It will be tragic if the change mission fails on the altar of tribalism and egotism, as the duo of President Muhammadu Buhari and Bola Tinubu will be held responsible, writes Goke Omisore
A stitch in time saves nine! Time flies supersonically these days more than we all ever imagined. The nation was in a stupor, deflated to her withering economic effigy, strengthened by nothingness but the loud noise of drowning men; visionless but well-heeled on stolen wealth. The nation was crawling on her knees in the last years of PDP-President Goodluck Jonathan, but robustly kept alive, running feverishly, suspiciously on borrowed time and funds, or now that we all know, our massively, criminally depleted nation’s treasury.
Any wonder PDP blundered and their ship of deluded hope crashed. A party packed full of enormous goodwill, and income spent on best of straw intentions, damned-up behind aggrandizement and braggadocios. The nation’s strength faltered on all alternatives but a subtle, solemn revisit of an old wine, repackaged in a seemingly holier bottle; proved a stroke of a genius. Subliminally packaged political messages of hope on: ‘The mantra of change’ was the key words to revive a nation belaboured in spirituality, political, economic and a roundly flawed image – a threateningly pined-down nation in a jihadist guerilla insurgency war.
A Robin Hood fellow, stood up to the task, ruffled and muffled political and financial privileges, borrowed, misappropriated but delivered on missions in our common interest to dislodge the inept government in power. That was a worthy course in this clime. These facts drown the negative noise about the subject’s style and mode of operation or characters in question under academic forensic scrutiny.
Please remember, saints and stars have long vanished our skies. He was at his best, at his wit’s thoroughly exhausted ends. He fought and crafted together odds, politically ambitious bed-mates that delivered on targets but are now faltering on mission – victory to be accomplished on the change mantra. Methinks he did all those to cart away as the Victor Ludorum, not just to be tagged with The Participatory Ribbon. The author of the vision’s hands is tied! Mark you, Nigerian political saints are dead and gone, long time buried and interred in their graves.
Hence, the Bola Tinubu variant is a reluctant choice. Crooked, but I hazard a guess that it was acceptable amongst a plethora of political enterprises branded in vaulutin ambitions, cloaked in pony patriotism! But please, let the end justify the means; an option the citizenry has little or less hope on, but must be earned in dividends of democracy we all fought for and won.
The unspoken political reality on the ground today needs to be put in perspective. Oh! You don’t think Tinubu fought on the dirty mud-slinging war front absorbing all the lethal darts and missiles to be apportioned and spited with a back seat role in the spoils of war? In the euphoric dance of victory, we are bound to step on each other’s toes but chain not, nor pin-down no one as the race of progress on the change mantra begins to accelerate in view.
Things need to be revisited and very gently caressed, then facts will reveal glaringly and reality will finally dawn on us all. The strained unity of purposes in APC victory, still haunting and must be back on course, on logical course in the greater interest of all. We ordered change jet PMB-BTA 2015, turbo-charged, not to be powered by host of Taiwan’s imitations of political neophytes backed by charlatans and renegades but proven resilience: turbo-charged, powered by Tinubu-Buhari engines – running full throttle in political and economic spheres.
In Saint Buhari we expected our vaults are stoutly guarded, enriched and gated! The General in shining armour of integrity, honour but appears has limited knowledge in economic matters nor the wherewithal in the thousand and one mine forest of Nigerian dirty politics, says Buhari’s credentials. I reasoned.
There is nothing novel about this arrangement in our beleaguered political archives, history and economic conundrum. In retrospect, some of us are old enough to know but are merely being clever by half. Gowon and Awolowo, a memorable pair in governance, “The best president Nigeria never had”, though miles apart in intellectual weight in silver, nuggets of gold and clear crystal blue diamond’s worth.
The wisdom of the fate anointed young General Gowon and Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo bailed us out in a similar, in fact we were in identical situations in the very early seventies. Posterity crowned both of them heroes. Gowon’s image was never diminished; Awolowo’s image stood primed all times enhanced – no victor, no vanquished – solemn paradox, haunting us now, challenging our conscience today.
Let the truth ring out loud and clear. In spite of all unprecedented privileges entrusted by fate upon the Fulani nation, she has yet not, worsted the Yoruba nation in anything significant. The Fulani’s claim of “born to rule” might be ego-soothing but may be effectively confined to the Sokoto Caliphate should President Buhari fail his people and the nation this time around. It is Messianic expectations from the wretched of the earth; the Talakawas deserve much more than just foot notes when history summation arises, when tomorrow dawns.
This is one of the best political combinations of all times ever to be crafted in this nation’s best of interests – a heroic deed but full of indigestion and bad blood. It was built on hidden or misty ambitions, assumptions, blind trust and hope, rather the devil in the details should have been earlier settled. It will be most tragic if this great mission of change empties the tanks, wasted on the altar of tribalism and ego tripping on non-issues; a national calling is in the air!
Tinubu is a reservoir of political exigencies and sagacity. Mark you, my take on our current boldness in eloping with the Chinese nation, is another master stroke but it will be fool hardy to expect our longtime allies – Americans and Europeans clinging glasses of champagne. We just ruptured their underbelly. Challenges lie ahead. Please, steady Tinubu for the cloudy skies ahead.
Our nation’s beleaguered political predicament will be limping for a long time to come and our economy writhing in continuous struggling mode. If this opportunity is mismanaged or vanished into inconsequential or heightened or hung on ego tripping modes! We must all be primed and alerted to the success of this republic.
I have heard severally and variously how deep the minds of Fulani men are and how unforgiving they could be – avenging what? They honestly have themselves to blame for their people’s backwardness and predicament. They have been blessed much more than any other nation in this union, in national politics! But since my growing up years and now crowding my Biblical age, I have intensely watched the Fulani nation waste tremendous political credits in victories often earned or stolen.
What they seemingly amassed aplenty in political sophistry, they fritter. They appear not capable to translate victories into economic blessings for their people, let alone the nation. They often burn it all to the detriment of their own people, coasting home always at all-time lows on intangibles, titles, privileged positions and frivolous wealth accumulation in wrong hands, negating the hope and plight of millions of their peoples, those who mattered most in their society living on pittance acceptable as the will of Allah?
Save alone for a few “ranka dedes” who are very highly privileged but negligible few benefitting far less the Talakawas than they earned on vote or dominance in power by other means, the Talakawas simply serve the currency of political struggles, defend mandates and victories but disposable in the end. That critical mass in poverty needs to be rescued now. They deserve unfailing attention now, most especially in education and agriculture powered by steadied supply of generated power for all and sundry. I pray the second coming of Sai-Baba will address this ultimately.
For a teaser, the Fulani herdsmen viciously cantankerous but hardworking are still beggarly or forcefully grazing or cattle ranching in other people’s green pastures with virtually no clothes on their backs in the year of our Lord 2016. While the rich cow owners are comfortably unconscionably nestled in pleasure, their wards drift rudderless with cattle at almost the same value for their own lives, wasting away in generic ignorance of enslavement. The infiltration from Chad and Niger Republic through our very porous borders compounds this recurring national dilemma – very embarrassing! They are like gypsies army of occupation planted in other peoples’ neighbourhood nationwide.
Despite decades of opportunities of their leaders in politics, power and governance, they have failed woefully to arrest this volatility sustained in silence on this festering and lingering situations in their backyard and beyond. Four or even eight years in government could aggregate little or profound greatness in the life of a nation. This opportunity here must not be frittered or it might lay Fulani’s myth and might a thread-bare claim.
The apparent economic instability in our nation today cannot be divorced from the high stakes in the political disequilibrium of disquieting proportion in grand permutations from the Buhari wing in APC. They have succeeded in trying to put a lid on Tinubu’s very domineering ego! Such men’s larger than life ego is better managed than scotch-snaked because ego reigns in politics and is justified in the murky terrain of competing men in political power on very high stakes, but probably less intense in style than Tinubu’s famed variant. But the truth is, most great political leaders are weaned on it and it is often a common denominator in successful great leaders of means, especially the breeders of other men for political fame and fortunes.
That is what they often anchored their trust and loyalty on: absolute command in leadership! President Vladimir Putin is a master in these games of dictatorial tendencies. It is a price often paid. It inconveniences others, seals the fate of many, upgrade others but most usually, they stand muted in silence of the majority, to placate their leaders but their leaders often achieved much in the interest of all human species, especially the certificates-uncensored and a population of illiterates as in our case are difficult to espouse to reason. “I think, therefore, I am.”
Such leaders hide not their disdain to lesser gods challenging their authorities. If you disagree, you have not ever experienced the wrath of an ordinary local government chairman’s sense of self-importance! Even the late sage barely managed it successfully enough, whispered his lieutenants to his own vision’s peril. But Papa Awo distinguished his style on vision and pragmatism and he accomplished to his traducers. He excelled on principle and foresight – always on patriotism. Pa Jeremiah Awolowo, a lost mold of an uncommon breed in all generations. He very rarely brooded nonsense or indecency and he was very short-fused on stupidity. Legend has it but he had the eye, nose and guts to pick most often, the loyal brilliant best. That was Papa’s hallmark.
Tinubu is very much guilty of these qualities or call it syndrome methinks. Buhari scored an own goal embracing all Tinubu has earned and nursed over the years, above all, turning core Bola’s erstwhile political disciples and war chest reservoir of gallant soldiers he trusted most to maintain and sustain BAT’s clout and political machinery by divide and rule. That is the most revered arsenal of political armoury at all times. It is a leader’s game forte! Earned on huge investments, time and political sagacity and a binding trust but often ends up in betrayals.
Buhari neutralised Tinubu’s potency, rendering him inconsequential and a spectator in his own political super bowl. At the peak of the success of Tinubu’s well-earned contributions, PMB diluted it into watered-down currency for political purchases with limited tokenism, where he, Buhari alone reserves all the rights of loyalty and its values. That was stepping on the Lion of Bourdillon’s tail and was badly signaled and definitely too early in the game but it somehow subtly amounts to cutting Buhari’s nose to spite his face, an own goal at the nation’s expense in my studied opinion.
Methinks Tinubu, a repository of political knowhow still has so much to offer than being discountenanced outright and dis-counted. Tomorrow might vindicate him. Fate is the greatest arbiter of all mortals in time. This is a very high-wired and intense-game of political chess, intrigues packed full of betrayals and back stabbing! Bravery in such game is not only in the ability to make moves and counter-moves, but deadlier than visibly opened to the initiated only. Buhari should have subtly embraced Babatunde Fashola with a portfolio to start with, after all he is a great technocrat discovered and nurtured by Tinubu! That should not be in denials. But procuring and poaching such revered lieutenants without VAT (Value Added Trust) draws a double edged sword even in this cold war. That amounts to calling compatriot’s bluff but he did without Tinubu’s manual of operations accompanied. Time will tell.
Fact, Lagos State probably has the most buoyant economic and most outstanding academics and professionals, patriotic and well-seasoned in government nurtured and groomed over the years than most other states. Lagosians very much pride themselves on this note. Tinubu’s stake on his choice of Fashola – a gambled selection considered suicidal then for continuity was a masterstroke of ingenuity that confirms and concretises Tinubu’s well-rounded depth of wisdom in politics and suffocated others in the cooler of hope while Lagos State’s mega city and economic status grew exponentially.
Tinubu, the architect of modern Lagos will be so remembered in posterity. He will still continue to earn on this for a visibly long time to come. His franchise appears patented. A Three-portfolios-in-one that mattered most in federal government saddled with Fashola was simply a brazen attempt, even most observers agree, has a clear unambiguous but immature political statements about it, even motor-park touts easily decoded it as spiteful and an overkill.
Fate will judge in time. Fashola germinated on the fertile green pasture home of aquatic splendour, watered and nourished by Tinubu. Honestly, I have a most profound reservation, not in Fashola’s proven abilities – great guy – but in national politics and shark-infected Abuja murky waters of the little gods as Permanent Secretaries in collaboration with demi-gods. The political merchants and their intricate cobwebs of grand intrigues and deceit – we should leave that to fate and his faith in Allah.
I am feeling lucky. As I was crafting this piece above, the best economic breaking news of this administration arrested my chain of thoughts; my pen frozen – Buhari’s masterstroke with the Chinese government on Yuan and rejection of the almighty US Dollar. This sets in seismic waves in the world’s financial prime markets – the financial media waves and institutions that count uprising. The whole nation stood proud in praises of Buhari’s staying power and resoluteness not to devalue our currency. Then my day was made when a more profound historic records and fact popped in on social chat, exhuming most relevant facts on the crux of the moment.
My late father, Pa Emmanuel Ajenifuja Omisore, himself was a disciple of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. He was a very shrewd and disciplined man. His favourite sayings came to mind: “Iyan ogun odun a ma joni’lowo”. (The fingers can still feel the heat of a 20-year old pounded yam). Records don’t die; they often time spring up in amazing surprises – sizzling red hot!
Chief AWO IN 1961 ON WHY NIGERIA SHOULD EMBRACE CHINESE CURRENCY TO WEAN OFF FROM DOLLAR AND BRITISH POUND STERLING.
“In seeking foreign aid for our development, our government has allowed itself to be led into a blind alley by its Western masters and mentors. Money has no earmark, so says an old adage which is as true as ever. But our present government has so imbibed the prejudices of Britain that it appears to see the very Devil himself in any foreign currency other than British or American. Every vestige and every channel of the undue influence of Britain and her allies in and on Nigeria should be totally eradicated.
“This, in my view, can be done in three significant ways. First, by the widening of the circle of our international friendship, and in particular by the immediate establishment of diplomatic, cultural, trade and other mutually beneficial relations with Soviet Russia, China, and Eastern Germany; second, by the progressive but accelerated termination of our undue economic dependence on British and other Western Agencies and Business concerns.
“Third, by the translation or transformation of Nigeria into a Republic and by the initiation at an early date of steps to this end, the foreign policy of Nigeria should be independent, and should be guided by the following principles…in respect to the world in general:
a) The promotion of economic relations with all nations of the world.
b) Co-operation with all nations of the world insofar as they respect the ideals for which we stand.
c) Respect for the sovereignty of nations and non-interference in their domestic affairs.
d) Attraction of foreign assistance (capital, technical skills and training opportunities for Nigerians) on the most advantageous terms.”
-Chief Obafemi Awolowo. 3rd Sept. 1961.
Thank you President Buhari for making this happen more than 55years after Awo proposed this position. “Only the deep can call unto the deep”. I humbly submit.
-Omisore wrote from Lagos
This is one of the best political combinations of all times ever to be crafted in this nation’s best of interests – a heroic deed but full of indigestion and bad blood. It was built on hidden or misty ambitions, assumptions, blind trust and hope, rather the devil in the details should have been earlier settled. It will be most tragic if this great mission of change empties the tanks, wasted on the altar of tribalism and ego tripping on non-issues