Tinubu, Oyegun and the Expensive Tears of a Godfather
By Jude Ndukwe
“The wise woman (man) builds her (his) house, but the foolish pulls it down with her (his) hands.” (Proverbs 14:1)
Recently, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s media office released a press statement wherein the curiously acclaimed national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) wrote what has been severally described in many quarters, and rightly so, as a stinking communiqué following the unrestrained and highly venomous language used in the said communiqué wherein the Jagaban demanded the resignation of the chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
The cause of these latest acerbic vituperations by Tinubu is attributed to what he described as “Oyegun’s comportment regarding the Ondo State primary” which he said “will become the textbook definition of political treachery and malfeasance of the basest order”
The story alleges that Mr Tinubu had a preferred candidate in the Ondo primary election that he had wanted to emerge as APC’s candidate for the November gubernatorial election in Ondo State. Prior to the primary, it was also said that the eventual winner of the primary, Rotimi Akeredolu SAN, had dared the feared godfather by asking him to keep off from the exercise in the state. This led to an exchange of hot letters between the two. At this point, it became obvious that the battle line had been drawn between the two party chieftains.
The primary was conducted and Akeredolu was returned winner. However, days later, some of the aspirants petitioned the party hierarchy alleging irregularities but the NWC as led by the chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun eventually confirmed Akeredolu’s victory and subsequently sent his name to INEC as the candidate of the APC in the forthcoming Ondo election.
Of course, such step did not meet Tinubu’s calculations who had expected that the NWC would understand his position and act likewise by cancelling the primary and conduct a fresh one that might likely be worked to favour Abraham, who was said to have had Tinubu’s backing.
This is the simple reason the Asiwaju wrote such a scurrilous letter to the chairman of his party as if he was addressing one school boy notorious for truancy.
Truth be told, Tinubu invested enormously and arguably more than any other individual or groups of persons in building APC and working for its victory at the polls in the last general elections. No one can take that away from him. However, he must also know that his hurriedness to reap the fruit of his labour is making him to fast lose name, fame, friends and associates faster than he made them.
The condescending manner with which he addresses his party chieftains whenever his biddings are not done is not statesmanlike.
Sometime in October 2015, while issuing a press release to deny a report that said he was collaborating with the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to undermine the president, Tinubu had said that “It was a crass act of disloyalty showing that Saraki may have joined the APC on paper but has remained true to the malpractices and wrong aims of the reactionary PDP in his soul.
“If this nation is to have more than a fleeting chance of escaping the quagmire into which years of PDP misrule have taken us, we cannot allow these regressive elements to deploy their cunning tricks to divide and pit progressives against progressives”.
To use such heavy words on Saraki simply because he contested and won the seat of the senate president against Tinubu’s wish is the height of political recalcitrance. As at the time of writing his letter, Saraki was already Nigeria’s number three citizen. To address him in such a manner casts Tinubu in very bad light.
The former governor of Lagos State seems to always blame everybody but himself for every time his wish does not hold sway in the country. He had blamed the PDP for the woes of his party; he had blamed Saraki for becoming senate president against his wish, and now he blames Oyegun purportedly because his candidate did not win the Ondo primary!
However, it must be gratifying to PDP members to see that everything Jagaban has blamed them for has returned to haunt him. When Nigerians want to look for the most divisive and autocratic elements in Nigeria today, they all belong to the APC, from the president himself to its national leader, they reek generously of anti-democratic tendencies.
Tinubu must know that he cannot continue to parade himself like an overrated colossus that he is or else his political end would soon come. What he is accusing others of doing today is what he has also been accused of doing yesterday.
Prior to his forced exit from the party in August of 2014, Tom Ikimi had described Tinubu as a man of “reckless self-aggrandisement” who forced a weak leadership on the party with the purpose of controlling it. It is that same leadership that Tinubu has so denigrated, degraded and treated with infamy and disdain in a most impudent manner simply because it has chosen to have an identity of its own without overbearing appendages.
To describe Oyegun in the words which Tinubu did in his missive is most uncharitable. Describing your party chairman and leaders as “gangsters adorned in the tunic of party authority” and a “mercenary”, terms only fit for the gutters simply because of political differences, is a sign of creeping frustrations.
In a clime where discipline and moral uprightness are the watchword as Tinubu wants us to believe APC is, there is no way he would escape punishment for dragging the image of the party in the mud in such a despicable manner.
In another light, Tinubu may be pardoned for all his acts of disrespect to constituted authority since it is a well known fact that he has been sidelined by the presidency and even a lot of his ‘boys’ have since shifted allegiance to Buhari since after the elections, For a man who committed so much to the party but had none of his nominees accepted for any ministerial position or other key government agencies, the level of frustration is getting quite high. He alluded this much in his latest communiqué where it was said that he “…even kept his peace for some time despite many things that happened within the party that were not quite right. He exercised this forbearance because the party is young”. Really? Eeyaahh!
Surprisingly, at his age, Tinubu exhibited the kind of exuberance associated with some boisterous teenagers who would act before thinking. If not, how come Tinubu chose the media as his first line of reporting an internal issue of his party? Are there no provisions and lines of authority for party members to table their grievances? What is it with the media that at the slightest disagreement, the man runs to the press instead of first exhausting the crisis-resolution mechanisms of his party? Could this be a sign that Tinubu has lost confidence and trust in his party leadership including the president that he chooses to shed tears and wash his party’s dirty linen in the public?
Let me conclude this piece by giving Tinubu a word of sincere advice, that is if he would listen. Instead of him to destroy with his own hands the party he helped build and nurture to prominence and power by throwing tantrums and creating scenes of political obscenity, it would do him a lot of good if he leaves honourably than remain longer before he is kicked out in self-inflicted opprobrium. The stakes are stacking higher, the momentum is getting thicker by the day and the storms are rising higher against him.
He should stop overrating his importance or influence; he cannot be richer than Nigeria which his party controls. The moment a party produces a president, every other interest and power is assumed to be subsumed into his especially when the president is of our type. Tinubu’s needless hate for the last administration made him to miss the answer after a brilliant mathematical working. He could not see that the man he helped to foist on us as president does not share power with anyone no matter how monumentally beneficial his benefactors have been to him in his journey to the throne.
If Oyegun whom he helped to install thinking he was weak could muster the political muscle to call his bluff, then nothing is left of the Jagaban any more.
It seems it is payback time, and in his rage Tinubu seems poised to destroy with his own hands the house which he built. When a godfather cries in the public, it is an ominous sign. The implosion is imminent.
May APC survive to see what Nigeria will be in future without them… I hope you understand that prayer?
—email@example.com; Twitter: @stjudendukwe