Tuesday 12 May 2015

Trouble In Tinubu's Household ? - Guardian

ALL is not well in the lion’s den. The first indication to this is the sudden presence of town criers in the jungle proclaiming the prowess of the lion. The lion remains the king and every animal knows that. Something must be gravely wrong therefore, if the lion is being forced to re-assert its place in the jungle. The lion is not king by consensus; he is by conquest and no other force in the wild jungle can push him to a subordinate role. He submits to no force majeure.

Kindly permit the allegory. I know that Nigeria is not an ‘Animal Farm’, but I do not have a better way of explaining the ongoing effort to re-establish Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Lion of Bourdillon in the minds of Nigerians. The campaigners, including one Hakeem Adisa, are making it look as if the Great Jagagban has miraculously become imperceptible in the national and regional power equations and requires to be thickly underscored through a vigorous publicity blitz to restore his visibility.

Who doesn’t know Tinubu in Nigeria? He is the man, who, in 2003, stood alone like Mountain Olympus, when others collapsed like a pack of cards in the Southwest and battled to a standstill, the ferocious electoral machinery of the PDP and former President Olusegun Obasanjo. From his isolated location in Lagos, he began life all over again in 2007. It was tough, but by dint of hard work, and perhaps, superior strategy, he came very close to recovering all lost territories.

But for the advent of Ayo Fayose in Ekiti State, just last year, and the continued recalcitrance of the Iroko of Ondo politics, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, the job was clinically finished. The recovered territories include, Ogun, the home state of President Olusegun and symbol of PDP imperialism. Is this the kind of man that requires lengthy introduction to establish? Sincerely, I cannot find good reason for this sudden reawakening around Tinubu. We have just ended one general election and the next one is at least four years away, and so, I cannot accept that the spin doctors in town are preparing the Jagagban for a very big role in 2019.

Considering his large-scale investment in the APC project, the man had desired so badly, to fly the party’s presidential flag with General Muhammadu Buhari as running mate. When that initial plan allegedly failed, because of the new complex power web in the APC, he submitted a plan B, which was the donation of the VP-elect, Prof. Yemi Osinbanjo. It was, somehow, difficult to believe that a man, who could take on the entire Yoruba establishment without shaking and reconfigure Afenifere into Afenifere Renewal Group, could be so easily stopped from getting a vice presidential slot in a party that he owns 50 per cent.

This initial setback notwithstanding, Tinubu, like a real lion, recovered very quickly to deliver Buhari against Jonathan on March 28. In effect, he has conquered Jonathan so that Buhari can reign. Remember also, that he conquered Buhari,, in 2011, so that Jonathan could spread wide, even as he conquered the almighty Obasanjo in the post election judicial contentions in 2007 to liberate a good chunk of the Southwest from the grip of the PDP. We can call him conqueror of great men including sitting presidents.

I’m not actually saying anything new. These facts about Tinubu are everywhere in the public domain, including the Internet. The facts will reel out if the name, ‘Asiwaju (Senator) Bola Ahmed Tinubu’ is keyed into the Google search machine, for instance. Note, however, that any additional information on the Google or any other site stating how Tinubu has made stupendous fortune, not through industry, as widely believed, but by participation in public service, must have been uploaded there by enemies and detractors of this great conqueror. I have been reliably informed that a vicious network of PhD (Pull Him Down) holders is bent on bringing Tinubu down from the glorious height he has attained in politics and business, working day and night without sleeping.

Meanwhile, I hear also that the cankerworm troubling the growth of the tree is not outside the tree. Indeed, names have been mentioned and they are persons who have always gone together with the Alpha Romeo on a hunting spree. The campaigners are specifically alleging that, like pestering jackals, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi (JFK), who, recklessly, lost the Ekiti State governorship election to Ayo Fayose last year, and Governor Raji Babatunde Fashola (RBF) of Lagos State, do not want the pride male of the pack to enjoy his March 28 kill.

This is most strange. Where are these two getting the inspiration to challenge their chi to a wrestling match? Disturbing as this may sound, naturalists maintain it is consistent with the rules of the jungle. They say there comes a time when vibrant young male lions seek relentlessly to dethrone a sit-tight head of the pack. Psycho-analysts also say that in extreme manifestations of the Oedipus Complex syndrome, son can liquidate father in contest for emotional rights. It is, however, a dangerous challenge because the consequences of failure are better imagined than experienced. Sure death is part of it.

What or whoever is behind this insurrection in the empire of the Jagagban is not of immediate interest. What is of concern now is nipping the rebellion in the bud so that the Asiwaju can at least gain needed breathing space to re-align strategies for trouble-free operations. I am confused myself. I do not know what to tell the Asiwaju to put down this unnecessary rebellion so that he can enjoy the fruits of his March 28 labour in peace.

Some people have suggested appeasement of the angry youths. Others are saying it is a dangerous path to follow, pointing at the fate of President Jonathan in the just concluded general elections. They argue that Jonathan’s six-year appeasement programme for the rebellious North did not save his kingdom from collapsing when the hour came on March 28. The options are really very slim and delicate too and I do not know what to suggest. But as they say in Warri, whether or whethern’t, ogoro (frog) must jump! The Asiwaju must engage the cup. It is facing him directly and it is not time to pray the prayer of ‘Lord, let this cup pass by me.’

In the absence of a clear and ready counter strategy, an answer appears buried in a line in one of the many write-ups being pushed all over the place to plead the case of the Jagagban in the court of public opinion. It reads: “One fundamental angle to Tinubu is his relentless advocacy of true federalism, which his party now has an opportunity to pursue. With functional federalism, it is easy to see that certain manifestations of dysfunction in the polity would become history to the benefit of the people.”

We are aiming at something and so it is not useful reminding this writer that Tinubu did not support the President Jonathan’s conference to discuss the great questions of the day, including, ‘true federalism’ and that in the presidential campaigns, the APC did not canvass the implementation of the report of that conference. Let us just agree that something, which is difficult to define for now, has intervened between March 28 and now, to make the lion have a change of mind.

Apart from a handful power oligarchs in the far North, this point about reworking the Nigerian framework to something close to a federation, resonates with the people. And that is the clincher! Instead of laboring to convince people about the sterling leadership qualities of Tinubu, Hakeem Adisa, for instance, can retool the argument and say, Fayemi and Fashola are fighting Tinubu because the latter wants to use his entrenchment in the incoming government of General Buhari to restructure Nigeria into a true federal system.

That is like passing a political death sentence on both ‘rebels’ in the Southwest and much of Nigeria. If for some strange reasons that master stroke still fails to turn the tide against the insurgents, only one option is left for the Alpha Romeo – yield a part of his territory to the restless young male lions. After all, there are situations in Oyo kingship or mythology when the Alafin has to go on exile or even commit suicide to give peace a chance.

By Abraham Ogbodo

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