Last week, Kano, the venue of Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu colloquium which was 12th series and outside Lagos and Abuja where the event usually took place, was agog with eminent personalities who trooped the ancient city to celebrate the birthday of Tinubu the Jagaba of Borgu and National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Tinubu who clocked 69 years needs no introduction in Nigerian politics.
He was senator in the third republic and two-term governor of Lagos state under the defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD). He is believed to have enormous political influence and controlled the politics of South-west. He contributed greatly towards installing the Buhari government in 2015 and 2019. Tinubu’s 12th colloquium came at a time when the politics of 2023 has begun with alignment and realignment of political forces aimed at winning and consolidating power. Many political analysts opine that, Tinubu, who is nursing presidential ambition to succeed Buhari in 2023, deliberately and strategically chose Kano as his selling point, in view of its political relevance not only in the North but also the country at large.
Though, during his speech, Tinubu stated that his choice of Kano is to prove to Nigerians that both Fulani and Yoruba are one, amidst growing cases of agitations from secessionists across the board, the colloquium appeared to have a political undertone. However, if there is anything the Asiwaju’s colloquium has fully addressed is the perceived rift between Tinubu and President Buhari. In his visual speech, Mr President took time to eulogise Tinubu’s contributions to the development of Nigeria’s democracy. The speech put to rest the rumoured no love lost among the duo. There is no gainsaying the fact the colloquium generated furore and fuss in the country. The million naira questions begging for answer are: what will be the political future of Jagaba who has continued to come under intense criticism and scrutiny even in his party? How can Tinubu resolve the issues surrounding the selection of a vice president, if he gets his party’s ticket?
Looking at how ethnicity and religion shape Nigerian politics, pairing Muslim/Muslim ticket by APC will be suicidal, as the Christian voters will look for any available option to protect their interest. Assuming Tinubu picks a Christian running mate from the North, the northern Muslim voters may be reluctant to vote for APC. With the opposition PDP poising to field its presidential candidate from the North, it will be a lost gamble for the ruling party to stick to Tinubu’s presidency. I think this is the fear being expressed by some APC governors and party chieftains. No wonder, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state is in support of power rotation to the South-west but not in support for Tinubu presidency. El-Rufai, in collaboration with other governors, is pushing for Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state as their preferred choice. To them, if APC can field Fayemi as its presidential candidate and pair him with a popular northern running mate, it will be a win-win ticket and the party can be victorious.
Can Tinubu agree to withdraw his ambition and throw his support for Fayemi? It is unarguably to say, Tinubu is a political god-father of South-west west politics. Since the return of the fourth republic, through his opposition politics, Tinubu has succeeded in grooming many top politicians of timber and calibre. They include Vice-president Yemi Osibanjo, Raji Fashola, Lai Mohammed, Aragbsola and Fayemi. These eminent personalities served as commissioners in Tinubu government when he was governor of Lagos state. They are still serving in the Buhari government. In case any one of them emerges as the APC presidential flags bearer, the Jagaba will surely endorse and support him.
Pambegua, Kaduna State