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Saturday, 8 October 2016

Tinubu - The Political Huckster and Ambitions (I) by Bamidele Ademola-Olateju



The All Progressives' Congress (APC) has been struggling hard since the party won the presidential elections last year. To those of us who are student of politics, we saw it coming. Personally, I was optimistic that President Buhari still has it in him to rein in the contending power structures, the perennial malcontents, the malicious hijackers, the racketeers and profiteers who penetrate any government in power. I was wrong! Buhari is an Oligarch with whom the poor pitched their hopes incredulously. Yes, he is a tad more honest but he suffers from the same set of limiting myopia that has plagued every leader Nigeria has produced. Buhari is not the topic, he is an actor. Follow me!

Reproach does not and cannot diminish the sweetness of honey; no matter what anyone says, Tinubu made Buhari happen. We are alive, we are witnesses. Followers of my wall on Facebook, read the minute by minute maneuvers. Buhari would not have survived the primaries. He had no money of his own to prosecute the campaign and induce delegates. 48hours to the congress, he had less than 5,000 posters. Nothing was happening until the master of end game politics moved in at night. Money happened! Atiku was fenced beyond his wits. He could not reach his delegates. When he got to the stadium, the Asiwaju machine had removed all traces of him. The venue was blanketed by Buhari's posters and operatives. It was a no contest. Even Buhari's closest associates could not believe it. The People's Democratic Party (PDP), were completely blindsighted. They had banked on Atiku's emergence. I have written it before; "When it comes to political strategy, Asiwaju Tinubu is in a class of one. He is the bell cow of Nigerian politics, a quick study and a tenacious worker with a manic work ethic."

The compound fractures we are seeing in the APC today would have been simple fractures, if Jonathan did not postpone the elections. The postponement was an inside job. It was sold to them by a popular and fiery preacher who runs with the hares and hunts with the hounds. By the time the elections was postponed, they were running out of funds. Buhari ran to Chatham house and stayed on thereafter to limit expenses. We all remember the state of flux we were in then. During this crucial time, they had to crawl to Atiku and beg him for money. And Atiku really made them beg. He kept them in wait for more than a week before he pitifully bailed them out. With his money, he negotiated his way in. Buhari's trouble started...To be continued.

Tinubu - The Political Huckster and Ambitions (II)

by Bamidele Ademola-Olateju

Whatever anyone says of Tinubu, he is the only leader in Nigeria that is creating leaders. He is the only one that has a pipeline of excellence through which the competent and the unknown gain prominence to lead. It is true that he is canny, irascible, and ruthless but he alone saw the need to recast, remold and refocus the middling Southwest into a real political machine. He gave us Fashola, a political unknown and a neophyte at planning but a dogged executor (we are seeing how that deficient planning skill is slowing him down in the power sector. I digress). Fayemi was running around trying to claim his mandate, he found no headway, until Tinubu joined the fray. Senator Ajimobi and Ibikunle Amosun were languishing in the wilderness of ANPP, until they got the platform and won. Even Mimiko, owe his initial entry into Alagbaka to Tinubu. Of course, we know Aregbesola is Tinubu's Peter. His number one fanatic.

It is only a foolish goose that goes into a fox's church. Atiku welcomed the geese of the APC. He feathered them and flashed his canines each time he enjoyed the sweet juices coursing through his tongue from their spongy bones. When in Buhari or Northern company, he touts Northern interests and the need to protect the North form Tinubu. The crocodiles cries the most when it is enjoying human flesh. Treachery is Atiku. He was ready. He deployed his loyalists and within hours of Buhari's victory, some Northern elements started resenting Tinubu's role. Buhari himself lost it. He could not hide his excitement! He kept reminding everyone who made him king. Resentment grew, Atiku tapped into it! The governor's who were with him in Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) ran with it. Soon Daura became colonized and Abuja was annexed. The clandestine operations started.

When the issue of who would be the nominee for the Vice President came up. Saraki, Fashola, Fayemi and co, wanted Rotimi Amaechi as VP based on his monetary contributions. Tinubu chided them and said something I will not repeat here. He put Osinbajo forward. The first crack appeared as Saraki used people from Nda-Isaiah camp in the press to circulate rumors that Tinubu wanted to be the VP. It was all a lie. As the euphoria of the win settled, Daura became the place to be. The intrigues started playing out. Tinubu wanted control of anything and everything from the West. He felt he's earned it. His spat with Fashola in Lagos was renewed when Fashola had his own candidate for the Lagos Guber elections. Tinubu repeatedly asked him if he has his own candidate and he denied. When Tinubu confirmed he had, he was furious. Tinubu fought the political battle of his life for Ambode to be governor. Ambode was almost defeated, he won by the whiskers! That near loss delivered Tinubu a thousand jolts. He knew his political life is in danger and he became more alert. Meanwhile, in Daura and Abuja, the SW young Turks bought into the campaign to "clip Tinubu's wings". A Northern governor with his own presidential ambition backed them. Soon young people in the SW started questioning Tinubu's hold on who becomes what. Tinubu on his part, did not see the need to back down. All he saw was treachery and betrayal? He responded by taking a recursive posture. Even though, he refrained from saying anything untoward about Buhari to anyone, he gave his all but he was hurting badly. We must not forget that he is a man who relishes and thrives on the nitty-gritty of politics, which is not bad in itself but with this skill comes destructive impulses. In anger and frustration, he tried blocking the emergence of Fashola and Fayemi as ministers. He wanted no say for the governors. Whoever must be appointed in the SW must be through him. This made the coalition against him stronger. Amosun stood up to him and submitted Adeosun's name instead of Wale Edun. Wale Edun is from Ogun state but he is essentially seen as a Lagos import. If there is any politician Buhari really trusts in the SW, it is Amosun. They were in ANPP together. Whenever Buhari visited Lagos in the past, Amosun welcomed him and hosted him. Their bond was strong and still is. The Cold War between Tinubu and his political sons soon became common knowledge. The die was cast. Opposing camps emerged. Those who opined that when a child grows into a man, hand him his hoe, do not hold him back on one hand, and those who felt one should not bite the fingers that fed him on another. Both camps are right. But politics is local. Fashola found out quickly! His book launch was a spectacular flop! Apart from Fola Adeola and a handful of others; no real politician attended the event. He spent 8years as governor but he couldn't build his own political base. Politics no be beans! E no easy! How about Fayemi in Ekiti? Same story! The gladiators are determined to fight this to the end. At what cost? Nationally, these two will never win any election as things stand today. Nationally, Tinubu has been wounded. Who is losing? The problem with Tinubu's is there's no political hack job too low he won't be involved in.

The battle for Kogi redefined the calculations. Ondo state became a war zone. The old power structures has been revived with confidence. The battle for the political future of the SW has now taken a new dimension, the fight to ruin it all has begun. Buhari will be the loser, we, the people will be the loser. If nothing is done to stem the tide, one year is already wasted, another is getting wasted, they are all fixated on 2019 while poverty multiplies. Stay tuned as I bring you the play in Kogi and Ondo State and how this government is getting sabotaged with Buhari looking away. By the way...Abba Kyari, Mamman Daura...are they going?

Tinubu - The Political Huckster and Ambitions (III)

by Bamidele Ademola-Olateju

Poverty cannot be discounted in Nigerian politics, actually, it defines politics. Prospective candidates only need to distribute staple and N1000 to get elected after he or she must have given some money to party bosses and traditional rulers. Our people's psyche has been twisted by poverty. Asiwaju has never discounted poverty from his winning strategy. He understands Maslow's hierarchy of needs; it is hard to think right when preoccupied by bread and butter issues. Without an iota of doubt, Asiwaju is a master strategist, a tactician and a certified hustler with dye in the wool qualities of made in America political hucksterism of the Chicago brand. He's fed his base on a cocktail of merit, cronyism, area boy style patronage and intense graft. He has employed this strategy deftly in Lagos where he's bred a fanatical base of supporters throughout his career. The problem with him is that he does not know when to lessen the potency of this cocktail. I once wrote that the "Imposition of candidates are a given in our political landscape. Even our revered Chief Awolowo imposed candidates but he did it by stealth. Every political party in this country without exception has always rewarded loyalists and favorite sons and daughters with positions. They all put forth anointed candidates and actively discourage contested primaries. The difference is, Asiwaju does his without care and respect." He puts on a know it all facade and hell may care attitude. Unfortunately, man always seek to assert himself. There will always be people who will prefer to be masters in hell compared to serving in heaven without a defined job description.

Saraki happened and Buhari pretended and looked the other way. The Fulani Pula philosophy of discipline and patience can work for a people whose life were moulded as nomads. This is politics, a brand of modern warfare. Discipline? Yes, Patience? No. Patience can prove costly and fatal. Politics always requires the urgency of now. Then the criminal enterprise figured him out. Meanwhile, the right flank where Tinubu ought to be has been vacated by an angry Tinubu. Everyone started working at cross purpose and Nigerians took notice. 2019 became the only thing happening in Abuja and at meetings. The calculations!

Since politics is about interests; Fashola and Fayemi "seem" (deliberate caution) determined to fight this to finish at any cost. But is the costs not too high given their age? A few patch patch meeting between the Awujale, the Alaafin and some young Yoruba men intervened and the hostilities cooled off a bit until...

How about the governors? What are they doing? The Northern governors regardless of their political parties have met 17 times since Buhari came to power. The SW Governors don't even speak to each other. Governor Ajimobi and Amosun, ought to be the closest. They were both Senators and in ANPP together. But no! They don't talk anymore! The bad blood was generated when the peace meeting between Osoba and Amosun took place behind Amosun's back. He read everything in the papers with all the photo ops like you and I and Ajimobi played a leading role in that. Governor Aregbe disdains anyone who is not for Tinubu. Ambode is like Etisalat's Uche - he faces his work. He does not speak to Fashola. He is focused on making Lagos a modern city and he wants to obliterate Fashola from our memory as a hard worker, by eclipsing him by any standard. Mimiko - the fox is who he is. He can be a Kikuyu for all we know. He is for himself. Fayose is too entangled to think. He is busy spinning intricate webs around himself, he is unconcerned.

One important fact! What Asiwaju does not know is that he does not need to build himself anymore. He is already built. His attempt a remodeling himself by his frequent ego trips is a wild goose chase. When Buhari wanted to appoint the INEC Chairman, he called Tinubu three times, he refuses to take Buhari's call. Buhari now called on his long time friend Amosun to submit a name. Amosun, told him to call his principal. Buhari did two more times, Amosun declined. Buhari went ahead and appointed someone he wanted to the consternation of Amosun. When Amosun raised eyebrow and the NEC meeting, Buhari shouted him down. Same goes for the IGP position. Was Tinubu right to have done that?

Kogi's election featuring Audu and Faleke. Asiwaju was heavily invested in this election. In a sane country, the death of Audu will be investigated but he was buried in a rush according to Muslim rites. Audu's death was immediately known. The calculations was that if they allow Faleke, Tinubu will start spreading his tentacles in the North Central. They moved quickly to declare the election inconclusive even though it was concluded. They settled in on Yahaya Bello, all in a predetermined effort as the next best thing. We saw how it played out. By this time, Tinubu saw the handwriting on the wall yet again. Baba Akande who trusted and became Buhari's friend withdrew to Ila-Orangun and stopped receiving calls on anything APC or politics.

The tactics that was used by the PDP in 2012 was revived this time within the APC for the Ondo State elections. Last Christmas, the party wanted to removed Kekemeke the party chair in the state given the lies they were being fed by certain former Tinubu loyalists. It is noteworthy to state here that Tinubu gave Tayo Aladoadura N2billion Naira for the 2012 elections. He couldn't account for most of it. Chief Rotimi Akeredolu was also implicated in the misappropriation. After the election, many brand new Totota buses and motorcycles were recovered from Tayo Aladoadura. Things are not always as they seem in politics. The fallout between Tayo Alasoadura, Aketi and Tinubu lent some moisture to the dark cloud over Ondo State elections... I need a break and a drink...I will post the concluding part this afternoon. Thank you!

Tinubu - The Political Huckster and Ambitions (IV)

by Bamidele Ademola-Olateju

Yoruba internal politics has always been plagued by rivalry since the days of the Alliance for Democracy (AD). Tinubu quickly seized the opportunity for leadership to the consternation of the rest. Baba Akande was the fulcrum. He maintained balance between the other five until he pitched his tent with Tinubu, when the Obasanjo Tsunami swept all of them out of power in 2003. He joined Tinubu to form the Action Congress. The politics, between all of them and their differences except for Lam Adesina and Adefarati who are dead, still colors Yoruba politics till date. Asiwaju has not helped matters too in that he did not cede anything to these former governors when ACN was formed and consequently the APC. In politics as in life, it is always good to find work for your "enemies". Keep them busy so they don't think about you. When Fayemi did not keep Fayose busy, we saw what happened. Instead of allowing Adebayo to chair the party in the Southwest, he tipped Baba Akinyelure who is not a baptized politician. Of course the envy multiplied!

On Ondo State, the plan to make Aketi win was hatched up North and perfected in Abuja. Before then, I was convinced Aketi wouldn't win his Owo constituency. From earlier on, there were two hard workers on ground for the governorship race on APC platform; Ajayi Boroffice and Olusola Oke. The party knew it. They knew Oke was going to win in a free and fair primaries and they were never comfortable with him. Why? He joined the party late from PDP and his loyalty was always in question. In my small capacity, I advised them to call him and table their fears and get an understanding. Apparently they did not buy that. Meanwhile, the issue of zoning which the state has always respected was there. By that arrangement, Akoko/Owo should produce the governor. They started thinking of how to broaden the delegates list. In 2012, Segun Abraham spent money and time in the state, he was favored in most quarters but Aketi was handed the ticket which among other reasons led to their colossal loss. Since then, Abraham withdrew. Up until May, he was not on ground. He was waiting for Asiwaju to show his hand. That proved to be his undoing because he could have won had he been on ground earlier. The moment Asiwaju showed his hand, which was a huge mistake, the Abuja folks swung into action. They were energized and united in their "clip the wings" mission. They perfected the delegate swap strategy. Aketi was unaware of their plans until 24 hours before the election. When he was told, he couldn't contain himself! He almost gave the game away. He went to the press and boasted how Tinubu will be shocked. It happened! It was near perfect because the aspirants did not know what hit them. Delegates were accredited in one place and driven to another place to vote. While in transit, they were swapped and pre-printed tags were given to imported delegates while bonafide delegates couldn't get in. All eyes were on ballots and accreditation while the "job" was on logistics and who could vote. The margin of swap, defined the winning votes and it was openly counted. It was almost 6pm before anyone could guess a thing. It was near perfect! Aketi won and most of them had congratulated him before they realized what happened. The ward chairmen were aggrieved and taken by surprise.

As things stand today, the duo of Fayemi and Fashola and their supporters who resent Tinubu's influence have resolved to fight this to finish. I really do not like this because of the grave implications for us as a people. Yoruba former governors are fighting their mentor and the governors are not talking. There is so much disunity going on. Nothing is happening, everyone is in his own cocoon of influence. I don't understand why our ministers can't see that, all these is a failing strategy. It is foolhardy to brush of twigs, cobwebs and dirt when you are still in the bush. Why don't you get out first? What power have they acquired before seeking their independence from Tinubu? I know it is not only Yorubas who are reading these series. Our people say; you cannot ask how your father was killed if you are not wielding a sword. Where is the political clout for this duo? These are thoroughbred elite who are not gifted in retail politics. They are good at giving well crafted speeches and they are best suited for Think Tanks. If Buhari can discard Tinubu, what makes them think they can't be discarded? They are just being used as fodder for candidates who want to succeed Buhari. What else after their ministerial jobs? Why can't these otherwise brilliant men see this?

It is a bad development for the Yoruba and it portends evil for the nation. Because of these games, certain actors within Buhari's inner circle whom I won't mention are determined to sabotage Buhari's effort so they can pave way for 2019. The economy is primed for sabotage, the anticorruption fight is lying prostrate! It is all by design. The plan is to make us so dissatisfied as to stone Buhari on the streets towards the end of next year. I don't pity Buhari! I don't! He has offered himself to those whose vocation is to hold Nigeria by the jugular. President Buhari is too old to function and he is not in good health. Add to that is his loyalty blinkers by which he sees nothing wrong in his long standing friends. Many of the reliable people who stood by him for years have been sidelined. The swashbuckling arrogance and clotted conformity of his inner circle is galling. It is like the rest of us do not matter and we can go and die! Like the PDP, the APC political machinery is a growing skein of looters and economic saboteurs. No one seem concerned by the great class divide and its deepening social contradictions. No one cares about the suffering Nigerian. As far as I know, there seem to be a deliberate intent to dash the hopes for a new Nigeria. To gain political power, they seem to want a furtherance our mediocre culture that promotes a lack of work ethics, penchant for short cuts, easy money, stealing and conversion of public funds, indiscipline, lack of patriotism, erosion of traditional values and dislocated religious beliefs.

Olusola Oke has defected to AD. Tinubu is courting Fayose and Buruji through his surrogates. The ministers are hoping to wrest power from the top by courting young bureaucrats and aspiring politicians with no electoral value, Tinubu is courting grassroots politicians that stinks. Which way? APC is set to split into three. As things are today, parties will emerge that will have only regional reach. PDP is decimated, no one has the money to revive it. Buhari and his factotums have rubbished the handshake with the Yoruba and he will be hated more and more unless some miraculous healing takes place. The North will split into two politically because of ambitions. The state is set such that no party will win 23 states in 2019. 2019 is too far but the actors are unthinking. Burying one man to sink the fortunes of a country instead of managing him is a bad idea and strategy. I hear Baba is ready to let the Daura hostage takers go. I'm not optimistic. The treachery there is worse than what the Bolsheviks did.

What is the way out? I think the party leaders in the Southwest should reach out to Awujale and Alaafin again. Let them talk to Asiwaju. Let them reconcile the governors and stress the need for unity and call the ministers in. I am aware peace talks are ongoing and reports reaching me are not reassuring with everyone still working at cross purpose. I hope they learn. To governor Fayemi and Fashola, please stop dancing. Mo be yin l'oruko Olorun. A young antelope who dances too early will be lame before the main dance starts. Eni to ju'ni lo, le ju'ni nu. E je ki a fi agba f'agba k'aye o le gun ati wipe awon agba so fun wa pe Ilá kìí ga ju onire lo! To Asiwaju, a leader must embrace influence to gain power. Owo omodé o to pepe, t'agbalagba o wo kengbe. Ko maa je ti eyin agba. That is the lesson for Tinubu. I hope he listens, for the love of country over self.

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