Veteran journalist, Remi Oyeyemi writes about what he describes as "fulani conspiracy" against former governor of Lagos state, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The article was published on opinion.com.ng
- The Fulani are a special breed. They understand only one thing – power at all costs
- The functional relationship of this Jonathan tragedy to the re-emergence of Fulani hegemony in Nigeria is that it has helped give undeserved cover to Tinubuism
- Atiku has never liked Tinubu because he’s always felt Tinubu has been unwilling to be subservient to him and accept his leadership.
This article expresses the author’s opinion only. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Legit.ng or its editors.
The loss of the Senate Presidency and the Speakership of the Federal House of Representatives by the APC faction of Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu is another chapter in the naivety and misguided priority of the current ruling political class of the Yoruba nation. It would have serious consequences for the fortunes of the Yoruba nation in the foreseeable future. The conscious efforts of Tinubu to cultivate the friendship of the Fulani ruling class for the purposes of wining political power within the Nigerian context would definitely end in disaster and this is just the beginning.
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Though, it is not as if this was not envisaged by some perceptive minds, neither was it that the Tinubu and his crowd were never warned, but as our forefathers in Yoruba land aphorised, “Aja ti yio s’onu kii gbo fere olode.” Yes, the dog that is determined to get lost would never hear the hunter’s bugle. The Fulani are a special breed. They understand only one thing – power at all costs. It does not matter how close you are to them. It does not matter how friendly you are to them. It does not matter how helpful you are to them. When it comes to power and control, they rally round themselves to neutralise you and maintain your subservience.
It is amazing that the high percentage of literate political leaders in Yoruba land who flaunt their degrees and bounce around with pride in Western education are uneducated in and about politics and history. They lack what is called native intelligence. It is embarrassing how the age-long wisdom of our forefathers in Yorubaland have always been discountenanced by this generation of politicians. Our forefathers often contend “Ti omode ba subu, a wo iwaju. Ti agbalagba bu subu a wo eyin.” Literally, if a child falls, he looks ahead to more opportunities to be able to rise. But when an elder falls, he looks back to reflect on the cause of the fall and ensure the same mistake is not repeated.
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Nigerians can agree and or disagree that the ascendancy of Goodluck Jonathan was a function of providence. But what could not be argued is that it was a golden opportunity to make Nigeria belong to all. But history will record it against President Jonathan that he had an opportunity to make Nigeria whole, new and fair to all but failed woefully. His failure, apart from causing his removal from power, it seems, would serve as the causality for the regression of true freedom among the ethnic nationalities in Nigeria by about 60 years. In other words, it would serve as one of the major reasons why Nigeria would not be able to be the “Country” it ought to be, at least not in the nearest future. There might be other unintended consequences of this Jonathan tragedy, but it would be prudent to allow time to tell.
The functional relationship of this Jonathan tragedy to the re-emergence of Fulani hegemony in Nigeria is that it has helped give undeserved cover to Tinubuism – the pursuit of power at all costs, without principle and the benefits of lessons of history. Tinubuism as a political philosophy glorifies the absence of principles, which translates to an absence of ideology; an absence of ideology translates to the adoption of mercantilism; the adoption of mercantilism translates to appropriation of the first law of nature – self preservation; the appropriation of the first law of nature translates to the approbation of the lack of commitment on the part of the members; and lack of commitment from members translates to inchoate and non-cohesive organisation. Tinubuism, as a political philosophy, incubates within itself the seeds of its own vulnerability and its evanescence.
Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu hid under the cover of the Jonathan tragedy to bring back to power an ethnic oligarchy that has held Nigeria hostage for over five decades. In doing this, he spent money, energy, skills, goodwill, time, sweat and put in everything he got to ensure the success of the coalition he put together. His hope of getting positioned for greater influence in the run of things was dashed by those he has helped back to power, because as in the nature of this ethnic oligarchy, they are not the type that shares “control and domination” with anyone, not even the best of their friends, as history has shown and events have continued to validate.
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The game played with Tinubu by Muhammadu Buhari, Abubakar Atiku, Aminu Tambuwal and Shehu Garba, all Fulani, is not limited to this crowd. It is an elaborate plan backed by an entire oligarchy that operates silently behind the scenes. This plan which is still in its infancy has been hatched before now. Bukola Saraki (a Fulani-Yoruba) is just a willing tool in this elaborate plan. The Fulani oligarchy is not going to take another chance to allow power be controlled by anyone or group other than them or one of their own.
…don’t sing the nunc dimitis of Tinubuism yet. One thing I know, however, is that its number one protagonist, Tinubu, is a fighter, a warrior and a consummate strategist. He may still have some secret jokers up his sleeve. He is not about to fold up. His reaction and response to the unfolding treacheries around him would be interesting to see. It would be more interesting because his political traducers, detractors and possibly, enemies now control the levers of federal political power in Nigeria.
The alacrity with which President Muhammadu Buhari accepted and praised the election of Senator Bukola Saraki, a Fulani-Yoruba, showed that he was in on the conspiracy to reduce the influence of his benefactor, Tinubu, an ordinary Yoruba. Buhari promptly promised to work with the Saraki coalition. It should not escape observers’ attention that the first port of call for Senator Saraki after his election was to pay homage to Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, who has always hated the guts of Tinubu since the days of Social Democratic Party (SDP) and General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua’s foray into politics.
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For those who do not know, Alhaji Atiku has never liked Tinubu because he’s always felt Tinubu has been unwilling to be subservient to him and accept his (Atiku’s) leadership. Their rivalry has been very intense, since the days when General Yar’Adua built the solid coalition that defeated Chief Lateef Jakande in the SPD primaries in Lagos. Those who are privy to this rivalry are many. Some of them are deceased and some of them are still very much alive. The failure of Atiku to successfully use the platform of Action Party (AC) to realise his presidential ambition, after he was pushed out of PDP earlier on by President Olusegun Obasanjo, was considered the fault of Tinubu.
Alhaji Atiku is also of the view that his failure to clinch the presidential ticket of the APC was as a result of the machinations of Tinubu and he was willing to do anything to not only avenge his loss but to show that he has more clout than Tinubu. Hence, his subversion of the party’s will and role in the election and emergence of Senator Saraki as the Senate President. Sources inform that this scheme did not start after the election of President Buhari. Atiku and Buhari were alleged to have had a series of secret meetings after the completion of Buhari’s nomination in Lagos. The role of President Buhari’s Adviser on Media and Publicity, Shehu Garba, an Atiku protégé, in all this confusion should be closely and dispassionately paid attention to. The Tinubu coalition in the Senate was deceived and lured out of sight for Saraki’s election to hold without the interruption that could have marred the entire exercise if they were present.
Unknown to Tinubu, Aminu Tambuwal was in on the conspiracy. Tinubu certainly did not expect that a man such as Tambuwal who he helped build to national status would stab him in the back by helping to plot the installation of Saraki as Senate President. It further shows the naivety of Tinubu about the Fulani notion of power, and the vulnerability of his own political edifice. In the coming days, Tinubu would learn some more lessons in the struggle for power and domination in Nigeria’s space. He would be tutored in basic lessons of Fulani determination and solidarity to hold power at all costs and by any means necessary.
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Already, grapevine sources are confirming the abandonment of Tinubu’s political ship by some of his hitherto beneficiaries, who are former governors actively collaborating with Buhari to build their own political fortunes and annihilate Tinubu’s influence in the South-West. These former beneficiaries are reported to be harbouring bitterness against their erstwhile benefactor for making their lives hell when they were still on the same boat with him. How successful they would be remains to be seen in the coming days. But observers should pay attention to the “divide and rule” tactics of the Fulani oligarchy.
Apart from these former governors, there appears to be several of Tinubu’s former beneficiaries being rumoured to be scheming and angling to benefit from the new arrangement without recourse to Tinubu. He is being left in the lurch. But these series of perfidies have been possible because of the nature and character of Tinubuism as a political concept and philosophy. When the kernel of a political philosophy is basically self-preservation, devoid of principle and ideology, it encourages the characteristics of the Hobbessian kind of politics and antics – “every man against every man”. In this kind of situation, every person has the liberty to do anything s/he thinks necessary for preserving his or her political career. As Thomas Hobbes earlier contended, this situation would be nothing but “solitary, nasty, and brutish.” Hobbes described this condition with the Latin phrase “bellum omnium contra omnes” meaning “war of all against all”, in his work De Cive, first published in Paris in 1642.
In the mercantilist environment that Tinubuism fosters, unhealthy competition is normally the order of the day. Backbiting, subversion, treachery, undermining, lies, deception, greed, avarice, covetousness, morbid and inordinate ambitions often rule the day. It is an “every man for himself and God for us all” kind of environment. There is no enduring loyalty. There is no perseverance and commitment. There is no sacrifice. There is no principle. Or if there is any principle at all, it is “what is in it for me?” This is why it is easier for his beneficiaries to break away from him without possible consequences as we are presently witnessing.
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I detest Tinubuism as a political idea and this is public knowledge. But my heart still goes out to Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu in commiseration for the current challenges he is facing. It could be very saddening and depressing to work so hard and be denied the fruits of your labour. But the unfolding tragedy is not unanticipated. He and his group were warned of the possible outcome of the gamble and the gambit deployed in producing the Buhari Presidency. He was so blinded by the pursuit of power that he failed to take cognisance of the lessons of history and take caution.
But don’t sing the nunc dimitis of Tinubuism yet. One thing I know, however, is that its number one protagonist, Tinubu, is a fighter, a warrior and a consummate strategist. He may still have some secret jokers up his sleeve. He is not about to fold up. His reaction and response to the unfolding treacheries around him would be interesting to see. It would be more interesting because his political traducers, detractors and possibly, enemies now control the levers of federal political power in Nigeria.