by Darasimi Oshodi
I had intended to write this piece before the tweets by Senator Musiliu Obanikoro suggesting that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s friends are Boko Haram sponsors.
I had observed a conscious attempt by some people I believe to be members of Nigeria’s ruling party and the government to make Nigerians believe the All Progressive Congress (APC) is behind theactivities of Boko Haram.
While many people who are more discerning may be quick to laugh off this desperate attempt to discredit the main opposition to the government, I still feel compelled to advise the opposition not to play into the hands of detractors. (I want to, at this point, state that I am writing this piece on the assumption that Bola Tinubu and the APC do not have any association with Boko Haram).
So, if indeed they do not have any connection with Boko Haram, they should not treat the accusation lightly because the attempt to cast them as backers and sponsors of the
malevolent group may severely damage their objective of driving the ruling party of power in the next general elections.
The last gubernatorial election in Ekiti State showed that elections in Nigeria can be lost or won based on flimsy sentiments. The election demonstrated that people can be swayed by tenuous arguments and ridiculous assertions. This is why Bola Tinubu and the APC must vehemently resist the attempt to hang on them the tag of fundamentalists or terrorists.
The reason is obvious. Do you think people from the South East, South South, South West, North-Central and even the North East will vote for candidate or party they think has any form of relationship with Boko Haram? If one will be honest, one will know that will be extremely difficult. If the people of a state will not vote for someone just because they feel he is too elitist and not in touch with the realities of the common man, do you think the majority of Nigerians will vote for a party or candidate who they feel is related to a group that has caused destructions of unimaginable proportions and inflicted untold pains on Nigerians? I don’t think so and I don’t think any right thinking person should.
The opposition should thus not allow any person or group of persons play the Boko Haram card during the next elections. Care must be taken on choosing whoever will fly the flag of their parties. There is another angle from which I am also looking at this scenario that is playing out on our political scene. Political opponents of Bola Tinubu and his associates may use the allegation that they support Boko Haram as a cover to arrest them in the bid to whittle down their influence in the forthcoming general elections.
If you think the government will not dare arrest Tinubu and his cronies or that my submission is far-fetched, it is because you have forgotten the antecedents of this government. It is because you have forgotten how Raymond Dokpesi was arrested after the Independence Day bombing a few years ago. Then, Chief Dokpesi was the Director General of the IBB 2011 Presidential Campaign Organisation. Or you have forgotten that the Emir of Kano and former Governor of the Central Bank, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was to be arrested on the allegation that he was sponsoring Boko Haram.
I don’t expect you to have forgotten the near-incarceration of Governor Rotimi Amaechi at Kano Airport or his experience few weeks ago in the hands of soldiers on his way to Governor Fayemi’s final campaign for the last governorship election in Ekiti State. He was even reported to have said the soldiers threatened to shoot him. I know it is possible that you have forgotten how Governor Rotimi Amaechi was prevented from driving into the Rivers State Government House by policemen who were acting on orders from above or how a group of policemen also attempted to disrupt a meeting of some governors in Abuja.
If these and many more have happened in the past, do you think it can’t happen again? What I am trying to say is that the opposition should be careful. Reckless utterances will do it no good. The APC, especially, should carefully word its statements and not give room for Nigerians to doubt the sincerity of their intentions.I think I should also let the APC know that the overbearing influence (whether perceived or real) of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu on the party will do it more harm than good.
From what I have observed, people do not like the idea that their political leaders were chosen for them by one man, and other political parties are capitalising on this. They urge the people to resist any attempt by someone from Lagos to impose candidates on them. And this seems to be working. If other parties can successfully convince the people that a candidate was chosen by one man or group of men, they see such a person as a stooge and will reject his candidacy.
This is one of the things that have consistently worked against the APC in Ondo State. I don’t know how Tinubu will do it but he should in the interest of the party rein in hisinfluence which some believe is stifling or forceful. I will not forget to add that Nigerians should not hesitate to rise against Bola Tinubu, Muhammadu Buhari, Nasir El-Rufai, Nuhu Ribadu, Abubakar Atiku, Rauf Aregbesola and their allies if is discovered that they have the slightest link with Boko Haram and they should be arrested and prosecuted.
We want sincere and altruistic leaders in Nigeria!
Darasimi Oshodi is an Admnistrative Officer at National Centre for Technology Management , Nigeria. You can follow Darasimi Oshodi on Twitter via @Aristotle274.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.