by Harold Adebola Smith
Pre-historically, the world has seen kingdoms come and go. Indeed, one of the numerous philosophers that history has known is said to have prophesied that, “no kingdom lasts forever.” Perhaps, that saying, if correct, might be coming true for a novo-prince Nigerian politician in the southwestern climes.
This “prince’s” story sounds like a typical Indian movie-yarn which was a popular fare at a town in Lagos known as “Pen Cinema” where this same self “impostor” has allegedly converted to a personal estate, demolished and built up condos, shopping malls and banking halls et cetera today. He wants to be known as “Leader of the Yoruba” race after the venerated Obafemi Awolowo but the tides are turning.
Perhaps, Alhaji (Ja-gaba-n-somewhere in the north, Chief, ‘Asiwaju’) Bola Ahmed Tinubu might spare a few moments of his “very boogey time” to reminisce upon the historical antecedents of one of the world’s numerous political dynasties, which boomeranged. It is about an Indian of humble beginnings who failed to heed the creed that, whose palm kernel-nuts were cracked for them by benevolent spirits, must not forget to be humble!
It is about the Shaishunaga dynasty. Shaishunaga, or Susunaga, the founder (ofobscure origin) may have initially served as a mere orphan. Gradually he came to be associated with the early Magadhan capital ruler and re-established an important city of in the northern Indian province of Bihar. However, during his “reign” he failed to be humble and eventually got “brutally murdered” politically because of his greed.
That sounds like ‘Asiwaju’ Tinubu’s story, but let us look at another scenario … of the Yoruba group of the Nigerian people who ‘Asiwaju’ Tinubu, in mere wishful thinking, considers himself as “leader.” Perhaps, this is not only because they number possibly 20 per cent of the national population, but also because the Encyclopedia Britannica as lists them scattered in “significant groups” in countries as far-flung as Cuba (North America/Caribbean), Brazil (South America), Benin Republic, and Togo (West Africa).
That encyclopedic entry says something profound about Yoruba women (a.k.a. persons cultivated by others to be “domesticated”): Yoruba “women [or “acquired” numbers] do little farm work but control much of the complex market system – their status depends more on their own position in the marketplace than on their husbands’ status.” It is simple to understand: the “cultivated” among certain classes of people (employees, political associates, or even protégées) must not always be taken for granted.
Herein lies the miscalculation – no I did not write “folly” – of ‘Asiwaju’ Tinubu’s serendipity. He forgot to be humble and now he has to force himself to eat the proverbial humble pie!
Has anybody noticed that, Tinubu, since badgering the national polity about being the cosmos that brought about the emergence of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) and so must dictate all trends therein, has suddenly gone silent since President Muhammadu Buhari obviously clipped Tinubu’s wings? Case in point is the much awaited #TheList.
One is intrigued that, a whopping 83 senators, dominated by no less than 59 APC of whom Tinubu claims to be “national leader,” have passed a vote of confidence on their President, Bukola Saraki – a name that Tinubu never wants to hear as Senate President. Mind you, there are only 108 senators currently, given that one died before inauguration.
Take a mini-census: literally all the people Tinubu put up for “safe-zone” posturing (positioning for personal Tinubu power) in the National Assembly have been chalked out politically and legally including Ahmed Lawan, George Akume and lately Kabir Marafa … keep counting.
Oh, it was to be Lawan for the Senate presidency or nothing – certainly – not any Bukola Saraki according to the Nostradamus alias ‘Asiwaju Jagaban’. But, that was not going to be, perhaps, because a more pragmatic and brilliant politician in Saraki, says so. Surely, the “Jagaba-n-Bida” does not seem to have noticed. In the Hausa language predominant in northern Nigeria, the word “jagaba” translates lead but the attached “n” represents the word “of” in the English language. So the Jagaba-n (which most people misconstrue as mythical) is just like saying, for instance, the “Jester-of-Borokiri.”
But, back to germane national matters, against all avowals as to who Tinubu liked, wanted in, favoured or cared most about, virtually all have been shorn of respectability by Buhari and the APC. Note that, never did Tinubu ever wish that any word sounding like “Fashola,” “Fayemi,” et cetera could appear on anything tagged “ministerial list.” Now, all those and more “non-Tinubu” words are prominent there on.
Or, did any person expect that both President Buhari and the APC (the party of which Tinubu’s domineering influence is anything now fast diminishing) could so ignominiously ignore the self-aspiring leader of the Yoruba?
Indeed, even in Tinubu’s South-West political zone where claims to be king, it is no longer anything as politically rosy as he sees his spurious dynasty. Instead, most of people he claims to be his foot soldiers politically are beginning to read the graffiti and getting used to aligning with the realities of the times: the the man is suffering, perhaps, from an aggrandizement of self far larger than the political image he paints of himself. It is not only the manner in which both former President Olusegun Obasanjo and sitting Ogun State Gov. Ibikunle Amosun shot down Tinubu’s plans for the Federal Cabinet, but also in the manner in which Obasanjo (especially) dashed Tinubu’s hopes to thwart Saraki’s Senate presidency. Perhaps, Gbajabiamila is learning the bitter lessons of blind followership.
Meanwhile, one is tempted to encourage the very erudite propagandist Alhaji Lai Mohammed to similarly see the light and stop bickering over his misfortune of becoming governor of Kwara State instead of Bukola Saraki (many years ago) in different political party tags at the time, and now concentrate on being confirmed minister of nigeria. Blind followership is simply over: anybody who is honest with him/herself can see that Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s political ascendancy has gone the way of all earthly kingdoms. Exile beckons, perhaps
Harold Adebola Smith is a political commentator. He can be reached by email.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.