In her dark hour – does Nigeria need Bola Tinubu as President? Asks Victor Ikhatalor

Posted by News Express | 28 April 2021 | 1,655 times

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Unless one lives permanently in the “la la land of social media,” the very real politicking already taking place geared towards occupying the highest office in the land will elicit more than passing fancies or vituperation of political players who are already showing their cards in this ultimate “game of thrones.”

Among the pot pourri of political types already showing their hands in more ways than one in the quest to be Nigeria's president come 2023, I will dwell on the only “heavy hitter” at the moment to have put his cards on the table (overtly and covertly).

The Jagaban of Borgu, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, cannot be said to be indistinguishable in the crowd. His political might is the “stuff of dreams” politicians hanker after, forever keeping them awake at all hours.

Consistently bestriding the political firmament of Lagos State for nearly two decades, Tinubu has parlayed his unmatched status and derived influence into building bridges and reaching across regional divides in creating a very real wellspring of friendships and loyalties across the country. He is a “heavy hitter” alright!

To attain the status of a political godfather is no mean feat; but it does not stop any politician anywhere in the world – inclusive of the foremost democracies – from aspiring to that status. The only difference and why Nigerians abhor the influence of godfathers is that unlike primal influencers in better democracies, ours are mostly never benign but overwhelmingly controlling. In Nigeria, to attain and more importantly retain godfather status over any significant period is a feat reserved for uncommon men.

That politicians have continuously striven to retain the all-pervasive godfather status once attained is a laborious chore – for no sooner it seems that they fleetingly acquire the status by installing “chosen ones” than it seems the ones chosen are in a hurry to themselves become the choosers.

So, whatever one’s disposition towards the person of Bola Tinubu, the truism that he is a man of rare political acumen cannot be in question. To have stood atop the political heap and being the undisputed director of the politics of the most cosmopolitan of Nigeria's states and the 7th largest economy in Africa for so long is astonishing in a political space devoid of any pretentions to ideological followership. To simultaneously also, add other South-west states to his areas of influence with the uncanny trait of consistently being a factor (hit or miss), shows he is without doubt a very, very serious fellow.

So, when such a man, in such a country as ours, aspires to become president – realists must take a very hard look at what he stands to offer. It is wishful thinking for the battalions of click-baiters who lurk in the labyrinths of social media to believe haranguing his candidature will suddenly make him disappear. In reality, social media “voters,” allied to the greater majority of Nigerians of voting age, have ceased to be of any consequence, other than of the occasional nuisance kind (when ego noses of political elites are put out of joint). Cold facts, but unfortunately true.

A sample of our most recent elections, rather than alter a most worrying trend that has been gravitating over the years, has indicated an even more disastrous headlong drift. In Lagos, the Ifako Ijaiye Federal Constituency election, which held in December 2020, had a voter turnout of 2.9 per cent amounting to 9,884 people out of 339,864 registered voters.

In the most recent federal legislative by-election which held in Aba North/Aba South Federal Constituency in Abia State, voter turnout was an abysmal 3 per cent with a winner emerging with just over 10,000 votes.

What with elections in Nigeria well and truly spectre’s of crude contestations for power, allied to perennial bad governance – the root cause in the glaring rise of voter apathy translating into boycott of elections cannot be said to be unknown. We are now at the point where increasingly and almost exclusively, politicians and their hirelings have become the principal participants deciding electoral outcomes.

So, unless the legion of social media “would be” decision-makers get off their “sofas” to brave the political “winds” on election day, or unless an epoch-making event occurs (e.g, the National Assembly passes legislation that mandates electronic voting of the kind people can sit in their homes and use their phones much like everyone can do financial transactions, which will unravel and demystify the political class as it is today), then click-baiters and everyone else must look, hope and pray (very Nigerian traits) that whoever gets to be president come 2023 will do well by us in these critical times, albeit you can be sure Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, like or not, will not just be looking, hoping and praying.

Ikhatalor, Twitter: @MyTribeNigeria; e-mail:

Source: News Express

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