I was awakened this morning by a post. The person had announced gleefully that the Naira was on a free fall having dropped to N500 in the parallel market. This remains unconfirmed and as such I would not comment on it but it threw the urgency of putting pen to paper on the thoughts that have begun to take shape in my head in the past few days – the prospect of a Tinubu Presidency.
So, I threw a teaser to this article on a Whats App group, Duke’s Summit, known for being a vibrant melting pot of various political tendencies and the whole place erupted. As I write, some four hours after, the conflagration is still on. My buddy, Uche, a brilliant Lawyer sent a terse remark, ‘Edgar I will not say anything until your advertised write up in the Ripples Nigeria comes out’. Another person said quite clinically, I have not seen any justification apart from the fact that we need a bridge and that bridge cannot be Tinubu who is part of the problem. A very young lad was more frontal, ‘ bros are u saying out of the 200m of us it’s only Tinubu you can see.
My brother, Chike, says he has had the same thoughts on the matter. That the Tinubu Presidency is looking more and more practical under the circumstances. My brother, Niran, says, we should look up to God. In all these, one thing is very clear that the prospect of a Tinubu Presidency is a hot talking point for Nigerians at this time.
Let me now come out and state my position very clearly. But first, let me say that most of the responses I got were quite emotive and bereft of stringent scientific cold calculations. Oh Tinubu is a thief, Tinubu looted Lagos and is still looting. Tinubu brought Buhari and is part of the problem. My people, these are just pure beer parlor talk and I am sorry to say, Nigerians are adept at these kinds of talk which sadly seeps through public discourse and influence political action. That is why you would see electoral behavior sans rigging not reflecting true state of things in the land. Our people are not politically literate enough to look at things dispassionately. I have actually heard someone say, Tinubu cleared my mother’s shop in Oshodi without compensation and because of that I will never stand where he stands. You see our country?
But seriously, we need to understand the theory of power and the fact that power is never handed over on rose petals. You must also understand the elitist theory of power and its uses. We have a concentrated power equation firmly sequestered in a selfish and pampered elitist configuration that was built not on ethnic or tribal lines as we always think but on the relations to power and its effect on centrally controlled resources. In a state where the centre determines everything the continuous hold on power is life long pursuit for elites across the country and relations are built along these lines and not where you come from. This is the point we all fail to realize.
It is when there is a fall out that the denizens will fall back on tribe and religion to regain favorable positioning. Abiola did it, they all do it. Oh, they have kicked me out because I am Yoruba. I didn’t get the contract because I am Igbo. They are jailing me for corruption because I am Ijaw, what of all the Hausa that are stealing us dry , why are they not jailing them? The moment they get restitution, they forget tribe and move on.
So, the lopsided appointment by the present government that we all seem to decry can be stripped bare when you see that the top civil servants who really understand the structure and its uses are mostly from the South West or other parts of the country where that value can be found. So you get a face who is puppified by a very powerful civil service and we think power is with the Minister of Petroleum? Funny.
Now, that established. This cabal that has evolved since independence will never give us that abrupt break in status quo that we so madly yearn. The change has to be gradual; it has to mirror the Gorbachev revolution in Communist Russia. We will never see a Sankara type distortion or a Rawlings type. That is just empty cries of political illiterates. What we need right now is a strong and influential member of that cabal who will work with its trust to gradually wean us out of the present feudalistic structure and into a much more acceptable era of reforms that would push drastic market economic devolutions that would also touch the political structure.
We attempted it with Hope 93. Abiola took permission from his colleagues in the power structure, threw himself up and engaged us with his vison of a market driven intrusions but with some welfarist apparitions as the basis of his drive. We swallowed. We fell for it and we gave him our support enmass, breaking for the first time the barriers of tribe and religion that has kept us down all this time. When he was asked if the military would hand over, he said, they are my friends, they have given the green light and they will deal. When his sons where assaulted by Airforce journey men and a top Air Chief went to apologize, he said ‘even mad dogs recognize their master’. Such was his confidence because he was core.
This is what I am saying now. A positional play, within the current power structure, leveraging on trust, confidence and a shared mercantilist philosophy that has built the aforementioned trust, and once power is secured on the basis of a negotiated release and a vendor hold on to power, the trustee would start a careful deconstruct of the stale system, consolidating power and pushing for significant reforms while withering effectively the power structure that threw him up.
Gorbachev did this very effectively in Soviet Russia. Taking power as a tested and loyal denizen and immediately consolidating and overseeing the balkanization of status quo. Frederick De klerk did it in South Africa bringing an end the despicable minority rule with its evil apartheid philosophy. MKO Abiola, I suspect, was on course but in his loquacious manner must have shown his hands too early thereby leading to an abortion. OBJ did it effectively, neutralizing the forces that brought him on board, reneging on whatever agreement, killing IBB’s intended comeback and going ahead to institute some of the farthest reforms we have seen in the country and buiding institutons that still reman relevant today.
This is where Tinubu comes in, removing all emotive arguments and looking at the environment dispassionately, I do not see any other serious candidate with the above stated credentials to play this bridge. He has shown strong capacity to build bridges, comes with conservative credentials that have enabled him build the trust within the core of power and his strong understanding of market economy positions himself as the Gorbachev of the land.
Tinubu evokes torrents of emotions as can be seen from feedback on my teaser. I have been called Satan literally for even throwing up the issue while I have also been thrown up as a visionary for thinking along these lines.
However, 2023 is around the corner and almost too late for any serious contender to build a nationwide followership that would mute the barriers in bringing the drastic change needed. A Tinubu candidacy must now be looked upon as that interim stop gap measure that would slowly and ever so gradually wean us away from the strangulation that we face in a continued vortex of feudo- conservative power hemlock.
Author: Joseph Edgar…
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