by Ayokunle Odekunle
One day after work, I decided to take a ‘break’. I have been having too much to worry about these past few weeks and I feared and still fear I might just pass out never to awaken. I needed and still need to take things easy.
So that day after work and when I say ‘work’, I mean the process of having to absent-mindedly perform the same rituals daily, drafting court processes, having to face haughty clients who believe they know better than me because I am young at the Bar and would prefer to speak to my Boss instead, I decided to go to another ‘Bar’ where seniority isn’t of paramount importance; where no one cares about your age as long as you can drop some quids to get some green bottles… bottles filled with bitter liquids, though sweetening to the mind… enough to make me forget my sorrows and worries albeit temporarily.
Some tables away from mine were two weather beaten men. They were drinking the local gin called paraga peacefully and all of a sudden I heard some noise from their end. From their vituperations, I could decipher their names: Baba Kamoru and Baba Silifa. Below is the exchange that ensued between them:
Baba Kamoru: How dare you insult Bola Tinubu. He is GOD.
Baba Silifa: Are you alright? How dare you call him God? God should slap your mouth for that blasphemy
Baba Kamoru: Look at you, Mungo Park. Don’t you know that Asiwaju Tinubu rescued us from the evil PDP? Don’t you know he has liberated us from slavery?
Baba Silifa: I can see that you have had too much to drink. How on earth would you say that Tinubu liberated us from slavery? Were you ever in bondage? And how is Mr Tinubu innocent of the many vices the PDP guys are accused of?
Baba Kamoru; What are you talking about? Our Asiwaju does not impose candidates on people, he is not corrupt, and he is not guilty of nepotism .
(Baba Silifa cuts in)
Baba Silifa: Are you saying Asiwaju is not corrupt? How come he is a BILLIONAIRE today when it is an open secret that when he returned from exile in 1998, he was broke? You said he doesn’t impose candidates on people, but would you pretend not to know that about 6 of his family members hold strategic positions in Government?
Baba Kamoru: I have nothing more to say to you. But I have to tell you that Bola Tinubu was responsible for Goodluck Jonathan’s electoral success in 2011…”
There and then, I felt I had had enough of Baba Kamoru’s gibberish. I did not even wait to finish my drink before I sauntered off.
Bola Tinubu means different things to different people. To some, he is a GOD. Infact, they believe that he should be worshipped on Mondays and Fridays. These set of people don’t even mind cutting off their testicles to appease him or even a burnt offering. One even told me that he can sacrifice his SON to Tinubu just as Abraham sacrificed his son Isaac to God. To them, he can do no wrong. He is the all in all, the alpha and omega, beginning and the end, unmovable mover, unchangeable changer, the “I am that I am in Nigerian politics.”
To some, Asiwaju Tinubu is just like any average politician we have around: corrupt, inept, grossly and acutely incompetent, gallery player, macabre dancer, opportunist and a propagator of the gospel of ‘Do-as-i-say-not-as-i-do’.
I have always felt indifferent towards him actually. To me, he is no different from any other politician we have around. He says something one minute and does something the next moment. This write-up would attempt to deliberate if Bola Tinubu is as ‘important’ as his supporters sum him up to be,
A scrutiny of his democratic and ‘moral’ credentials would also be attempted.
The following issues would be attempted.
- How did Bola Tinubu come into prominence?
- What role did he play in ACN’s sweep of the South West?
- Did he influence Jonathan’s victory in the South West during the 2011 Presidential elections?
- Is he different from the typical Nigerian politician?
- Isn’t he overrated?
The raging question here is how Bola Tinubu came into prominence. Till 2003, he was just another AD Governor who did not even win the AD primaries in 1999 but who got the AD ticket because the ‘Afenifere’ elders prevailed on the winner of the primaries, the late Funsho Williams to step down for Tinubu because Tinubu is an Awoist.
So how did he become so powerful?
Olusegun Obasanjo has to be credited with Tinubu’s rise. He, it was who gave Tinubu national prominence when he refused to pay Lagos State Local Government Allocations, even when the Supreme Court ordered him to.
After standing toe to toe with Obasanjo, he became ‘GOD’ to some people. Many wondered how he was able to steer the Lagos ship without federal allocations. Many failed to realize that he was able to do that because Lagos state makes trillions yearly from Internal Generated Revenues (IGRs), in other words, Lagos can survive without federal allocations.
To cut the story short, Obasanjo has to be acknowledged for making Tinubu a ‘thin-god’ out of nothing.
Another bugging question is “what role did Tinubu play in the ACN capture of the South-West”?
I must confess to you, that the PDP defeated the PDP in the 2011 gubernatorial elections. Apart from the states won under the Salami led ‘Court of Appeal’ the other states were lost because the PDP self-destructed – apart from Lagos.
Let me use Oyo State as an example.
Adebayo Alao-Akala was not a bad Governor. He only had problems with human relations and public perception. He had problems with many PDP members from Ibadan who supported ACN’S Ajimobi to spite him. His ex-boss, Rashidi Ladoja also ran for the post of Governor under the Accord Party and he effectively divided the PDP votes in the state.
Without Ladoja’s ‘spoiler act’ and Akala’s beef with the Ibadan PDP elite, Ajimobi of the ACN would NEVER have emerged as Oyo State Governor.
So how was Tinubu responsible for ACN’S victory in Oyo State? Any hands up?
Now, this is the most annoying of all. Many people believe that Goodluck Jonathan won the Presidential elections in 5 out of the 6 South Western States because of a deal he struck with Bola Tinubu.
How true is this bold assertion?
I would debunk that vexatious and false claim by using a case study and an example.
Goodluck Jonathan won Lagos State by a wide margin and many deluded people are of the opinion that Tinubu did it for him. How? Lagos state is not just a Yoruba state. It is inhabited by a lot of Igbos and South-South indigenes (PRO-JONATHAN). Did Tinubu have to beg or coerce these people to vote for Jonathan because they had a deal?
The other example is this. During the elections, I was a student of the University of Ibadan. Many UITES voted en masse for the ACN during the governorship election. However during thepPresidential election, the average Yoruba man, Igbo man and Ijaw man on campus voted for Jonathan and he won by an alarming margin. Jonathan also won my area which is Oluyole (AJIMOBI’s neighbourhood). Now tell me, did Tinubu go door to door to beg or order people to vote for Jonathan because they struck a deal.
NO! The people in the South-West voted for Jonathan because they wanted to. Tinubu had NO imput in Jonathan’s victory in the South-west because people in the South-West are not dogmatic and do not require Tinubu to tell them their left to their right,
Is Tinubu different from the average Nigerian politician? No! Like many politicians, his massive wealth is questionable. He reportedly owns many hotels, The Nation Newspaper, Alpha Beta, TV Continental and many other business interest, he plays to the gallery (The Boko Haram issue is an example), he encourages nepotism as he has more often than not imposed members of his family on the people. His wife is a Senator (His wife was reported to have told the Late Habibat Mogaji that “I am contesting for the post of Senator because I am tired of staying at home”), his daughter has reportedly been appointed IYALOJA OF LAGOS to replace his late mother, his In-Law is a member of the State House of assembly, and many many more.
His party ACN is the perfect example for undemocratic practices. Bisi Akande has been the chairman of the party since 2005, ‘LIE’ Mohammed has been the spokesman since 2005 too (8 years). They have not held conventions to replace their National officers in ages, candidates do not hold primaries as Mr Tinubu ‘s Bourdillon house is the place where candidates are picked by the godfather himself. Candidates are imposed on the other candidates (even the ‘devilish’ PDP are angelic enough to hold primaries’).
So, is Mr Tinubu different from the PDP politicians he fervently criticizes?
Is Bola Ahmed Tinubu overrated? I think so. His supporters have made it seem like the Yorubas are so dogmatic that they follow Mr Tinubu’s instructions and orders to the letter. The ACN is in control of the South-West because the the PDP self-destructed and also because the people got tired of the PDP leaders. Not because Mr Tinubu ordered them to vote the ACN in.
So, to the people outside the South-West who think we are under the emperor’s spell over here, I am sorry to disappoint you. The Emperor and his followers suffer from a grand delusion of grandeur…they are lost in a world of their self-importance. We vote for candidates whom we believe are capable and not because the emperor has willed it to be so.
– Follow this writer on Twitter: @Oddy4real
Dedicated to Seunfunmi Victoria Fasasi… thanks for being a light in these dark times.