Yesterday in Jos, after weeks of procrastination and rehearsals, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress demonstrated another pattern of unfitness for the office he seeks to occupy. From his unsteady gaits to his incoherence and the unintended but welcome prayer for the PDP, all was a theatrical exhibition of a misplaced ambition.
The manifestation in Jos is a further consolidation of a pattern in the physical and psychological composition of Tinubu, who a few weeks ago shocked his host, Governor Nasir El-Rufai when he said Nigeria would go from rotten to bad. Analysts who put both events in context have leaned on the Biblical aphorism that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
The period of campaign is not just for activities that political parties can design to fill the void before election. It is part of the building blocks for leadership selection. It is a period of assessments for choices and decisions by the electorate. It is therefore important that Nigerians take full advantage to mark the scripts of various candidates and their parties. A man like Tinubu, who could not have the presence of mind or who required support to move around has obviously marked himself down.
Nigerians would recall the various inadequacies demonstrated by Buhari before he was elected in 2015. His qualification was a subject of litigation. His speeches were filled with gaffes including his inability to get right the name of his running mate. Every support was governed by emotion. Some of us fell for the wave of the period, but with the benefit of hindsight we now know better. The election of a President for a great and demanding nation like Nigeria is beyond the application of the Peter Principle, where people are promoted to the level of their incompetence.
In disaster management, there are some principles. The first is early warning signs. The disaster that the unlikely presidency that the Tinubu ambition represents is laden with early warning signs, buttressed by his conduct and carriage. Nigeria can not afford to walk into disaster. The second principle in disaster management is disaster risk reduction. Again, Nigeria has a great chance now to avoid a repeat of the Buhari Presidency, who was largely an absentee President in and outside the county.
The controversies surrounding the Tinubu persona are legion. His age is shrouded in mystery. His origin is in question. His academic credentials are in debate. The records of his career are in dispute. The source of his wealth are in contention. The burden of crime hangs around his neck. If in the face of all these he has been getting away and some Nigerians want to contextualise all within human fraility, what about the personal failures he now markets around the country?
For a very long time Tinubu made the rest of Nigeria to believe that he is not only the conscience of Yorubas but he’s the numero uno of the South-West of Nigeria. Events in the last few weeks during which Tinubu had to wrestle to obtain the endorsement of Afenifere have shown that Tinubu has no political base, or has an an exaggerated claim to political leadership.
As we critically evaluate the suitability of Tinubu, let’s call to mind the experience of Americans under Donald Trump. Trump was a man who lived in controversy all his life, but who through brinkmanship, deception and deployment of a huge financial asset hoodwinked Americans until they promoted him to his incompetence and unmitigated disaster. It will take decades if not centuries for America to clean the mess. Nigeria can be smarter by learning from the mistakes of the masters of democracy who were almost consumed by political indiscretion.
Tinubu has shown in words, action and attitude that he constitutes a great danger to himself and a potential disaster to Nigeria. His unfitness manifests daily. Let us heed the early warning signs. Let us adopt a disaster reduction strategy.
Atiku Abubakar remains the best option to lead Nigeria out of the disaster and calamity that the APC has sentenced Nigeria in the last seven and a half years.
God bless Nigeria.
Senator Dino Melaye Spokesperson PDP Presidential Campaign Management Committee