By Babatunde Obele
Just recently, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, the former Director General of Tinubu’s Presidential Campaign left the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and joined the New Nigeria Peoples party, (NNPP). In a statement he issued to explain the reason for his decision, he partly stated that “…there is a difference between service for the common good and a quest to be worshiped by one’s allies. We must never confuse loyalty with slavery…”
While Jibrin was trying to explain his experience in the local politics of Kano and how the personalization of state power is affecting democratic experience in that important state, he was also sending a strong message to political actors who have the predisposition towards the personalization of state power. Ironically, the first name that comes to mind in relation to the personalization of state power in Nigeria is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Jibrin’s former principal.
Anyone who has followed Tinubu’s dictatorial tendencies in Lagos State will agree with Jibrin that, indeed “…there is a difference between service for the common good and a quest to be worshiped by one’s allies. We must never confuse loyalty with slavery…” It doesn’t matter what his PR men may want us to believe about his capacity to lead a plural nation like Nigeria, one fact— one undeniable fact— which is known by all and sundry— is that no one can predict what he can do with Presidential powers, especially when one considers how he has personalized state powers in Lagos State till date. This is one of the major reasons APC delegates may never vote for Tinubu at the primaries.
To help you understand the gravity of this concern, just consider the fact that no young man or woman who is desirous of contesting for any political office in Katsina State requires to come and pay any special homage to President Muhammadu Buhari before he or she can win any election in that state. Such aspirant’s fate is determined by the electorate. Can anyone — in good conscience — say the same about Tinubu’s Lagos? When one further considers the fact that Nigeria is a plural society with diverse set of people, well-regarded traditional and religious institutions and multi-ethnic nationalities, one would better appreciate why informed citizens are concerned about Tinubu’s quest for presidential power. Informed stakeholders know that he is not a true democrat and the apprehension runs skin deep.
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The fact that Tinubu’s personality is shrouded in secrecy does not help his cause as many concerned stakeholders are already seeing him as an albatross, especially within the APC. In fact, a writer, MrRudolf Okonkwo, once observed, that “Nothing about him is straightforward – his age, his name, his certificates, his schools (primary, secondary, university), his parents, his source of wealth, the state of his health, his ever-changing ideology, others … It does not help Tinubu that Nigerians are coming into a new awareness of how personal things affect professional things and how individual faults impact the collective interest of we, the people.”
It doesn’t matter how anyone looks at it, the bottom-line is that Tinubu, — the prime exemplification of godfatherism in Nigerian politics, — is a difficult name to market to Nigerians, especially at such a time as this. I’m aware that most of the APC delegates have already resolved to vote for a candidate that has a broader appeal toa greater section of our citizens. That is for our common good.
• Obele is a public affairs analyst.