OPINION: Is this the end of Bola Tinubu’s political hegemony in Nigeria?

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By Prince Ejeh Josh.

The game has just begun. The Cold War is already boiling. We’re feeling the spill. The feud between the Abuja caucus and the Lagos feudal lord is gaining momentum. The political mood towards the battle for the soul of 2023 is oscillating.

In months ahead, evidence on ground points towards political alignments and re-alignment. Each caucus is taking a strategic position. Moles are being planted. They are spying on each other. What an interesting formation!

Remember it started with “pressures are on me to contest the 2023 presidential election”. The Jagaban has already made known his ambition from time immemorial. The signals are all there. However, the Abuja power has subtly dissented. “I am not Tinubu’s man because we have differences but I am Rauf Aregbesola’s man any day and I know Rauf is Tinubu’s man”. This warning missile was fired by the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai. It’s a case of my friend being a friend to my enemy.

Having seen this, the tactician could not wait any more longer before disbanding what was giving those Abuja “big boys” hope: Mandate Group and Justice Forum. It was an autocratic pronouncement. A perpetual disbandment. Will this stop the monstrous machinery of those determined to outwit this seemingly unstoppable emperor? Time will tell. However, I’m envisaging a great “collabo” that will make El-Rufai/Aregbesola candidature. It’s going to be a turf war warped in an enigma of complications. Let’s briefly look at the political kingmaker and why these Abuja boys may be playing with fire.

The Bourdillion lord, political strategist, tactician and operational genius, Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, may have taken a miscalculated political overture that would go down memory lane as his self-inflicted Achilles heel, which may eventually send him and his ambitious political journey to a wishful fantasy leading to obscurity and self-delusion. He single-handedly dissolved the Mandate Group and Justice Forum, perhaps, out of jittery.

Let it be noted, however, that Tinubu’s rare political ingenuity has continued to attract attention and resonate debates from scholars, analysts and political commentators. His doggedness is gaining credence and being ingrained on the Nigerian political landscape, until recently, after attaining what could be christened as his most laudable achievement, the seizure of national power. Tinubu’s inability to draw the line between his political hegemony or boundary and the relative territorial control by other political actors is signaling his political desuetude and redundancy.

The attempt by this APC seemingly unmatched gladiator to spread his political tentacles beyond his jurisdiction may have constituted a fatal political calculation which may soon begin to undermine his hegemony and hold to power. By implication, the recourse and appeal to consult him de facto on any national and burning issue is far beginning to dwindle.

The history of Nigeria’s political struggle may not be complete without inputting Tinubu’s contributions. His relentless struggle at ousting PDP from power for 16 years finally materialized in 2015. This political impetus was a major paradigm shift from collectivity to individuality in Nigeria politics. Unarguably, Tinubu was the man that adroitly turned an opposition into position of authority. His foresight at authoritatively locating the epicentre of power and what to deploy to seize this nucleus was, in fact, very rare to come by.

After 16 years of struggle, Tinubu acquired that which nobody had foreseen in the next 44 years. Didn’t the PDP promise to rule Nigeria for 60 years unstopped? But the Jagaban gave them exhaustive chase for the money. The acquisition of this power was not only a turning point in Tinubu’s life, it was for Nigeria. Whether positive or negative change, it was truly a turning point. Insecurity. Poverty. Cabal. Jubril. Bandits. Technical defeat. Home-feeding of school children. Snake and monkey-swallowing money. Good and bad partyman. Bullion vans. Etcetera. All these new vocabularies made their way into Nigerian lexicon as soon as the APC snatched power.

The Aare of Yorubaland became indispensable for other formidable politicians to consult in their political relations. Senator Buruji Kashamu of the PDP had once written to eulogise him as a Iroko tree that could make a forest. While Chief Bode George vehemently refused to recognize him (Tinubu) as the Awolowo of our contemporary time. Regardless of the above, it’s needless to remind ourselves who Tinubu is and his capability to influence the system.

In fact, with the projection of Buhari into the country’s apex seat, Tinubu stands a chance to control the entire system. This, however, is becoming impossible having treated with utter neglect when to act and when to go into reclusivity. A holder of power without self-discipline is easily inebriated and blinded by the aural of its ephemerality.

The application of political pragmatism could have, inevitably, effected “power consolidation”. This is where Tinubu committed his self-inflicted political suicide that is imminently threatening his power consolidation and political future. As a leader who wanted to maintain an established political dynasty, he necessarily not meddle into all political affairs. Some issues are deliberately left ignored to reserve that prestigious relation. The political wave requires careful navigation.

Sadly, Tinubu has placed himself beyond his reach, and the consequential damage may be the eventual pruning of his political wings which may see him become a political casualty that will lead to his oblivion. Like the great novelist, Rushdie, recently wrote, I’ve seen dictators rise and fall. So I’ve also seen great political hulks rise and fall. I’ve seen them forgotten. Will Tinubu fall because of his high-handedness and excesses? Again, time will tell.

The obsession with Tinubu’s overbearing influence on the APC affairs has led to angry voices of dissidents from the rank and file of the party. Again, he refused to read the handwriting on the wall. His aloofness fueled by the desire to massage this ego has cost him a major blow, and unfortunately, it is exposing him to levity, ignominy and disdain at a time he ought to be the power broker and consolidator. Political action and inaction must be deliberate.

First, it was Saraki who dealt a big blow on him in 2015. He did not learn his lesson. He went ahead and kicked out the butt of governor Ambode despite pleas from all quarters. It worked for him. He nodded and smiled. He poked nose into Ekiti state, and Governor Kayode Fayemi, being one of the Abuja caucus, gave him a bloody nose. He tried same in Ondo state, feeding Oke for the top job, but he was cut to size by Rotimi Akeredolu. (Oma iyemi. Omi iye lala). As he was still trying to recover from the blow, they reduced his main man to “Vice President Academics”. The bad blood between him and the “pig master” (Honourable Minister for Power) is an open secret.

This has also signalled the beginning to the end of Tinubu’s political influence in Nigeria. But the great Hannibal is not seeing this. He needs to go back to his “48 Laws of Power”. He urgently needs self-assessment and re-assessment to bounce back before it is too late. The great poet, Andrew Marvell, warns about time constraint when he submitted that “…at my back, I always hear time-winged chariot hurrying nearby”.

Tinubu’s attempt for a last fight to hold back power by dismantling the Mandate Group and Justice Forum as a way of getting back to the Abuja cabal may expose the APC to an inescapable chaos that could consume his ambition. His labor may soon end in disappointment. Soon, the internal contradictions on which APC was built would play out itself, which might lead to its imminent collapse.

This internal contradictions were motivated by nothing less than ‘individual selfish interest’ rather than collective interest of the party members. Will this internal dissension lead to the imminent collapse of the APC? Time shall tell. The north will be laughing out loud. They are the greatest beneficiaries of this mudslinging. Will the PDP size this opportunity and capitalise on it to vigorously bounce back? It’s unlikely since Atiku, another desperate power monger is still warming up even at old age.

Let me, however, warn that Tinubu should not be played down yet. He has his usual way of making a great comeback. Like the former PDP Chairman and governor of the old Gongola state, Alhaji Bamaga Tukur, once wrote to his detractors, the Abuja cabal should not write off the old man yet. They should consciously watch out. He may take them by surprise.



DISCLAIMER: All views expressed on our opinion page are those of the writer and do not represent the position of INSIDER or any of its reporters/editors.

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