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Tinubu, APC, And Tsetse Fly Metaphor by Ike Abonyi

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“I am in the news more because I’m working, Nigerians discuss active men in the field.” – Bola Ahmed Tinubu

Former Lagos State Fovernor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is easily one of the most consistent and improved politicians in this dispensation.

Whether or not he is your favourite, you must come to terms with this fact. Since 1999, he has remained relevant in the field, whether as opposition or in a ruling party. Nobody ignores him in any political calculations without paying a price. He is also one of the most bashed politicians Nigeria has thrown up; yet, he remains standing. His strength is such that attacking him has become the easiest way to be noticed in the political space.

All the great and impressive power exhibited by various political interests, including the federal might deployed to snatch Lagos State from him has met a brick wall.

Ahead of 2023, he has cleverly positioned himself as the man to beat. The picture in APC is that President Muhammadu Buhari is handing over to Tinubu in 2023 and if not so there will be trouble. By design, Tinubu has become the heir-apparent and the turmoil in APC today is issues from dubious attempts by some kingmakers to look elsewhere for Buhari’s successor.

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The kingmakers’ plan is implementable but not without a high cost. If you decide to engage a lion or an elephant in a fight, just anticipate that the battleground must suffer. Already, the fear of this consequence has gripped the ruling party. Since 2015, anti-Tinubu elements in APC have been struggling to dislodge his grasp of the party and it’s not going easy. The exit of Bisi Akande for John Odigie-Oyegun in the National Chair was the first attempt at dismantling Tinubu. Oyegun’s reign was turbulent and he never saw peace until he was finally dethroned by a Tinubu man, former Edo State gGovernor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

As if in a revenge mission, the anti-Tinubu clique ensured that Oshiomhole never had peace either until he was eased out in a palace coup d’état. The quarrelsome nature of Oshiomhole made the plot easy. His sack on June 25, 2020, alongside members of the National Working Committee (NWC), was a relief to the party. Ever since that incident, the struggle has been how to outfox the Tinubu group and minimize if not wipe off his inevitable stake in the party. But It has not been an easy task.

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The controversial membership revalidation of the ruling party was one of the designs aimed at whittling down the larger-than-life Tinubu influence; even that has not been smooth going. The picture is such that the future of APC as a ruling party is dependent on how Tinubu is treated ahead of 2023 and how he reacts to such treatment. All attempts to see whether the unearthing of his not-so-pleasant past will change perceptions has not been effective. Instead, his political prowess continues to loom large

    READ ALSO: Senate commends NASC, Lauds Ongoing Reforms In The Commission.

 

In APC today, Tinubu has become like the proverbial tsetse fly perching on the balls, you cannot kill it without putting the scrotal sac in harm’s way. A choice to ignore the fly will still cost blood. President Buhari and his henchmen who had hoped that after benefiting from Tinubu’s money, goodwill and all, they would dump him, citing his skeletons in the cupboard, have real ized that it’s not as easy as they thought. The reason politics is science is the highly technical manoeuvring involved.

The Buhari regime itself has become so soiled that it would be the height of hypocrisy to deny anybody something on moral grounds when the key gladiators have dirty fingers in the national pie. If corruption was a dent in the Buhari circle before 2015, it’s no longer so today.

Therefore, the president’s camp already lost the moral right to determine who is holy or not. They had thought Tinubu could be pushed about on corruption grounds and finally shoo him out. The track record of the regime has weakened that strategy. When Tinubu ruled Lagos as governor and possibly laid the foundation of his stupendous wealth, Nigeria’s corruption index was not as bad as of today at home and abroad. So to keep Tinubu in the cold, somebody needs to think outside the box and come up with something uniquely convincing. Anything else will be tantamount to the kettle calling the pot black. Meanwhile, while they continue to search realfor what they would need to get Tinubu out, he is already making inroads into the party across the country, positioning himself for either a rise or for the big fall of the party if he is shabbily treated.

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Why is Tinubu the issue in APC? To attempt an answer to the question, we daresay that it’s because he has safely and effectively navigated the turbulent and murky waters of Nigeria’s politics. However you view it, he has deployed his knack so suitably to keep himself away from the whales and sharks as well as the banana peels of politics. To do politics in Nigeria for decades and remain afloat, you must have extraordinary and uncommon savvy to meander the slippery grounds where man and mammon hold sway.

However, the ruthless Buhari boys are capable of doing anything and damning the consequences, but bluffing the Jagaban comes at great cost. It would be interesting to see how it will end. When you hear the Presidency say that there is no disharmony between President Buhari and Tinubu even when the opposite is the case, it shows that the options are narrowing. When the Jagaban goes doling out funds to the victims of a fire incident in Katsina fire, he is just being strategic and reminding Buhari that ‘our friendship could go beyond politics’.

All students of Tinubu style of politics know that he takes no action, whether cultural, religious, and philanthropic, without the political component being factored in. When Tinubu’s former boy and now challenger, Governor Kayode Fayemi, delivered a lecture in the North last year and was described curiously and lavishly as the adopted Arewa son, pundits knew Tinubu would hit back. To show the difference between master and servant, while Fayemi delivered a lecture last year, this year, Jagaban chaired the occasion and delivered the keynote address. Unfortunately, the slipping of Tinubu at the occasion, which went viral, dominated the news from the event. This mild accident has been taken up by the anti-Tinubu group who now raises the question of his fitness for the job of president.

But is health an issue for a Nigerian President? After Buhari and perhaps Yar’Adua, anybody can rule Nigeria either from sickbed or even in a dementia state. All you need to do is provide good cover for yourself and employ a Lai Mohammed? The Tinubu birthday colloquium for this year was strategically taken to Kano. The noise about his correct age at 69 and slip of 50 million instead of 50,000 are all pressure of 2023 which the Jagaban need to contend with. While the scheming is going on in search of how to tackle the new headache of the party, political watchers are proffering how best to walk around the Jagaban without hurting him and incurring his wrath and curse. The best way to contain Tinubu and bury his ambition without the party suffering some collateral damage is to anchor the reason for denying him the presidential ticket on justice, equity, and fairness.

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Tinubu should be made to shelve his ambition in the larger interest of peace and stability. Such talk may mean nothing to a politician whose ambition is almost inordinate but as a patriot and salacious politician, he would know that it’s the true picture for peace and stability in our polity.

If under this dispensation the South West through Olusegun Obasanjo has ruled for eight years, Goodluck Jonathan of South-South even though accidental ruled for six years and the North by 2023 would have ruled for about 11 years in late Umar Yar’Adua and President Buhari, it sounds logical and sensible to allow the South-East peopled by one of the three leading ethnic groups in the country to have a shot also. The logic from this angle to Tinubu might make sense, but to deny him a ticket for another South-West or Northern person will not only be provocative but will be seen by his supporters as an affront.

If therefore he decides to rebel against such an outcome, the gods will stand for him. Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere, they say. If Tinubu and the ethnic Igbo or the geopolitical region of South-East are victims as it is, the entire tribe or region should be given prime considerations. So while APC is dancing around in search of an antidote to contain an anticipated Tinubu rebellion, they should just point at justice to the denied region as a defence. It’s perhaps only through this will the gods of the land be calm. After all, we are told by men of conscience that it is better to lose everything you have to keep balance of justice level. God, help us.

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Opinion

My Igbo Brothers, Before It Is Too Late, by Hassan Gimba

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The Igbo are a resilient lot, an egalitarian and industrious people. Defined as a meta-ethnicity native and one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa, they are predominant in South Eastern and mid-western Nigeria.

Though there is a claim by some of them that they descended from Jews, the World Culture Encyclopaedia has it that the Igbo people have no common traditional story of their origins. It said historians have proposed two major theories of Igbo origins. One claims the existence of a core area, or “nuclear Igboland.” The other claims they descended from waves of immigrants from the north and the west who arrived in the fourteenth or fifteenth century. Three of such immigrant people are the Nri, Nzam and Anam.

I have known the Igbo since I opened my eyes, and I have nothing but respect and admiration for them.

Mrs Nwosu and Ogualili were among my primary school teachers. I went through the hands of Mrs Ogualili in Shehu Garbai Primary School in Maiduguri twice – first in my primary five and then seven when she saw me through my first school leaving certificate examinations.

As a student, I had some of them also in the same class in both my primary and secondary schools. Frank Nweke Jnr, a former minister, was my classmate in primary school. Brilliant chap, he was.

At Government College, Maiduguri, among others, Michael Onyia, Christopher Ononogbu, Boniface Edeh, Joseph Anumudu, Felix Udeh and Peter Achukwu were among my classmates. Michael Onyia, now a PhD and lecturer at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, was always ahead of the set academically. Peter Achukwu is now a Professor in Medical Laboratory Sciences, specialising in Histopathology/Histochemistry with an LLB, BL to boot. He is also a lecturer at UNN.

People will understand, therefore, when I say I have nothing but respect and admiration for them. The Igbo, on average, can be generous and will do all it takes to build someone into becoming someone responsible. They have the best apprenticeship mentoring system in the world, where the mentor sets up the apprentice after a period of training.

I nearly married one, Uzoamaka, in 1990, but that should be a story for another day. However, I offered my junior sister—same parents—to an Igbo secondary school classmate when I realised he wanted to marry a northerner. He ended up marrying someone from abroad, though.

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In the 70s, the civil war was fresh, understandably, but by 1979 and through the 1980s up to 2015, the Igbo had been fully integrated into Nigeria and were (still are) major players.

From 1979 to 1983, they occupied the slot of vice president. Ebitu Ukiwe was President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida’s deputy before Augustus Aikhomu displaced him. They have had chiefs of staff, especially that of the army, Senate presidents, Senate deputy presidents, deputy Speakers in the House of Representatives, and many more positions. There is no position in Nigeria that the Igbo has not held, including the presidency if Goodluck Ebele Jonathan can be regarded as an Igbo by default.

Therefore, when the Igbo man cries “marginalisation!” I wonder if I knew its meaning.

The North East has not tasted power at the apex since Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, yet they have not cried of being “marginalised” by their North Western brothers who will tell them “One North” but when all come “home”, they always take the larger portion of the cake.

In 1979, the North West knew the North East’s Malam Adamu Ciroma was head and shoulders above all the presidential aspirants of the party that won the presidency that year, but they connived to deny him the ticket. Same with 1992. When they realised he would defeat Umaru Shinkafi at the National Republican Convention’s staggered primary elections, they again conspired to scuttle his journey. After doing him in, they went on and truncated another North Easterner, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe’s presidential drive, denying him victory even as a vice-presidential candidate. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar too has suffered the same fate.

Yet the North East did not lament. They did not threaten to break away. The temptation to blame others for their “woes” did not cross their minds. Cries of marginalisation did not sweep over them. No. They will sit down and re-strategise, then make their brothers an offer they cannot refuse: They will present their best who will hopefully best their best. This is politics. It is what democracy is all about. The business of give-and-take. No hairsplitting or inviting the god of thunder or threatening Armageddon.

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Again, if people are backward, unable to witness any development in their areas, as the Igbos cry, they should go to the source and address it. Would it be fair for an Anambra man, for instance, to accuse a Hausa man of under-development in his state? Methinks it will not look nice. Members of the state house of assembly are all Igbos, same for cabinet members and all local government officials. Those representing the state at the national level are all Igbos and the governor who got elected into office by his fellow Igbo is also one of them. Their full allocation comes to them, as well. So, where did someone from another area cause the problem? How did he do them in?

It is too late for Nigeria now to divide into only God knows how many components. Perhaps 1966 was the best time. Yes, maybe. Perchance by now, we would all have been independent nationalities, each with its peculiar problems and prospects. But now? No way, sir! We are all safer in a united Nigeria. None of the six geopolitical zones can survive outside Nigeria. Bandits, insurgents, militants, megalomaniacs, charlatans and all would overwhelm us. Even the Igbo nation cannot stand on its own if left to the whims, arrogance and demagoguery of its self-anointed secessionist leader who Yoweri Museveni will look like a saint when compared to.

But many intelligent Igbo know this. The problem is there is a herd movement towards something that the gullible, used cannon fodder do not even know what it is. To them, it is “freedom”. Sure? Freedom from what? From where? From who? If it happens, which is doubtful, it is then they will recall Nigeria with nostalgia and rue over a Nigerian slang “one chance”. They would realise its real meaning, albeit late in the day. This is assuming various warlords have not emerged to deny everyone peace. And freedom. And therefore I sympathise with my good friends, my brothers across the Niger.

A herd movement like the IPOB has its driving spirit and being populated mainly by society’s dregs with nothing to lose, a certain force with a promise of violence pushes it. The level-headed can easily get intimidated and blackmailed into sheepish silence.

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There is nothing the good and visionary can do when demagogues opiate the minds and souls of the gullible herd. Or so it seems. But we should also keep in mind Edmund Burke’s letter to Thomas Mercer, a 19th century Judge. A summary of the letter is: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

But sometimes one gets disappointed in how the situation was left to deteriorate to this level. Of course, we know that once there is no fairness or justice in a land, agitations take over. In 1966 when life was snuffed out of some leading northern military and political leaders, the chant in the North was for “Araba” (separation) because the North felt the military regime then was not fair and just to it.

The only way we can slow down and perhaps reverse the impending doom is for all to feel included and carried along in affairs despite scarce resources. We have a lot to learn from how Quebec and Ireland are being handled by the Canadian and British governments, respectively.

Nnamdi Kanu, who Aisha Yesufu described as a ‘made-in-China Shekau’ and his IPOB and ESM always deny what everyone knows were perpetrated by them. This is unlike the Boko Haram insurgents who are eager to own what they did and didn’t do as long as it was sinister. This means there is still hope that they could be persuaded to return from their fatal journey, a journey that will only cause untold pains to all on both sides. We need not go through what we had gone through before. Even animals learn from experience, sometimes referred to as history.

We that are in Nigeria should not heed the calls of those safely ensconced in the safety and comfort of the lands of the Whiteman to put our house ablaze. Let anyone who loves us and wants to fight for us remain within us, as Gandhi and Mandela did for their people. We shouldn’t put our lives and those of our loved ones, our relationships, properties and years of labour and sweat on the line for one brigand in disguise, a charlatan living off our sweat in comfort abroad.

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Opinion

APC Zoning Arrangement, A Knot Too Tough To Untie By Bala Mohammed

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Yesterday, Wednesday 14/04/21, the social media was awash with a breaking news about a new zoning arrangement for the ruling APC, come 2023.

But no sooner than the social media release, the Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the party, came out with a counter statement, distancing itself from the zoning arrangement list in circulation.

According to the disowned list, the presidential ticket is zoned to the South, Vice President – North, Senate President – South, Deputy Senate President – North, while the Speaker – North and Deputy Speaker – South.

For the National Working Committee zoning, the list showed that the north will produce the National Chairman, National Secretary – South, National Treasurer – South, Financial Secretary – North, Legal Officer – North and Welfare Officer – South.

Whether true or false, the disowned arrangement is a reflection of the political pulse of the country, and the APC would find it as a knot too tough to untie.

Since the annulment of the June 12 election of 1993, the election that was adjudged to be Nigeria’s freest and fairest, and one that was cancelled by the then President of the day, Gen.Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Nigeria has been struggling with stress, in search of solution out of the precarious and politically entrapped position it found itself.

The predicament had resulted in many political experiments, with the then acceptable, even though not the best, being the idea of power rotation, between the geographical north and the geographical south.

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Following the death of General Sani Abacha in 1998, his successor, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, began the transition process, which led to Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999. The ban on political activities was lifted, and political parties were formed in accordance with the constitution, which was styled after the pattern of the second republic of 1979.

Cashing in on the sentiments that followed the June 12 annulment, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, founded in 1998, by members of numerous groups and organizations, including the G-18 and G-34, moved to the north, and in it’s first presidential primary election held in Jos, nominated former military leader Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who had just been released from prison, and who happens to be from the same state with late MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12 election, as the presidential candidate in the elections of February 1999.

Obasanjo, in consultation with the party’s strategists, quickly picked Atiku Abubakar (then Governor-elect of Adamawa State) and a former leading member of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, as his running mate. They won the presidential election easily, and were inaugurated on the 29th of May 1999.

Using the same sentiment of power shift, the PDP held sway for 16 years, until the 28th of March 2015, when the party was defeated by the opposition APC, and Muhammadu Buhari became the President.

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But still, the political problems continued, mostly rotating around the same pendulum of power shift, with restructuring as a recurring weapon of threat.

The argument of the advocates for the power shift and the clamourers for political zoning is that, for the practice of liberal democracy to be peaceful and successful, the mechanism for power-sharing must not only oscillate between north and south, but be seen to be ethno-regionally balanced.

Short of calling for the introduction of the policy of one country two systems, many political pundits believe the power shift arrangement, which, although seen as an elites’ strategy to negotiate continued participation in the political process and access to the national wealth, is the only panacea for maintaining peaceful political order in Nigeria today.

So for the ruling APC, it is a knot too tough to untie now.

Some adventurists are of the believe that, by virtue of it’s numerical strength, the north can retain power, through a negotiated alliance, but methinks that too is too tough to try.

Many APC stake holders, including Governors like Mallam Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state, Aminu Masari of Katsina state and Professor Babagana Zulum of Borno state, are openly in support of power shift to the south.

According to Governor Aminu Masari, the Southern region of the country should produce the next President, arguing that a non-northerner should succeed President Buhari in 2023, in the spirit of equity, fairness and justice.

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Masari’s position trailed the views of other APC chieftains, who have maintained that there is an agreement on zoning, amongst whom is the former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume. Senator Ndume said the retention of the presidency in the North in 2023 would amount to a third term.

As for the Borno State governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, it would be ungentlemanly for power to remain in the north, so the APC must heed the advice and keep to previous agreements made to shift power to the southern part of the country in the next administration.

Even non politicians, like the respectable former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, have joined the clamour for such power shift. Gen. Gowon is calling for both zoning and rotational presidency among the six geo-political zones. He said, rotating the office is key to peace, tranquillity and development, suggesting that Nigeria should henceforth, have two vice presidents, saying that one of them should come from the zone producing the President and the other elected into power during the presidential election.

Yes, the APC can disown the statement on paper, but in the real sense of things, it is a reflection of the political pulse of the country, and a knot too tough to untie, I think.

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The Violence, Destruction And Tatatatatata Envisaged By APC That Never Happened.

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I can see the high level of disappointment and frustration registered on the faces of most APC leaders in Kogi State and beyond over the very successful and peaceful conduct of the just concluded PDP South West Zonal Congress in Osogbo, Osun State.

Some of the leaders have made so much negative remarks and crude comments about the just concluded and peaceful PDP South West Zonal Congress. All their negative wishes was primarily because of the involvement of Sen. Dino Melaye being the indomitable and indefatigable chairman of the screening committe.

Some had wished to hear the destruction of the process since on Sunday 11, 2021 when the exercise commenced. While some are expecting the ugly breaking news that there was gunshots everywhere, some had expected to hear the headline stating figure of deaths, injured and other casualties.

Some would have preferred the caption; Melaye escapes gun shots as thugs invaded the venue of the Congress.
These are some of the expectations of the inventors of tatatatatata proponents who have no political acceptability anywhere in Kogi State to win a peaceful, transparent and free election.
Many and more of such disturbing stories they want to hear yesterday, it never happened!

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When the news filtering out from the Women and Children Development Initiative Foundation (WOCDIF), Osogbo, venue of the PDP South West Zonal Congress were coming positive, palatable, peaceful, progressive, encouraging and successful, they began to feel sad and frustrated.

All these self acrimony and anticipated devilish wishes was all because distinguished Senator Dino Melaye was made the screening committe chairman.
How does this become a crime? Melaye’s rising popularity and political profile even after his mandate was criminally and dubiously taken, still become worrisome for them.

Some leaders of APC Kogi State endlessly waited to hear the eruption of violence and destruction in Osogbo, but it never came to pass!
Surprisingly, to demonstrate their open hatred for Sen Melaye as usual, they started cooking stories and unimaginable falsehood that the Congress has been suspended due to violence.

Considering the high political consciousness of the good people of South West, and the interest of the the two political giants, Former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose and his brother Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, nothing they did not envisage in negative.

They went further in an attempt to justify their usual lies and dirty politicking, they begin to bombard the social media platforms with the pictures of the partially characterized distruption at the PDP North West Zonal Congress held few days ago in Kaduna where some ballot boxes and papers were seen on the floor scattered.
Has anything changed for all these needles and fruitless display of political nuisance and envy?
All these happened after the propagation of a failed story and self invented lies by APC, that Sen Dino Melaye was rejected as the screening committe chairman.

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In all, whatever they might want to achieve by this crude approach to politics, their imagination and intention physical or piritual, political or personal has been consumed, defeated, shamed and caged.

Under Senator Dino Melaye chairmanship, there was proper planning and most efficient strategies were deployed to achieve sound result. Fence mending, peace building meetings, consultations among stakeholders and transparency were key factors put in palace by Senator Dino Melaye led screening committe.

Before the conclusion of the well coordinated, planned and successful congress, Fayose and Makinde embraced each other.
The two main contenders. Fayose declared openly that Gov Makinde is the leader of PDP in South West.
Taofik Arapaja and Eddy Olafeso have equally embraced each other and resolved to jointly reposition PDP in South West ahead of 2023. What more?

Sen Dino Melaye is a political strategist by all standard, put all his political enemies together, he will subdue them with his God given political wizardry.

~Gbenga Bright

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