TINUBU: IF 2023 COMES
By Dapo OGUNWUSI
I struggled with two different intros before settling for this.
You have to exist first before you live.
There has to be a vacancy first before you invite applications.
The Ibo nation has always been at war. Gowon’s no-victor no-vanquished mantra remains as hollow now as it was when he mouthed it.
Someone once warned the Yoruba not to strive for second fiddle as that had always been reserved for the Ibos. That was several years ago. The Yoruba have since occupied that seat for another 8 years. The ibo even lost the second fiddle a couple of times.
That is if you disagree with Tinubu’s newspaper which once insisted with strange evidence, that Obasanjo is a man sired from east of the great river.
Going by that, the configuration changes rather dramatically.
It is the Yoruba who have never been in the saddle! What an arithmetic!
If you keep the closet logic that Obasanjo is Ibo, you will then come to a more perspicacious understanding of, if not sympathy for, a Tinubu presidency over a united Nigeria.
Pardon my brutality please.
My argument by short shrift is that it bears tedious logic, the type scripted in sweat, blood and tears, to expect the Ibo would simply keel over and let a Yoruba man ride leisurely into Ask Rock in 2023.
I love to live through such a day.
The only defect in that though is that the Ibo man at his activist best is ensconced in the thinking that secession is the only pathway.
The North once thought like that too. It took Yakubu Gowon 3 days of persuasion to get the irascible Murtala Muhammed to agree to keep the North in Nigeria between July 29 and 31, 1966.
The mercurial Muhammed had murdered all the Ibo officers in the barracks at Abeokuta and was preparing for a seccession by the North. Yakubu Danjuma had.got the job done in Ibadan killing the Ibo head of state and his Yoruba host. Ibo power had been rendered prostrate before the avenging northern army.
That was a time when the North had the delusion that it was one entity.
With the help of the British High Commissioner who played the role of moderator, Gowon succeeded in keeping Nigeria one.
How can you want a part when you now have the whole? That was the brutal logic that disarmed the rebellious Muhammed.
The Ibo like to see themselves in the superlative. They have appropriated without any research, many first in Africa or first in the black world titles all in the constructive bid to prove they are just an unfortunate master race, deserving of better placement than what they have now as a political expression.
The optics don’t look promising South of the Niger in 2023 whichever way you choose to look at it.
The North has never been shorn of its primordial political greed.
They have just had 4 years of proving the South could take any shit so long as you allow them a tiny piece of patronage.
In the PDP under Goodluck Jonathan, the North was openly rebellious despite all the monumental infrastructural investments made in the region by the federal government. I stand to be challenged that Adamu Muazu the PDP party chairman himself had his heart behind a northern presidency. He subverted the party vigorously and was eventually sidelined in the campaigns.
The North would never have stood for the systematic and coordinated northernisation that is currently in place now if it was the other way round.
These are ppl who openly backed Boko Haram just to spite the southern presidency of Goodluck Jonathan.
It has been proved sine dubio that the South will take anything. Just throw them a few high sounding empty titles and some money. That strategy has worked! And there will be no limit to its application.
The zoning formula is not a constitutional document. It is an unwritten political accord fabricated for convenience. It prescribes pendulation between the North and the South and rotation within each divide. That formula has worked by and large since 1999. It exists today even at local levels. I suspect we are about to have its integrity put to maximum test.
Tinubu’s aspiration contends fiercely with three major factors.
The first is the readiness of the North to part with power again.
I have it on authority that several southern NPN elements believe that Shehu Shagari constructively endorsed Buhari as his successor to allow the North remain in power! The North enjoyed power for another 16 years more or less.
That is scary to say the least.
Shagari had all kinds of security reports pointing to a coup and those behind it. He was openly arguing with Buhari on phone about his malicious intentions. Even when Buhari unilaterally closed the northeast border against express instructions from the commander in chief, Shagari still did nothing. Buhari took a step further. He pursued Chadian rebels into Chad against all existing protocols and rules of engagement. Shagari did nothing. All the president needed to do was to authorise a one-page press statement retiring him and his friends from the army.
“No Fulani man who is a Muslim would overthrow another Fulani man who is a Muslim!” That was what Shehu Shagari said. Umaru Shinkafi, head of the secret police then simply opted to go into retirement.
Richard Akinjide, then Atorney-General, took a UN job and left the country.
I once asked Shagari about that comment in 1993. His response was that he didn’t grant press interviews!
The North plays victim each time you point out its attitude to power. They tell you the South has all the knowledge and resources, why grudge them this little commodity called power?
If Tinubu wants power in spite of the Ibo sense of entitlement, it must mean the end of the spirit of the zoning construct. Now wait for it. If zoning is dead, then the North might as well keep the power for another term! One death for all.
Having examined those two factors, we must hurry to look at the third which is the enduring internal resistance to Tinubu’s hegemony in the South-West.
Tinubu openly supplanted a pre-existing political caste when he emerged first as Lagos governor and later as de-facto governor-general of the South-West.
It is quite a mix at that level.
There are the sublime and overt phases of this opposition which must be defined across party lines.
Tinubu’s personal history has provided fodder for those who insist on playing the moral card for sheer convenience. But he has beaten them to the logistics of propaganda.
Tinubu obviously endorses the hitlerian dictum that a lie told frequently becomes the truth and that is why he keeps the media goal post in the Yoruba power turf.
Perhaps that is just the sublime.
The overt phase is the open rebellion of the sub-tribes clustered around the Owena river against his ascendancy.
Ekiti, Osun and Ondo stand out in their view of the Tinubu leadership or (better still) domination.
These are all real hurdles. They represent quite a handful of hard nuts for a skilled nut cracker that Tinubu is.
They are indeed serious enough to make one wonder if there will be the kind of 2023 envisaged in the Tinubu term paper.