Tinubu’s Presidential Ambition: The Question of History

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By Zaharaddin Abdullahi

Whether real or imagined, it appears there is a sort of jinx about the stool of Nigeria’s presidency from the First Republic to date – with President Muhammadu Buhari about the only person that can be argued to have broken that jinx in 2015. Counting from Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Malam Aminu Kano, Chief MKO Abiola, General Shehu Musa Yar’adua to less conspicuous actors like Malam Adamu Ciroma, Yusuf Maitama Sule, Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, Dr Olusola Saraki, Nigeria’s political evolution and history has repeatedly thwarted ambitious or desperate individual’s ambition to rule the nation. But that is not completely difficult to understand, although in each of the above individual’s case scenarios, there were peculiar but often common trends that characterised their stories.

It is just natural for humans to compete and outdo one another in all endeavours of life including politics and power play. This explains in part the common factor that stood in the way of colourful and ambitious politicians cited above in their quest to rule Nigeria. This is a very basic but critical unwritten rule of thumb for anyone aspiring to ascend the throne in any sphere of life. It therefore implies that one must manage this reality carefully and tactfully or ignore it altogether at your own risk. In my opinion, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu downplayed or better mismanaged this reality and thought he must be immune to this effect.

Tinubu’s political history and reach has largely been regional and there has not been any effort to expand his reach and alliances beyond the Southwestern Nigeria. He has been more like the kingmaker he is believed to be and did not incline that he is pan Nigerian to the fullest conviction of all sections of the nation. Now the question of his contribution to the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari as an individual: we cannot take away that he helped immensely in the merger of the parties, financing the APC machinery and repackaging the persona of Buhari back in 2014/2015. Tinubu and his handlers therefore take solace in the conviction that based on that huge contribution to APC and Buhari alone, he is entitled to naturally succeed Buhari and that all APC stalwarts just need to watch and ratify that from every stratum of the party. Politics and politicians are way beyond that oversimplification.

Whatever stood in the way of MKO Abiola and Shehu Yar’adua to ruling Nigeria despite their philanthropy, wide networks and political sagacity and more still stand in the way of Tinubu and it is a question of time to repeat that historical trend. Minority reports of events surrounding June 12 have consistently stressed the underground role of influential Yoruba kinsmen in annulling the election of MKO Abiola who was projected to win or to have won the race. It is going to be an interesting outing to watch today.

Zaharaddin Abdullahi Kafin Hausa, Jigawa State.