THE TRIAL OF BOLA AHMED TINUBU
Perhaps, the next most conspicuous person in Nigeria today politically, after President Muhammadu Buhari, is Asiwaju Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Jagaban. Some people now see him as the President in waiting, that is, after President Buhari must have completed his tenure in 2023.
Tinubu launched himself into national politics in 1992 when he contested and won a senatorial seat in Lagos State during the ill-fated Third Republic. When the whistle for the Fourth Republic was blown in 1999, Tinubu came out again to contest for the gubernatorial seat of Lagos State, which he effortlessly won on the ticket of Alliance for Democracy (AD).
In 2003, Tinubu was the only man standing when the “Obasanjo Hurricane” came and blew off all the AD Governors in the South West, thereby preventing them from securing a second term in office.
With the enormous resources at his disposal as Governor of Lagos State, Tinubu began to build his political empire. At the end of his tenure in 2007, he left the Alliance for Democracy and formed his own political party, called the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
First, he pushed forward a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu, and later, a former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, to fly the party’s flag for the 2007 and 2011 Presidential elections respectively, but they both failed to win the polls.
In 2015, Tinubu changed gear. He teamed up with Muhammadu Buhari and some notable other political figures in the country to form the All Progressives Congress (APC). At first, Tinubu sought to pair with Buhari to run for the Presidency, with the aim that at the expiration of Buhari’s tenure he would automatically wear the cap. This was however opposed by some key figures of the party on the ground that Buhari and Tinubu belong to the same religious faith. Tinubu was then force to choose a surrogate to replace him.
Though, not holding any visible political position, Tinubu is known as the undisputed leader of the APC. They call him APC National Leader. In that regard, he was known to always have the ear of President Buhari. To that effect, he ensured that nobody stood between him and the President, while he was busy oiling his political machinery for his future political ambition.
To effectively ensure that no major ethnic group in the South stood between his Yoruba nation if and when the Presidency is zoned to the area in 2023, Tinubu encouraged President Buhari to give only “five percent” appointment to the Igbo, because the people did not vote for him, and thus alienated them from both the President and the APC. Earlier, Tinubu through his Oba, had openly threatened the all Igbo resident in Lagos that they would get them drowned in the lagoon, if they failed to vote for their political party.
Similarly, Tinubu had put a wedge between President Muhammadu Buhari and some key members of the APC, those who helped Buhari ascend to the throne in 2015. He had made the road very rough for former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who spent a greater part of his tenure at the Code of Conduct Tribunal. He equally made sure that former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, was sidelined from the Buhari government, until the man was forced to leave the party.
Now, Tinubu wants peace. He wants unity. He wants reconciliation. He wants all hands to be on deck. That’s what he was telling us in his write up a few a days ago.
The other day, I saw Tinubu in a photograph with an Igbo red cap and I got dumbfounded. And as we write, his boy in Lagos has just nominated somebody with an Igbo name, to be a Commissioner in Lagos State!
These are interesting scenarios, and we are bound to see more as events begin to unfold. 2023, here we come!