In her dark hour – does Nigeria need Bola Tinubu as President? (Part II)

Posted by News Express | 5 May 2021 | 546 times

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•Victor Ikhatalor



In one of her very first in now well-known “series of grouches” aimed at her own government, First Lady Aisha Buhari raised an alarm and was overtly critical of what she considered the dumping and muscling out of those who really worked to bring their government on board by “cabal” elements who had usurped the levers of power.

It is not far-fetched to assume her gripe was chiefly centred on the shocking treatment of the Tinubunians by these shadowy hands. Women, in that regard, are very much built differently from men. More often than not, once a woman’s reciprocal loyalty is earned, by firstly the giving of it, it stays earned.

To have a prayer of attaining the Presidency, Bola Tinubu must beware of his own “Ides of March” and must firstly survive the “political knives” brandished by firm hands from within and outside his party. His “Brutus and Cassius” – those he has helped and aided to power positions – will dog his every step as keenly as the “Cato’s and Cicero’s” who will egg them on and work assiduously to tumble him down. His road will, indeed, be “hard”.

For Tinubunians to see the day when their “hoorahs” will rent the air at the ascension of Tinubu to the presidency, he firstly has to use all his political dexterity to navigate the minefield that is his party. The All Progressives Congress (APC), since its formation and ascension to power at the centre, has woefully and pathetically failed to coalesce into a convincing union. Diverse interests that formed the party have remained diverse – opening up the party to self-inflicted harm as it blunders along.

Will these sundry bedfellows, much like a number of wives who had to marry a man to fulfill cultural prerequisites before he is crowned king, give any recognition to the very first wife who contributed decisively and led from the front before the man’s crowning? Will the king, taciturn, reclusive and seemingly never to be bothered play a role, for or against in the giving of that recognition? Navigating the APC “Fuji house of commotion” will be in itself a great endeavour.

If and when all is said and done, he manages to emerge from his party, then there is another who lurks with a pulsating heart set on the presidency for more years than can be remembered. He is a true and very real “heavy hitter” with solid credentials to that effect and connection's reaching across the country.

A clear and present danger to anyone’s presidential ambition, he will only come into the equation if his party, the progenitors of the North/South presidential rotation, chooses to jettison it for the sake of taking back power. He is Turakin Adamawa, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. And he is a very, very serious man.

I would solely have wished, mainly for the sake of the sustainability of the Nigeria enterprise, that one could seriously consider another angle of challenge represented by a person from the South-east – an Igbo. The Igbo, among Nigeria’s ethnic nationalities are historically in political outlook, the “truest” of republicans. If Nigeria was a “true” republic, then this characteristic of the Igbo would have seen them thrive abundantly. However in the context of how “Nigeria Plc” works, their natural republicanism has been a burden.

The Igbo have thus been unable to produce a political “heavy hitter” able to do the “heavy lifting” to secure candidacy of any of the two prominent parties. So, realistically, unless the incumbent President picks an Igbo and bulldozes his candidacy through (which with the 5 per cent echoes, may very well see us witness a cow passing through the eye of a needle before that happens) or any of the two major parties by deliberate design picks a candidate from South-eastern extraction (which by the day increasingly seems unlikely), then Igbo aspirations to the highest office will, very unfortunately, continue to remain just aspirations.

An insightful look at Tinubu’s “directorship” in his time officially and unofficially in government reveals he is a very competent manager of people and resources. He has proven to be an astute spotter and nurturer of political and administrative talent. He is not befuddled in this task as most that get near political office in Nigeria are. Uniquely and untypically of Nigerian politicians, he is adroitly and single-mindedly versed in putting “square pegs in square holes” and “round pegs in round holes”.

This uncanny ability to give vital jobs requiring “eggheads” to “eggheads” and strong work to “strong heads” with everyone reading off the same script without confusing roles is very unique in these parts indeed. And, Lagos State, not that it is perfect in anyway, with its civil service (the most serviceable in the country, trumping all others, including the federal) and how the state works holistically – light years ahead of all other states – is a testament all of its own.

That Tinubu is an “able man” can be glimpsed easily from any perspective one chooses to view from. A very minor hiccup that could be taken advantage of rather mischievously (as indeed it has) is his speech delivery. He does have a gaffe or two in him – a “Bo Bo Biden”. But just like it didn’t stop President Joe Biden from reaching his goal, it shouldn’t stop him either. The onus should be on his handlers to make prompt clarifications when needed, much like Biden's team does. They mustn’t let slips fester until the morrow.

Quite obviously, in 2023, for the endurance of the Nigerian enterprise, she must have as leader a unifier, healer and astute manager. She must have a decisive and hands-on leader who is no idler or doodler. In stormy times, Nigeria cannot afford to have a ship captain who will forever be in repose in his cabin, thus putting the ship at the mercy of all manner of shipmates. The Nigerian “ship” must be captained by one capable of standing at the helm amid stormy seas, bringing all to bear to steer the ship into safe harbour.

As the race for 2023 heats up, a motley of aspirants will step forth (pretenders and all) out of the political woodworks but, ultimately, in the “cold light of day” of our country’s political reality, only two candidates from the two major political parties will emerge as real options for the presidency (unless elitist realignments happen before then). Bola Ahmed Tinubu is very much capable of doing the “heavy lifting” and emerging as one of two prospects.

An avowed federalist and champion for devolution of powers – will he forswear his past or embrace it? Does Nigeria need all of his attributes that has attained for him the political czar of South-west politics to be put at her disposal? In unprecedented difficult times, it suffices that Nigeria can ill-afford an “error” in 2023 if she manages to get there, in a make or break choice. Is Tinubu what we need?

•Victor Ikhatalor: Twitter @MyTribeNigeria; e-mail:


Source: News Express

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