Why is Bola Tinubu Weighed on a Much Different Scale?


By Ebuka Onyekwelu

The candidate of the All Progressives Congress – APC in the 2023 Presidential Election, Ashiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, has continued in most social media debates, to be measured on a different scale. A former governor of Lagos State, Nigeria’s most successful model state, and a former senator, yet, somehow, Bola Tinubu’s presence in the contest has generated more controversy than anyone else. In his days as governor of Lagos, he earned the then President Olusegun Obasanjo’s wrath for among other things, daring to be in the opposition in Obsanjo’s own region of Southwest. The running political battle then forced Obsanjo to deploy some of the crudest antics including withholding of federal allocation due to Lagos, for sometime. President Obsanjo, true to himself as president, was not someone to be so boldly confronted and not pay for it. So for Tinubu to have survived those years, maybe there was nothing to hold on to and nail him. Maybe, he was so good that he had no trail; perhaps, he managed to erase his own history. Despite having served as a senator, and later, as governor under a most unfriendly and powerful president that would have ended him politically, like he ended many governors in the 1999 governors’ league. What is certain however is that for Tinubu, some people might have learned the fine art of probing and mystifying him, in an attempt to unveiling a Bola Tinubu of their own imagination.

Among other things, Tinubu is said to be undemocratic, particularly in the manner he picks or selects candidates for public office in AD/AC/ACN and now APC. But the truth is that no political party in Nigeria can be said to have shown the faintiest demonstration of openness in selecting it’s flag bearers. When compared to other political parties like PDP or even APGA, then, it would appear that Tinubu is even more democratic.

The PDP is reputed for its penchant to handover it’s ticket to the highest bidder. Recall how Alhaji Hayatu-Deen, a successful Nigerian businessman, withdrew from the PDP Presidential primaries because in his words, “the process is insanely monitized”. But, it appears not to matter what the PDP does with it’s tickets. So many cases of arbitrarily handing tickets over to aspirants without due primaries abound across all states of the federation against the PDP. But somehow, this has to be explained differently.


In APGA, it’s even more ridiculous. Under Governor Peter Obi, APGA became some sort of private property of the government and the then National Chairman of the party, Chief Victor Umeh, who, unsurprising, is the Labour Party’s Senatorial candidate for Anambra Central. Both Obi and Umeh, are from the same Local Government Area of Anaocha LGA. During Umeh’s chairmanship of APGA at the time Obi was the governor and sponsor of the party; they (Obi and Umeh) announced for LGA election so many times within Obi’s two terms of eight years. In each occasion, the party sold forms to aspirants. After aspirants have bought forms and submitted, the election would be cancelled and the money never refunded; a dangerous level of political merchandising. This was done consistently till the election eventually held in 2013, just a few months to Obi’s exit from office. I don’t know how this qualify as “democratic” or even how people tend to forget this recent history.

Under the same period in APGA, tickets were mostly distributed on account of how much has been spent by the ‘buyer-aspirant’ and secondly, the religious affiliation of that buyer. Anyone who is Catholic and running against non-Catholic in Obi’s APGA, would lose the ticket to the Catholic aspirant. This was almost certain to happen. People know this.

The two major actors in all of these; Obi and Umeh, are today in Labour Party. One is the Presidential Candidate and the other is the Senatorial Candidate for Anambra Central district. But somehow, Tinubu who insists on rewarding party people irrespective of funds at their disposal, religious or other affiliations, is regarded as the master of undemocratic imposition of candidates. A particular case comes to mind. At the peak of ACN’s rise to power, many displaced PDP members rushed to ACN to pick the party’s ticket. In Anambra State, at that time, Peter Obi was governor. In Anambra South senatorial zone, Sen. Ikechukwu Obiora then in PDP and Hon. CID Maduabum of House of Representatives, after they were denied return tickets, left the PDP and joined ACN, as serving members of the National Assembly. After they used all the powers at their disposal, including funds, and attempted to hijack the ticket of ACN, to displace Sir Chris Atuegwu and Barr. Benchuks Nwosu who were original ACN members, Tinubu and the leadership of ACN intervened and gave the tickets to Sir. Chris Atuegwu and Barr. Benchuks Nwosu, despite not having the kind of funds at the disposal of Sen. Obiora and Hon. Maduabum. Atuegwu and Nwosu got the ticket and contested for that election in 2011. Sen. Obiora and Hon. Maduabum, then, left the ACN and later contested that election on Accord Party platform.
No other Nigerian political party can demonstrate this level of commitment to it’s loyal members. In APGA, at the time, Nwosu and Atuegwu would never have seen the ticket. But ACN under Tinubu’s leadership rewarded loyalty to party, yet, in some people’s judgment, it is a more tragic undemocratic practice compared to what is obtained in other parties.

In terms of IGR, Tinubu is often accused of supporting touts because he is using them to collect and raise IGR for Lagos. However, Lagos remains a model state in IGR generation. By far, the aspiration of nearly all Nigerian states in IGR. Pending the eventual automation of IGR which will take a long time because of our peculiar realities, touts will continue to be relevant in this collection process. At best, they will be reformed.

In Anambra State under Peter Obi, whatever M. C Oluomo does was what Chief Sylvester Nwaobualor did for Obi. Yet, for 8 years, Obi managed to generate 40 billion Naira in IGR. That is roughly 400 million monthly, still under the same revenue contracting system, used in Lagos. Obi’s successor, Obiano, still used the same contracting system and within his first tenure raised Anambra’s IGR to 1.5 billion, monthly. Notwithstanding these clear and indisputable facts, Tinubu is still seen by some, as the one that must be hanged, for reasons that are not known. At the end, nothing beats results. Tinubu has results. Is it common to use one state to build, painstakingly, a regional political party that has now become a national ruling political party? Is it common to use the same system others use in IGR collection, to move Lagos to an enviable IGR status?

In the quest for a new and working Nigeria, clearly, Tinubu has offered some practical and workable alternative that are suitable for our realities. From there, Nigeria can aspire to move up the ladder of progress and development. The ideal is only a work in progress. So, Nigerians will be doing themselves a lot of favour by subjecting all candidates to the same test. Particularly, in ascertaining what they did and how they solved real political, leadership and economic problem. And not just believe them based on what they say. Let Peter Obi, Atiku Abubakar and Bola Tinubu, all, be weighed on the strength of what they did or fail to do, while they were in power.

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DISCLAIMER: Opinions and articles are solely the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of the publishers of Daily News Reporters.

ADVERT/PUBLICATION: Reach the right people at the right time with Daily News Reporters. Try and advertise any kind of your business to users online today. Kindly call or WhatsApp us for your advert or publication on +2348037097936



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