All what happens in the political landscapes are in themselves mere acts. But taken together they give us hints of those who will play what roles and what directions they may go. Today we may zero in on APC. Why APC? Perhaps because their rancorous primary nationwide gives a false impression of a party without an operational hub.
First of all some summary. The APC primary in Lagos was contentious to say the least. Along the line the anchorman from Abuja, a former governor, averred on his integrity that no primary held in Lagos under his watch. And latter the same man recanted “under political oath” and in the full glare of television cameras that what never happened actually now did. It was a mysterious turnaround but boy this is Nigeria. The only explanation was that the anchorman received superior orders from Abuja. Abuja can make and unmake when it comes to magical realism in APC.
Next, for all practical purposes the powers that call the shots from Abuja for APC, are President Muhammadu Buhari and kitchen cabinet. In some matters, the party chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is a member of this kitchen cabinet. Anyway in the given issue of primaries across the country, Oshiomhole is a vizier of the inner court. In other words it is safe to speculate that the president and his kitchenette cooks passed word that our man in Lagos, that is Bola Tinubu, must be granted leverage, allowed his fancies. It was this order from above that accounts for the fact of a former governor going down in public to swallow his vomit.
But the wahala was not only in Lagos state. Along the line there were similar issues in other states. The cases of Imo and Ogun states are illustrative enough. To cut a long story short the APC demanded that the law of primaries in these two state be followed to the letter. And the implication of this is that the two regional potentates, Okorocha and Amosun, lost out, woefully. They failed to have their preferred candidates make the honored list as party flag bearers. In other words, things were so arranged that Okorocha despite being the chairman of APC governors, and Amosun despite being touted as Buhari’s BFF, Best Friend Forever, were not granted any “political waivers”. So the impression that they are kitchenette insiders is in reality false, perhaps forged.
So the question is why. Our conjecture is that for reasons we can only speculate, Tinubu not necessarily the southwest, has become an indispensable bridge to the reemergence of Buhari come 2019. The speculation is that ‘’built on votes’’ the home zone the president controls and the zone that Tinubu superintends constitute the essential blocs of votes the president needs to leap to victory. The ideas is that in winning in these two biggie zones, all the president requires will be to pick up 25% votes everywhere he can. And his victory is assured.
But what of the part of separating Tinubu as a personage and the southwest as a political asset. This is essentially a success of Tinubu’s genius for positioning, for marketing. Fact is that Tinubu has successfully projected, perhaps demonstrated, himself as a guide, the new Awolowo of the Southwest. It is not for nothing that his honorific is Asiwaju – leader – of the Yoruba.
The game is as follows. While the Southwest populations are not very disposed towards Buhari’s reemergence, it is been marketed ‘’abroad’ that Tinubu has the wand either to command Yoruba voters at short notice or to magick it, if that was requested. That is if matters ‘’come to become’’, it is only Tinubu in the calculation of the APC Abuja powers, who has the political capital to pull things through one way or the other.
Understanding this is important. It is a pointer to the old game that power hunters, Buhari is one, are not in it for the love of persons or partners. Power hunters are in it to grab and increase powers. So they only go into alliances with those who can help advance their power maneuvers. That is, power alliances exist only on the basis of usefulness not love of one another.
Thus, it is only to the extent one is deemed useful that one is loved, that concessions are made to one. In other words the humiliation and sack of a sitting governor Ambode is a measure of the usefulness of Tinubu to the Buhari reelection gambit. Were Tinubu not considered vital to the future of those in Abuja, Ambode would have triumphed.
In other words the select and exclusive concessions to Tinubu is not because Buhari loves Tinubu more and loves Okorocha or Amosun less. It is just because Tinubu is more useful to his purpose as he calculates it. In all it is just that Buhari like the typical power hunter loves himself most and his gold rush for powers next. All others come as grist for the mills, whatever their offices and ranks. The point perhaps needs to be stressed that given a chance these other characters will go the Buhari ways and means. Being a politician is being a power grabber.
But someone may now remind us that a huge set of concessions was granted Amosun in the beginning. He is alleged to have single handedly picked most of the Yoruba ministers including the fleeing finance minister, Kemi Adeosun, in the Buhari cabinet. It might just be true. But Amosun misunderstood his brief.
He was granted that franchise as a ploy, a Trojan horse, to weaken Tinubu. It was not really a concession to him. And it just happens that Amosun failed to pick up on the signals. He reveled in the noise that he was loved by the president. Meanwhile he forgot the signal that politics is worse than a jungle warfare and that in the jungle nobody loves his neighbor.
Anyway, his brief couched as a franchise, was to build up his own political theatre command, encroach into the heart of the Southwest and seize it. Apparently he failed in this.
That is the war he is now waging against Tinubu and Osoba he should have waged in the beginning. And now he has to learn a lesson. In alliances one is loved only to the extent he is indispensable, not to the extent he is lovable. In the power game only fools think they are lovable. The pros know it’s a high utility game and play it as such. It’s “eti okwe erie okwe”. We repeat, politics is not a game of teenagers on a date, smooching one another. Politics is a power game, a theatre war and worse, it could go nuclear. Out there, survival not romance is the game. Amosun ronu.
As for Okorocha, news is all around that his gubernatorial iberiberism has hinged Imo out of the hands of APC. To worsen matters the consensus by all observers is that despite Okorocha’s postures the man Okorocha is not strategist, not even an iberiberism strategist. Okorocha as is, is such a naïve guy that he would overdraw a blank cheque if given one. So it serves the strategic interest of the APC powers in Abuja to dispatch Okorocha as if he was part of the city garbage heap, politically.
What all these add up to is this. In the months ahead it is now clear that Tinubu has become a tiger upon which Buhari has to ride to reach his 2019 destination. For counter strategists, that is those in opposition, what Tinubu thinks, his strengths and weaknesses, are as vital as those of the president, his rider. So a key part of oppositions’ battles ahead must be in taking on and checkmating Tinubu. One way is to mark him one on one. Or as footballer often do to ‘’foul’’ him out of the game. You may take a red card and quit the field but only after having ‘’eliminated’’ a star player. Later if the game goes your way you can re-prime your friendships. It is nothing personal. It is a game and they are one and all, incumbents and oppositions, in it. Ahiazuwa.