Politics

JUST IN: Tinubu Goes For The Broke

JUST IN: Tinubu Goes For The Broke

Information reaching Naija News House says that Tinubu Goes For The Broke

A couple of weeks ago, on April 29 to be precise, I sent a message to my friend of over two decades, Richard Akinnola, complaining about a news report credited to the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to the effect that the Interior Minister, Rauf Aregbesola, nominated Osinbajo as the Vice-president.

For the uninitiated, Akinnola is a respected journalist, celebrated human rights activist and an influential social media influencer.

Presently, he is at the forefront of the campaign for his friend, the vice-president, to be the President of Nigeria. I told Akinnola to advise his friend to stick to his usual refrain: that it would be a disservice to the nation if he doesn’t contest for the Presidency and to emphasise his experience and expertise. I also told him that the VP could leverage the fact that he wouldn’t have to learn on the job if he was elected.

Crediting Aregbesola, a man who had just thrown (Asiwaju Bola) Tinubu (National Leader of the All Progressives Congress) his benefactor, under the bus with his nomination as VP was a low, I told my friend. As was his wont, Akinnola promptly responded, saying what the VP said was that Aregbesola notified him of his nomination not that the goatee-spotting minister nominated him. Even then, he agreed with me that the VP ought not to have said that and promised that he would tell the VP.

It is in the light of incidents like this that we should situate Tinubu’s outburst of Thursday, when he met the Ogun State All Progressive Congress delegates on Thursday in Abeokuta.

At the meeting, an angry Tinubu had said without him and God, the President, the VP and the governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, wouldn’t be holding the positions they are holding.

Those close to Tinubu say it’s not in the character of the man to talk in that manner. But that the Jagaban of Borgu had been pushed to the wall by those bent on frustrating him within the APC.

They say it is visible to the blind and audible to the deaf that the Jagaban of Borgu, who has campaigned in more states than all the presidential aspirants in the APC is the man to beat. Therefore, the man couldn’t understand why obstacles were deliberately being put on his way.

They allege that the President deliberately encouraged serving ministers to enter the race to frustrate Tinubu’s ambition. The idea of a consensus arrangement is also a ploy to screen Tinubu out.

Tinubu Goes For The Broke

The attempt to draft a former President Goodluck Jonathan and the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, into the race, was also cited as plans to frustrate Tinubu out of the presidential race.

Tinubu sympathisers also allege that, icking John Odigie Oyegun, a former chairman of the APC, who doesn’t see eye to eye with Tinubu to chair the APC’s screening committee, was another attempt to throw a spanner in the works of the Jagaban’s presidential ambition.

To make matters worse, was the President’s address to the APC governors, shortly before he travelled out to Spain, that he be allowed to choose a successor, since the APC had a policy where the governors had a hand in choosing their successors.

It is in this light, Tinubu’s supporters argue, that we should situate the Jagaban’s outburst on Thursday. Come to think of it, if a man is pushed to the wall, what do you expect him to do?

All Tinubu is asking for, say his admirers, is a level-playing field where all aspirants are allowed to test their popularity.

Also, have critics bothered to ask why the Jagaban had to put Abiodun in his shoes? For God’s sake, Abiodun has a right to throw his weight behind his preferred candidate but he has no right to distort history.

As Asiwaju rightly pointed out, Abiodun’s predecessor, Ibikunle Amosun, a fellow APC man, didn’t want Abiodun and wanted his protégé to succeed him but it was Asiwaju who threw his weight behind Abiodun and ensured his emergence as governor.

Indeed, when the then APC presidential candidate, (the) President, (Major General) Muhammadu Buhari (retd) came to campaign in Abeokuta, Ogun State, he urged the party supporters to vote him as President but that they were free to vote for anybody in the other elections.

He didn’t campaign for his party candidate, Abiodun. Buhari did this because he didn’t want to offend his friend Ibikunle Amosun.

Furthermore, according to those close to the Asiwaju, Abiodun had been avoiding receiving the Jagaban. Each time the Jagaban informed him of his plan to come and campaign to the Ogun delegates, Abiodun always found an excuse to discourage the Jagaban. It’s either he wouldn’t be in town or he was indisposed.

To add insult into injury, when the vice-president came on his campaign trail, he publicly credited the vice-president with his emergence as governor. That was too much for the Jagaban to take, hence his outburst.

Those who accuse the Jagaban of having a sense of entitlement, forget that he wasn’t talking to the country. He was addressing his party men (and women), reminding them of how much he has sacrificed for the party. He reminded them that but for his sacrifice, Buhari wouldn’t have achieved his ambition.

As a human being, it is natural for Tinubu to expect Buhari not to be antagonistic to his ambition, even if he would not support him.

Thrice Buhari tried to be Nigeria’s President. Thrice he failed until Tinubu went to him and the rest, as they say, is history. Those who are against Tinubu’s ambition make a song and dance of his so-called baggage.

Pray, which human being doesn’t have baggage? Which human being hasn’t done something he or she is not proud of?

But they conveniently forget the man’s role in the attainment and sustenance of democracy.

But for the Jagaban, there would have been no opposition party in Nigeria.

He, it was, who ensured that there was a platform to challenge the behemoth PDP during the presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo.

By challenging the Federal Government in the court on many occasions, he ensured the enthronement of federalism in the country.

He formed the Acton Congress; he formed the Action Congress of Nigeria, to democratise the political party space and ensure the plurality of opinions in the country.

To demonstrate his selflessness, he gave the presidential ticket of the parties to northerners: first Atiku Abubakar and later, Nuhu Ribadu.

Thanks to the Jagaban, he retrieved through the courts the stolen mandates of Governors Segun Mimiko in Ondo State; Kayode Fayemi in Ekiti State; Adams Oshiomhole in Edo State and Rauf Aregbesola in Osun State.

He achieved this by flying into the country, one Adrian Forty, probably the world’s best forensic evidence expert. Of course, at his expense.

So, if the man says he has paid his dues and insists he deserves the presidential ticket of the party he helped form, is that asking for too much?

If attempts are being made to deny him the opportunity of testing his acceptance among his party men (and women), should he keep sealed lips? When those he had assisted with his God-given talents and resources decided to stab him in the back, should he offer his belly to them in return? The man is human.

Ogunleye, a lawyer, sent this piece from Lagos
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