by Jude Ndukwe
The well publicised denial of Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, APC’s godfather, kingmaker and supremo, of having anything to do with a purported conspiracy between him and the president of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, against President Buhari for which the presidency was said to have placed the former governor of Lagos State under security watch, was laced with poison and betrayed the seething emotions of a man who is upset at the sailor of the ship he built but which has left him behind at shore without consideration that he is fast sliding into a lonely lurch.
The language with which Tinubu referred to Saraki in that denial was not only too strong but highly inappropriate for our country’s number three citizen. No matter what happened between Saraki and APC, it all boils down to politics and they are all politicians. There was nothing that happened that was outside the borders of politics; Saraki did not become Senate President through a coup de tat so why should he be described as a man of “crass act of disloyalty” just because his colleagues in the Senate found him worthy to be their primus inter pares? The same APC laughed the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to scorn when one of their main men, Aminu Tambuwal, gave the now opposition party the same treatment in becoming Speaker of the House of Representatives? Rather than engage him perpetually in childish expletives, the PDP still gave Tambuwal the environment to thrive as Speaker even though he was PDP on paper but APC in soul.
It is not Saraki that is Tinubu’s problem; Tinubu’s main problem is President Buhari who has carried on with his presidency with the mind of not falling prey to the whimsical dictates of any godfather or group of errant governors or elders who could hold him to ransom on any issue. President Buhari understands that if he must achieve the true change he preaches he must disconnect himself from capricious elements within his own party even it means offending those who invested heavily in his election. Such people will by all means include an over bearing godfather like Tinubu.
Buhari knows that Tinubu is only good enough as a vehicle to take him to the airport. When the time for the flight proper comes, those who will board the flight would then be separated from those who joined in the convoy of vehicles to the airport. Unfortunately for Tinubu and unbelievably to him, he is aghast that he is being asked to join the convoy back home while the president flies higher with his own chosen team. Truth is, such treatment would make any one lose his sense of decorum and bare his fangs at any available lesser mortal as a means of expending poisoned emotions.
Tinubu’s choice of words against Saraki in that statement exposed the festering and smelly sore of the psyche he is suffering from. Truth of the matter is that every word thrown at Saraki by Tinubu was actually meant for President Buhari who reportedly ignored Tinubu’s ministerial nominees coupled with the fact that earlier appointments not requiring the confirmation of Senate were also done in defiance of the godfather. Buhari is the real offender to Tinubu: he defied the party in choosing his aides and other very key officers of government.
President Buhari himself had said that he would rather work with those he trusted, those who had been with him since his days at the ANPP/CPC, who had gone through thick and thin with him over time than succumb to the dictates of any party stalwart or even the party leadership. The ministerial nominees also almost followed the same selection process, and, this, to Tinubu, is not the way to go. There are boys to settle, and there are investments to recoup through such boys, so the president doing things almost all alone does not suit Tinubu’s style of politics. Saraki’s offence was of lesser gravity.
The man did not appoint himself as Senate president; he was elected by his colleagues in the Senate so that even if he wanted to obey party directive on who should become senate president, his colleagues thought otherwise. It is exactly the same thing that played out in the House of Representatives where Yakubu Dogara emerged Speaker despite not being the party’s choice. Honourable members wanted him and they voted for him in defiance of what the party directed.
In this light, Saraki was a less offender to Tinubu than Buhari. But there is an African proverb that says when a slave cannot stand his master strength for strength he descends on his master’s favourite goat. Buhari has the instrumentality of state in his hands: he has the military, police, DSS, EFCC, ICPC etc. It would be suicidal to confront such a man in our clime no matter how frustrated one feels. And since someone must bear the brunt of his frustration, Saraki has become the object of Tinubu’s venom spewed without class, and unrestrainedly too.
It is in light of the above that one feels compelled to commend Saraki for deciding not to join issues with a man like Tinubu since one understands why he is talking and acting the way he is doing. The number of PDP defectors to APC is legion. In fact, without these defectors, APC would be nowhere near power today. For Tinubu to have singled out the Senate president for a needless tirade shows how ungrateful he is to those PDP defectors who helped APC climb to power irrespective of their disagreements today.
Wisdom dictates that the number three citizen of the country should be embraced by all and sundry rather than be disgraced while he faces the charges against him at the CCT in an atmosphere devoid of hate and vendetta.
So, when next Tinubu finds it extremely needful to attack the Senate President, he should choose his words carefully and not address the number three citizen of our great country in manners only fit for garrulous and discourteous urchins as the younger ones are watching.
When mother cow chews grass, the younger ones watch its mouth. Saraki is the senate president and that office deserves all the respect the occupant can get from all citizens no matter how powerful, highly placed, wealthy or influential anyone is.
Jude Ndukwe is a political analyst who lives and works in Abuja, Nigeria. He tweets from @stjudendukwe.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.