When undeclared ambition is a crime: The Tinubu conundrum – Part 2
In this connection, the people of the South West cannot be deceived by mere symbolisms. By derailing from Awo’s political ideology through its crass opportunism, lack of discipline and focus, Afenifere lost all its legitimacy and massive support which it once enjoyed from the people. It made Awoism hollow and unintelligible to the new generation of political elite in the region through its mix messages. By shifting its loyalty without the people’s consent, especially during each election cycle, it acted against the people, and so could no longer be entrusted with their confidence. Consequently, Afenifere lost its identity and became an object to be easily derided and preyed on because it did not realize that the time to draw the curtain had come.
In a sense, Afenifere lost the battle for the soul of the South West by fighting a Third World War with the strategy, tactics and arsenal of the First World War. Its inability to effectively bond with the grassroots and the emerging political elite in the South West effectively sounded the death knell for its leadership and continued relevance in the region. The political elites in the South East and South-South need to be reminded that Asiwaju Tinubu supported President Jonathan in 2011 Presidential elections for his emergence as the first elected President from the south-south geo political zone in Nigeria’s history. Politics is about interests.
Once President Jonathan abandoned the alliance which brought him to power in 2011, it was evident that he would lose the 2015 elections, especially with the merger of leading opposition parties to battle him under the APC, an unprecedented development in Nigeria’s history. Bolaji Abdullahi, a former Minister under him, in his latest book entitled ‘On a Platter of Gold’ had provided other veritable proofs and clues regarding why the former President floundered in the 2015 elections. And there were other influential politicians and Nigerians from the South West, South East, South-South and the North who worked against President Jonathan who are not being castigated for their respective roles in stopping President Jonathan in 2015. It is, therefore, unfair to continue to castigate Tinubu, as if his individual effort singularly contributed to President Jonathan’s loss. Perhaps the most important thing is to derive relevant lessons from the past for informed future actions.
Nonetheless, to me, President Jonathan performed reasonably well in office. History will be very kind to him for his role in conceding victory to President Buhari in 2015. Invariably, it is not how long one stays in office but how well one stays, and the impact one makes on the lives of the citizenry. So, in my estimation, President Jonathan remains a true hero of sustainable democracy and democratic governance in Nigeria. We must all take pride and comfort in his patriotic choice to decide for the country when he had an opportunity to set the country ablaze.
To those bent on stopping Tinubu at all costs, within and outside of his party, the questions to ask are the following: when has an undeclared ambition become a crime in Nigeria? As a leading light in the APC, must his sacrifice in the formation of the party be rewarded with antagonisms, borne out of petty jealousy and hatred by his foes? Is the constitution not clear about the eligibility criteria for aspiring to the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? The Constitution, therefore, not only envisages but also guarantees an open competition among candidates for the high office of the President of the Federal Republic.
And I believe that all eligible candidates must not be hindered to participate within the framework of other additional understanding and agreements reached by consensus by political parties, especially on zoning of offices and balancing of tickets. Those concerned about his stupendous wealth must provide evidence that he acquired them illegally. But what has happened to the video clip produced by AIT in 2015 on Tinubu that landed the broadcasting outfit in court? And the unfounded allegation that he owns the whole of Lagos is sickening because neither Aliko Dangote- the richest man in Africa- nor the Government of Lagos State owns Lagos in its entirety. Did AIT not tender a public apology to Asiwaju about this unfounded allegation shortly after the conclusion of the 2015 elections? That should be instructive to all rumour peddlers and their collaborators who are parading themselves as saints? But where are the saints in Nigerian politics? Accordingly, those playing God in their permutations for 2023 must recognize that it is only the living that can contest elections.
It is, therefore, premature to heat up the polity through needless conspiracy against a candidate, which may have the unintended consequences of endearing him more to the people. Let all qualified Nigerians who are persuaded that they can add value to our political process be encouraged to come forward when the time is ripe. In the interim, let us commit ourselves to the business of governance by supporting President Muhammadu Buhari to take our beloved nation to a glorious height during his second term in office. Enough of politics of bickering and conspiracy to stop Tinubu, or any other candidate for that matter. And in any case you don’t need to be the President of a county before you make history. I believe Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has paid his dues. He is eminently qualified to lead. He deserves some modicum of respect from all and sundry. It is up to him to take up the challenge to contest the 2023 Presidential elections because a man of drive and purpose cannot be easily counted out in the race for destiny manifestation.
Mayomi, a retired director in the Federal Civil Service, is a public affairs commentator and analyst.
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