Toni Kan: This Liability Called Bola Ahmed Tinubu

Toni Kan: This Liability Called Bola Ahmed Tinubu

All Progressive Congress Leader Bola Ahmed Tinubu APC
All Progressive Congress Leader Bola Ahmed Tinubu speaks in the dock during his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal

Liability (noun) a person or thing whose presence or behaviour is likely to put one at a disadvantage.

As a young boy living in the old Bendel state and one who had never set foot in western Nigeria, I already knew the story. Obafemi Awolowo was a saint and Samuel Ladoke Akintola was a turn-coat.

But with time and fresh insight, one is learning to interrogate every narrative, to parse the so-called facts for more.

I have just received published copies of my latest book, the biography project of a founding member of the Action Group which I co-wrote with my partner, Peju Akande.

In writing that book we spoke to many people, most of them in their 70s and 80s, people who knew the subject and Obafemi Awolowo and Akintola intimately as well as most of the key dramatis personae who played active roles in the Action Group and government of the Western region back in the 60s.

And to most of these respondents we posed one question: if you had one day to spend socialising with just one person would you choose Awolowo or Akintola?

All of them, from statesmen to political stalwarts, royalty to businessmen every one of them chose Akintola.

What does that say about what we have been fed? Simple, the victor always writes the history and what is history if not hagiography.

In the wake of the Ekiti election and re-emergence of Fayose as Governor, one must consider this; what lessons are there in this loss for the leader of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is clearly re-inventing himself in the mould of Awolowo.

The loss of Ekiti is clearly a black eye for Tinubu, it is also a wake-up call that he would do well to heed because Tinubu has been riding rough shod over the West as if it were a personal fiefdom.

Awolowo is universally acknowledged as a strategist and tactician. He built the best organised political party in Africa, gave Zik a run for his money in the West but failed to achieve his aim of ruling Nigeria but in achieving all he did, he relied on smart and intelligent young men who ran with his vision.

His acolyte and fellow visionary, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, I fear, is doing the opposite. Having built up the APC as the most credible opposition party in Nigeria, Tinubu is busy squandering the goodwill he has built. The APC is looking more and more like a Tinubu project rather than a political party.

Opeyemi Bamidele’s defection and direct challenge to Fayemi should have sent warning signals but Tinubu carried on. How does a man whose wife and son-in-law are federal legislators and whose young daughter is Iyaloja hope to rally the troops when it matters?

What emerges from all this is a man on a quest to build an empire and history tells us clearly what happens to empires; they crumble.

Is the loss of Ekiti the beginning of the end for the Tinubu Empire? Only time will tell but the ‘Asiwaju of Bourdillon’ has made a series of mistakes he must begin to re-assess as we move to 2015.

He must check his own ambition. The Igbo people have two words; Ekwueme and Okacha mara. An Ekwueme is literally one who pronounces a thing and it comes to pass. He is a leader of men who commands not just respect but adulation and followership.

An Okacha mara finds his opposite number in the fabled Eze Onye Agwaram . The Okacha Mara is the ITK (I-Too-Know) of our school playgrounds, the Over sabi who believes he knows it all.

The Eze Onye Agwaram is on the other hand the King who steps out naked in his court but is so bloated with arrogance and ego that he will not listen to calls for him to cover himself.

This, I am afraid is where we have found our dear Asiwaju; he must pay attention to the voices of the people because as Roman Emperors of antiquity learnt to their eternal folly, the voice of the people is indeed the voice of God.

He cannot presume to know what is best for every one and secondly he must act more as leader rather than enforcer.

Then finally, Tinubu must rein in his tongue. How does a man who was recently alleged to have referred to Yoruba Oba’s with a pejorative epithet expect their subjects to vote for his party?

He is Asiwaju; he is not Oduduwa.

Toni Kan is the Editor-in-Chief of Sabi News where this article was first published.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.


Leave a Comment

To leave a comment anonymously, simple write your thoughts in the comments box below and click the ‘post comment’ button.