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Feb 25, Tinubu and the Enemies Within

Feb 25, Tinubu and the Enemies Within

Eddy Odivwri

The clock is ticking. By the end of today, the feat of crossing the
presidential bridge or failing to cross, would just be 21 soulful days
away. Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a frontline contender for the
number one office is the land. The Battle for the Aso Villa would
surely be one of the toughest political battles he would have ever
fought. He had boasted that he had never lost an election before in
his life. How many has he contested beyond the senatorial and
governorship elections anyway? But the battle for February 25, is fast
becoming herculean, what with the internal and external deficits of
the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate.  The
sundry gaffes within and around his campaigns are too many to be
brushed aside. His spokesmen who are wont to defend every misfiring
have run out of even basic defence lines. The political casuistry
seems ended. They are no longer able to explain away the verbal
oddities of their principal. The Tinubu gaffes and slips are not only
very embarrassing, they are symptomatic of something more serious with
his psycho-mental capacity.  Mischief makers have been compiling these
internal deficits and have become well-watched comic videos on
Tik-tok. They are damn too frequent to be dismissed as one-off human
errors. If elected, many fear that such verbal blunders spiced with
factual errors and cognitive defects would be an embarrassment
in/among the committee of nations.

Perhaps it can be explained that the frequent cases of Tinubu falling
asleep, and snoring away in the middle of ceremonies and events is
because of the heavy strain the campaign movements have had on the
presidential candidate. But it speaks also to the fact that Tinubu is
no longer as young as he claims or as he was while he was a governor.
The energy and vibes are no more there. The natural case of the Law of
diminishing return has exerted its effect on the former Lagos
governor, and the evidence is all over him in all the three concerns
of cognitive, affective and psychomotor domain. Those who flock around
him and know these shortcomings but keep nudging him on for obvious
selfish reasons are parts of the enemy within.

One other strand of the internal deficits is in the cases of stolen
identities created for Bola Tinubu by his handlers. First, it was the
use of former Cross River State governor, Donald Duke’s twelve year
old picture in a campaign publication profiling the Tinubu persona.
The Duke’s picture was passed away for the childhood picture of Bola
Tinubu. That was at the beginning of the campaigns. If that was an
honest mistake, how do we explain the morphed image of Tinubu in
Ebuka’s signature frame? Did the graphic designers think Nigerians
would never detect?

Beside the initial controversy revved up by the Muslim-Muslim ticket,
an anger that has hardly been assuaged, the ecclesiastical robes and
cassocks engrafted on mechanics, vulcanisers and people who have no
business with Christian priesthood, in a desperate move to package a
support outlook from Christendom, only helped to lay the foundation
for suspicion and curiosity with the Tinubu presidential project.

As for the external deficits, it appears that the forces and elements
opposed to the Tinubu candidacy are working extra hours to frustrate
the presidential project. This much was part of the outburst of Tinubu
at his recent campaign in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. There, he
accused the Federal Government of churning out policies that are meant
to throw studs in his presidential project. He cited the cases of
scarcity of petrol and the new Naira notes. In the belief of Tinubu,
they are strange policies being pushed by those who are determined to
stop him on his track. But in some strange show of confidence, Tinubu
affirmed that despite all the disruptive schemes against him, he would
yet win the election.

Perhaps Tinubu was right that the policies and developments in the
polity are aimed at frustrating his presidential ambition. The timing
of the policies and developments are curious. How do we explain the
hardship being visited on Nigerians  with the scarcity of petrol? The
sustained hardship occasioned by the scarcity can only produce one
effect: hatred and disdain for the political party in government which
has failed to bring ease and succour to the Nigerian populace. In many
parts of the country, a litre of petrol is selling between N400 and
N600 per litre. Yet, it is like gold: difficult to find. People queue
and even sleep at filling stations, all to no avail. The experience is
super nasty and nobody, in his /her right senses can be supportive of
a system and government that is visiting such needless hardship on

What is even worse, the inexplicable scarcity of the newly redesigned
naira notes beats every logic of normalcy. The old Naira notes will no
longer be legal tender after February 10, yet the new notes are
nowhere to be found, not even in the vaults of banks. ATM machines are
empty. Banking halls are empty, POS points are empty. Even more
frustrating is the resort to online transfer of funds even for low-end
transactions like buying okra in the market or paying for bus/taxi
fare, which is further frustrated with the so-called “network
problem”. For a moment, it would appear that we had come to that awful
prediction in the Holy Books where the dreaded mark of the Beast will
take over the affairs of humanity, wherein even those who have money
are not able to buy anything with their monies, except if they have
the mark of the beast (666). It is the release of that mark that we
are yet to see in real terms.

The frustration, anger, despondency and crushing hardship are better
imagined than experienced. It was so bad that President Mohammadu
Buhari (and his helicopter) had to be pelted with stones in Kano
during the week, when he went to commission some federal government
projects. Earlier, there had been protest against him in his native
Katsina State, over the hardship people are going through.

What is even more befuddling is that the government is not saying
anything that makes sense. The CBN governor, Godwin Emefielie has not
been able to explain why the banks cannot dispense the new notes. Mr
President who is the substantive Petroleum minister cannot explain why
the fuel scarcity has more than lingered. All they utter are vexatious
gibberish that answer to nothing reasonable.

I therefore tend to suspect that the frustration and hardship being
experienced at this time are all aimed at fermenting the hatred for
the sitting government and its political party, which will
inadvertently affect the Tinubu presidential ambition.

This position has also been supported by Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, the
governor of Kaduna State who has alleged that there are anti-Tinubu
forces in the presidency.

The Kaduna governor said “I believe that there are elements in the
Villa that want us to lose the elections because they didn’t get their
way. They had their candidate; their candidate didn’t win the
primaries and I think they are still trying to get us to lose the
elections and they are hiding behind the president’s desire to do what
he thinks is right”.
Mrs Aisha Buhari seems to be in the same camp with El-Rufai, by
posting the video of teh kaduna governor in his accusative interview.
Clearly, the party is in crises.

 Can this be true? We recall that the national chairman of the party,
Mallam Abdullahi Adamu had in May last year vowed to punish Mr Tinubu
after the latter’s Emi lokan swan song at Abeokuta, where he had told
stories of how Buhari had wept profusely for continually losing
elections until he (Tinubu) stepped in to assure him of victory. Adamu
must have felt Tinubu embarrassed the President. Although President
Buhari had never openly made reference to the incident and the
condescending comments, it is believed that Buhari merely “drank in”
the incident. He did not digest it. Fulanis hardly forgive such acts,
those who know the President confirmed. It is remarkable also that the
same Adamu had, in the days leading to the APC presidential primary,
claimed that President Buhari had endorsed the candidature of the
senate President, Ahmad Lawan. It turned out to be untrue. After the
emergence of Tinubu, Adamu had not had the courage or the leverage to
punish Tinubu, as promised. Can this turn of events in the presidency
and the government now be taken as the promised punishment against
Tinubu? Is Mr President unaware of all the schemes?

The INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, has recently raised the
alarm that the persistent fuel scarcity could be a threat to the
successful conduct of the 2023 elections.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information has debunked the
allegation saying that the government is not aware of any anti-Tinubu
forces in the presidency. El-Rufai is a leading “Buharist” who seems
to be drawing the sword against the government led by Buhari himself.

 Many of the headlines yesterday reflected how divided the APC has
become. And as the Holy Books say, any house divided against itself
cannot stand.

Those who believe El-Rufai argue that President Buhari has not
actually been actively or even covertly supportive of the Tinubu
presidential project, citing his “body-language”, pointing out that Mr
President had to be “nearly blackmailed” before he managed to show up
at the campaign rally of the presidential candidate of his party, just
a few times. He has long stopped. At the last appearance in Bauchi,
something went wrong (or so it seemed) with electrical connections and
the President could not even utter a word before he flew out of the
venue of the campaign rally. They argue further that raising Tinubu’s
hands at the few rallies he appeared in was a mere political ritual
which did not quite suggest such a bonding support for the Tinubu
presidential project. What’s more, they cite the interview Mr
President granted recently where he urged Nigerians to vote WHOMEVER
they liked, not actually persuading the electorate to vote the
candidate of his party… “whomever they liked!” They point out that it
is as bland as it is non-committal. Buhari is aloof and hardly
concerned of what becomes of his party after his administration ends.
How can a president not campaign for his own political party in the
name of leaving a legacy of free, fair and credible election? Does
campaigning for, and openly supporting his party’s candidate suggest
that he will compromise the electoral process?

The inflation in the society, the festering cases of corruption
(Transparency International just ranked Nigeria low again), the
growing number of out-of-school children, the worsening economy, with
the plummeting of the Nigerian currency against the US dollar, (a
campaign point Tinubu lamented about few days ago);  insecurity across
the country, high volume of emigration of Nigerian youths and families
(NARD said Nigeria lost over 2000 medical doctors to the japa
syndrome), the unprecedented N77 trillion debt profile being left
behind by the Buhari administration are some of the many challenges
that markedly dull the shine of the APC-led federal government. And
there will surely be consequences for these many failures at the
pools. It is just 21 days away.

Much as Tinubu is striving to upp the ante of his political campaign
(what with sundry campaign jingles and publicity packages), the
disarray in his campaign council, the pulling out of key persons like
former campaign Director Najatu Muhammad from the campaign Council and
even the party, the visible absence (if not abstinence) of all former
presidential aspirants—including even those who stepped down for him
at the primaries, are all suggestive that there are many in-house
angry gods that have not been appeased, or that are implacable. Will
they work for Tinubu? Will they work against Tinubu? Will they just be
non-committed party men and women? There have been stories of moles
within te rank of the party. Many are within the campaign council but
working for other candidates from other parties. The odds—natural and
fabricated– seem to be mounting against the Tinubu’s life-long

In all, it is clear that the die is cast. In a few days, (if the polls
don’t get postponed), Nigerians will file out to vote. Will they make
Tinubu excited or sober? We wait, we watch!

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