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HOW IS TINUBU’S 2023 ‘AMBITIONS’ A HEADACHE?

OJOKOLO Olawale Gbolabo, (Political/Social CommentatorTwitter@ojokologbolabo

Beware of those who approach you with self-professed good intentions. Be wary of those who would give you unsolicited advice on your ambitions even when you are yet to make such ambitions public. Be careful of those who would say to you be cautious least your undeclared ambition ends in ignominy. I say again Beware and be wary! Tell them rather that faint heart never wins fair lady. That to dare is to do.

Those are not lines from the book of Proverbs but the book of Politics. In politics, life is mirrored  like literature, fortune favours the bold! Ambition is not a crime in Nigeria when pursued within the laws and with ethics. Nigeria is not Julius Caesar’s Rome where Brutus, when giving justification for being one of the coup plotters who killed Caesar, said he did so because of Caesar’s ambition. ‘As Caesar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honour him; but, as he was ambitious, I killed him.’ Julius Caesar- William Shakespeare.

The lack of ambitions, coupled with the timidity of the ‘Heroes’ of our Democracy, is why 21 years after the departure of the Military from the body polity of Nigeria in 1999, the desired democracy in Nigeria still seems far off and a bacon not in the horizon as it is too faint to see from where the polity presently is. This was not the dream of democratic Nigeria that Soyinka, Falana, Agbakoba and all NADECO had. But NADECO was timid, Afeenifere wanted nothing but June 12 even after MKO was dead, Gani Fawehinmi was timorous and skeptical, Femi Falana was doubtful and Jimi Disu like many others knew the all reasons ‘why not’ and not one reason ‘why’, had a paralysis of analysis in 1999.

This general political inertial and lack of ambition paved the way for Obasanjo to stroll into Aso Rock which laid the foundation for what is today not the democracy these aforementioned heroes spent years at the trenches for and paid tears, sweats and blood to attain. Allow yourself to imagine how different Nigeria would have been if a Gani Fawehinmi had joined politics and contested in 1999 and not waited four years too late to contest under the National Conscience Party in 2003? But, he like all the others doubted the intentions of the Military junta led by Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar after the sudden demise of the man who today the ‘millennia’s’ are calling the most benevolent ghost and father in heaven who keeps sending money to his children decades after his death, Gen. Sani Abacha.

One can give many excuses for this lack of ambition among these advocates of a return to democratic government in Nigeria yet the road to hell is paved with good intentions and in the final analysis, they failed to assert themselves, leverage on the goodwill they had earned which has adversely affected the democratic fortunes of Nigeria.

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Obafemi Awolowo widely acclaimed to be the Sage of Nigerian politics was a politician’s politician. He was ambitious, he was calculative and he was astute as shown in his response to the lifting of the ban on politics on September 21, 1978. The next day after the ban on party politics was lifted, he announced the name of his party, displayed a party logo and manifesto. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. He was ready to contest as he was a politician and contesting in elections is what politicians do. Afterall, what is a fish out of water? A le fi eyan je oye awodi ke ma le gbe ediye (A person cannot be made the chief hawk then finds it difficult to swoop a hen). A politician who is worth his/her mettle must be ready to throw his/her hart in the ring as such richness of participation affords the electorate options at the polls. It must be stated that Awolowo lost his bid to be president of Nigeria, but his political legacy was not tarnished in anyway shape or form. Rather his tenacity and vision cemented his status as a politician who puts his money where his mouth was. A man true to form. The quintessential political animal.

The politics of 2023 has started in earnest and to think otherwise is to be a political neophyte or a resident of Plato’s cave in the allegory he succinctly employed in his famous treatise on Politics called the ‘The Republic’. In this season of politics every action or inaction of politicians and political parties are scrutinized and many underpinning reasons are alluded for such actions or inaction. This is why the decision of the Lagos APC to disband groups and groupings within the political party in Lagos State to someone like Jimi Disu and also his ilk is a confirmation that the former governor of the State and APC national leader Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu was definitely paving the way for the realization of his 2023 presidential ambitions. Following the reports of this action by the APC in Lagos State, Jimi Disu on his radio program on Classic FM and Lagos Talks of January 10, 2020 went into a frenzy of unsolicited advice to Bola Tinubu on why he should not contest in 2023.

As any consummate listener to Jimi Disu knows he does not approve of the politics of Bola Tinubu. Conversely, Jimi Disu stated that he is giving Tinubu the best counsels those close to him might be afraid to give him, or are not giving him for their own pecuniary benefits of a Tinubu campaign windfall in 2023. We all assume Tinubu is a man with deep pockets. I see Jimi Disu’s headache on behalf of Bola Tinubu as the move of a double- faced Janus.  

The political trajectory of Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a romance worthy of the classics. Elected Senator to represent Lagos State in 1993 during the short-lived Third Republic, he went into the trenches with NADECO in the fight for the actualization of ‘June 12’. And upon return to civil rule in 1999 he contested and won the governorship race in Lagos under the Alliance for Democracy, AD with four other governors in the southwest who also emerged governors under the party. But by 2003 the Federal might as wielded by Obasanjo had won four States from AD for Peoples Democratic Party with only Lagos and Tinubu standing as the sole AD State Governor in the southwest. Surviving the Federal onslaught in the 2003 elections showed the political sagacity of Tinubu which his alliances since then have only consolidated.

Tinubu is a kingmaker and a political organizer whose opponents admits has a great political mind. An organizer of the grassroots who seamlessly transforms into a national leader when occasions demand. This was evident in the crucial and critical to the formation of APC which literally came from nowhere to defeat the incumbent PDP which was a political miracle, an annihilation at the polls that only the best political mind could have masterminded.

Tinubu 2023 to be or not be is a question only the man himself can answer. But if anyone would advise Tinubu against running in 2023 then such persons must come to equity not with only clean hands, but also with a track record of electoral successes to shame the Jagaban. Let the Jimis of this world show how many ward councilors, local government chairmen/women, House of assembly members, House of Representative members, Senators and Presidents whose political paths into office they have orchestrated. Else, such people would be nothing but meddlesome interlopers who would kill Tinubu’s ambitions not with daggers and swords like Brutus did to Caesar but with unsolicited advice and opinions from naysayers and detractors of those who would dare. Know they not that to dare is to do? Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a politician so if he wants to run for president in 2023 why should he not? Because he might lose? But he might win too.

These peddlers of caution against ambition would give Tinubu just like Caesar tears for his love; joy for his fortunes; honour for his valour; and death for his ambition- That was what Brutus said after helping to kill Caesar and the same thing those who would kill Tinubu’s 2023 undeclared presidential ambition, as they claim to love him more than himself.

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