Close political watchers including students who have been following the many achievements of former Lagos State governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu would easily conclude that the Jagaban Borgu is indeed a political icon of our time. The one-time senator ensured he snatched power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which has been ruling the country since the inception of Nigeria’s new democracy in 1999. Since his emergence as a political powerhouse, Tinubu had been dominating the landscape, pitching his preferred candidate(s) in several political positions. His close friends and family members have also benefitted immensely from his political ‘largesse’. However, recent event in the country’s polity has shown that Bola Tinubu’s control and grip on the nation’s political terrain seemed to be dwindling going by what obtained in the last few weeks.
It could be recalled that Nigerians woke up penultimate week to discover that former Kwara State governor, Bukola Saraki emerged as the new senate president while Yakubu Dogara was voted as the speaker of House of Representatives. Prior to their elections, political pundits believed that it is high time Bola Tinubu’s influence on the All Progessives Congress (APC) was proven once more but, alas, the reverse was the case. The outcome of the results were, however, unbelievable to Nigerians as many of the APC senators were said to be absent during the election, spurring allegations and counter-allegations within the parties. However, some Nigerians, most especially those loyal to Tinubu alleged that there was a conspiracy by some powerful politicians and influential Nigerians who believe that Bola Ahmed Tinubu should be caged and made to realize that he cannot dictate how Nigeria would be governed. Below are some of these people who are hell-bent on seeing the demise Tinubu’s political influence.
President Muhammadu Buhari:
Nigeria’s new president Muhammadu Buhari is penned as one of those who are not comfortable with the ever rising influence of Jagaban Borgu. Many Nigerians still remembered the role played by Bola Tinubu in the 2011 elections which ensured victory for ousted president Goodluck Jonathan. Votes from the South-west counted in no small measure to Jonathan’s success. Along the line, Goodluck Jonathan and Tinubu allegedly had some misunderstanding thereby paving way for a new romance with Muhammadu Buhari, then presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC). The alliance between the two (Tinubu and Buhari) gave birth to the ruling APC and the huge influence and grip of the South-west politics of Tinubu, once again paved way for Buhari’s emergence as president. Having realized that Tinubu may want to display some level of ego on him based on his (Tinubu’s) contribution towards his victory, President Buhari is alleged to be hatching his plans of subduing the powerful image of Tinubu. During the controversial National Assembly elections, the president pretended not to have a preferred candidate between Saraki and Lawan but insiders affirmed that the body language of the president was in support of Lawan. At the tail-end of the elections, however, President Buhari’s body language clearly showed that he preferred Senator Lawan to Tinubu’s George Akume and Tinubu had no options than to support Lawan since that’s who the president want but instead Buhari decided to keep mute and allow the senators to decide on their own. For now, political watchers are closely monitoring the relationship between President Buhari and Bola Tinubu who is well known for investing his hard-earned resources on politics expecting to recoup his finances later. If this would be the case, Nigerians are watching. The president’s statement during the inauguration that he belonged to everybody and to nobody fueled the rumour that he is actually referring to Tinubu who many see as a greedy politician who wants to control the president to fester his political empire.
His election as the senate president happened to be the most controversial since the inception of the nation’s nascent democracy. The former number one citizen of Kwara State saw the need to join the APC led by Bola Tinubu for easy victory during future elections. This move really contributed immensely towards his success politically. He dumped the political party that made him, the PDP, to pitch tent with rivals, APC. Saraki who is now leading the 8th National Assembly is labeled as one of the betrayers of Bola Ahmed Tinubu due to his roles before, during and after the elections.
One name that would surely surprise Nigerians and political stalwarts is that of the immediate-past Lagos State governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola. It is not a secret that this Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) was brought to political limelight by Bola Ahmed Tinubu after serving as Chief of Staff when Tinubu was governor of Lagos State. On resumption as Lagos State governor, Fashola in his inaugural speech promised Lagosians that he would only spend a term saying he does not believe in a two-term affair. Fashola said it was only a failure that would rule twice; but Lagosians never knew that he was only selling them a dummy and that has shown the betrayer traits in him.
Recently, Fashola has pitched his tent with the enemies of his benefactor and is now very close with Buhari even more than Tinubu does. Fashola was on the entourage of President Buhari to Germany where politicians believe they would hold several meetings which may include how to demystify the popularity and influence of Bola Tinubu. Lagosians would not forget in a hurry how the relationship between Tinubu and Fashola almost went frosty due to the choice of Fashola’s successor. While Tinubu prefers the new Lagos governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, Fashola was reported to prefer Obafemi Hamzat. This rancour was immediately quenched by political leaders in the state and beyond. For now, BRF is said to be very close to Buhari, perhaps, he may be eyeing a ministerial slot which we learnt Tinubu is allegedly indisposed to.
Those in the know were aware of the vital role played by Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) when former Ekiti governor Kayode Fayemi was trying to reclaim his mandate. The Jagaban Borgu used all the powers in his arsenal to ensure victory for the gap-tooted politician. After making an unsuccessful come-back bid, Fayemi became very close to the president, Buhari. In fact, he was alleged to have systematically turned himself to the media aide of the president when he went to Chatham House in the United Kingdom. Fayemi was alleged to have written the address to be delivered by Buhari but the prompt intervention of Tinubu ensured that the keynote address was re-written. Recently, Fayemi is always seen sticking very closely to Buhari and this move has forced Nigerians to believe that Kayode Fayemi may be one of those appointed ministers from the South-west and to satisfy his own inordinate ambition. He’s alleged to be one of those who are daily drumming it into the president’s ear to steer clear of Tinubu and he is also fingered among those who did not support his candidates for both Senate and House of Representatives.
Highly influential former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and Emir of Kano, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is another man who wants the powers of Bola Tinubu decimated. The emir who is well known to be very confrontational with corrupt politicians knew Bola Tinubu’s past financial antecedents and business dealings. Lamido knew very well the kind of person Tinubu could be when it comes to recouping one’s investment is concerned.
It could also be recalled that the hands of Lamido were felt during the election that brought in Bukola Saraki as the president of the 8th Senate. The friendship between Saraki and Lamido dates back to their days as students of Kings College, Lagos, and it would be strange if Sanusi could not use his influence as a Northern leader to persuade senators from the north to vote for Saraki.
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