• Tuesday, September 26, 2023
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How Tinubu taught Buhari ‘Politics 101’

Fascistic? Point the finger at Buhari, Tinubu and their party

Since he left office as the military head of State on August 27, 1985, Muhammadu Buhari was not known to engage in any political activity until he contested 2003, 2007, and 2011 presidential elections and failed.

In 2011, before the election, Buhari had openly wept, declaring that it was going to be his last attempt. He contested on the platform of Congress for Progressives Change (CPC).

But in December 2014, he emerged as the presidential candidate of a bigger platform, the All Progressives Congress (APC), made possible by Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

In spite of all that has been said, rightly or wrongly, about Tinubu in the aftermath of the grossly flawed February 25 Presidential Election in Nigeria, he is a master of the game of politics.

Some people may describe him as a demagogue or a shrewd politician, but that does not detract from the fact that Tinubu is a good teacher and an unyielding or unrepentant believer in that very controversial subject which he has the capacity to teach at elementary, intermediate and advanced levels which is why he has a large following of students and even disciples.

Buhari, Nigeria’s outgoing president, is one of those students.

On many occasions, whenever the need arose, in the build up to the just concluded presidential election, Tinubu wasted no time to tell his audience that Buhari actually studied under his tutelage.

At a political gathering in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, the Jagaban Borgu disclosed that he made Buhari president. He buttressed this with his ‘O lule’ testament or theory in which he catalogued the number of times Buhari made attempt at presidency and failed until he came into the fray and changed the narrative. And Buhari became president.

He took it further with the “Emi l’okan” declaration which he interpreted to mean that it was his turn to become president after Buhari. Nobody challenged this declaration—neither the cabal nor the media aides did; not even the president himself did, apparently because the master has spoken.

This declaration became necessary when the master sensed that his student seemed to be looking elsewhere in the choice of his successor as the ruling party prepared for its primary elections. Tinubu used his financial muscle to clinch the party’s ticket. The president did not support him, Nigerians read the “body language.”

This feeling of alienation lingered into the peak of his electioneering campaign when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in October 2022, less than four months to the election, came up with the Naira Redesign policy that created acute cash scarcity in the financial system.

In the midst of the uproar that greeted that initiative, the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, explained that the action of the apex bank had the support of the president, adding that the redesigning of the naira was meant to promote cashless economy and also prevent vote buying by politicians.

Buhari himself had severally, within and outside the country said that the naira redesign was to check corrupt politicians from buying votes with their ill-gotten wealth.

Speaking in a televised nationwide address on Thursday, February 16, 2023 Buhari said that the development was a positive departure from the past and a legacy for his administration.

“Fellow citizens, on the 25th of February, 2023 the nation would be electing a new President and National Assembly members,” he said.

“I am aware that this new monetary policy has also contributed immensely to the minimisation of the influence of money in politics.

“This is a positive departure from the past and represents a bold legacy step by this administration, towards laying a strong foundation for free and fair elections.”

The president urged Nigerians to vote for their preferred candidates in the forthcoming polls without fear and eschew violence.

“I urge every citizen, therefore, to go out to vote for their candidates of choice without fear, because security shall be provided and your vote shall count,” he said.

The President so flaunted the policy to the point that all fingers were pointing towards the candidate of his party as his target.

It was at this point that Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, in an interview with the Channels Television, came hard on the President, condemning the timing of the naira redesign policy and the acute petrol scarcity across the country.

Yet again, at his presidential campaign rally in the same Abeokuta, Tinubu said that the Naira Redesign and the biting petrol scarcity at the time were targeted at him. At the time, political pundits were wondering why the president was not accompanying Tinubu in his campaigns, meaning that he did not want him to win the election.

Though the Federal Government reacted to that with Lai Mohammed, minister of information, saying that the government had no special candidate, it was a huge surprise that from then on, the president, rather than taking a swipe at Tinubu, came out fully and jumped into his campaign train.

Arguably, Buhari’s actions and reactions each time Tinubu roared gave him out as an obedient student who knows intuitively and also by instruction that he must not forget his time of little beginning or as it is said in local parlance, “you should not bite the finger that fed you.”

From what Nigerians saw play out before, during and after the presidential election, it has become clearer to all and sundry that ordinary Nigerians, specifically the electorate, are mere pawns in the hands of their self-serving and self-seeking politicians who need them only for show on election days.

Against the rules guiding the conduct of elections in the country as contained in the Electoral Act 2022, President Buhari, after casting his vote, raised his ballot paper for everybody to see. That served two main purposes. There could be more, but it was apparently meant to convince a doubting political master that he actually got the president’s vote. Secondly, it was meant to sway support for the president’s party and choice.

Observers strongly believed that Buhari never intended to support Tinubu. He had his own candidate.

On the day of the party’s presidential primaries, things were said to have gone out of his control, leading to the emergence of Tinubu as the flagbearer.

When Tinubu emerged, Aso Rock began to play the ostrich. There were bickering among party leaders and when there were no financial support towards Tinubu’s campaign, some leaders addressed the media to complain.

On a number of occasions, the Presidency had cause to issue statements why Buhari was not fully attending the party’s presidential rallies; they also issued releases whenever the President chose to attend.

From what Nigerians could observe, Buhari supported Tinubu willy-nilly, because he had no choice.

Tinubu, Nigeria’s incoming president, believes in the supremacy of political power which is why, in spite of his economic super power, his quest for political power is almost unrivaled. He is well aware of the risks and the challenges which is why he advises that nobody looking for political power should go to a restaurant because it is not served there. Rather, he says, “you must go for it at all cost, grab it, snatch it and run away with it.”