Let me begin my making some clarifications.I don’t work for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.In fact, he is not quite the ideal sort of leader I believe Nigeria needs yet.But I have watched his career with keen interest and believe he is progressive and to a large extent, a democrat to booth .Note that being a democrat or a good and or effective politician is not about sainthood. His ability to recruit a worthy successor at the end of his tenure as governor of Lagos State remains second to none. Don’t mind the fact that he later reportedly sought to ‘control the state’, a situation that created tension between him and Babatunde Fashola, the Lagos State governor.But it appears he has yielded enough grounds for the incumbent to perform.
As a national leader that Tinubu ought to be ,he has not been ‘successful’ yet .I don’t know why despite having understudied MKO Abiola, Tinubu still appears too preoccupied with himself, his region alone and his own survival.He must reach out to the masses beyond his immediate environment and encourage people like Owelle Rochas Okorocha has done through veritable institutions across the country.Nothing will be wrong with a Tinubu Foundation in Minna, Damaturu ,Makurdi or Enugu.
Some younger ones from other parts of the country believe he is too clannish, selective and downright selfish about what interest he encourages and those to empower,even if they seem to share the same ideal with him . I remember someone once asked: why will Tinubu, believed to be a man of means , not seek ought people who are like his unofficial footsoldiers based on progress struggle in other parts of the country to support their noble deeds. He needs to do more for the youths across regional borders to make him a truly national leader who has invested in people.
Still,I hear people saying he is too blinded by his survivalist instincts to even allow him appreciate the opportunities around him.His survivalist interests also seem to put him at odds with some of his associates, we are told.It is also further argued the alliance he is building with the North is concentrated at the ‘rooftop ‘ with leaders like General Muhammadu Buhari and co, rather than an investing with the youth and masses at the the foundation.Tinubu still needs to grow beyond borders ,I believe.
Yet Tinubu’s capacity to tower above every other politician in the country is his to make or mar.He merely needs to take a few lessons in political and media networking from former Vice President Atiku Abubakar(A story for another day). Despite all his “weakneses”Tinubu is a leader that should be encouraged. He is a man who evidently can pursue his reams and ideals,especially democratic ideas consistently.
I also believe he has been vilified unfairly for taking a position against President Goodluck Jonathan’s national conference or conversation. If you look at this coming national conference just as an opportunity to salvage Nigeria,in my view,it means you are reading the president’s political move inadequately. Jonathan’s conference is a product of a deft political calculation aimed at dismantling, or at least weakening some of his opponents. Truth must be told, those who encouraged Jonathan to change his mind about a conference did their home work well.
Of course ,Tinubu who has evident read the writing on the wall correctly swiftly described the conference as a Greek gift.He also said the regime does not have the capacity to organize the conference.But the Asiwaju has not had the courage to tell us exactly why he is agitated about Jonathan’s latest move.I believe there is more to his opposition to the conference.Here is what I think is the crux of the matter:
The south west is a formidable political fortresss that the president wants to invade and capture by all means especially as he campaigns for 2015.Yet there appears to be no sign he would be accepted there without a fight.But Jonathan appears more interested in a bloodless fight. He has chosen to embark upon a battle of ideas since a president should not be seen fighting physically.And the president has done his calculations and come to the obvious conclusion that the easiest way to infiltrate the south west is through a political ‘masterstroke’ that will make the people fall head over heels for him.That in my view is why he has taken the battle to the turf of his opponents.And you can see he is winning “converts” already.
Conference strategy became even more imperative because the man who is the proverbial Lord Of The Manor in the south west is a veteran of several battles against the PDP controlled Federal government. And its seems Jonathan’s men believe the gift of a national conference is the magic wand into the hearts of the south west. Of a truth, the south west has been most vociferous in the quest for a sovereign national conference to restructure Nigeria.What may have come as shocking more shocking to Tinubu is that when Jonathan decided to buy into the idea, he also chose the chairman of an advisory committee who does not belong to Tinubu’s camp.A clear indication that Jonathan wants to have his men to help pave way into the the former governor’s fortress .
Can you see why Tinubu is fighting back.He has seen that an empire he has built tirelessly y is about to be invaded using a decoy.Nobody gives up power without a fight.Those who think the conference is a weapon to hit at the north may have their point but I believe,Jonathan has the infiltration of the South West as the back of his mind when he chose to give the conversation a seal of approval.I see the conference more a deft move to achieve his political goal.
So when Tinubu kicks, those who see him as just opposing for its sake miss the ponit.It is all power game.The man is out to use all the arsenal at his disposal to ensure he repels an attack, literally, by Jonathan.He wants to show that the new structure he has built along with his APC chieftains is not dismantled.
How far the national conference succeeds will depend not even on the perceived opposition to Jonathan from the north, but largely on how effectively the president and Tinubu are able to checkmate each other’s moves in this interesting battle for political space.Former President Olusegun Obasanjo was able to bulldoze his way into the South West by foisting PDP governors who displaced Alliance for Democracy,AD governors .Tinubu ,who did not fall into Obasanjo’s trap has also rolled back the PDP success.Now Jonathan wants to repeat OBJ’s feat. We all can only wait and see.
Danlami, publisher/editor in chief of Abuja -based Newsdiaryonline.com is also an editorial board member of Lagos-based The Union newspaper
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