By Louis Odion… It is obvious that the ruling All Progressives Party (APC) is assailed relentlessly by fissiparous forces. It does appear the poison has been carried over into something as straight-forward as the story of how the running-mate to President Muhammadu Buhari emerged in 2014. Or how else can one explain the illogicality in the claim by PMB’s biographer, Professor John Paden, that Professor Yemi Osinbajo emerged in spite of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s desperate manoeuvres and machinations.
Who, in all honesty, has forgotten Buhari’s well-publicized concession to Tinubu after emerging winner of APC’s primaries in December 2014, apparently as a mark of appreciation of the latter’s decisive support, to draw a list of nominees which “may include your good self.”
While it is very true that the factor of religion was soon blown up by forces fiercely opposed to Tinubu’s emergence as running-mate to Buhari (a fellow Musilim), it is very cheap and petty indeed to now attempt to deny the former Lagos governor credit for Osinbajo’s choice. (The same vicious forces had mounted road-block against the option of Comrade Adam Oshiomhole of Edo State when South-South was suggested for the job.)
When Osinbajo’s name was finally announced, the picture was pretty clear: if Tinubu would not get the crown despite his extra-ordinary contributions because of his Muslim identity, the consolation was that at least it was retained within his political family. Aside being his Attorney General and Justice Commissioner for eight uninterrupted years, Osinbajo is also Tinubu’s personal friend.
With such crude falsification of facts of recent history, it then become obvious the tainted sources Paden depended on to pen his book. But truth is in mortal danger if the rendering of history otherwise expected to be engaging as Buhari’s chequered odyssey is sparsely founded on a mono narrative. But it is the sacred duty of a biographer to cross-reference facts, more-so for an undertaking as monumental as this.
Then, the other curious thing: how come Tinubu was silent on this offensive portion in the review he had rendered at the book’s presentation on Monday? Those who know Asiwaju very well would attest he does not suffer fools gladly. Of course, he would have given Paden something to remind him the day he baited the fabled Lion of Bourdillon in its den. Therefore, there could only be one possibility: the advance copy came too late to enable a more rigorous dissection of the book before the deadline, consistent with Abuja’s now familiar culture of tardiness. (The same way former Vice President Abubakar Atiku claims the invitation card only reached him when the ceremony was already underway!)
Besides, the question is asked: how come it is an American who is first to write arguably the most serious book thus far on Buhari’s political trajectory? The answer is simple. I can almost bet many a Nigerian researcher would have put forward tons and tons of proposal to this effect, but would not have received any favorable response. But once you are a white man, you are given unlimited access in Abuja!
In literary theory, the abiding custom is that a mere single fact of history lends much weight to a work of fiction while even the minutest lie could render a work of non-fiction worthless. In case copies are yet to be mass produced, Paden is well advised to expunge that fallacious section.
Or better still, come up with something much more nuanced.
Otherwise, he risks having the entire effort written off as a contaminated rendering of our national history.
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