By Remi Oyeyemi
He is a man that is very gifted. No doubt about it at all. The seminality of his brilliance is unquestionable. His brilliance glows like a lone candle in the stillness of darkness. His smartness sparkles like the sullen seams of a dam. His audacity dilates dazzling fiery fireworks that are simultaneously fearful and hypnotically attractive.
Without let or hindrance, effortlessly, he brims with sagacious sanguinity that astounds even those who think they are peers. His mind is ferociously fertile. His brain is endlessly bubbling with bales of concepts with which to navigate the treacherous political landscape. He is very calculative and deliberate in his political forays.
But he is a perfect definition of Olumuyiwa Apara’s character in “Akítì”, if you ever read that story. A titilatingly talented mind but odiously self-indulgent “Smart Alec.” Amazingly gifted and exceptionally self- confident. Endowed with vision that was imbued with elements of chronic myopia. Like “Akítì”, he is a self-destructive hero.
He is a hero to whom his followers look for guidance and salvation because of his hitherto track record. His people, just like “Akítì,” believed in him and had confidence in him, much more than he had in himself. In times past, “Akítì” has rescued his people and their pride at moments of calamitous ignominy.
To be ambitious is perfectly legitimate. Every man or woman that is worth the salt must be ambitious. They must have fire in their belly. The fire to heat the pistons of their engines to thunderous roar towards accomplishing feats. Every person must have that burning desire, to refuse to accept the sky as the limit. Rather, they must be willing to burst through the sky, and penetrate to reach the heavens.
If one has to follow anyone, that person must be ambitious. One must palpably feel the fire of his ambition for him to be able to elicit one’s followership. Any man that has no ambition for himself is not worthy to be followed. For he who has no plans for himself, would never have plans for anyone. It is tantamount to self-immolation to follow a man without ambition. It could never be a worthy venture.
Like “Akítì,” Bola Ahmed Tinubu was always able to rise to the occasion, until he chose to self-destruct. The resulting popularity and adulation came to ingrain in him a sense of invulnerability. He began to smugly strut through the cloud and swankishly walk on water as he desired. He ended up having an exaggerated value of himself, that he could be above reproach and cared less about the critical mass that had been supportive of him and shielded him all the while.
At this point, his ambition came to troll in the toga of turgid morbidity. His ambition got attired in the toxic tapestry of catatonia. In his scale of preference, his people, became easily dispensable. He was now willing to sacrifice his followers, his people for the ambition. At all costs, like in the game of chess, his people, the real reason people claim they are in politics, became pawns to be dispensed with as exigency demands.
That his people were massacred by foreigners at Ketu in Lagos, did not matter a bit to him. That his people were being murdered on their farms in Òkè-Ògùn and other parts of Oyo State by Fulani herdsmen did not mean anything to him. That his people were massacred in Ile-Ife by the Hausa/Fulani strangers, while those who survived the carnage were loaded to Abuja for punishment and incarceration, did not bother Tinubu an inch. That his people in Ekiti were being murdered on their farms and their farm products worth millions were being destroyed, never meant anything to him. That his kinsman, former Secretary to the Federal Government of Nigeria was kidnapped, his guard murdered and a substantial part of his farm, burnt, did not move Bola Tinubu.
He kept silent. He had not the courage to say a word in the defence of his own people, who have always supported him. He could not be a friend in need and a friend indeed to his Yorùbá people. Like a mummy, he kept mum. He believed he had to, in order that he could be President in 2023. It does not matter, if his Yorùbá people were erased from the surface of the earth. He was willing to be the President of a Nigeria in which a ghost Yorùbá Nation would be a constituent unit.
Then, the Àmòtékùn Revolution ensued. Every son and daughter of Yorùbá stood up to be counted. They made it clear that they were tired of being kidnapped and murdered as well as maimed and raped in their land. Àmòtékùn was for everyone and everyone was for Àmòtékùn. The rich and the poor. The lowly placed and the highly placed. The strong and the weak. Everyone came to the table. They made their voices heard.
But not so with Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the godfather of mercantilist politics. Looking for him during the Àmòtékùn birth and controversy, was like tracing the footprints of a flying bird. It was, as in Lord Denning’s analogy, a case of “a blind man in a dark room, looking for a black hat that is not there.” He could not be found anywhere. Many who had placed hope in him became forlorn. The young, the aged, the active and the not – so – active were waiting for him.
And finally, he was cornered. He ran helter – skelter, but was unable to hide. He had to say something. But he was cinctured by his morbid ambition. He would have loved not to speak as usual. But this was becoming a public relations nightmare for him. He had to say something. He eventually said something. But what did he say? A staccato of prevarications, exuding discombobulated thought process, brimming with bankruptcy of a befuddled vision. It was a malodorous intervention mauled by meandering inexactitudes spurred and guided by self-interest couched in confusing language.
Then, shooting at Lekki Toll Gate occurred. I am not one of those who accused Tinubu of being a mastermind of it. But he could not even stand by his people in Lagos to condemn the massacre. He had no faith in his people. He probably felt it was a risk to stand for and with his people. He had to escape to France, when he gave telephone intervièws and sympathies. The day a supposed “leader” began to be afraid of his people, he had become an empty shell.
A true leader would have been the first man on the scene the following morning with his aides. He would have been the one to make assessments and appeal to his people, while condemning the dastardly acts. Though, he is not the current governor in Lagos State, he could have summoned Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the incumbent governor, to come with him and give him “cover” if he needed one. Whatever he said at the scene, would have carried more weight and elicited a great degree of understanding from the Yoruba Nation.
He would have shown that he cared. He would have shown that the interests of his Yoruba people counted to him. He would have demonstrated that his ambition was not mutually exclusive to the welfare of his Yoruba people. No allegation regarding the perpetration of the protests or otherwise made against him would have stuck. Rather, he consolidated his reputation as someone who would never lose any sleep in sacrificing his people on the altar of political exigency. Very sad.
Even the Florentine born author of “The Prince,” (written in 1513 but published in 1532), Niccolo Machiavelli (1469 – 1527) could not have imagined from his dreariest depth of depravity, the level of Tinubu’s stunning exudation of “cunning roguerie.” To use Isaiah Berlin’s words, the Yorùbá Nation is now saddled with “a man inspired by the Devil to lead good men to their doom, the great subverter, the teacher of evil, le docteur de la sceleratesse (the doctor of villany)….” (Parentheses mine).
In fact and indeed, a lot of “good men” have been led “to their doom” by Tinubu since 2012, when he mobilized his plan to use Mohammadu Buhari as a stepping stone to the Presidency. That plan failed. And woefully too. He disregarded History. He discountenanced the welfare and fortunes of his Yorùbá people. He disregarded God Almighty in his strategising and he has found himself in a cul-de-sac.
Tinubu actually saw tomorrow about Muhammadu Buhari in 2003 and appropriately characterised him. But his morbid ambition calcified his thinking and reasoning process. For this ambition, he is alienating his people and feeding them for enemies to devour. When the enemies comes for his head, may the Lord pacify the hearts of his people, so they may rescue him. Amen