Whenever there is an attack against the Muhammadu Buhari administration by a prominent opposition figure, expect to see a response by the APC national leader, Bola Tinubu, soon after. Exactly a week ago, the former Lagos governor accused former president Olusegun Obasanjo of seeking control by “hook, crook or utter fantasy” after Obasanjo likened President Buhari to the late dictator Sani Abacha. Today, Tinubu replied the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, following a state of the nation speech.
Summary of Tinubu’s statement was that President Buhari was well within his rights to suspend the Chief Justice of the Federation, Walter Onnoghen. He dismissed Atiku’s claim of being a “democrat and defender of democracy”, saying if the PDP candidate is such a person then his “rebirth must have taken place a few hours ago.”
Hypocrisy again: Just as one has now come to expect from Tinubu’s statements however, there were shades of hypocrisy in his colorful rhetoric.
Consider this quote from the Lagos politician:
“To my dear and good friend Atiku… When you lorded over Nigeria in tandem with President Obasanjo, there were myriad court orders mandating that your government render to Lagos state the funds due it to improve the lives of its millions of inhabitants. Instead, you gladly and without dispute joined Obasanjo in utter disregard for these unambiguous legal verdicts. In so doing, you demeaned the rule of law.
“You now speak of democracy and the need for executive restraint. But such verbal finery never crossed your lips or traversed your pen when you and Obasanjo improperly removed Senate Presidents more easily than a trendy cad exchanges a pair of shoes or changes the subject of his false affections.
“Your love for democracy is such that you were recently observed apologising to the PDP for not rigging the Lagos 2003 gubernatorial polls as you did the polls in the other Southwestern states. Instead of repenting for rigging at least five states too many, your expressed regret was that you had not rigged enough; that you rigged one state less than the complete mauling of democracy your party and your principal had mandated. Regarding such a destructive love as this, I am sure democracy and fair elections would rather do without.“
Those are very strong allegations against Atiku (and Obasanjo). And a lot of them – like withholding Lagos funds and removing senate presidents – are backed by facts. However when did Tinubu realize this? Because in 2007, the same Atiku after falling out with Obasanjo, ran as presidential candidate under Tinubu’s party, the Action Congress (AC). Tinubu wholeheartedly sold Atiku to the country as the antithesis to Obasanjo’s rule. He did not mention back then that Atiku played a role in withholding Lagos funds or sacking senate presidents or rigging elections. But here he is now suddenly ‘recalling’ in typical Tinubu fashion. Last week, we pointed out a similar kind of hypocrisy after he attacked Obasanjo.
Bottom Line: Tinubu has a gift for boiling with righteous anger against his political opponents. Once you make up with him however, you take away a part of his memory, making him forget all your alleged sins – until there is another break up.
Dive Deeper: Tinubu’s full statement criticising Atiku.