Tinubu Laughs

By Osondu Ahirika 

The Jagaban must be laughing. He has hit the bulls eye. That referrnce is to Asiwaju Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the National Leader of Nigeria's ruling party, the All Progressives Congress. 

It's been a long walk to this loud cheer and clinking of glasses at Bourdillon Close Mansion of Tinubu. The Lion of Bourdillon has turned his Den, so to speak, as the Mecca of politics in Nigeria. Every politician who wants to be something must kow tow to this shrine for supplication, appeasement, atonement and intercession. 

Tinubu, who pundits love to tout as an Awoist, and who sagaciously rides crest to weave his expansive political network looks every stretch an incarnate of the Yoruba political patriarch, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Just that, he has clobbered more to prime his game, combining the bipartisanship  of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and stoic politicking of Sir Ahmadu Bello. 

He laughs because, of all the heroes of the Democracy struggle post June 12, 1993, Tinubu has become it's ultimate warrior. 
After then President Olusegun Obsanjo decimated the Alliance for Democracy in 2003, Tinubu survived the purge of South West AD governor's and held out in Lagos State. 

From thence, he became the sole life wire of opposition politicking in Nigeria. By 2007, he was able to wrestle three more states from the grip of PDP in the South West and through the Courts, Edo State was added as a foothold in the South South geopolitical zone. The new party he fashioned out of the debris of AD, the Action Congress of Nigeria was on the upswing. 
As Governor of Lagos State,  he appointed Commissioners and aides who proceeded to become governor's , Senators and Federal House of Representatives members in their various States, and in the first four years of President Buhari, his proteges were top players in the Presidency and countless others, in the Senate, House of Representatives and various State Legislatures and Executive Council's. 

As Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Tinubu appointed Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure and therefrom, shipped him to his home State of Osun to become Governor, handing him the ACN ticket.  Immediate past Minister of Works,  Housing and Power,  Mr Raji Fashola doubled as Chief of Staff and the Honourable Commissioner to the Governor's office. He was the first person to hold both offices simultaneously before Tinubu handpicked him as his successor. 
He produced several Governor's on the ACN platform, namely, Adams Oshiomhole (Edo),  Ibikunle Amosun( Ogun),   Abiola Ajimobi(Oyo) and Kayode Fayemi(Ekiti). 

His political dragnet was spreading. 
By 2015, he had cobbled an alliance that morphed into a mega opposition party with General Muhammadu Buhari as the Presidential candidate. That vehicle was the All Progressives Congress, APC. You will not be too far from the truth if you add all current Governor's of the All Progressives Congress to his proteges. 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was his Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice. Fashola's successor Ambode was Auditor General for Local Government and in 
2006, Ambode was appointed the Accountant General for Lagos State. Major players like Lai Mohammed  immediate past Minister of Information was hid former spokesperson of the defunct ACN and served as Chief of Staff to Tinubu between 1999-2002. 

There is also Babatunde Fowler, who is the Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service.
He was Tinubu's man in charge of the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, as well as his erstwhile Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, who went on to become Deputy Governor of Lagos State, and later, served as Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Sustainable Development Goals .

Abike Dabiri-Erewa Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora was sponsored by Tinubu as Representative for Ikorodu Federal Constituency. She had been in the House of Representatives for two terms and stepped down on Tinubu's directive as a mark of loyalty. I could go on and on. 

Where Abike was loyal, Tinubu has also seen disloyalty. Musliu Obanikoro, for instance, was his Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture in 1999 and served for four years before he was elected Senator of the Federal Republic and later Minister of State for Defence. He has opposed Tinubu severally in seeking the Governorship of Lagos and has made up with the Jagaban lately. 

Tinubu insists, he prepares ahead for betrayals and reconciliation even before it happens. Little wonder, he managed to resolve issues with Fashola, Fayemi, Ajimobi and Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State. However, he flexed political muscles with Ambode and flushed him out, replacing him with Babajide Sanwolu, his then Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget as current Lagos State Governor. 

Tinubu's plan to have a foothold in the South East may have stalled. He appointed former Managing Director of NAL Bank Plc, Mr Ben Akabueze, from Anambra State, his Commissioner of Budget and Economic Planning. Akabueze however remains relevant and served as Special Adviser to President Buhari on National Planning. Who knows tomorrow, what he becomes, because, i'm certain, Tinubu isn't done with him. 

When he moved to Kogi,  he nearly succeeded to have a  link in the North Central. Hon. Faleke James Abiodun, who Tinubu propped up as Federal House of Representative Member representing Ikeja Federal Constituency, Lagos State, was deployed to his homeland as running mate to late Abubakar Audu for the Kogi State Governorship in 2015. 

On the morn of their victory, Audu died mysteriously. Northern Power brokers who were wary of a Tinubu boy taking over supplanted Faleke, who was also erstwhile Council Chairman of Ojodu Leda in Lagos State, with Yahaya Bello, who now seeks a second term. Tinubu took the blow with a wink. 
However, as Tinubu seeks acolytes in the North, the prospect looks bright. Lai Mohamed's camp, through the Kogi State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, now holds sway in Kwara State, North Central Nigeria, having dislodged Senator Bukola Saraki's hold on the State.

In 2015, the hawks in APC managed to convince President Buhari, not to play ball as Tinubu sought to install Femi Gbajabiamila and Senator Ahmed Lawan as Speaker, Federal House of Representatives and President of the Senate respectively. In that conflicting blackmail,  Yakubu Dogara and Saraki won the high stakes power play that ensued in both Green and Red Chambers of the National Assembly. It didn't augur well for the APC thereafter and the rest is history. 

Tinubu now laughs last as the duo of Gbajabiamila and Lawan have been crowned as he earlier schemed. Lawan, has started well as the foremost core Northerner to crow in advocating a Tinubu Presidency in 2023. Tinubu earlier said he is under tremendous pressure to run for President. The witch already cried in the night so we needn't be surprised the child is dead by dawn. More voices will chorus the anthem in the days and months ahead. The Tinubu fever is everywhere. 

No Nigerian politician can be compared to Tinubu  He is simply phenomenal with amazing foresight and vision. How he succeeded in weaving this intricate, intriguing, yet formidable political network is a thesical research work. Let me however borrow the argument of my fecund brother Anietie Eteyit to explain the Tinubu mystique. 

Hear him,  "As you eulogize Asiwaju, take a critical look at the people he raised up, and is still raising up, even now. You will find most of them to be people of great learning, competence and capacity to learn even more..!
 Down here, well...some people were raised... but what were the objectives of raising them? Who were they? From where were they recruited??? And...have you noticed that the Asiwaju is not in competition with the people he gave platforms to climb? Did you ever here him gloat about how he "made" Mr A,Mrs B or Master C? Another word: some achievements, are better consolidated in silence."

Folks, Tinubu is laughing now. Will he laugh last come 2023? Kaduna State Governor,  the diminutive, fiery and fiercely ambitious Mallam Nasiru El Rufai,  who wears the same Awoist spectacle with Tinubu may yet be a tough opponent to that project. My time is up,  I'd discuss that in future.

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