Don’t wear Buhari’s Babanriga on Tinubu, By Kassim Afebgua

Umahi legacy

 



Governments are known by their headship each tenured circle. Obama’s administration, Clinton’s administration, and Trump’s administration, Buhari’s administration. Jonathan’s administration. No matter the performance of one government, whether successful or failure, the headship takes the glory or the bile. IBB once told me that the hallmark of responsible leadership is for one to take full responsibility for the outcome of his/her government; noting that indeed, no government is a failure, even if the government is unable to record its full-circle success as earlier promised. I share in IBB’s sentiments because he has seen it all both in public and private life and can speak authoritatively on the outcome of scenarios based on set objectives. He ran a military givernment that was peopled by so many civilians in different ministries implementing government policies and ensuring that they achieved optimum results. When a policy succeeded, the credit went to the Commander-in-Chief: and when the policy failed to achieve its set objective, the blame went to the headship. That has been the norm, and I am not sure it is about to change. That is not to suggest that there are no enablers of any government in power, either by way of appointments or persons who are elected to participate in one capacity or the other; but the buck, as is often said, stops at the boss’ table!

I read a report in Thisday Newspaper on Sunday, in which Dr. Doyin Okupe, the PDP publicist, Debo Ologunagba, and the chairman of Labour Party, Julius Abure, all spoke about Oshiomhole’s comment concerning the role of Tinubu in sharing the blame of a Buhari presidency. What Oshiomhole said was a statement of fact, that Tinubu has not been seen to hold any recognisable position in Buhari’s government, reason why he cannot be held accountable. All those who spoke trying to shoot Oshiomhole down with their double- barreled gun, missed the point. And my reasons are as visible as the day. The PDP candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar occupies the number one position of those who enabled Buhari to come on stream in 2015. Atiku did not only participate, he contributed handsome finances to the project. He also donated his Spokesman, Garba Shehu, who today, remains Buhari’s Spokesman. The National Chairman of the PDP, Iyorchia Ayu was also a member of the group that masterminded the onslaught. Senator Bukola Saraki, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, were all the first eleven on Buhari’s project team in 2015. In fact, Atiku spoke so disdainfully about the PDP, stating that the Party, was beyond redemption and cannot be rescued from self destruct. He lamented that extinction had befallen the PDP, condemning its leadership and passing a vote of no confidence on the opposition party. Hear Alhaji Atiku; “the PDP has completely derailed. It has lost its direction. All attempts to bring it back has proved abortive. The PDP has left its members and has no independence to take rational decision”. That was Atiku when he joined the APC in 2014; now he’s contesting for president today under the same PDP he has publicly castigated. That is the quantity of mind of someone who is aspiring to lead us. 

So, on the basis of collective activity, we were many who participated in enthroning a Buhari presidency including my humble self; as we all at that time believed in that project. Blame should now not be put on Tinubu’s shoulders. No! No one should wear on Tinubu, the “Babariga” of a Buhari presidency. Atiku, Saraki, Dino Melaye, Iyorchia Ayu, Kawu Baraje, Tambuwal, Asiwaju Tinubu and many others contributed hugely to propel that project in 2015. In trying to compare both men, we can pick on their personas.  Buhari’s  persona is besmirched with nepotism and selective amnesia. Those alone  have created a colony by undercutting the APC and its promises to Nigerians. First, when APC won the election, Buhari as the leader of the party, literaiiy abandoned the manifesto and supplanted it with his own unwritten ideas of what to do. It was the reason for his six months delay in setting up a cabinet which inadvertently affected the behavioural tendency of the government when it finally set out on sail. Not only did he get the governance structure wrong, he also got the party structure wrong. He refused to play the politics of politics, needed to balance the algorithms of power, but instead selected a couple of options which later rubbished APC’s policy direction as a party; ab- initio, the party was out to heal the wounds of the PDP. Tinubu has always been known to be smart and carry all along, as a team player. 

Let me add here, looking microscopically into the matter of Buhari’s emergence, there is much evidence that President Goodluck Jonathan’s governance contributed immensely to the choice of Buhari. Jonathan had presided over the country as if he was not in charge; allowing his Ministers and others to acquire powers that were beyond their statuses. Dezieani Allison-Madueke, Madam Patience Jonathan, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Stella Oduah, were as powerful as the president. Those were the powerful women in that government of Goodluck Jonathan. They could flout the President’s orders without qualms. Dezieani behaved like primus inter pares as if she was sharing presidential powers with Goodluck Jonathan. The fear of Dezieani was the beginning of wisdom. Profligacy, corruption, sleaze and grand acquisition became the order of the day. At a time of boom, we were experiencing doom. When there was no tangible explanation to justify declining revenue, they started telling us about oil theft, as if petroleum or crude is what you can fetch into your pocket and escape the prying eyes of the security agencies. As a result of declining revenue according to the Jonathan administration, some states fell short of meeting their statutory obligations of salary payment. Borrowing to pay salaries became the norm. Insecurity was rife; kidnapping was taking its toll. Armed banditry, insurgency became the visible themes of a government that was clueless and tactless. Reuben Abati, Jonathan’s Spokesman started to abuse Nigerians instead of giving us superior information about happenings around government and the country. 

So, Jonathan’s weaknesses, failures and shortcomings left Nigerians desperate for a breath of fresh air, thereby throwing up Buhari as a choice. After that government, any reference to it prompts Jonathan’s name without much regard. All the major actors have been forgotten but the president remains a ready reference each time issues about the government come to the fore. Even in the face of the stark failure of this government, people have not regretted to the point of wishing that Jonathan remained or returns. In essence, Tinubu and some of us who opted for a Buhari presidency thought in our hearts that we had found a messiah; a General like Eisenhower, DeGaulle and Churchill to recreate a system that had become “bole kaja” kind of. We didn’t know that this General’s ideas about governance would be that of leadership by proxy, a delegated leadership style that supplants credit with mediocrity. He has since become a General who was conquered by insurgents. He leads a government that is taciturn, slow to act, self-effacing, and almost totally cut off from the reality on ground; it cannot place its failure on any one’s shoulders. It has a style that is otiose and manifestly unyielding to the new generational thought process. What it offers is a mixture of the good, the bad and the ugly. Insecurity has heightened, kidnapping has become the fastest growing industry, armed banditry has overwhelmed a system that is apparently adrift by acts of omission and commission. Tinubu  cannot be blamed for these bizarre trends. It will be  grossly unfair to blame him. 

In dissecting Buhari’s successor, we must be ready to interrogate scenarios, situations and the current systems in place. The antecedents of the individual, his mental capacity, his ability to take rational decisions, his proactiveness, his understanding of the intricate logic of the Nigerian skewed federation, and his network across all the geopolitical zones of the country and internationally too. The individual must be outspoken like Tinubu, have a rich network of friends and associates, connect to a wide array of people across the political divides, and have the ability to take bold decisions without minding whose ox is gored. He must possess a strong political will and be ready to deploy at short notice. He must be conversational so as to explore the opportunity of dialogue in resolving national issues. Democracy involves inclusiveness, participation and constructive engagement. He needs to be A PEOPLE PERSON. Asiwaju Tinubu, as a pro-democracy activist has all that it takes to retool our present system for optimum performance of all the factors of production. Tinubu’s credentials and political struggles in sustaining this democracy must be acknowledged. He must be appreciated for his contributions to the growth of democracy. Looking at his antecedents, it is not in doubt that he is sharp witted; the turnaround of Lagos State speaks to that. He is an initiator; a disruptor of a system for the common good. He is influential; look at the respectable crowd that ushered him  into the APC convention. His lofty ideas are backed with practical working plans that are inclusive of all stakeholders. Now that he has thrown his hat in the ring, the expectation would be that the people would use his successes and achievements to measure his level of impact when given the opportunity to serve. My dear people, Tinubu cannot be dressed in Buhari’s babariga. No, please don’t wear Buhari’s babariga on Tinubu, when juxtaposed, their physical and mental architectures show remarkable differences clearly revealing the superior.

It is understandable that an incumbent President has to be tendered with care to have his buy-in, but that does not take the fact away that Presidents are tailored according to their administration. It will be in the enlightened self interest of president Buhari to support a Tinubu presidency, who worked assiduously to ensure Buhari’s victory in 2015. The truth may be bitter, but it remains the truth. One good turn deserves another. One good help deserves reciprocity. Tinubu has the stamina to rally round this country and reposition it for national development. Buhari has done his bit, achieved in some areas, and stumbled in others. It will be the responsibility of Tinubu to critically dissect the reality and take the next step to reconstruct a nation in dire need of help.