• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

So Tinubu didn’t speak, who did?

Bola Tinubu

NIGERIA is a wasteful country. We waste time. We waste words. We waste so much that we whiz through situation denying them the substance they bear. We have become adept at minimising situations such that we express surprise that Nigeria is not making progress in most acceptable indices.

One of the biggest targets for attacks in the past week was Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Jagaban Borgu. His silence as his assumed political turf, the South West, was on the brink of unrest was unacceptable to those who have taken it upon themselves to speak all. What did he think of attacks by Fulani herdsmen in the South West, especially the infuriating statements that all lands in Nigeria belong to the Fulani?

What was Tinubu expected to say? Would he contest territory with Igboho, trending leader of the fight against the criminalities in South West? Other parts of the country wish they had their own Igboho to check attacks on their communities.

Tinubu spoke through his silence. A powerful silence that aligns with his presence in the public sphere at moments that people think he count was his preference. He has said all he has to say. Are we to blame him if we do not understand him? Is it fair to suggest his political ambition occasioned his silence?

Silence is not warranted on 2023. Abuja is buzzing with Tinubu 2023. There are no posters. A brand new white BMW car has been severally sighted in Abuja with the simple plate number, TINUBU 2023. You cannot miss it – the driver cuts through traffic, speeds as if daring you to miss him.

So you still think Tinubu is not speaking? He does daily. Too much of our expectations are placed on an unelected man, who holds no party position, as President Muhammadu Buhari told us years ago that the All Progressives Congress, APC, did not have a national leader, but national leaders.

National Leader of APC is the commodious title that presages the ambitions of Tinubu. He has stuck with the title as if he did not hear the President who made the disclosure at an event where Tinubu was present. We can then see that Tinubu picks his battle and fights them to the end.

Efforts to pin the national cant and bad governance on him would not work. If he chooses to speak through silences, it is his right. We often forget, with all the reminders that Jagaban posts, that he is an ordinary citizens, who is not a contractor, and has no access to public funds. Were those not his retorts when comments on the bullion vans that waved their way into his Ikoyi, Lagos residence on the eve of the 2019 elections drew him?

Did he not speak when the fires of the Lekki Tollgate Plaza were dying? “I didn’t go nowhere; I’m a Lagosian and I still hold the title of Asiwaju of Lagos and I am still a Jagaban,” he answered those who alleged he fled the country.

Anyone who wants to interrogate Tinubu’s silence should understand the implications of the title, Jagaban Borgu.

What we forget is that freedom of speech encompasses the freedom of silence, especially for those who speak through silence, who elect which matters merit silence. Newly elected Ohanaeze President-General Professor George Obiozor illustrates these choices elaborately. Bullets were raining in Orlu in matters again that related to Fulani herdsmen. Lives were lost. More lives were at risk, but Obiozor, with no declared 2023 ambitions, said nothing until what he said meant nothing. He is not Jagaban Borgu.

His native Awomama is a firing distance from Orlu yet his interest was on who Buhari appointed as security chiefs and the wasted suggestion that the next Inspector-General of Police has to be from the South East. If he had taken a look at the current police hierarchy, he would have known that his suggestion meant retiring almost all the senior police officers in service.

Obiozor said more. He dabbled into the graceless debate about whether Ika-born Maj-Gen Lucky Eluonye Onyenuchea Irabor, appointed Chief of Defence Staff, was Igbo or not. Was that what we were waiting for him to say?

Neither Jagaban nor Obiozor or the rampaging Fulani herdsmen are blame. They are only significant products of governments that have failed to make lives count; government that confound crimes and culture. They think we do not know the difference.

We have bad government, with rare exceptions, across Nigeria. We should be interested in what they are not doing, and what they claim they are doing. Their performances preceded Covid-19. Our governance could have still worsened without Covid-19.

Our focus should be on making our governments accountable in running a country where nobody is oppressed. All other matters are delightful distractions for our governments.

Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues