*Powerplay, intrigues and political mathematics
From Bamidele Ademola-Olateju
The All Progressives’ Congress (APC) has been struggling hard since the party won the presidential elections. To those of us who are students of politics, we saw it coming. Personally, I was optimistic that President Buhari still has it in him to rein in the contending power structures, the perennial malcontents, the malicious hijackers, the racketeers and profiteers who penetrate any government in power. I was wrong!
Buhari is an oligarch with whom the poor pitched their hopes incredulously. Yes, he is a tad more honest but he suffers from the same set of limiting myopia that has plagued every leader Nigeria has produced. Buhari is not the topic, he is an actor. Follow me!
Reproach does not and cannot diminish the sweetness of honey; no matter what anyone says, Tinubu made Buhari happen. We are alive, we are witnesses. Followers of my wall on Facebook, read the minute by minute manoeuvres. Buhari would not have survived the primaries. He had no money of his own to prosecute the campaign and induce delegates. 48 hours to the congress, he had less than 5,000 posters.
Influence of Bola Tinubu: Nothing was happening until the master of end game politics moved in at night. Money happened! Atiku was fenced beyond his wits. He could not reach his delegates. When he got to the stadium, the Asiwaju machine had removed all traces of him. The venue was blanketed by Buhari’s posters and operatives. It was a no contest. Even Buhari’s closest associates could not believe it. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), were completely blind-sighted. They had banked on Atiku’s emergence.
I have written it before: “When it comes to political strategy, Asiwaju Tinubu is in a class of one. He is the bell cow of Nigerian politics, a quick study and a tenacious worker with a manic work ethic.”
The compound fractures we are seeing in the APC today would have been simple fractures, if Jonathan did not postpone the elections. The postponement was an inside job. It was sold to them by a popular and fiery preacher who runs with the hares and hunts with the hounds.
Jonathan deceived to postpone elections: By the time the elections was postponed, they were running out of funds. Buhari ran to Chatham house and stayed on thereafter to limit expenses. We all remember the state of flux we were in then. During this crucial time, they had to crawl to Atiku and beg him for money. And Atiku really made them beg. He kept them in wait for more than a week before he pitifully bailed them out. With his money, he negotiated his way in. Buhari’s trouble starte
Whatever anyone says of Tinubu, he is the only leader in Nigeria that is creating leaders. He is the only one that has a pipeline of excellence through which the competent and the unknown gain prominence to lead. It is true that he is canny, irascible, and ruthless but he alone saw the need to recast, remold and refocus the middling Southwest into a real political machine.
Tinubu as factory of leaders: He gave us Fashola, a political unknown and a neophyte at planning but a dogged executor (we are seeing how that deficient planning skill is slowing him down in the power sector. I digress). Fayemi was running around trying to claim his mandate, he found no headway, until Tinubu joined the fray. Senator Ajimobi and Ibikunle Amosun were languishing in the wilderness of ANPP, until they got the platform and won. Even Dr Olusegun Mimiko, owe his initial entry into Alagbaka to Tinubu. Of course, we know Rauf Aregbesola is Tinubu’s Peter. His number one fanatic.
It is only a foolish goose that goes into a fox’s church. Atiku welcomed the geese of the APC. He feathered them and flashed his canines each time he enjoyed the sweet juices coursing through his tongue from their spongy bones. When in Buhari or Northern company, he touts Northern interests and the need to protect the North form Tinubu.
Treachery. Back bites. Stabbing: The crocodiles cries the most when it is enjoying human flesh. Treachery is Atiku. He was ready. He deployed his loyalists and within hours of Buhari’s victory, some Northern elements started resenting Tinubu’s role. Buhari himself lost it. He could not hide his excitement! He kept reminding everyone who made him king. Resentment grew, Atiku tapped into it! The governors who were with him in Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) ran with it. Soon Daura became colonised and Abuja was annexed. The clandestine operations started.
When the issue of who would be the nominee for the Vice President came up. Saraki, Fashola, Fayemi and co, wanted Rotimi Amaechi as VP based on his monetary contributions. Tinubu chided them and said something I will not repeat here. He put Osinbajo forward. The first crack appeared as Saraki used people from Nda-Isaiah camp in the press to circulate rumours that Tinubu wanted to be the VP. It was all a lie.
Tinubu drawn to battle: As the euphoria of the win settled, Daura became the place to be. The intrigues started playing out. Tinubu wanted control of anything and everything from the West. He felt he’s earned it. His spat with Fashola in Lagos was renewed when Fashola had his own candidate for the Lagos Guber elections.
Tinubu repeatedly asked him if he has his own candidate and he denied. When Tinubu confirmed he had, he was furious. Tinubu fought the political battle of his life for Ambode to be governor. Ambode was almost defeated, he won by the whiskers! That near loss delivered Tinubu a thousand jolts. He knew his political life is in danger and he became more alert. Meanwhile, in Daura and Abuja, the South West young Turks bought into the campaign to “clip Tinubu’s wings”.
A Northern governor with his own presidential ambition backed them. Soon young people in the South West started questioning Tinubu’s hold on who becomes what. Tinubu on his part, did not see the need to back down. All he saw was treachery and betrayal. He responded by taking a recursive posture. Even though, he refrained from saying anything untoward about Buhari to anyone, he gave his all but he was hurting badly.
We must not forget that he is a man who relishes and thrives on the nitty-gritty of politics, which is not bad in itself but with this skill comes destructive impulses. In anger and frustration, he tried blocking the emergence of Fashola and Fayemi as ministers. He wanted no say for the governors. Whoever must be appointed in the South West must be through him. This made the coalition against him stronger. Amosun stood up to him and submitted Kemi Adeosun’s name instead of Wale Edun.
Wale Edun is from Ogun state but he is essentially seen as a Lagos import. If there is any politician Buhari really trusts in the South West, it is Amosun. They were in ANPP together. Whenever Buhari visited Lagos in the past, Amosun welcomed him and hosted him. Their bond was strong and still is. The Cold War between Tinubu and his political sons soon became common knowledge.
The die was cast: Opposing camps emerged. Those who opined that when a child grows into a man, hand him his hoe, do not hold him back on one hand and those who felt one should not bite the fingers that fed him on another. Both camps are right. But politics is local. Fashola found out quickly! His book launch was a spectacular flop! Apart from Fola Adeola and a handful of others; no real politician attended the event. He spent eight years as governor but he couldn’t build his own political base. Politics no be beans! E no easy! How about Fayemi in Ekiti? Same story!
The gladiators are determined to fight this to the end. At what cost? Nationally, these two will never win any election as things stand today. Nationally, Tinubu has been wounded. Who is losing? The problem with Tinubu is there’s no political hack job too low he won’t be involved in.
Battle for Kogi and Ondo: The battle for Kogi redefined the calculations. Ondo state became a war zone. The old power structures has been revived with confidence. The battle for the political future of the South West has now taken a new dimension, the fight to ruin it all has begun. Buhari will be the loser. We, the people will be the loser.
A review of the one-year in office: If nothing is done to stem the tide, one year is already wasted, another is getting wasted, they are all fixated on 2019 while poverty multiplies. Stay tuned as I bring you the play in Kogi and Ondo State and how this government is getting sabotaged with Buhari looking away. By the way…Abba Kyari, Mamman Daura…are they going?
NB: This series was published more than a year ago. We are bringing them as a refresher towards 2019.
Read the interesting part two tomorrow. You can’t afford to miss it.