Say it Ain’t So, By Ose Oyamendan-Eimakhu
The social media was abuzz late last week by some emerging news from Nigeria. Normally, when the social media goes off like that it’s always because somebody is showing her tits or some scandal is afoot. But, no – this was all politics.
According to the rumor mill, the two lords of the APC have decided to run on a presidential ticket next year. Yup, that’s right –Muhammadu Buhari and Bola Tinubu are, according to the tales, seriously considering running on a ticket against President Goodluck Jonathan. You know it’s gotta have some strands of truth because Alhaji Lai Mohammed has run out of ink.
That sound of jubilation you hear is of the camp of President Jonathan celebrating. A Buhari-Tinubu ticket just says to the nation that what had brought these two unlikely partnership together is a hunger for power. And, you gotta be worried about men who do things just for the sake of power.
I was one of those who were very optimistic about the prospect of APC becoming a giant counterforce to PDP in the Nigerian political space. I’m not a card-carrying member of either party, I don’t even know what they stand for. But, I do know that two strong parties will keep each party on their feet. And, when that happens, Nigerians are the likely winners.
But, the future of APC is not the Buharis and Tinubus or the Atikus for that matter. The future of the party is in the hands of the young Turks who have distinguished themselves in public and private service and yearn to contribute to the future of their country.
I have never understood the canonization of Buhari. This is the same dictator who as Head of state decided to hold Nigerians hostage. It was a great thing to instill some discipline in our lives but the willy-nilly carting of anybody at the bus stop with an opinion to Kirikiri was just foul. And, when General Sani Abacha, easily Nigeria’s worst dictator, decided he needed a flagman to shore up his reputation, whom did he reach to? Buhari.
And, now everyone seems to think he’s Saul on the way to Damascus. Somehow the gales have fallen from his eyes and he’s reformed. It does seem that in our need to reach out for hope, sometimes we forget the past. And, when you forget the past it sneaks up and bites you in the butt. There’s also the little disguised fact that both Buhari and Tinubu have an uneasy alliance. If they find themselves in Aso Villa, their fallout will make the Obasanjo-Atiku fallout a child’s play.
And, then there is Tinubu – a man who has overseen the political reengineering of the South West and Edo State. He has done what the venerable Chief Obafemi Awolowo sought to do in his lifetime – build a truly national opposition. This is the time for him to sit back, play the game of political power chess and ensure his party gets into power at the national level.
If he’s true to himself, he would also know that the Fasholas; Oshiomoles, Amaechis and the others are the future of the party. They can connect with the streets because they speak their language and they are not much older that the teeming youth out there. Between them, even with doctored birth certificates, Buhari and Tinubu are closer to 150 than 100. What’s the plan? Set up an adult day care center in the presidency when they get there?
I laugh when folks compare Buhari and Tinubu to Abiola who ran and won overwhelmingly on a Moslem-Moslem ticket. Like the late Texan Senator, Lloyd Bentsen, would have told the APC dream-ticket if he’s met them in an alley or on a plane, “gentlemen, I know Bashorun MKO Abiola. You are no Moshood Abiola”.
It was easy for Abiola to run on a Moslem-Moslem ticket because for much of his life, he contributed to Moslem causes as he contributed to Christian causes. He knew Christian prayers as he knew Moslem prayers. Some of his best friends were Christian leaders. He was not a philanthropist with a plan, he was a man in a hurry to change his country.
You cannot say that for Buhari who seems bent on living in Aso Villa because he was denied when he was head of state. And, you can’t say that for Tinubu who has succeeded in turning his party into some sort of family business.
I still think this is just a ruse, a leak to test the mood of the country. I do not know the General but I know Tinubu is one of the sharpest political minds you will ever find. He lives, sleeps and eats politics. And, surely he must know right know that there is a mini-insurrection waiting at his doorstep if he goes on this journey with the General.
I had a talk with an APC lord in Abuja a month ago. He’s one of the new apostles of APC and he’s in it for the top prize. I asked him what would happen if the landlords of APC deny him the ticket. Without flinching, he replied, “they didn’t drive us from PDP now”. God save Nigeria.