis that eventually engulfed the ruling party.
Among those within the party who shared in the President’s obvious bitterness and anger against the leadership of the National Assembly was Tinubu who ostensibly remain embittered because his cronies in the parliament lost out in the scheme. Tinubu then literally supplied the amour with which the National Assembly particularly the red chamber-the Senate was and is still being tormented.
The sudden appointment of Tinubu as chief arbiter at this time is therefore curious and raises a number of questions. The appointment is trying to help observers discern the mind of the President on the situation in the party. Could it be that the President after his review of the situation has decided to embrace one of the factions in the party at the detriment of the others? Or is it that Tinubu has been identified as the bigger problem and has to be given the task of confronting the task of removing the heap of refuge he probably helped to assembly?
For Tinubu, the view out there on his new job is similar to what happens when a party to a case is appointed to make peace, two things are likely to play out, he buries his own interest and accommodates other people’s interests for peace to reign or he stands on the point of advantage and pushes through his own agenda. Either way Tinubu decides to go it’s not going to be an easy task both for him and the party.
That is why it is very germane the verdict of the embattled Comrade APC Senator of Kaduna state, Senator Shehu Sani that APC would be finally ruined if Aswaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu fails in his mission to bring peace in the party.
Even though Tinubu is a master in the game of politics and the intrigue therein, he would need the courage of biblical David and the Wisdom of Solomon David’s son to figure out an acceptable solution to the APC crisis. Other posers waiting to be unraveled in Tinubu’s assignment Is whether the National Chairman of APC chief John Oyegun who has spent the last three years of his political life eulogizing President Buhari would be thrown out just like that as has been the wish and desire of Tinubu? Why not, you may say, election year for politicians is a time of betrayal and sacrifice especially of those whose electoral value is inconsequential. Electorally, Tinubu stands head ahead of Oyegun, and this is not in dispute.
Also, can Governor Nasir el rufai of Kaduna state dine together politically with Comrade Senator Sani and Senator Hunkuyi whose building was even demolished during the fight?
After Governor Ibrahim Ganduje of Kano state declared publicly recently that he has parted ways forever with his former boss Senator Rabiu Kwakwaso and his Kwakwasiyya group, would Tinubu make him leak his vomit?
What of Tinubu himself, can he stand with the Senate President Bukola Saraki to say old ways have passed away for a new way to begin? Even when it’s widely believed that he contributed to the inconveniences that prevented Saraki from enjoying fully his number three position? Today if you Google Saraki the image you get is not that of a nation’s head of parliament presiding but that of a criminal suspect in the dock, can this wound be easily healed by Tinubu’s drug box?
However, there is this optimistic attitude indicating that in politics everything is possible. Believers in this optimism easily embrace Maurice Barres, the French novelist who captured the never say die spirit of politicians in his statement that “the politician is an acrobat. He keeps his balance by saying the opposite of what he does” How sincere is Tinubu and Buhari on this reconciliatory project.
There are so many other possibilities to Tinubu’s assignment that cannot also be overlooked. It could have been a strategy of a drowning Presidency itching into general election and hoping to keep up with whoever can help at such a critical period.
It could also be the geo-political North’s own strategic response to halt the seeming unity in the Southern Nigeria, a development that could be the deadliest blow to the Northern hegemony. There couldn’t have been a better way to tie apart that dangerous geo-political romance in the South than pulling out the biggest political tree in the region and whispering into his ears, the goodies that await him. There couldn’t have been an easier way to achieve this especially as the Aswaju is not enjoying the best of relationship with the Yoruba socio- cultural and political group the Afenifere who has been at the forefront of this crusade. There is also the other treachery aspect indicating that Tinubu might just be playing a fifth columnist role against the system for deserting him after victory only to rush coming because the day of reckoning has arrived.
Also as a possible instigation to Asawju’s assignment is the scorching attack by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo on both President Buhari and his ruling party. The easiest way to contain and possibly help divert the conversation away from the huge effect of that outburst on the government and the party is cleverly to draft from the same region as Obasanjo a formidable political iroko to quell the accompanying political uprising.
It could also have been that what President Buhari did in drafting Tinubu to go and make peace in a war where he has been a top commander is just the extension of taking the people for granted. No wonder American Journalist, Franklin Adams once remarked that “there are many politicians who believe, with conviction based on experience, that you can fool all the people all of the time”
But in reality, after President Buhari and his party rode to power cruising on the falsehood of propaganda and deceit, can they fool Nigerians again after the hellish journey since 2015?
For Tinubu, there are some land mines on his political carrier that he must apply all his political wizardry to maneuver his way in this difficult assignment. At stake is his goodwill with the people and no politicians would want to toy with it.
American businessman, Marshall Field aptly captured it better in these words “Goodwill is the only asset that competition cannot undersell or destroy” Nigerians are watching to see how.
* This article was first published in New Telegraph.