By Tunde Odesola
On the bloody road to Kogi governorship, Yahaya Bello threatened the electorate in his re-election campaign song titled, “Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta!” But Bello isn’t all about roaring guns, he’s also a humble leader, who dragged the leadership of the All Progressives Congress to Kogi – on their kneels – to beg the aggrieved citizenry for forgiveness of the sins he committed during his first term.
Whether the people of Kogi forgave Bello or not, I don’t know. I, however, know that Bello became governor after an election in which lives were lost and properties destroyed.
Last week, Bello took his gun-booming song to Ondo State – in support of his second-term seeking colleague, Rotimi Akeredolu, and pulled the trigger again after chanting in Ebira language, ‘We say Aketi should be governor, what’re you saying, what’re you talking, get rid of dirts, if you say you don’t want, you’ll hear the sound of load, dem go hear am, ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta!”
Probably because he’s a Senior Advocate or because terror is fairly balanced among the two major political blocs in the state or for the fear of travel ban threatened by the US against rigging and political violence in Nigeria, Akeredolu didn’t encourage the killings and violence that trailed the Kogi governorship election to erupt in Ondo.
Kudos also goes to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Eyitayo Jegede, who is also a SAN; the candidate of the Zenith Labour Party, Agboola Ajayi; all other governorship candidates, the Independent National Electoral Commission, election monitors and the Ondo electorate for a violence-free poll. Thank goodness, Ondo, like Edo, wasn’t soaked in blood.
Being the ruling party, Bello’s APC can be excused by the Presidency and security organisations such as the military, the police and the Department of State Service for threatening to turn the gun on the people of Kogi. Being a favourite political son of President Muhammadu Buhari, Bello should enjoy the protection of his father.
Interestingly, the events of the last few weeks within the APC at the national level have shown that the APC has turned its smoking gun on itself, ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta! The APC firearm isn’t meant to silence rivals alone, it can be turned on big and small members, too.
Today, the Jagaban Borgu, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is at the open end of the barrel of the APC gun. He’s tied to the stake called Alpha-Beta Consulting LLP. And the gun is roaring and spitting fire, emitting white smoke at the muzzle, ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta!
In the stillness of the moonless night, a pack of hounds bay at the bat spread upside down on the high tree branch. They bark, they charge and shake the tree but the calculating bat claws the tree bark, unblinking, waiting and watching.
I’m not a fan of Tinubu’s bullion-van politics. It’s a major drawback to our democracy. But, permit me to state unequivocally here and now that ALL of those thirsting for Tinubu’s blood, are equally guilty of the very allegations they level against the husband of Oluremi, whose 60th birthday celebration appeared dimmed by the woeful manner the APC lost Edo State.
I daresay that even if the Jagaban is pushed out of the political equation in 2023, Nigerian democracy will still have to swim in shark-infested deep blue sea as there’s hardly any glimmer of leadership hope among the current power mongers in the country. This is why the masses have to wake up to eternal vigilance and continuously seek to find the needle-in-the-hay candidate for 2023, mobilise and vote for him.
Corruption, hypocrisy and government’s insensitivity are the real existential threats to our democracy and the reason for the hopelessness across the land, upending in the citizenry’s reverberating call for regionalism.
Many ask, “Are the leaders who are misruling Nigeria today not going to be the ones leading the regions if Israel goes to its tent? Is anything going to change?” Yes, something is going to change. And that’s the notion of Abuja as a cash cow which politicians fleece but pretend to take back home to their suffering constituents as dividends of democracy. In a regional government, the government is nearer to the people and, as such, people can more easily hold their leaders accountable unlike now when everyone sees federal allocation from Abuja as national cake to be shared. Regionalism won’t totally stop corruption, but its magnitude won’t be as big and as indecent as it is now.
Ironically, those fighting Tinubu aren’t doing so in the interest of Nigeria. It’s for their own self-interest ahead of 2023. All they wish to achieve is to thoroughly demystify Tinubu and make him totally unsalable as a presidential candidate. Are their ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta shots hitting targets? I’ll say a big YES because this is evidenced by Tinubu not showing up in Ondo to campaign for Akeredolu. His appearance in Ondo would’ve been a big liability, I think.
Does Tinubu deserve pity? Absolutely not. There are too many unanswered questions about him. Surely, scandals aren’t unfamiliar to the Lord of Lagos as questions have been raised in the past as to his parentage, hometown, secondary school education, university education, politics and stupendous wealth – despite not being renowned for any business. It’s dangerous for a man without a political office to wield immeasurable influence on the executive, judiciary and executive of a prosperous state like Lagos as Tinubu does. That’s mafia democracy.
Tinubu deserves no pity. The two-term governor of Lagos State and former senator is stewing in the cauldron of his favourite menu which includes overbearance, vindictiveness, meddlesomeness, nepotism and hypocrisy.
It’s in Tinubu’s Lagos where the yummiest caviars are shared among family members, relatives and Asiwaju-sope sycophants. It’s in Tinubu’s Lagos that Alpha-Beta Consulting LLP was awarded the contract to collect tax revenue and improve the Internally Generated Revenue of Lagos since the last 18 years unquestioned. What then is the job of the thousands of officials of the Lagos Internal Revenue Service when Alpha-Beta Consulting LLP, a small firm in Ijora, Lagos, is tasked with driving revenue on behalf of government?
The current 9th Assembly of the Lagos State legislature owes its life and allegiance to Tinubu on whose mandate the 40-member House stands. Members of the Assembly openly sing the ‘Tinubu Anthem’, “On Your Mandate We Shall Stand,” shamelessly declaring that they derive their legitimacy from Tinubu, and not the electorate.
It’s in Tinubu’s House of Assembly that the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, spent N4m each on 37 wives of lawmakers for training in Dubai, amid other earth-shaking corruption allegations that included operating 64 bank accounts, owning jaw-dropping number of houses even as Obasa’s female aide, Nike Ajibosin, has refunded millions of naira to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission while he himself has become a regular guest of the EFCC.
But despite all these allegations, Obasa still sits as Chairman, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures in Nigeria, shunning calls by human right groups to step aside, pending the conclusion of investigation on his numerous corruption cases.
Hope dims for Nigeria as each day passes. The big promises made by the APC in 2015 have all evaporated. The big masquerader who promised to fight corruption has turned out to be the Abetter-in-Chief of corruption. He promised that his wife won’t run the Office of the First Lady when he ascends the throne. Today, his wife’s contracts are embedded in the national budget while his children live in outrageous opulence.
The present is gloomy, the past is mournful. To stop Tinubu, the political elite are repackaging Goodluck Jonathan, a disaster in governance, whom Nigerians massively voted out in 2015. The move for Jonathan is a confirmation of how lowly Nigeria’s leadership rates the ability of the masses to think.
I don’t see a messiah among this manipulative lot. None of them should cast a stone at Tinubu. Nigeria needs fresh air.
This Article by Tunde Odusola was first Published in The PUNCH on Monday, October 12, 2020. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org