Re: Automatic Tickets
In a widely celebrated essay, “I Pity Tinubu” published in PREMIUM TIMES, I wrote that, “if dynamic opposition is the live-wire of a democracy, it is very fitting then to name Tinubu the saviour of Nigeria’s current democratic journey.” I argued therein that you, Mr. Bola Tinubu, “more than any other Nigerian, nurtured and sustained the opposition movement that removed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from power.” This genius informs why you are revered as the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), even though you are neither the chairman of the ruling party nor the president of the country.
Your glaring attributes further explain why I have continued to berate President Muhammadu Buhari for decimating the Tinubu-led brain trust that brought him to power and replacing them with primitive lackeys whose visions belong to the stone age. This point is that our party would not have found itself in the current crisis conundrum if you and other true progressives were well involved after our victory in 2015.
…why the undue prejudice against other APC presidential aspirants who are much better than Buhari?..what is Muhammadu Buhari promising this time that he did not promise before but reneged on? What is he promising that is making you to toy around with a central tenet of our great party?
It was not surprising, therefore, when you (Tinubu) admonished the governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, who has been peddling the self-seeking bunkum that “there is no other alternative to President Buhari.” In your words, “No governor can appropriate the power of endorsement to themselves because President Muhammadu Buhari himself believes in due process and rule of law”. That was last November.
Your view, then, is consistent with the communique at the end of the South-West APC Stakeholders meeting in Ibadan in October 2018, where Chief Bisi Akande, former interim national chairman of the APC, made it clear that “anybody in the APC was free to be the standard bearer of the party in the 2019 presidential election.”
This apparent consensus within the leadership of the party at the time helped to spur some party patriots, including my humble self, to declare to seek the office of the president under the platform of APC. But, more importantly, posterity beckons for change at the presidency, especially considering Buhari’s furrows of failures. These failures, remember, prompted you (Asiwaju Tinubu) to also take several swipes at the president, reminding him on one occasion that, “We have to criticise ourselves when it is necessary, speak truth to power. We are the power.”
Consistent with that truth to power, I can state without mincing words that your degree of inconsistency on the issue of automatic tickets is beginning to trouble me. For example, immediately after our national convention this June in Abuja, you said to Buhari: “Mr. President, you will win in 2019. They can’t stop you.”
Asiwaju Tinubu, who are the “They” you were referring to above?
As an APC presidential aspirant, I felt dumbfounded with such gross partiality from the national leader of our party. But I would later forgive the remark as a green gaffe, believing that you were carried away with the euphoria of the reunion with the president in the open glare of both friends and foes.
Regrettably, the pattern of partiality has continued. As recent as August 14, 2018, you were caught on tape at the Lagos State Stakeholders meeting of the party, where you stated as follows: “Our president, President Muhammadu Buhari, has done well. He deserves another term, and we will support him to win because he is our man.” Interestingly, this latest round of ballyhoo came the same day, the same event, and in the same breath and breadth with your compelling admonition that the concept of automatic tickets is alien to the vision of the APC and must not be allowed, using Lagos State as example.
And you were not done.
A few days later, on August 19, 2018 to be exact, you lambasted some party leaders who defected to the opposition in recent weeks, including Bukola Saraki and Aminu Tambuwal, charging that they “left the party to return to a motley agglomeration that would promise them what true democracy could not: automatic tickets…”.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to whom much is given, much is expected. Please lead. Instead of exerting much energy on defectors, let us focus on the future of our party. It calls for true internal democracy. A bold step forward is to persuade President Buhari to emulate other progressive democracies and accept my standing challenge for a presidential debate on our visions for Nigeria.
Sir, why do you appear to be promoting automatic ticket at the presidential level, while at the same time projecting an opposite view in the states? Why the teetering contradictions? So, where art thou?
Mr. Tinubu, it is no longer news that the political romance between you and Mr. President rekindled when he took you along on a trip to an ECOWAS function in Cote d’ Ivoire last year, where he cajoled you once again with the title “National Leader” after a long wave of ridicule. Buhari followed by gracing your birthday, which you embraced like a child warming up to a Father Christmas, ostensibly to paint a picture of a united party. I endorsed the move and style!
But there comes a time political shenanigans, regardless of the intentions, must give way to common good.
The cardinal crest of common good is the truth. The objective truth in this case is that God used APC and Muhammadu Buhari to rescue Nigeria in 2015 from the ruins under PDP; but, today, while the APC remains a beacon of hope for the Nigerian future, Buhari’s vision has become a polar opposite to that future. Worst of all, his balloon of public trust, initially inflated by a hybrid of modesty and the anti-corruption cover, has been deflated by a series of unjust practices and broken promises. None of these broken promises has created more crises in our party than Mr. Buhari reneging on his pledge to serve only one term, which is central to the mass defection that rocked our party. As if that is not enough, the party is facing another bad omen in a new chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, who is so desperate to circumvent internal party democracy to ensure automatic ticket for the same Buhari.
So, why the undue prejudice against other APC presidential aspirants who are much better than Buhari? So, what is Muhammadu Buhari promising this time that he did not promise before but reneged on? What is he promising that is making you to toy around with a central tenet of our great party?
I said in a recent interview with PREMIUM TIMES that some of the people promoting Buhari for second term – including you, Tinubu; el-Rufai and Okorocha – inwardly wish that the president can respect nature and withdraw so they can take a shot at Aso Rock now. I have also lived for months with the tittle-tattle that Buhari promised to endorse your presidential ambition, come 2023. But, please, don’t buy the gambit! Do not allow yourself to be in competition with the Buhari’s “wise” minions from the East, who are going around spewing a similar nonsense that the same man will make them president in the same 2023. Common sense dictates that a sitting president that professes injustice and impunity, while seeking a second term in office is most likely to do worse as a lame duck.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to whom much is given, much is expected. Please lead. Instead of exerting much energy on defectors, let us focus on the future of our party. It calls for true internal democracy. A bold step forward is to persuade President Buhari to emulate other progressive democracies and accept my standing challenge for a presidential debate on our visions for Nigeria. Moreover, you, as the national leader of our party, ought to recognise the mood in the country. Nigerian masses are yearning for a dynamic, charismatic, knowledgeable, detribalised, and modern leader, who has the willpower and the energy to make Nigeria great for all. Muhammadu Buhari is not that leader.
SKC Ogbonnia, an APC presidential aspirant, can be reached via: SKCOgbonnia1@aol.com