By Uche Mbah
The Lion of Bourdillon, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has been under fire recently for pushing his alleged 2023 presidential ambition with desperate gusto, and planning to install his henchmen in strategic positions in preparations for the final onslaught when the chips are down.
Tinubu, who, this Magazine gathered, have relocated to Abuja to keep an eye on the game, has suddenly become a persona-non-grata among the Northern elites, who see him as overtly ambitious in trying to position himself for the presidency. Initially, before the elections, he was touted as the next president after Muhammadu Buhari in 2023 despite the fact that the Northern power brokers also promised the Southeast the same thing. That, of course, appears to have been a vote buying strategy.
Immediately after the elections, the Mietti Allah, the Umbrella body of Cattle rearers, came out openly to declare that it is a pipe dream for any Southerner to dream of becoming the president in 2023 as the position is not to be vacated by the North. Miyetti Allah has most prominent Northern leaders as Patrons, and Buhari as their Grand Patron, which gives them a pride of place in the decision making in the northern part of the country particularly in this current government dominated by Northern elites. Then followed other Northern leaders singing the same refrain, like, for example, Junaid Mohamed, effectively bringing the news home to the Jagaban of Bogu Kningdom.
With all these, Tinubu appears undaunted. But it appears that his detractors have been able to co-opt the presidency in their dirty war. Tinubu is currently regarded in some quarters as being too powerful to be entrusted with the power at the center, “Which the North has worked very hard to return back to the region”, according to one source who, incidentally is from the core north.
This appears to mirror the average Northern sentiment-except that many believe that current regime of President Buhari has done so mush to create obstacles in the realization of their long term Northern domination agenda. Part of the Northern fear is that the ruling party, APC, is on the verge of total collapse and is only held together by one single name: Muhammadu Buhari. “Remove that name and the party collapses like a pack of cards”, the magazine was informed over the weekend. There is also rumors of plans to pull out the Congress of Progressive Change, CPC part of the party leaving the carcass of ACN to Tinubu and company. Buhari’s name will continue to dominate the party even if the rumor is true.
That name is now the anchor name for the next level agenda, which is said to have excluded Jagaban. “The Afonja scenario is loading, and it is a disaster foretold”, the magazine was told by the same source.
Tinubu has planned to impose his acolytes in 2015, but was outsmarted by Bukola Saraki and the Peoples democratic Party, PDP game players. This time around he is determined not to lose. For this he was even determined to do away with the wife’s ambition-the deputy Senate Presidency-not to upset the apple cart. And he also relies on the support of Northerners like Umar Ganduje, the governor of Kano state, who used his Lagos template to win the Kano governorship election.( And ganduje is also using the template of his fellow governor who is his in-law from the South west to deal with the Emir Sanusi threat-break the Emirate into pieces.) But the Northern elites are not relenting in the game of thrones. The agenda is to raise an opposition at his own doorsteps, apart from the two empowered people-the Minister for Power, Tunde Fashola, and Ekiti Governor, Kayode Fayemi. Now, the new kid in the block is Akinwumi Ambode, simply because Tinubu Ignored the Presidential Plea for Ambode to go for a second term. During the commissioning of both the completed and uncompleted projects by Ambode in Lagos, Buhari was full of praises for the governor without recourse to Tinubu, who was conspicuously absent. Also absent was his right hand man Rauf Aregbesola and his protege, Adams Oshiomhole, whom he used to push away John Oyegun to hold a firmer grip on the party. Tinubu later claimed he was in London for a previous engagement with Jide Sanwolu, the governor elect. His handlers even uploaded pictures of him and Sanwolu in London, forgetting that Sanwolu was at the Airport to receive Buhari on the faithful day. This Magazine gathered that Tinubu was in Lagos on that day.
In the Southwest, Tinubu is having a running battle with the Afenifere, who are the voice of the opposition to him. In recent times, he has been making serious efforts to reconcile with his estranged south west governors, giving concessions where necessary. But the Northern elites are tracking his every move. Nigerians are waiting to see how it will end.