Ahmed Bola Tinubu is the self-proclaimed leader of the Yoruba in Nigerian politics. It could not be more obvious than during the 2015 presidential election, when he got many Yoruba to vote for President Muhammadu Buhari. Buhari adored him so literally that Tinubu had sneezed, Buhari would have cooled easily.
But once Buhari became president, the humiliation and the sideline of Tinubu began. The position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives Tinubu reserved for one of his political godchildren, the Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, was lost to Yakubu Dogara. The position of President of the Senate that he reserved for Ahmed Lawan went to Bukola Saraki.
But there was nothing more humiliating than Buhari merging three powerful ministries (housing, labor and power) and assigning them to Tunde Fashola, who in 2015 suddenly became Tinubu’s worst enemy to the extent that both threw themselves into public mud. In fact, nothing was more humiliating for Tinubu than Buhari using Fashola to annoy him.
Another incredible humiliation that Tinubu had to endure was the result of the sudden death of Prince Abubakar Audu and INEC who declared that the election of the governor of Kogi was inconclusive. Instead of hon. James Abiodun Faleke, Tinubu’s godson, Yahaya Bello, who was second in the APC primaries, was chosen to replace the late Audu. Tinubu made many threats, but he seemed totally ignored by Buhari.
The next was the primary election of the governorship of Ondo APC, where the Tinubu candidate, According to Abraham, lost to Rotimi Akeredolu, who was the preferred candidate of Abuja.
These blows were carefully planned and aimed at dismantling the southwest power bloc of Tinubu with the aim of positioning Tunde Fashola and Kayode Fayemi to replace him as the “boys of southwestern Buhari.”
Having been so humiliated, Tinubu began to publicly criticize the Buhari administration to the extent of regretting supporting him in 2015. And, by early 2017, he publicly accused Buhari of mismanaging the economy. He said, “You have to spend yourself out of this recession and you cannot do that by consistently stifling the banks of liquidity…Yes, Buhari inherited an economy in peril but his actions thereafter worsened liquidity crisis and deepened a haemorrhaging credit crunch.”
Also unable to control her anger, Tinubu’s wife Senator Remi Tinubu started protesting her husband’s endless humiliation by the same Buhari whom he had helped to become president. Both husband and wife’s protests were completely ignored by Buhari.
Even as recently as Ekiti’s election as governor, the APC candidate, Kayode Fayemi, insulted Tinubu and told him to worry about his affairs and never interfere. So humiliated, Tinubu remained silent and was only allowed to come and campaign for Fayemi in terms of the latter.
Tinubu did not participate in the agreement that got Sen. Iyiola Omisore of the SDP to back the APC’s gubernatorial candidate for Osun’s election as governor.
The biggest kick in the teeth was when John Odigie-Oyegun, APC’s national president who was an ally of Tinubu, began to distance himself from him while openly relocating with Buhari. With Tinubu so surrounded, he remained the APC national leader in name only.
But do not cry for Tinubu because he brought the humiliations to himself. Being politically so greedy, Tinubu wanted all government positions to be determined only by him. In addition to the position of vice president that gave Osinbajo and the position of presidency of FIRS to Babatunde Fowler, former executive president of the Internal Revenue Board of Lagos State, Tinubu also wanted to control the leadership of the National Assembly along with ministers of almost all 36 states. Even the president of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, was selected by Tinubu, using the vice president. And since the Senate of Saraki refused to confirm Magu, since then he has remained incredibly as acting president.
But as the presidential elections of 2019 approached, Buhari once again needed Tinubu. He also knew how to trap Tinubu to submit to his political maneuver. First, knowing that Wale Tinubu’s Oando was in serious trouble for inflating the values of Oando’s actions, Buhari approached Tinubu at a time when his younger brother was being questioned by officials of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Second, Tinubu was invited to fly with Buhari to London. And during this long journey, as a military tactician, Buhari informed Tinubu that he was willing to hand him power in 2023. It is on the basis of this false promise that Tinubu became so uncontrollable in Buhari’s reelection project to the point of sacrifice the Afenifere and the Yoruba general and the national interests. Meanwhile, Tunde Fashola was strategically requested to remain silent and possibly stay out of the political circulation. In this way, he would never make the mistake of running into Asiwaju Tinubu until the 2019 elections are over.
When Tinubu demanded the removal of John Odigie-Oyegun as APC’s national president and his replacement with comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Tinubu’s political hangman, he was quickly granted. Another unsuccessful request from Tinubu was the insistence on the humiliation and elimination of Bukola Saraki as president of the Senate.
Now in full control of APC, Tinubu and Oshiomhole made sure to take the battle to the enemy governors, including the president of the APC Governors’ Forum, the governor of the state of Imo, Rochas Okorocha; The governor of the state of Ogun, Ibikunle Amosun; The governor of the state of Zamfara, Abdulaziz Yari, Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos and many enemy senators. With this, the duo had already set the APC on fire.
The lack of political sophistication of Tinubu can not be more obvious. This is because an experienced politician would have known Buhari’s reelection game in 2019. Or should Tinubu be reminded of the kind of disdain that Buhari has for him, especially considering how Tinubu turned the Lagos State into a personal empire? ?
Incredibly, how could Tinubu think of all his political calculations that Buhari would allow a Tinubu, a Muslim Southerner, to become his successor, and a Christian from the north to become his running mate? Unknown to Tinubu, Buhari’s preferred successor should be Governor Kayode Fayemi, from Ekiti State, who could be paired with Mallam Muhammed Bello (minister of FCT) or with Engr. Suleiman Adamu (minister of water resources and nephew of Buhari).
As for Buhari, how could Tinubu, whose Alpha Beta has been collecting tax revenues on behalf of the Lagos government and holding up to 10%, can expect Buhari to allow him to become president of Nigeria and possibly bring the same Alpha Beta a Will you raise taxes for the entire country and retain 10%? Or the same Tinubu whose wife is senator, whose daughter is president of a women’s union in the market, even when she is not a market woman, and whose son-in-law is a powerful member of the House of Representatives?
If Tinubu were politically sophisticated, he would have known that Buhari’s political fate was already decided by the most powerful army generals in the country: Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulsalami Abubakar, TY Danjuma and Aliyu Gusau. If Tinubu had been honest with himself, he would have known that it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than Buhari win the presidential election of 2019, especially given how world powers like the US, the United The United Kingdom, the EU, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc., all agreed that Buhari must go so that peace, unity and economic prosperity can return to Nigeria.
If I were Tinubu, this would have been the most appropriate time to settle accounts with Buhari. There would not have been a better time to relive the old friendship with Atiku, the next president. Even if Tinubu does not want to publicly support Atiku, it would have been politically prudent for him to remain silent instead of crying more than Buhari, the afflicted one, as he recently did.
Who was Tinubu trying to impress with his recent vulgar language? Wasn’t it simply exposing his quick-to-anger personality, his self-centeredness and his self-praise? A man controlling his kind of regional political power bloc shouldn’t have been this undiplomatic in language. Or is Tinubu telling us that once one lived in a ghetto one could have left the ghetto without the ghetto leaving one? “Self-discipline,” Elbert Hubbard rightly said, “is the ability to do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.” This important leadership personality trait seems to be completely lacking in Ahmed Tinubu. He was recently caught on camera bitter and shouting, as he told Governor Ambode, “You don’t dare talk when I am talking! Because I have spoiled you (by making you governor), you now talk when I am talking.” Did Tinubu fail to recognize that he should have respected, not necessarily Ambode as the chief executive and the number-one citizen of Lagos State but the office of the governor of Lagos which Ambode occupies and Tinubu once occupied himself?
Another Tinubu’s recent outburst is where he publicly said, “We don’t fear, whether he (Atiku) is meeting in the jungle, in Dubai or in Abu Dhabi…but we are not going back to the illusion of the PDP…We can’t go back to the pit that we inherited for 16 years. They can strategize from anywhere, but a leopard cannot change its skin.” This only shows Tinubu’s tactlessness. It also portrays his political naiveté and his endlessly living in the fool’s world. Imagine believing that Buhari will hand over to him in 2023 should he ever win!
I thought Tinubu, as Atiku’s old friend, would have imbibed some leadership qualities from him: his calmness, friendliness, generosity and tolerance; particularly his likeability among the Nigeria youths whom he is always interacting with on social media and at social events. Also, didn’t he learn Atiku’s humility and bridge-building ability among political allies and across ethnic and religious divide? Did he not grasp Atiku’s quality of being a trusted deal-maker with exceptional love for the poor, whom he helps through many foundations and social causes?
You Tinubu are too imperial and withdrawn, always calculating what you can take out of the system. As a result, you are not seen to be a nationalist but a regional leader. Of course, it is not too late for you to abandon the APC ship, which Buhari is about to sink.
Enwegbara, a development economist, writes from Abuja.