I live six-thousand miles away from Lagos. When Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was Lagos State governor many years ago, there was no scintilla of interest in me about Nigerian politics or Nigerians. Scanty words I heard about Asiwaju I garnered when I resided in the state of Maryland. A few of his blood relations attended the same church I did in Washington DC and Baltimore. In 2013, I decided to rejigger my slumbering journalism career and got immersed in Nigerian politics and the process of elections in my home State of Osun. That was my first involvement writing actively about Nigerian politics. It was when I experienced the Tinubu tintinnabulation and my eyes and ears got open to all manner of stories about the former Lagos State governor. However, I was able to sift the wheat from the chaff, and discern senseless stories from sensible ones about the man who is now Nigeria’s president-elect.
Without a shred of doubt, Tinubu is one of the most revered strategists and politicians in the history of African politics. His countless millions of lovers are over him like hybla-bees over honeycomb. On the other juxtaposing hand, and like heavenly angelic beings, his haters are innumerable. Venoms against Asiwaju are coarse, hoarse, biting, brash, and brazen. From their camps of bitterness and hate, venoms and vitriols against the Jagaban of Borgu are spewed without a bridle. This man is not just beloved and hated; he is feared. And the fear of Tinubu, for whatever reason, is real. And I just wonder why.
About a month after Muhammadu Buhari was declared winner of the 2015 presidential election, I met with an alhaji in Houston, Texas who was introduced at a dinner as the ‘brother’ of the President. About 20 people were in attendance for the four-hour long get-together and interactive session over dinner. It was clear from our discussion that a determination had already been made by the Congress for Progressive Change wing of the All Progressives Congress that Tinubu, the powerhouse of South-West politics, and the man on whose shoulders Buhari rode to power, had to be sidelined.
“Yes, we thank Tinubu for all his contributions; but he cannot control us like he does his governors. No. We will not let him”; the man told me. Was Tinubu trying to control a general who had controlled platoons most of his adult life as a soldier? I wasn’t sure if the unfolding move bordered on sheer hatred for Tinubu, or fear of his possible pervasive control of government machinery, or both. Words I heard at the dinner convinced me that Tinubu was going to be on a sidelined solo-and-lonely ride for at least four years. That turned out to be the situation for almost eight years of Buhari rule until now.
After the Saturday, February 25, presidential election, the Independent National Electoral Commission declared that the 71-year-old husband of an ordained pastor won in 12 of Nigeria’s 36 states, and secured a significant number of votes in several states to coast to victory polling a total of 8,794,726 million votes making him president-elect. A few days ago, a rabid online tabloid reported that close staffers in the presidency said Buhari doesn’t see himself handing over to the president-elect. The presidency immediately denied the report.
“…The government is already in a transition phase. The Transition Committee made up of representatives of the outgoing administration and the incoming one is meeting on an almost daily basis to plan the handover to the Tinubu/Shettima administration…Thirteen committees as offshoots of the main committee, some, to arrange military drills and pulling out of President Buhari, are either all at work or soon to be. So far, everything is going very well and there is no indication of any hitches.” A presidential spokesman said in a statement.
Before the recently concluded elections, a close ally of a former Nigerian president confided in me that he (former president) had boasted to his close friends that “there are two people who will never become President while I am alive-Atiku Abubakar and Bola Tinubu. Over my dead body will any of them become President.” The former president, we heard; had traversed the country campaigning against the two men in emirs’ palaces and former rulers’ mansions. I was not shocked when a few days ago I read another report of grand plans by some forces to set Nigeria ablaze and cruelly coral into violence and pandemonium the democratic process of handover to a presidential successor.
- Tinubu US supporters plan counter-protest at White House
- Ex-minister loses suit challenging Tinubu, Atiku’s candidacy
- Supreme Court dismisses ex-minister, Nwajiuba’s suit against Tinubu, Atiku
All of the spinning and swirling katzenjammer about a yearning for an interim government cannot be ignored. There is a sinister calculation about the whole talk that many in and outside of Nigeria suspect that Tinubu is the target. There are forces bent on truncating our democracy, and denying all elected officials across the nation a chance to serve by setting Nigeria on fire. For these forces, politics and government are their lifelines to financial survival. They see themselves as losing out in the scheme of things. If the entirety of the stakes of over 200 million Nigerians are tossed up in an inferno and conflagration, to them, it is fair game.
Why this much cache of hate against Tinubu? Who is afraid of a Tinubu presidency, and why? The naira-notes-exchange charade caused the Nigerian economy to lose over N20tn. The overarching agenda, we heard, was to destroy Tinubu’s presidential dream. But the effect of it took a nation back 10 years. And the man set for destruction is still standing. Now, this chatter about an Interim Government and planned widespread organised bonfire in major cities also targeting this man? What a purulent and petulantly puerile proposition!
All over the world, no electoral system is perfect. But it appears Nigeria is inching toward perfection. Last election saw unknown men and women across Nigeria who never thought they had a chance to win an election in Nigeria pulling victories off. They had no money to bribe voters or even print campaign fliers, but now they will serve in state Houses of Assembly, National Assembly, and will soon be occupying the governors’ mansion. That’s encouraging for many.
The 2023 election is over. Court battles ahead are welcome and part of the process. After judicial adjudication, if the baton is ordered to change hands from Tinubu to Atiku who came second in the election, it is part of the order Nigerians will respect. But until then, Tinubu is the president-elect. He will be sworn in according to the Constitution. And he will take reins of power. The Interim Government concocted by some people and their evil sponsors will not see the light of day. Nigerians will not allow Nigeria to be burnt down by people burnt out by the air of humiliating defeat. They will not allow creeps handpick a pervert to preside over Nigeria. It will not happen.
– Twitter: @FolaOjotweet
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