By Gozie Irogboli

NEWSDAILYNIGERIA: As the countdown to the 2023 general election began following the release of timetable by INEC, there is increase in the intensity of political consultations and intrigues in the country. Many have declared their intention to contest for the office of the President. And as expected, among those aspiring to lead the nation are statesmen, democrats, achievers, political jobbers, pettifoggers, as well as pretenders. But, the person whose declaration has elicited more reactions and concerns from Nigerians is that of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (Jagaban), the erstwhile Lagos State governor and leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The news of his expression of interest to contest for the exalted office was made public on the 10th of January, 2022. And ever since, the main stream media and its social media counterparts are agog with the news. And expectedly, Tinubu supporters and allies have gone full throttle telling anybody who cares to listen, that Tinubu is coming. Interestingly, Tinubu’s supporters have not adduced any strong reason nor highlighted any qualities of Tinubu that would make Nigerians entrust their future into his hands other than that he is the godfather and the leader of the worst political amalgam as well as the ardent promoter of the worst government in the history of Nigeria.

On the other hand, there are some voices of dissent, vociferous and clear, declaring that Tinubu is not fit to be President of Nigeria on account of his age, status, health condition, controversies and idiosyncrasies. Many Nigerians think and rightly too that installing Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is like the continuance of Buhari. Many have argued in many platforms that Tinubu is another variant of Buhari because of the apparent similarities between the two.

First, Tinubu’s tacit and overt endorsement of Buhari’s obnoxious policies is an indication that he would not be different from Buhari if given the chance to lead the nation. He was the chief promoter of Buhari. It was he and his lackeys that repackaged Buhari and dressed him in the garb of “a man of integrity, honor and valor”; a born-again democrat and a messiah. He was quoted to have said that when Britain had problem they turned to Gen. Winston Churchill and when America had problem it was Gen. Dwight Eisenhower they turned to and so Nigeria should turn to Gen. Buhari for liberation. And ever since, he had maintained sealed lips while the country is in a state of topsy-turvy under Buhari and while his button boys have taken every available platform to praise and celebrate the monumental failure that the Buhari administration is. It was shocking to many that the once vociferous Tinubu and his men who were always critical of government policies and actions have refused to criticize the APC administration because of his selfish ambition. This means that he values his personal interest over that of the nation. And he is willing to fight dirty for it as he has recently declared. Obviously, his blind support for Buhari in the face of his woeful performance indicates that Tinubu has wrong notion of leadership and governance and therefore will not make a good president.

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It is public knowledge that most of those who committed the blunder of foisting Buhari on us have since made a volte-face, regretting their roles and apologizing to Nigerians but not Tinubu because of his inordinate political ambition. Even when Buhari soldiers massacred innocent protesting youths at Lekki Toll Gate, Tinubu’s own backyard, he was unperturbed. Instead he made an arrogant “I-dey-kampe” broadcast in a futile bid to extricate himself from the crime.

One similarity between Buhari and Tinubu is about their health status. Both men are known to be of valetudinarian health. Early in Buhari’s regime when the pressure of states matters weighed down on him, he had traveled to London wherein he spent over 100 days on a sick bed at the expense of the tax payers’ funds. And ever since, he frequents London on medical check-ups. Those close to Tinubu know that he has serious health challenges too. In January, just after three weeks of his consultation he jetted out of the country, Sahara reporters said in an air ambulance, on medical treatment. And while his cronies tried vainly to conceal his health status, his statement recently in the media seems to confirm it. He was quoted as saying that leadership and governance will be done with his brains, not his physical power. I agree to that, though. There is an Italian proverb that says that if leadership is a matter of brains then physical desirability is no problem. But Tinubu’s case is different, senility. Senility is worse than physical disability; it is both physical, mental and emotional disability combined. At present, he walks with groggy steps; his speech is slurred and his voice incoherent. A man that is suffering from senile dementia cannot coordinate self let alone manage state affairs.

Another odd similarly between Buhari and Tinubu has to do with certificate scandal. Up till today Buhari has not been able to present the school certificate he claimed he has. Tinubu also claimed that he had a degree from University of Chicago but has not presented any evidence to buttress that claim. Again, many Nigerians believe both Buhari and Tinubu are far older than their official age that each declares.

Apart from being children of the lost empires whose loyalty primarily is for their ethnic affiliations both are authoritarian and have the same attitude to opposition and free speech. Buhari believes in command and control and not dialogue. Tinubu is said to be interested in absolute loyalty to himself. He is said to be a power-drunk autocrat who brooks no opposition. And this can be attested to by those who had fallen out with him in the past—Mrs Bucknor Akerele, Femi Pedro, Governor Ambode, Senator Mamora inter alia.

Bola Ahmed Tinubu ruled Lagos and appropriated the state like his private estate ever since. He has a strangle hold on the state. He decides who becomes governor of Lagos State. He decides who goes to the State House of Assembly or represents the State at the National Assembly. His wife is a senator representing the state while his daughter is the Mama Loja General of all Lagos markets and his son Deji is in charge of state’s revenue collection.

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Nigeria is a republic not an empire. We don’t need an emperor. Nigeria cannot create one-man fiefdom. Nigeria is not interested in creating the Lord of the Manor or the emperor of the Lagoon. Nigeria cannot replace herdsmenism with Alayeism, banditry with area-boyism. We don’t want another reign of kakistocracy and anarchy, impunity and lawlessness.

Before becoming Nigeria President Buhari is the patron of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders of Association of Nigeria and the Bokoharam negotiator. Tinubu is a self-acclaimed area boy and around him are hordes of area-boys, agbero, reprobates and sociopaths that he sustains with crumbs and hand outs. Their political philosophies appear the same. Buharism is basically about fundamentalism, nepotism, impunity and violence while Jagabanarchy is also about subterfuge, tribalism, mediocrity and hypocrisy. Just as Buhari would want monkeys and baboons soaked in blood, Tinubu would want to fight dirty to accomplish his mission. And just as the coming of Buhari lionized the herdsmen, bandits and alimajiris and terrorists, the coming of Tinubu would obviously put the area-boys, the agberos and political reprobate .in overdrive to unleash mayhem on our streets. The Agbero Union will no doubt replace Mietti-Allah Cattle breeders. The battle of the herdsmen in the bush and highways will shift to the streets and market place when the Agberos take over.

In addition, Tinubu seems to have identity crisis. Information from reliable source said that his real name is Yekini Amoda Ogundele from Iragbiji in Osun State. He is not a Lagosian by birth. If Tinubu is not proud of his past and history, it means that there is something about it that he wants to hide. And this smacks of lack of integrity.

Beyond all these, the most worrisome thing is his crude political philosophy which tends towards self-centeredness. No doubt, Jagabanarchy, Tinubu’s political philosophy is a superannuated political philosophy based on godfatherism, mediocrity, winner-takes-all, bitterness, blind loyalty, ethnic dominance and primitive accumulation. In the past, he was quoted as saying that he does not believe in one Nigeria and recently he said that he will fight dirty to actualize his vaulting ambition of becoming the president of Nigeria. It is clear that Buhari’s 95%:5% dichotomy was a reflection of his party’s discriminatory zoning policy and winners-takes-all mentality. Before the election, all political offices were zoned out. So, Tinubu was privy to that obnoxious policy that polarized Nigerians and deepened the crack of disunity in the polity.

For almost four months now he has toured round the country making what he called consultation. He has even traveled abroad but he has not given it a thought to visit South East or South-South region. Is it guilty conscience or part of Abiola’s “I can do without the Igbo” syndrome? Of course he knew what he may encounter. He knew his reception would not be pleasant for the ignoble role he played in pushing out Jonathan away and installing Buhari.

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Evidently, those routing for Tinubu know that he has nothing to offer just like those who promoted Buhari did but just to push out Jonathan. Tinubu and his ilk are outdated. They don’t think about, technology, innovation, nation building, national productivity, national unity or taking us to the space but to acquire power for primordial reasons. They don’t think about development and economic progress but ethnic dominance and superannuated doctrine of balance of power and punitive retribution. His recent risible pronouncement that he would pay WAEC enrolment fees for SSCE students shows that he is out of touch with what the challenges facing the country.

Buhari has taken Nigeria more than a century backwards. Nigeria cannot afford another Buhari in the person of Bola Ahmed Tinubu. So, I will join the millions of other well-meaning Nigerians in saying a resounding no to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in his quest to acquire Nigeria, I will tell him what Umaru Dikko told Abiola in 1982. Nigeria is not for sale. As we warned in 2015 so we will still warn today! But would Nigerians listen? Will Nigerians vote first and regret later as it is always the case or do they take a firm decision now about their future? The choice is theirs?

Before now, Tinubu and his supporters had thought that getting to the Presidency would be a facile contest but reality is staring them menacingly in the face as so many aspirants are springing up to contest against him. Already, they are being feisty about smear campaign as if their campaigns in the past have been issue-based. It is a clear case of a head-hunter not wanting any cutlass-wielding person to come behind him. If Tinubu could call Jonathan names and describe him as clueless for being democratic, considerate and tolerant what about him that hobnob with reprobates, drug addicts and sociopaths and who is willing to fight dirty to acquire power. Certainly, Tinubu will get the full package of the product he has ordered. He will obviously get more than a fair share of the mudslinging and brickbats.

Without doubt, Tinubu’s vaulting ambition is not only generating concerns in the polity; it is also exerting immense pressure on him. Only last year he had to spend over three months in UK on medical treatment when he had not started bearing the burden of governance. What will happen when the real burden of administration is brought on him? Can Tinubu survive this? Will this signal the eclipse of Jagabanarchy? Certainly, this year will tell whether we are going to see the enthronement or the knell of Jagabanarchy.

Irogboli, an economist, a novelist and public policy analyst. He can be reached via goziei@yahoo.com

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