One of the bestsellers ever written is the novel, Sorrows of Satan, by Marie Correli. If you have not read it, I unreservedly recommend it. Is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu a Satan? No! Again I say, No! No! No!
I however chose the profound central theme of that novel, to situate the inner recesses of this political juggernaut’s, state of mind, on political developments in Nigeria. Let us follow a logical sequence.
No other former governor, living or dead, has managed to build the political family, the ex Lagos State Governor, Senator Tinubu has managed to hatch.
The last man standing of the first badge of the 1999 Governors class, Tinubu has grown in influence, reach and power, where his peers have diminished, and many almost forgotten. That stature is being threatened as we speak.
Apart from surviving the wilt of his original Alliance for Democracy, AD, he has metamorphosed, from being, the leader of a party with a single state in 2003, up to 6 states by 2007/11, and helping fashion a mega party that, swept PDP out of power after 16 years strangle hold on the polity, with 23 states under its control. That is no mean feat.
Then, if you take a census of his protégés in strategic command positions of power and privilege, you will marvel at what he has achieved. Kayode Fayemi, Raji Fashola, Ibikunle Amosun, Rauf Aregbesola and Abiola Ajimobi, and to some extent, Adams Oshiomhole, are all Governors emerging from the Jagabans stock.
He mentored them in his cabinet and sent them forth as Jesus sent his disciples to spread the Gospel.
Vice President Osibanjo was his Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice. There are so many more in both chambers of the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly across the nation.
Tinubu’s vision came from a pan Nigerian world view. He appointed non indigenes into his cabinet. Groomed them. Empowered them. Thereafter, he gave them the blessing/platform, to go and make impact in their communities. That’s why, his men are everywhere.
Ironically, that is where Tinubu’s sorrows begin.
His gamble with change is threatening the very root of his political struggles and achievements, of over two decades. Having come up with the All Progressives Congress, and its decisive march to victory, a fifth column, stealthily, and with all subtlety, conspired to curtail Tinubu’s rise and rise.
First, to tame his power and prominence, his scheme to run as a Vice Presidential pick on the APC ticket was shattered. The Muslim/Muslim combination was advanced as his undoing. But, beneath the veil and merit of that argument, lay a deeper power play. Tinubu was yanked off.
He was allowed to freely nominate the Vee Pee. His pick is Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, his erstwhile Attorney General and Justice Commissioner. It is debatable, if the easy going Professor is very relevant in the power organogram of the current administration. Not exactly what Tinubu wished for.
Then he was forced to eat the humble pie in the set up of the National Assembly’s leadership. Some forces, within and without his party vowed to put him on a leash. They did. His preferred candidates for both Senate President and Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Senator Lawan and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila lost to Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara respectively. Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto, who was former Speaker, was fingered as the man who aided Dogara in particular.
In Kogi State, pundits believe, the travails of embattled James Faleke, is down to his link to Tinubu.
Faleke has finally lost his challenge of the substitution of late Alhaji Audu Abubakar, with incumbent, Governor Yahaya Bello at the Supreme Court which upheld the ruling of the Appeal Court and Elections Petition Tribunal.
Faleke ran a joint ticket for Kogi’s Governorship, with the deceased Audu and rejected being snubbed for Bello for the top job. This snub, is down to the perception that, Faleke is Tinubu’s boy. The need to check the incursion or foothold of Tinubu in North central politics, many believe, is the unscripted agenda that played out in Kogi. James Faleke had served as member representing Ikeja
Federal Constituency at the Federal House of Representatives under Tinubu’s
When the APC had the grand finale of her Governorship campaign in Edo State on September 6, 2016, Tinubu was again absent. Of course, the combative Edo Governor, Adams Oshimhole, never tolerated the meddlesomeness of a Tinubu in his terrain. He literally, forced his preferred candidate, Godwin Obaseki on the party. Tinubu steered clear and never bothered to show up, even though President Buhari and the top brass of the party attended the rally.
Tinubu’s humiliation was capped in Ondo State APC Governorship Primaries on September 3. After a bitter row that divided the party, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu polled 669 votes to defeat Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s anointed candidate, Mr Segun Abraham, who scored 635 votes in the keenly contested primary election held in Akure.
Tinubu’s declared support for Mr Abraham, was vehemently resisted by power blocs in the APC and they did everything to frustrate his ploy. Tinubu’s rejection of that outcome has boiled over, as he has openly called for the resignation of the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie Oyegun. In a September 25, 2016 Press Statement released by his Media office, Tinubu accused Oyegun of sundry crimes and dishonesty, including subverting a purported vote by an appeal panel that the primaries be cancelled. Oyegun says dismissively, that he won’t join issues with the Jagaban. The problem is, Tinubu is not a man you dismiss with a snide remark or a whiff.
While Tinubu has become a wailing wailer in APC, his opponents and the other power blocs in the party are winking in the dark. For other watchers of the political drama, the expression is, ‘that’s good for him.’ Truth is, the APC has become a Frankenstein monster that threatens to consume the Tinubu myth. His demystification is slowly taking roots and he is running out of ideas, or so it seems, on how to stem the tide against him. Sad to say, Tinubu does not know the men he can count on, even from his core. They have all assumed political lives of their own.
The sorrow of Tinubu is three fold. First, President Buhari belongs to everybody and belongs to nobody. He never reasoned, he wouldn’t be able to teleguide the President. Secondly, the APC has lost its populist swagger and appeal. Again, Tinubu knows, Mr President has not turned out the type of President he craved for a Party, sired and fashioned of the fortune APC.
This is worsened by the fact that, this is not his idea of the Change he bargained for. APC has become a child with paternity issues. Many people claiming it as their baby. In the end, Tinubu’s desire for patency to the APC token as her National Leader has been severely compromised. What a sorrow he nurses.
In that novel I premised this piece on, Satan, manifest in the form of the dashing Prince Lucio Rimânez, is depicted as a man who truly believes the Gospel of Salvation, but is forbidden by the failings of man, with who he has dealings, from partaking of it. The more he desires to reconcile with God, the more the sins of frail mankind makes him accursed and distances him from possible salvation.
What a sorrow. Tinubu is a true progressive. But, his party is clearly on a regression. It hurts his soul.
My final poser is this- is APC to Tinubu now like a Genie out of the bottle? Isn’t the Party heading for a split, with at least three discernible groups with President Buhari/Governor Nasiru El Rufai on one side, Ex Governor Rabiu Kwawanso/Senate President Bukola Saraki/GovernorTambuwal on another and Atiku Abubakar staring down on them all? Where will Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi stand when the bubble bursts? Is this fairytale political romance headed for bitter goodbyes? How will Tinubu rein all these tendencies in? Is a new party in the womb of the overstretched APC? Enough said.