Editor's note: In this piece, Emmanuel Ogbeche, the chairman of the Federal Capital Territory chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists takes a dive into political events, the pre-Buhari era and the recent outburst from a former Lagos state governor, Bola Tinubu who reeled out his impact on the career of key politicians in Nigeria.
It is that time when loyalties are tested and alliances are stretched. In Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari and his ‘ally’ Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu are at that crossroad that has seen animosity deepened and friendships buried.
It is not something new in the political sphere. Before this drama that is playing out, there was Iwasato Masao. He is regarded in many a quarter as the godfather of political betrayal.
The powerful politician stabbed all bosses he served in the back. Iwasato, who ruled Taiwan from 1988 to 2000, did serve the Communist Party of China, the Kuomintang, and Taiwan…and ended up betraying all three!
On Thursday, the Knight General of Lagos politics and the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Tinubu, showed he is a man fit for the theatre as he put up a supremely far-reaching act in Abeokuta, Ogun state.
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The former governor of Lagos state whose life aim is to be president of Nigeria forgot one cardinal rule; never betray your emotions.
Tinubu feeling the oppressive weight of President Buhari’s dithering on the candidate of the ruling party in the 2023 general elections keeled over and boasted how Buhari could not have become president without him.
He also dismissively pointed to Governor Dapo Abiodun and said, “this one (Dapo) couldn’t have been governor without me.” The slip was loud and however hard VIPs like Governor Sanwo-Olu tried to hide their astonishments was futile.
For a very long time, the Jagaban has postured himself as the Alpha politician in Nigeria’s political firmament. He raises and brings down governors in Lagos and some other Southwest states that he now indulges his outlandish fancy of seeing himself as the next best thing to fresh bread.
Even if it were true that he led the charge to make Buhari have a rethink and run for the presidency having vowed never to seek the apex of power in Nigeria after his defeat in 2011, Tinubu should have been more circumspect knowing that he no longer holds the ace.
As a Yoruba, Asiwaju probably knows the story of Oluronbi in the Yoruba myth of the same title.
Oluronbi lived in a certain village where no children had been born for many years, and the people were greatly distressed.
Worried by the turn of events, all the women of the village went together into the forest, to the magic tree, the Iroko, and implored the spirit of the tree to help them.
The Iroko-man asked what gifts they would bring if he consented to help them, and the women eagerly promised him corn, yams, fruit, goats, and sheep; but Oluronbi, the young wife of a wood-carver, promised to bring her first child.
In this story, Buhari could possibly pass for the distraught young wife post-2015. Having been convinced of the possibility of his ascending the power pedestal, Buhari was willing to wine and dine with all sorts across the length and breadth of the country and make promises that were not intended to keep.
Tinubu and those who propped Buhari went all out to make the people see Mai Gaskiya as the benevolent, committed and ramrod-like General that will recover the locust years and keep to the bargain.
Buhari’s promises were as beautiful and enticing as Oluronbi’s child which was the most beautiful of all the children that now filled the village.
Owing to the cyclic nature of time, it is time for Buhari like the other women to bring their gifts and tokens of appreciation to the god who gave them fertility; but Oluronbi (Buhari) took nothing to propitiate the tree.
But there is a twist to the modern tale. While in the original folklore Oluronbi while passing through the forest was seized by the Iroko-man and changed into a small brown bird, which sat on the branches of the tree and plaintively sang:
“One promised a sheep,
One promised a goat,
One promised fruit,
But Oluronbi promised her child.”
It is Oluronbi that has seized the Iroko-man and is in the process of changing him into a bird. If only Asiwaju, famed for his political acumen and prescience, had seen into time, he would not have wagered that his time will be 2023 to be on the ballot as a candidate for the Office of President.
In politics as in many things in life, not is yet certain, so we wait.
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