On January 10, 2022, a Former Governor of Lagos State, Dealer in Political Knockouts and Prospective Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bolaji Ahmed Tinubu declared his ambition to run for the presidential race at the 2023 presidential election. He also reiterated his interest again on February 21, 2022 and later went on to tell President Muhammadu Buhari during his visit to the presidential villa that he would like to step into his shoes and not on his toes.
Prior to his declaration of his presidential ambition, the highly revered veteran political tiki-taka tactician and kingmaker, who had helped many southwest leaders (Osinbajo, Fashola, Ambode, Sanwo-Olu) to get into top political positions at the federal and state level, had already showed some signs that he would contest for the position. These things which he did even before he declared his interest were regarded by some Nigerians as old political tactics used to gain massive political support.
Some Nigerians have also condemned the man for seeking to become the president of the country by reason of his depreciating state of health. They do not want another Buhari in anticipation. Last year, the man travelled to the United Kingdom on a 3-month medical trip. He doesn’t patronize Nigerian hospitals but travels outside for his medical treatment when as a big player in the All Progressives Congress and even in the Buhari Administration, he could have easily made calls for the revamping of country’s health sector.
The man has also been disparaged by some Nigerians due to some controversies surrounding his age and origin, and also controversies surrounding his involvement in the breeding of touts (agberos) in Lagos State and financial-related offences vis-a-vis the alpha beta consortium, and a bullion van scandal he was indicted in during the 2019 Presidential Elections.
But with all the insults and obstacles that have appeared as a stumblingblock to his presidential ambition, the man doesn’t seem to have given up on his dreams as he is going all out to see that he impresses Nigerians and gain their support.
Here’s what he has been doing to garner support:
1. A Northern Nigeria Palliation
Only the wise and critically discerning would understand that Tinubu is trying so hard to buy delegates all around. His charity for political support began in the North. On April 2021, he kicked off his distribution of rice in Kano State located at the North-West part of the country. This is the one of the most populated state in the North and he tried to buy the conscience of the poor with food. On May 2021, he moved his train of rice distribution to Adamawa State in the North-East. This year January, his ardent supporters made and supplied plaintain chips (kpekere) to deceive the gullible through a failed campaign strategy.
Tinubu had never shown any interest in the North in the past, until when bandits carried out an operation in Niger State that led to the loss of over hundred lives, he then made a swift move to donate 50 million naira to the state governor.
2. Tinubu, the Young man
In a bid to prove to Nigerians that he was capable of delivering more than his presumed soon-to-be predecessor, Tinubu began giving Nigerians all sort of acts that he had never done before. First, he displayed a change in his dress sense while returning from the United Kingdom in February 2022. While addressing his supporters at a gathering on February 28, he said he was young, energetic and fit for the job. Under the aegis of a support group, his political think-tanks, in a bid to convince Nigerians to support the Jagaban of Lagos, said he was “young at heart’’.
3. A Mimicry of Obasanjo’s Novelty Match
On March 5, 2022, a Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, celebrated his birthday with his participation in a novelty football match organised by him. There he showed he was still fit, strong and agile. A PDP Stalwart and Loyalist, Reno Omokri, claimed he (Tinubu) was too sick to lead the country, and that he who claimed to be 69 could not play as an 85 year-old Obasanjo did. In a bid to respond to such critics, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu also organised a novelty match to mark his 70th Birthday. Prominent Nigerian footballers who were retired such as Kanu Nwankwo, Jay Jay Okocha and Taribo West were there to support him. Unfortunately, the Jagaban who tried to impress Nigerians with a publicity stunt could not play in the match.
4. The Usual Promises
This year’s January, Tinubu made a promise that if given the opportunity, he would pay the WAEC fees for student wanting to sit for the exams. But this is not the first time we are seeing such as he may possibly be deceiving the gullible Nigerians. In 2014, while he was campaigning for Muhammadu Buhari to become the president, he promised that with Buhari, we would have steady electric power supply, zero fuel scarcity, and gainful employment of over 3 million youths on a yearly basis, with 5000 naira monthly stipends for the jobless ones.
5. Traditional Ruler Consultation for Endorsement
Tinubu visited prominent traditional rulers in the south-west region of the country to convince them to support his presidential ambition and also to mobilise their people to support him. In the south west region, he visited the Ooni of Ife, the Alaafin of Oyo, the Olubadan of Ibadan designate, the Alake of Egbaland, the Olu of Ilaro, the Awujale of Ijebuland and the Owa Obokun of Ijesaland.
As it is, only the wise would understand Tinubu’s intention and agenda. Only the wise would understand that his actions shows his desperation for the presidency which is sinister and suspicious, and which does not in anyway culminate into a solution for the country’s problems. I urge Nigerians to be more critically discerning rather than being cognitively biased when it comes to politics and learn from the mistakes of the past, so as to subvert a bad leadership that we may never endure.
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