By Emmanuel Aziken
Jagaban Borgu, the title conferred on the leader of warriors in the ancient Borgu Kingdom in Niger State, befits Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the light of his historic political battles and survival.
Unquestionably, he continues to tower above any other member of the 1999 set of governors in political relevance having dictated his two successors in office as governor of Lagos State. In terms of political savvy, structure, and sagacity, none in the class of “99 and maybe only Bukola Saraki, in the subsequent classes, can near the Jagaban in political relevance in their local fiefdoms.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu
Not only did he survive an Olusegun Obasanjo eight year siege, but he was also tactful enough to collaborate with him (or dine with the devil he knows) when they found a common foe in President Goodluck Jonathan ahead of the 2015 polls. Such is the pattern of Tinubu’s politics that he would put aside past grudges in the pursuit of new political goals. His experience with his former deputy, Femi Pedro, former Ministers of State, Demola Seriki, Musiliu Obanikoro buttresses the point.
Days before the 2015 presidential election, Tinubu’s commanding role in the evolution of the Muhammadu Buhari presidency was revealed by Buhari’s wife, Aisha.
Speaking in Lagos in March 2015, days before the presidential election, Mrs. Buhari paid encomiums on Tinubu for his role in transforming her husband from a serial election loser.
“My husband, General Muhammadu Buhari has been contesting presidential elections for over a decade now, but this particular election is unique because our leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu jettisoned his personal interest for the sake of Nigeria.”
But how Tinubu came to play a role in Buhari’s political transformation is still a story yet to be fully told. Some have alluded to their common friend, who conferred on him the title of Jagaban, Senator Haliru Dantoro, the 4th Emir of Borgu in 2006.
Tinubu and the emir weaved a relationship in the Third Republic Senate where they both served.
The late emir was also a very close political associate of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Dantoro who died in October 2016, was unarguably one of the country’s most politically exposed traditional rulers in recent times. He hobnobbed with oppositionists to the extent that the penultimate state administration in Niger State almost denied him the stool of his forefathers.
After Buhari gave up after his third straight loss in 2011, Dantoro was one of those who reportedly urged him on.
When the emir died after a brief illness in Germany last October, Tinubu and Buhari left other business to rush to the burial.
With Dantoro dead and buried, there is a sense of premonition that the great political partnership between Asiwaju and Buhari could also be dead and buried.
After being a major catalyst in the political chemistry that displaced the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from power in Abuja, the man who ordinarily should be playing a leading role in resolving the country’s multiple issues has simply gone AWOL. Despite his periodic interventions and defence of the administration, everyone knows that this is not Tinubu’s game.
Was this what Tinubu and other canvassers for change conceived? Given his excellent capacity in tapping talents, Tinubu’s mark in the APC administration is simply not there. Yes, appointments here and there for some of his friends and associates, but in the real matter of policy and political programming where he excels in, Jagaba has been left adrift.
Nigeria is at the crossroads where those who catalysed the change that has hit the nation need to stand up to steer it towards the correct path. Some like Atiku Abubakar have renounced the pace and pattern of the government.
But, whatever are Tinubu’s thoughts, he would find it difficult to act like Atiku because unlike the former vice-president, he, Tinubu was there with Buhari from the very beginning. The thinking now is that perhaps, Tinubu did not factor in the pervasive influence of the Kaduna Mafia of old in his projections of a Buhari presidency.
In the present circumstances, he needs the prayers of his supporters to walk the right way to preserve a legacy of surviving the toughest wars.