These are not the best of times for the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The other day, the Director, Civil Society Liaison in the APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Hajia Naja’atu Muhammad, resigned from the PCC and the APC. She has been spilling the beans regarding her association with Tinubu. She said, among others, that everything about the APC presidential candidate revolved around money. Besides, there are doubts about the cordiality of Tinubu’s relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari and some key figures in his party.
Last week, the former Lagos State Governor could not bear the internal heat anymore. At the APC campaign rally in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, he said the powers that be wanted to scuttle his chances at the election. He snarled: “They are full of mischief. They want to create fuel crisis; they have started creating fuel crisis. But forget about it, put your mind at rest. I am assuring you, I, Asiwaju will end fuel scarcity. Let the price of fuel continue to increase, they are the ones that know where they are hoarding it. They are hoarding naira notes, they are hoarding fuel. We will vote and we will win. If they like, they can change the ink in the naira note, we will shock them, we will win the election.”
Recall that during the run-up to the APC presidential primary election last year, Tinubu, in the same Abeokuta, cried out over what he felt was an attempt to edge him out of the presidential race. He reeled out how he helped Buhari to become President, blurting out his now famous quote, “emilokan” (It’s my turn). As he reportedly put it, “It is my time. I’m educated. I’m experienced. I have been serving people for a long time. Bring me the presidency, it is my turn.”
Tinubu and his handlers have repeatedly denied any rift with the President. When negative reactions trailed his ‘emilokan’ statement last year, Tinubu recanted. According to him, he has high regard and respect for President Buhari and will never denigrate him. He said he only desired a level-playing ground for all aspirants and an adherence to stipulated rules and due process.
Also, when he and his handlers realized the implications of his latest statement in Abeokuta, they went for damage control. In a statement, Director, Media & Publicity APC Presidential Campaign Council, Bayo Onanuga, said Tinubu did not mention, blame or accuse President Buhari for the current challenges in the country. “Asiwaju Tinubu was only adverting government’s attention to the sabotage being carried out by some Fifth Columnists in the system, possibly working in cahoots with the PDP,” he said.
Excuse me! Here is a presidential candidate of a ruling party denouncing the policies of his own government and someone is telling us cock-and-bull stories! The PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, hit the nail on the head. Atiku, through his Special Assistant, Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, said Tinubu had become frustrated by his inability to stop the cashless policy and currency redesign of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that would curb vote buying in the forthcoming election.
The point here is that the APC and its presidential candidate have engaged in unsuccessful attempts at a whitewash. Why is it that, out of the 18 presidential candidates, only Tinubu is crying foul over the naira redesign? On the eve of the 2019 presidential election, two bullion vans entered his premises on Bourdillon Road, Ikoyi, in Lagos. Is he angry because this may not be possible anymore with the new CBN policy?
It is becoming increasingly clear that Buhari’s heart is not with Tinubu. On the eve of the primary election of the APC in June last year, the National Chairman of the party, Abdullahi Adamu, announced that the consensus presidential candidate of the party was the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan. Adamu reportedly said then that he arrived at the choice after consultation with Buhari. The plot failed because other National Working Committee (NWC) members refused to ratify the decision. Since then, Buhari has been doing some other things which subtly indicate that he has lost favour with Tinubu. Forget the public show of raising his party’s candidate’s hand at rallies. Do you expect him to do otherwise? As President from the ruling party, he cannot openly show support for another candidate. That will be sacrilegious! I strongly feel he is just tagging along with his party’s candidate just to fulfill all righteousness.
Elder statesman, Tanko Yakasai, had this same feeling. He said recently that he was doubtful if Buhari was happy with the candidature of Tinubu: “Definitely, the personality of Tinubu doesn’t make him happy from my assessment of the situation.”
The Presidency attacked him, saying the times were hard and the old man, perhaps, needed a bit of help. Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said Yakasai’s questioning of the loyalty of Buhari stood in sharp contrast to the actions of the President. He cited Buhari’s attendance at a rally in Bauchi in support of the standard-bearer of the party as an example. Saying Buhari was scheduled to make further appearances at campaign events in the coming weeks, Shehu added that the President’s support for Tinubu was unquestioned.
Shehu is doing his work. He couldn’t have said otherwise. The President had maintained on many occasions that he would leave a legacy of free and fair election to Nigerians. Sometime in March 2022, at the National Convention of the APC in Abuja, he warned politicians to de-emphasise money politics. He enjoined the new NWC members to ensure that party primaries were not influenced by “highest bidders”. Contrary to the President’s admonition, the highest bidders still had their way.
To further show how aloof Buhari is from his party’s candidate, he stated recently that “Nigerians should vote for whoever they like from whichever party. Nobody will be allowed to mobilize resources and thugs to intimidate people in any constituency. That is what I want to go down into Nigerian history for.” What is not very certain is the candidate Buhari is rooting for. It may shock you to know that it may not even be Atiku Abubakar.
Intrigue is the name of politics in Nigeria. We have seen and will still see a good dose of it before the crucial presidential election coming up on February 25, 2023. The onus is on Nigerians, especially voters, to dispassionately examine every political message coming their way and refuse to be fooled this time. As progressive Nigerians have continued to say, we must take back our country. The wiles of the wicked ones will not succeed this time.
Authority stealing: Atiku, Tinubu should step down
Mr Igbokwe, you know that Nigeria is an abnormal country, where deception and all things negative are taken and adored as the norm. In an orderly society, these two men should have been telling the public their responses to the various weighty allegations against them. But only time will tell because Nigeria, with the so-called 1999 constitution, is a huge ANIMAL FARM.
-Barry in Ogoniland, +234 803 435 6380
Dear Casy, both Atiku and Tinubu lost their immunity against arraignment, prosecution and possible conviction or acquittal since 2007. Yet, EFCC, ICPC, NDLEA, etc couldn’t prosecute them till now. Either or both of them may be guilty of deep corruption, particularly Tinubu, but mere perception or allegation is not enough to stop them from contesting the presidency. Only a conviction by the law court can do that. Unfortunately, time is too short for that, the general election is about three weeks away. Any candidate that wins in a transparent, free, fair and credible election is the will of God.
-Ifeanyi Maduako, Owerri, +234 806 156 2735
Dear Casy, Nigeria, as it is presently, has become an irony of a geo-political entity, otherwise called a nation. Were it not so, how could two old men with so many deficits in their kitty, beginning from doubtful origin of birth and doubtful academic attainment and doubtful schools attended, to very old age and the attendant physical and mental frailty, as well as senility such that one has begun speaking incoherently at public fora, in addition to the alleged malfeasance, courtesy of their previous endeavours, be up in arms, jostling desperately to become Aso Rock landlord post May, 2023? In Igboland, both men ought to have, voluntarily, disengaged from any active political and economic circulation by retiring into their comfort conclave where they would be offering kolanuts to their guests and breaking same in prayer to God to guide the young ones to lead Nigeria aright, especially, now that the country is at sixes and sevens by all indices of existence as a nation. Seeing that the duo have nothing meaningful to offer Nigeria except greater anguish, greater asphyxia and the attendant mass deaths, God of mercy decided to send fire of confusion and war to the duo. May He sustain the fight between them so as to salvage the country through someone ready with wits, guts and gutsy — the ObiDients’ Chief and his equally witty 2ic.
-Steve Okoye, Awka, 08036630731.
Casmir, the race to Aso Rock is not to the swift (the one who was quick to say ‘it is my turn’), neither is the battle to the strong (those who rely solely on their ‘filthy lucre’). Neither do you have bread (power) because you think you are wise or the smartest politician full of manipulative or corrupt skills. It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but, it is of God that showeth mercy. Let us see who God will show mercy to at the polls, for all have sinned (although, the degree varies) and come short of the glory of God. An adage says “show me your friend and I will tell you who you are”. Also, “birds of a feather flock together”. In 2019, Obi ‘flocked together’ with Atiku in a ‘joint’ ticket of the PDP, as he was the VP candidate to Atiku who had serious integrity issues. Obi’s campaign DG, Doyin Okupe, was indicted on corruption issues. Something is not right with Obi’s choice of who he ‘flocks’ with. Obasanjo said they are all his mentees and none is a saint to which I concur. Obi’s integrity is fair though!
-Mike, Mushin, Lagos, +234 816 111 4572
A new Nigeria could be a possibility if and when Nigerians begin to screen and choose their leaders via the lens of good character and proven ability to deliver as opposed to the ethnic background and weight of the monetary power our politicians wield about. If such eye-popping revelations are emitted from the very mouths of the projectors of the two gladiators who are now set for another debacle, what better evidence do we now need for Atiku and Tinubu to step down and hand over themselves to an impartial investigating agency? You have already asked rhetorically what would be the fate of these candidates in issue, if they were confronted by the United States system. Their fate would certainly be truncated on arrival. But in a clime where these ‘unprintable revelations’ are mindlessly drowned in the murky Well of Tribalism, Insincere analyses and Transactional politics, the withdrawal or stepping down by these ‘unusually desperate seekers of Nigeria’s Presidential Seat’ appears to be a mission impossible.
-Edet Essien Esq. Cal South, +234 810 809 5633
Dear Casmir, really a new Nigeria is possible as we clean up our country through cashless economy and transparency. The much reason why Peter/Datti is our choice. They don’t give shishi but they are offering redemption.
– Cletus Frenchman, Enugu, +234 909 538 5215
- Also published in the Daily Sun of Monday, January 30, 2023