Bola Amhed Tinubu, governor of Lagos State 1999-2007 and national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has been the butt of analysis by public affairs commentators for a reasonable length of time now. The result of OpenLife’s test of the opinions and analysis in the political laboratory indicates that it is no longer a rumour, writes Eromon Oleabhiele
What seems the end of assumption for Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s interest in 2023 presidential contest was a recent statement credited to Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai .
The APC chieftain argued that there is no justification for Northerner to take over after Buhari’s eight years, adding that the Presidency should rightly return to the Southern part of the country. Although the governor, acclaimed to be a major strategist of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, did not specify which of the southern geopolitical zones should take the Presidency in 2023, he argued that it would be unjustified for the North to seek to retain the Presidency after President Muhammadu Buhari might have completed his eight years.
Indeed, it is difficult to predict the indices of the future. And in the search for certainties in a deep conical mesh of uncertainties, analysis can easily slide into paralysis. Yet it is an intellectual adventure, albeit more academic than just science when we sieve through daily happenstance, trying to collect and observe patterns that may give relevance and insight to the political probabilities of 2023 Nigeria’s presidency. Again, if by chance we pick on a remote prospect and established an inference, it would be considered a milestone!
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is the most apparent for contemplation as we row the boat to 2023. By all means, the fairytale weaved around him and his ambition is a testament of the potentiality and efficacy of his presidential desperation or the lack of it thereof. The National Leader of the All Progressive Congress was imperial to the formation of the party and he put in an immersive graft in the reselling of the idea of a reformed democrat in Muhammadu Buhari whose stock before 2015 was below market value for the top job everywhere else except the North. Tinubu put in this shift while keeping his own ambition close enough to be smelt, yet far enough to let PMB and Osinbajo shine at significant intervals.
But before we pick the knives to dissect applicable information to institute a point as to the odds of Tinubu’s drive towards Aso Rock, a dive into American author: Frank Herbert’s work on his award winning science fiction series Children of Dune published in 1976 helps us cut the journey by half when he wrote about the forte of ambition in relation to one of his characters. Herbert stated that ‘Ambition tends to remain undisturbed by realities.’ In furtherance, he declared conspicuously that ‘If you live in bad faith, lies would appear to you as truth.’
In the Nigerian political scene, perhaps anywhere else that patronizes political dramatics as an effectual weapon for both evil and benign, lies can be cloaked in truth, while truth with little effort takes the form of lies and sold to the people. For Tinubu, he has perfected the act of shielding his ambition in the garment of humility and sometimes ―silence, while his PR machinery strategically deploys his campaign in systematic hybrid layouts that plays on perception and cognition. And it works!
The most potent threat to Tinubu’s ambition is himself. It was Congressman Williams L Clay that intuited that ‘This is quite a game, politics. There are no permanent enemies, and no permanent friends, only permanent interest.’Tinubu on his part apparently may not have built up a large portfolio of enemies, but since he spurred the Buhari presidency in two consecutive occasions against many backdrops and for reasons majority assume to be detrimental to his people and incremental for his ambition, he has left a catalogue of distrust in his wake, such that is too wide to keep count yet too narrow to convince enough voters through.
Ironically, employing the Frank Herbert assertion makes Tinubu’s ambition yet still his biggest strength. His psychological tendency to ignore the glaring realities and predictions, and like a snail destined for the cool of a shade keeps crawling slowly but steadily is a mental capacity possess only by great conquerors. This inclination alone has the propensity to trudge him through the bile of negativity and he’ll emerge unruffled as the follow-up to the Buhari administration.
In the first week of January, 2020, Tinubu was a guest at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. That convergence drew divergent interpretations which further gave credence to the 2023 plans. What seems more apparent than fiction is that Tinubu would be heavily building on the support of his traditional base, the South West and also pertinent and more importantly would be the seal of approval from the cabals in the North. And while the South East appears completely out of touch with him, the South South remains increasingly indifferent. Presumptuously, his dwindling popularity in his natal region has been attributed to his resolute loyalty to the henchmen behind the throne at the Villa. How he hoped to conserve a considerable independence to appease the Yorubas and yet maintain allegiance with Aso Rock to keep his ambition alive would be the most curial melting point before 2023.
But these may well be microscopic when confronted with the issue of religion and running mate. The rise of religious jingoism has created a colossal divide so much so that every position is now rotational by default between Christian and Muslim. Tinubu being a Muslim and succeeding Buhari, another Muslim is a longshot and an almost impossibility in today’s Nigeria. That is something Tinubu would have to chew on seriously. And if this is not enough to put a spike in the wheels of Tinubu’s ride to victory, then Mahata Ghandi who served us an indication that ‘Those who believe religion and politics aren’t connected, don’t understand either’ would have to eat his word in the grave.
Tinubu, according to sources, is very wealthy. Among other wealth, he is said to own the 250-hectare land valued at about N35billion, strategically located at the Ajah junction on Lekki Road. Information has it that was initially meant for a General Hospital for the people of Eti-Osa Local Government but was taken over by Tinubu and handed over to Trojan Estate Ltd – a company owned by Deji and Wale Tinubu – to develop as Royal Garden Housing Estate, allegedly at the expense of the taxpayers of Lagos.
Beside, there is allegedly a 1,000 hectares of land valued at about N75 billion located at Lakowe near Abijo at Ibeju-Lekki Local Government and given to Lekki Concession Company (LCC) which is partly- owned by Tinubu and being developed as golf course and housing estate by Assets and Resource Management Ltd (ARM) as ADIVA project.
The annex of the Lagos State Guest House in Asokoro, Abuja was bought by the State Government in 2006 for N450 million, purportedly to protect the main house from security breach. Shortly after Tinubu left office, the property was transferred to him under the pension plan he signed into law before leaving office.
This insight is a clear indication that funding, which is a critical aspect of electoral project, is the least of his worries should the tide favour him to contest the 2023 presidential race.