REVENGE OF THE WEST OR JUST A COINCIDENCE?
By: Ukpong Ekam
Either ‘Empire Strikes Back’ or “Do me I do you, man no go vex” the lyrics of the famed P-Square could have easily fit the tile of my easy. The Yoruba political strategists may not admit it publicly, however “do me I do you,…” seems to be their national anthem and political philosophy especially now that they are at the driver seat. Is it a coincidence that they have a hand and uncanny ability in choosing northerners for president with difficulties completing a single term as president since the return of democratic governance? They do this with sophistication, stealthily but with devastating effect on the northern political landscape, perhaps as a reprisal to forestall such political misfortune of June 12 and the alleged killing of Chief MKO Abiola. They achieve this feat without exchange of harsh words or confrontation but with backslappings of their opponents. Even so, how is it that the hitherto well-oiled political machine of the northern establishment is so cheaply caught flatfooted? Worst, they are hopelessly incapable of a meaningful reaction since the return of democratic regime. Evidently, we now know who is really driving Nigeria politically of currency. As Annang people would say, ‘A windy day reveals a cock and hen in a chicken pen.’ Maybe the Yoruba Political Bureau (YPB) has keyed into vengeance as being the best form of political defense.
Please follow me so that you may answer some of the questions without any sentiment. My intention is not to piss off anyone who may wish to leave the guy who killed a chicken to pursue the guy whose role was only to dress up the death chicken.
Here is what is on my mind. Twenty-four years ago this year of 2017, a politically distasteful event occurred in Nigeria. A man called Chief MKO Abiola contested and won an election adjudged to be the freest and fairest in the history of Nigeria. Chief MKO Abiola was birthed a Yoruba man from South West Nigeria. Despite winning the election, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, (IBB), who presided over Nigeria, announced the annulment of that election. Hence, Chief MKO Abiola was not allowed to move into Aso Rock as the president of Nigeria. In fact, he died in jail by allegedly drinking a cup of tea administered by a government headed by Gen. Abdulsalami, a member of the northern political cabal and in the presence of US government official. Of course, IBB is wholly a thorough breed, and a cultured card-carrying member of political establishment of northern Nigeria. He managed the political hubbub that ensued following the annulment. It is true that the Yoruba race naturally still holds him and by reasonable extension the northern political class solely responsible for the political calamity of the Yoruba people. As a result, they rendered the country politically impotent for many months by protests with assistance from many democratic communities in the country.
As if to appease and compensate the Yoruba race, the administration that was unarguably controlled by the mighty of the northern political machinery, organized a search committee of standing room only that suddenly remembered that there was a Yoruba man they threw into jail awaiting execution for a military coup complication. Chief (Gen) Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ) is his name. He was brought out of death roll upon an alleged agreement (some say written) that he would rule Nigeria only for four (4) years of one term and will return the country back to the northern ruling class.
OBJ was presented to the country. No, actually to the Yorubas as if to say, “this is equally one of you, the only Yoruba person we, the northern political class, would allow to rule Nigeria.” Of course, the Yoruba political class kicked and screamed but it was a protestation of a he goat taken to the market for sale because after some formalities and ‘sit down’ by PDP family, OBJ was enthroned as Nigeria’s president singlehandedly by the military wing of the northern political establishment. It became obvious that the northern political elites trusted OBJ and he probably acted trustworthy because of the circumstances of his life at the time until the end of his first term. He suddenly realized he was not a chicken but a hawk, a freeborn of the Yoruba race and had the constitution of the country as a persuasive reason for a second term run. He did it despite some political heartburn of those who trusted that he would keep his part of the bargain.
Perhaps unknown to the political class of the north who broker the deal to replace Chief MKO Abiola with OBJ was the fact that a well breed Yoruba man is the best diplomat the world could possible produce. When they act as if they want to kill someone, they are actually calling for negotiation that would have long, medium and short terms benefits to their race. Head or tail, they always win. The northern political class did not take notice that they are the only group of people in the Nigeria that dance backward.
So when OBJ got into Aso Rock, he became a big masquerade that could not be removed from the market square so easily without a sacrifice. He had to be literally dragged out of Aso Rock. It is said that he wanted extra term after the constitutionally allowed two terms of 4 years; perhaps, he thought it was pounded yam in his favorite ‘Buka’.
Upon realizing that he could not achieve his third term ambition, payback time, cling-cling! Baba surveyed the horizon of the entire northern Nigeria and saw no healthy and vibrant young politician he could trust to replace him except a very sick gentleman named Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua. He zoomed in on this very fragile man as his victim. The question many often ask, ‘is it possible that OBJ had no personal knowledge through the Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) that Yar’Adua was not healthy enough to withstand the rigor of presidential campaign yet alone managing the affairs of a complex country like Nigeria?’ But Baba wanted him. He insisted that it must be Yar’Adua.
Indeed, this is when things got interesting. OBJ presented Umaru to the northern political establishment in role reversal just as he was presented to his Yoruba kinsmen by the northern political power players. So, the northerners got Yar’Adua just like southwest got Obasanjo instead of MKO Abiola that they wanted. Was this a law of karma coming into play or getting the dose of your own medicine?
On the insistence of Baba who has now become the demigod, PDP formalized Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua as its presidential candidate. Thus, OBJ, being a reversed democrat, he allowed the majority to have their say so that he could have his way. Interestingly, the northern political class protested but in hush voices. The talk of political superiority and born to rule became mute. It seemed the likes of Prof. Agno Abdulahi and Chief Aliko Mohammed have finally met their match.
To confuse and carry along the remnants of the holdouts and doubters of Yar’Adua’s suitability on health reason, on a campaign train in south west, there, arguably, the world famous political campaign telephone call was arranged. Remember “Umoro are you death” question? In reference to the concerns of many Nigerians that the perfect and honest gentleman, Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua, was in serious health problem even during the presidential campaign. However, when a faint voice echoed from the other end of the telephone onto the public address system (PAS) in a campaign rally on that day, Chief Obasanjo was able to hoodwink the generality of Nigerians into believing that was indeed the voice of a healthy Yar’Adua, hence he was strong enough to be the president of Nigeria. Nigerians trusted their leader and went out in throngs to vote in a very sick man as their president.
Not long after that, the country went into a political hemorrhage for many months. Many, who would rather die than miss the generosity and “awoof” of Aso Rock, hunkered in. They purportedly wrote letters as if it was the President to demonstrate that he was strong and healthy to continue as the President. They decided to fight the elected Vice President and the constitution instead of those who cause it. The country became politically unstable but that was of no concern to the cabal in Aso Rock as it is now so long as they benefited from the bounteousness of Nigeria. The cabal that enveloped the President wanted to continue to eat fat at the expense of the sick president and the nation. And they did for some time.
However, Sen. David Mark and his coconspirators entered into a smokescreen room and emerged perhaps with the greatest of doctrine. He baptized his invention “Doctrine of Necessity” as if he was biblical Adam instructed by God to name creatures he saw around him. Typical of Nigerians, we absorbed it, chorused it – Doctrine of Necessity, and moved on as if nothing detrimental happened. With Sen. Mark’s creativity, the drama in Aso Rock ended. Thus, Mr. Yar’Adua ended up serving only a fraction of his four years and the cabal in Aso Rock packed their bags and Nigerians inhaled (unlike Clinton who didn’t inhale) a temporary political relief.
Note here that the northerners’ chance at the Presidency was shortchanged due the death of Yar’Adua and the man who pushed Yar’Adua as the candidate for president was a man who could not determine the circumstance of his birth but nonetheless from the Yoruba race. Many saw it as payback from an unlikely source for what the northern political power players did to Yorubas by the annulment of Chief Abiola’s election.
As if that was not enough, as soon as Nigerians were about to breath a fresh air of political stability six years after, a political mercantilist, a political bounty hunter and refined opportunist emerged by name Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu equally from the Yoruba race whose NADECO blood is still dripping fresh from the June 12 struggle. How could that have escaped the knowledge of those that claim to be politically savvy and superior? He engineered yet again and brought to Nigerians another sick and fragile aged man from the north to be the president. He succeeded surprisingly and effortlessly perhaps because the northerners were still unreasonably embittered that a south-south man, President Jonathan, had contested for a second term instead of stepping down for a northerner. Tinubu successfully sold to Nigerians someone he may have known had dwindling energy to be president of Nigeria instead of a much vibrant and healthy northern politician with the help of Barack Obama, US president.
It appeared Obama’s acceptance of Tinubu’s weak product was an easy choice. While Bola Tinubu, a national leader of APC, saw many opportunities all over Aso Rock, and possibly, as National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) chieftain, a chance to pay back the northern political class for June 12 complications, Mr. Obama, on the other hand, saw an opportunity to get rid of President Goodluck Jonathan who signed into law anti homosexuality bill. Therefore, Jonathan’s refusal to accept Obama’s pro homosexual policy was camouflaged as not fighting corruption enough in the eyes of Obama whose sole and core policy towards Nigeria was only to spread homosexuality. Hence, Jonathan’s anti gay policy was a mighty sin for the US government of Obama to work for a replacement of President Jonathan. And so it was.
Today, due to the obvious failing health of President Mohammadu Buhari, the same dance tune in Aso Rock performed during the former President Yar’Adua is played this time with some cunning and anger with similar result. How do you do the same thing repeatedly and expect a different result? That is the definition of madness. Yet that does not stop the macabre dance of President Buhari’s people in Aso Rock with implications to the constitution. It is a lame way of fighting back by the northerners by saying the Vice President will be ‘coordinating the affairs’ of Nigeria in the absence of Buhari instead of the title of Acting President. Whoever wrote that deserves 6 rotten eggs on his face.
Recently, the architect of the second political affliction of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has issued an epistle in an attempt to re-bandage the wound he has inflicted on the country. He is putting a blind cloth over Nigerians to blur their visions from seeing the mess he has caused the nation by asking us to be patient, that President is not sick. The problem with his fume is that he ain’t a physician unlike Dr. Junai Mohammed, an experienced physician, a straight-shooter and blunt speaking politician, who told Nigerians all along that President Buhari is not in the best physical form to manage the affairs of Nigeria since he was sworn in two years ago. Of course, the President’s men attacked him for saying so. Even some of his northern brethrens labeled him a traitor. But Dr. Junai would be Junai, speaking truth to power no matter which section of the country he turns his microphone.
Mr. Tinubu is now in combative mode, admonishing captive Nigerians and chanting that it is unpatriotic for anyone to dare say that President Buhari is a sick man. Of course, so long as his candidate is now the Acting President, which means he now has free access to Aso Rock, he now perceives the odor of Aso Rock afar like a shark smelling blood in a distance unlike when he hardly had any free access. Therefore, is he really speaking up because he is terribly sad that Buhari is sick and Pastor Osinbajo, SAN, his ‘boy’ is now apparently in charge? Are all Nigerians that gullible, a NADECO chieftain feeling bad for the presidential misfortunes of northern political establishment who deprived Chief MKO Abiola, Yoruba man, of the presidency?
It seems Tinubu is about to benefit from his “Osusu” because Mohammadu Buhari is nearly making London hospital his country home. He’s moving between his presidential jet and office in Abuja; floating between London hospital and Nigeria like an angler’s boat in the midst of a cyclone without a compass while most of the official functions are performed by Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Tinubu’s protégé. Probably, Asiwaju Tinubu might not have reflected on this when he insisted to be the Vice President to President Buhari. Shortly, Prof. Osinbajo may become an interchangeable personality with Tinubu within Aso Rock. Just watch. However, he has to fight through the barricade of aficionada northern cabal first.
Meanwhile, the cabals on the Rock are miserably confused on how to handle the equally desperate situation of a very sick and fragile president with the spirit of a lion but with the physical strength of tender lamb. They are trying to recreate Yar’Adua Act 2 in Buhari episode. The media arms of the presidency is scrambling on every news outlets that General Buhari is in good health and physically competent to discharge his official functions only that he goes for minor checkups when the reverse is the truth. For their selfish reasons, they may continue this untruthfulness to maintain their positions in expense of the ill health of our president. They are taking the good nature of Nigerian people for granted, for their egocentric reasons thereby jeopardizing the live of President Buhari by flying him eleventh hour into the country to beat expiration of constitutionally required mandate of 60 days absence.
So far, it seems they have succeeded in making a very strong man look like caricature, speaking only when they pull the strings like a puppet. He seems to be opening his mouth but the sound coming out is that of the cabals. At the rate they are going, they may make a dummy of Buhari, sit him, and protect it from falling off to show Buhari is in power. All this for what?
The question burning in the minds of many Nigerians is, “where lies the much talked about political erudition or superiority of the northern political mafia to allow only two savoir-faire sons of the Oduduwa of different pedigrees and diverged personal interests to reduce northern political emperors to mere Almajiri politicians? In two quick successions, it appears the Yoruba political duos have gotten the better parts of the northern political establishment; they have outsmarted, out manipulated, and out mastered the northern politicians in less than 10 years of the democratic experiment in Nigeria. How did that happen within this short time to catch the northern political establishment napping? They have bested them in revenging June 12. I can bet that MKO Abiola is smiling, turning and giving thumb up to his blood brothers in his grave.
Indeed, these two singular incidents have eradicated the long held belief and myth of northern political sophistication and pre-eminence. How are they going to recover from this earth shaken political uppercuts delivered by two prominent sons of the Yoruba race namely, General Obasanjo and Alhaji Bolaji Tinubu? Both have succeeded to make minced meat out of the northern-heralded political dominance. They gave them the brooms while exposing their weaknesses and they used the broom to sweep their unity into the gutter. Much more is the fact that these two Yoruba political artists have exposed the weak links of the supposed unified northern Nigeria especially in the former stronghold of the caliphate. Katsina and Sokoto political families may not experience peace as it used to be unless the gods are appeased. If you doubt me, ask Sen. Tanko Bello.
The political north may be forced to shop for new bride. However, they are at dagger drawn with the Igbo race in their usual love-hate relationship, hence may not have anyone to negotiate there. Down in South-South of Niger Delta, their aged long political ally until recently, they may hesitate, heavy-footed and scared to dialogue with them due the manner they handled Jonathan’s matter. So, for the political establishment of the north, this may be a case of sticking with the devil they know whereby they will continue to mess with their minds, twist the nuts little tighter and loosen it when they scream louder, and reprimand them for June 12, and for allegedly causing the death of MKO Abiola.
Thanks to General Olusegun Obasanjo who has made it a little more difficult for military coup in Nigeria by decentralizing military units across the nation. Thanks to Alhaji Bola Tinubu, the lion of Bourdilon, from western Nigeria, the home of natural diplomats who is laughing last at the expense of the northern political class who has probably never dreamed of playing political catch up in Nigeria. And thanks to democracy in Africa that heralded strong dislike for coup making in the continent.
This is the way it is now.