Tinubu’s Travails And Oyegun As A Metaphor For Buhari

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Tinubu’s Travails And Oyegun As A Metaphor For Buhari, By Majeed Dahiru

Tinubu’s Travails And Oyegun As A Metaphor For Buhari, By Majeed Dahiru

The gradual but steady demystification of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, by forces within the APC; a party he contributed immensely to build, actually started with his failed attempt to be vice president. This was followed by his failed attempt to have his preferred candidates elected into the leadership of the APC dominated National Assembly.

This piece was written by Majeed Dahiru. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

As if these were not enough, his former protégés (Babatunde Fashola, Kayode Fayemi etc) with whom he has apparently fallen out, were appointed ministers into the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari, against what may have been his recommendations. In all of these, he maintained a dignified silence on the role of the party and by extension the presidency by assuming all was well. However, he was pressed to cry out when his last forte of influence appears to be threatened – the APC structure of South West. Asiwaju is beginning to lose grip of his power base and he can’t afford to keep quiet and watch his political fiefdom taken away.

In all his political travails, Tinubu has often blamed his perceived enemies within the party. He blames the National Assembly saga on the excessive ambition of Bukola Saraki, the man who emerged as senate president over his preferred candidate, Ahmed Lawan. However, indications began to emerge that there could be a powerful but invincible hand behind his many political misfortunes, when again his preferred candidate for the substitution of the late Abubakar Audu, in the inconclusive November 2015 Kogi state gubernatorial election, James Faleke was dropped by the party under pressure from powerful quarters and instead fielded Yahaya Bello, the first runner up in the primaries that produced Abubakar Audu. Political watchers described this event as a measure by certain Northern elements in the presidency to keep Tinubu’s sphere of political influence away from the Northern region. The Jagaban got the message and retreated to his original zone of South-West.

This time, as he had always done, he attempted to influence the emergence of his preferred aspirant, Dr. Segun Abrahams as the candidate of the APC for the Ondo state gubernatorial election. He must have hoped he would easily emerge as the flag bearer of the APC and with power of federal incumbency go on to win the election proper. Alas, this was not going to happen. This time around, his opponents had the apex leadership of the party on their side and so it was that his candidate was defeated in a most spectacular manner, but not without controversies. Unable to take this humiliation in his own domain, Tinubu cried out.

This time he blamed the national party chairman of APC, John Oyegun for his latest loss. He called for his outright resignation over what he described as his lack of integrity and sound judgment. However for those who understand the politics of a presidential system of government, the party leadership is ultimately loyal to the president. Tinubu may have realised this fact. Therefore, his naming of Oyegun as the cause of his problem is only a metaphor for President Buhari.

What is happening in the APC is only a repeat of what happened in the PDP. The political astuteness of retired military men in politics, especially those who belong to the first, second and third generations of British trained army officers, who also had the privilege of ruling this country as military heads of state, have often been under-estimated by their civilian counterparts to their detriment. Their basic military training imbibes in them a messianic complex which makes them feel superior both in motives and actions in all their activities. Nobody leads them except one of their own. The art and science of coup plotting, which propelled them to power, requires more strategic planning and precise execution than a democratic election. They are masters of intrigue and power play. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo completely supplanted the so called founding fathers of PDP and dominated the politics of the former ruling party. Muhammudu Buhari, the politician, commonly mistaken for a statesman, is the real opponent and rival of Tinubu and not, Saraki or Oyegun or any other individual. Buhari is fully aware of the vulnerability of Tinubu and his politically exposed flanks. Buhari is aware of the fact Tinubu’s political successes outside Lagos State was achieved not by mass following, but with strategic partnership with powerful politicians in the South-West and beyond (Amosun in Ogun, Ajimobi in Oyo, Oshiomhole in Edo) etc. These are men of power and influence in their own rights whom Buhari can easily forge alliance with outside Tinubu.

The fact that Buhari narrowly won Lagos State (with less than two hundred thousand votes) and the PDP clinching six out of twenty seats in the House of Representatives clearly showed that the Jagaban is not politically invincible after all.

Muhammadu Buhari is one of Nigeria’s most successful politicians. He is the master of the game of minds which is very important in politics, because perception is all that matters. In the build up to the 2015 general elections, Buhari was able to forge alliances with a broad spectrum of diverse political interest groups which included the good, the bad and the ugly. He cuts the image of an apolitical figure that was out to help salvage a country drifting apart. He disguised his considerable personal resources (five houses and a home in Abuja) and came across as a poor man. He cleverly hid the luxurious lifestyle of members of his nuclear family with a Spartan outlook. While maintaining an anti-corruption posture, he successfully covered up his extreme sectional tendencies, which in fact is at the root of corruption. This largely explains the contradictions in the personality of Buhari and the double standards that characterises the actions and policies of his administration. The result of this very successful maneuvering was a massive moral and financial support from the Nigerian people; men and women, poor and rich, Christian and Muslim, old and young, across party divides. He is set to supplant Tinubu’s dominance in the party and like Obasanjo in PDP, he will succeed in APC. Tinubu is the honorary leader of APC but Buhari is the real leader and Oyegun and every other person know this.

What will be the result of this power tussle within the APC? The same result of the power tussle within the former ruling party – implosion and disintegration. The only difference is that, while it took PDP sixteen years to implode and loose power at the centre, it will take a shorter time, possibly after just four years, for the APC to lose power at the centre. Whereas, Obasanjo of the PDP was helped a great deal in his political domination by his impressive performance in government, Buhari will be hampered by his less than average and lack-lustre performance.

Majeed Dahiru, a public affairs analyst, writes from Abuja and can be reached through dahirumajeed@gmail.com.

This piece was written by Majeed Dahiru. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

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