The Southwest Should Not Confuse Tinubu’s Interest With Theirs



In my Sunday January 19, 2020 piece for my ThisDay column, #TheAlternative, I wrote that by not using his influence to delay the start off of Amotekun until after 2023, Bola Tinubu may have kissed his Presidential ambition good bye.
In that piece, titled ‘Amotekun As a Game Changer For 2023’, I wrote that:

‘The elite of the North, who at this time are mostly the Fulani and Kanuri intelligentsia, are aware that Amotekun is a spontaneous reaction by the Southwest to the existential threat herdsmen and other latter day insecurity issues pose to them. They know it is not a secessionist agenda. Not so their people. The average literate, semiliterate or absolutely illiterate Northerner sees Amotekun as the Yariba (read Yoruba) version of IPOB.

Even if the Southwest scraps Amotekun today and never speaks about it, that impression has been indelibly fixed in the consciousness of the average Northerner, and even Buhari and his Buharism, can’t undo that impression.

To the average Northerner, the Yariba have shown their hands and proved their suspicions right, that their commitment to Nigeria is not total. That they only remain in Nigeria because they are afraid of the strong arm of the North. It does not matter that that is absolute bunkum. It is what they now believe and you ignore that at your own peril.’
Events since that time, which have since climaxed in a ThisDay exclusive which seriously unsettled Bola Tinubu and rattled his camp into a media frenzy, have since proved me right.

It is not that Amotekun is wrong. It is not. It is very right. But this is Nigeria, where perception is reality. I believe it was my fellow author, Joshua Harris, who said “The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing”.
Scripture says “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”-Ecclesiastes 3:1.
I recommend the 2019 documentary, The KingMaker, to Bola Tinubu. In it, the central character, Imelda Marcos, says “Perception is real, and the truth is not.” I hope Tinubu can grasp this concept.

Only three years lie 2020 and 2023. It was a strategic mistake for the Southwest to show its hand too soon. And really, this was unlike them. They are usually more sophisticated. What happened? Could it be because they stopped listening to sagacious voices like Obasanjo’s and instead hearkened to desperadoes like Tinubu, who is obviously too blinded by sheer ambition to think straight?
Barely concealed intentions become hardly realised plans. They lead to frustration, and I hope there are still enough strategic thinkers in the Southwest willing and able to wrest the ship of their fiefdom from Bola Tinubu, before he crashes it almost irrevocably.

The current Northern power bloc (and by this I refer to the Fulani elite and intelligentsia around General Buhari) are much better at brinksmanship than the Southwest, not the least reason being that their major religion, Islam, is conducive to fatalism.
Only by employing the strong determinism and putting into practice the Second Law of Thermodynamics (that entropy increases with time), can the Southwest limit the damage that Bola Tinubu has done to the region on its march to 2023.
I mean from the get go, it should have been clear to the region that it should not have tied its politics of 2023 to an individual. Politics is about interests, not about individuals. And if the Southwest has to sacrifice a shady character like Bola Tinubu, then so be it.

And to be honest, how much influence does Tinubu still command outside Lagos? None in Oyo. Less than none in Edo. Barely tolerable in Ogun. His influence in Ondo ranges between slim and none, and slim looks like it is about to abandon him.
Let us face it, Bola Tinubu is an overrated hack! I get amused when his paid praise singers trumpet his fabled but non existent political genius. Which political genius allows bullion vans to be filmed and photographed entering his residence on election eve? Talk about a smoking gun!

Does it mean he does not have trusted subordinates to whose house the bullion vans could have been diverted? Can you imagine that fate befalling someone like Nyesom Wike or Sule Lamido?
It shows shoddiness, lack of methodical planning, and above all hubris, that you are above the law and can act with impunity. Is that the person the All Progressive Congress will trust its fate to in 2023? Someone that is so vulnerable to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission? I think not. I think not!

A good tactician is never desperate for power until he is in power. Especially when you are not fighting from a higher ground. By speaking through writers like Sam Omatseye, Bola Tinubu ends up saying more than is necessary. I would have thought that Tinubu would be savvy enough to know that nobody that matters in Nigeria is duped to think that the writings of Omatseye are nothing more than Bola Tinubu’s echo.

Tinubu is too predictable. If an event occurs that he obviously does not like, you can almost count on The Nation and Sam Omatseye to address it the next day. When you are that predictable, it is almost impossible to respect you.
And in Edo, we have seen how much the electorate respect Bola Tinubu. Tinubu more or less won the election for Obaseki by releasing his poorly scripted and even more poorly delivered message to the people of Edo.

The less that is seen and heard of Bola Tinubu, the better for the APC and the Southwest. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is a better talker and a better sight to behold, as are Kayode Fayemi, and Raji Fashola.
Another thing Imelda Marcos said in the documentary, The Kingmaker is “the gun can kill you only up to the grave. Media can kill you beyond the grave.”

Tinubu has used the media as a gun to kill many people. However, he must understand that he is not the only one who has a gun. And in this social media age, his guns are no longer the biggest guns in town.
And the people of the Southwest must display the political sophistication they are known for and begin to know and demonstrate that their own group interests are not the same as Bola Tinubu’s personal interests.

The group interests of the Yoruba is best served by a restructured Nigeria, and the fastest route to achieving that is the implementation of the resolutions of the 2014 National Conference, chief of which are devolution of powers and reliance of merit over primordial factors.

Bola Tinubu’s interest is singular, to capture power. Pure and simple. And his utterances after the daughter of the leader of Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, (Funke Olakunrin), was killed are proof of that.
When the incident occurred, Tinubu was more concerned about choosing his words to placate the hegemons that his mouthpiece, Omatseye, now attacks, than in assuaging the grief of Pa Fasoranti and the Yoruba people.

It will be recalled that during a highly staged condolence visit, Bola Tinubu had questioned the testimony of several eye witnesses, including occupants of the car in which Mrs Olakunrin was killed, who said she was killed by herdsmen.
Speaking at the residence of Pa Fasoranti on July 15, 2019, Tinubu said:

“I am extremely concerned about security, I don’t want a stigma, I can go through (the) history of kidnapping in Nigeria and we know how and where it all started, there are a lot of copycats.”
Continuing, he said “how many years ago have we faced the insecurity in the country? There are cases of kidnapping, is Evans too, who was arrested and made disclosures, also a herdsman? I don’t want to be political, but I will ask, where are the cows?”
Then Tinubu plunged the dagger deeper into the heart of Pa Fasoranti by saying:

“It has been destined that that is the way she would go. You can’t change what is ordained by God. One way or the other, it could be death by road accident, or any other way.”
Lo and behold, when the Nigerian Police announced the arrest of the killers of Mrs Olakunrin, on April 16, 2020, they were identified as Lawal Mazaje, 40; Adamu Adamu, 50, Mohammed Usman, 26, and Auwal Abubakar, 25.

The police announced that their leader was still at large, and identified him as one Tambaya, who they described as “communicating in Hausa, Fulfude and Pidgin English; fair in complexion and suspected to be between 27 and 30. He was last known to be in Isanlu, Kogi State and has a visible scar from stitches on his forehead down to his nose and mouth.”
Contrary to what Tinubu said, none of them was named Evans.

•Reno Omokri
Gospeller. Deep Thinker. #1 Bestselling author of Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years. Avid traveller. Hollywood Magazine Film Festival Humanitarian of the Year, 2019.