Bola Ahmed Tinubu: Haunted by the haunted
There is no doubt that Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the most hounded of all candidates in the 2023 Presidential elections. This is not unanticipated judging by his frontline position in the race. While there are people whose preoccupation in the forthcoming plebiscite is to ensure that Bola carries the day, there are also people who are not his “well-wishers”. These set of people are somehow haunted by the possibility of a Tinubu administration in Nigeria come 2023. They are so repulsive of the man to the extent that one of them vouched to exit his fatherland immediately the result of the election is announced in favor of the APC presidential candidate. This is what the Yoruba will describe as “Ohun ti o so nu ju epe lo”. This simply means that the punishment is not at all commensurate with the offense”
Right from the inception of this campaign, his “enemies” have queued behind a veil with several lethal weapons in the pocket to engage him at every level of the crusade. The Chatham House pseudo tracking of his movement and activities is the climax of the nerve wrecking crisis in the enemy’s camp.
One major criticism of his performance from the camp of the opposition is that he delegated the responses on questions posed to him to members of his entourage. Some people particularly the unfriendly section of the media and other ignoramus in the society saw this as an indication of his inability to do justice to his office as a potential president of Nigeria. How wrong could they have been or is it again the case of just trying to give a dog a bad name to be able to hang it. What is wrong with delegating answers to questions to those you have slated to work with you? Is it not a teamwork? Must he, as the team leader, usurp the responsibilities of his sub-ordinates? There are legions of questions to ask the members of the opposition wherever they may be but what is incontrovertible is that the method adopted by Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the Chatham House would soon become a model in Nigeria.
The story tellers of the Chartham house are certainly those who have refused to see the good in good things, otherwise, from the beginning to the end of the debate, Tinubu and his cohort justified the essence of their presence in that convention center in London. Like the Presidential Candidate explained before the question-and-answer session, it is a teamwork. He was explaining to Nigerians that ‘you should know us rather than me only’. Every participant right from Dele Alake to El-Rufai to Wale Edun and to the beautiful APC National women leader, each justified his or her competence in the subject area. The most astounding performance of the night is Betta Edu. One may not have thought much of the young woman until she started her presentation. After the whole exercise, I had to google her name only to discover that she is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health and the Cross River State Commissioner for Health. Whoever is questioning Bola Tinubu’s performance and method adopted in the interview needs to re-examine his own sense of appreciation and evaluation for he did not only delegate responsibilities to his followers, but he also did justice to the questions posed to him. Of course, as it is in the parlance of the Yoruba “Esin eni kii ga l’oju ota eni”meaning “your rivals in a race cannot appreciate the quality of your horse.”
One point that is becoming very clear today is that, Bola Tinubu is beginning to rewrite the history of the Nigerian nation with his far-reaching decisions on many issues, even, when he is yet to become the President of the nation. Examples are many. For the first time in the history of Nigeria, a candidate for the position of the President has indicated to the “overlord “ media houses, particularly the television, that communication with the Nigerian people can be effective without lining up presidential candidates like boys in a school debate to answer questions some of which are oratorical and purely academic, with little post-election effect on the lives of the people. This is innovative because we don’t have to do it here just because it is being done in some other places in the world. This has been replaced by village meetings where those who would be at the receiving end at the end of the day would have opportunity to direct their questions to the candidate within proximity. Whereas the television debate is elitist in all its ramifications.
Another bold move of Bola Tinubu, a Muslim is the choice of a Muslim as his running mate. The Muslim-Muslim ticket would show to all and sundry that the intention may be to stop once and for all the obviously idiotic and irrational tendency to place the fortune of our nation in the hands of religious bigotry rather than on the plain surface of facts and reality. Leaders, good leaders don’t give to people what they want but what would be beneficial to them.
It is disgusting that some media houses that belong to the opposition constitute themselves into demi-gods at times favoring their candidates while dangling the hangman’s twine around the neck of other candidates and sometimes messing them up for personal and corporate interest. By calling bluff of such a group, Bola Tinubu is setting a new phase in the history of our nation. Certainly, the attitude of the presenters of one or two of the television stations is bound to repulse the honor and consideration that the Jagaban would want to give to their invitation.
What has Bola Tinubu done? While criticism and smear campaign are hallmark of politics, a good sportsman needs not travel on this locus. Some naïve individuals are questioning the presence of Bola Tinubu in the Chartham House in London when, according to them, he is yet to communicate with Nigerians at home. How do they mean? Are they pretending to be unaware that Bola Tinubu has so far traversed the length and breath of this country more than any of his rivals in the race? What, if one may ask is the essence of the several contact meetings that he has had in many locations in the country? Moreover, are they unaware that the Chartham House meeting is also going to be on television and that Nigerians, particularly the elites will also have the opportunity of watching the full length or at least a clip of it? The truth is that these detractors would stop at nothing because they are already psychologically haunted by the possibility of the emergence of Bola Tinubu as the president of Nigeria come 2023.
The activities of this group are laughable because the official opposition itself is not doing much in terms of antagonism of the frontline candidate or may be they are using proxies and surrogates. Presenters in some television stations, freelance social media users and some religious leaders have constituted themselves into paid agents of the statutory opposition rather than unbiased umpires. Unfortunately, they are either not too good at the job or unintelligent to coordinate and collate facts and figures.
From the issue of the paternity and that of maternity to the question on his education, and certificate to the issue of drug related scandal are all indications of people who have nothing to show for their efforts in blackmailing the Jagaban. The Yoruba would say, ‘won continue lati ma je iyan esin l’obe’. Literally meaning that ‘they continue to consume the pounded yam of yesteryears’.
The most foolish of it all is the unintelligent conclusion that Bola Tinubu is unfit health wise. A man who moves from one part of the country at the rate being done by Bola Tinubu is certainly not sick because you need moderately good health to be able to perform such a herculean task.
• Prof. Ojikutu writes from the Faculty of Management Sciences, University of Lagos.