By Bayo Fasunwon
The much-awaited APC presidential primary election has history. Men, being political animals have by their actions and inactions proved analysts, rophets and soothsayers wrong. At the end of the political intrigues, maneuvers and political intelligence, the Jagaban, and recently crowned Emilokan 1 of Nigeria, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) has emerged as the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress.
With the flag of the party held high, he is poised to face Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), and many other contestants for the plum job. The question therefore remains, ‘who will be the numero uno and primus inter pares?” While pondering on this, let us take a digression to think about Voice President Yemi Osinbajo and his legitimate ambition. The fact remains that every power holder and wielder would always seek to expand their territorial hegemony as well as maximize their power, given the opportunity and privilege to do so. This explains why BAT being a past Governor, ex-Senator, and national leader of the APC did not leave any stone unturned in seeking for the position of the President. That also explains why the immediate past Deputy Governor of Ondo State tried all possible maneuvers to unseat his boss. It is in the nature of man to seek for higher attainments.
However, where Agboola Ajayi and Yemi Osinbajo, both of whom coincidentally came third in the contests, missed it was the disregard for Babatunde Raji Fashola’s advice and prayers that ‘may your loyalty never be tested’. In the quest for power, loyalty to the boss is worth more than gold. In most cases, disloyalty is defined as the insubordination of one’s personal interest to the interest of his political leader(s). Yours truly had opined earlier that win or lose, PYO would be a loser, and would be an object of ridicule in years to come. If he had even won the presidential election and emerged as the President, the pressures on him to succeed would have been high and intense. At that level of pressure, mistakes would occur. Why did PYO contest against his benefactor and become the ‘Eleyi 2’ of Nigeria? Personally, it is easy to believe that he bowed to pressure.
There were pressures from various quarters by those who strongly felt that he would make a better President than BAT. Pressures would also have mounted from the church, christians, the presidency, state and people on the street. However, it is believed that whatever actions taken by a drunk has been conceived before getting drunk. Aside from the pressures, PYO had also assumed that all the encomiums and good publicity enjoyed were indications that Nigerians wanted him and none else. On his various visits, many thronged to catch a glimpse and hail him, and these were quite misleading. Misleading in the sense that many came to see him as the Vice President, and not as a person. Void of the position he holds, his perceived achievements and potential would have remained hid for life. Many who had pressurized and encouraged him had done so, not because of their love for him, but for their hatred for BAT in the first place. Therefore, he was just a pawn in the political chessboard. Age and time could also have played its part. If we truly follow the zoning system, and the South West gets the Presidential seat, it implies that it would take another 48 years, before it comes back to the region. Where would the intelligent PYO be at that time?
There is however another possibility, and one that has been at play on many occasions. Yours truly had never considered Judas as a negative character in the Jesus story. The truth remains that without a Judas, the mission of Jesus Christ would not have been accomplished. PYO’s contest has been able to show that the Jagaban in comparison to Atiku has more acceptance and less rivalry in their party. The result of the primary, given the build up to the event clearly showed that the APC is producing a more acceptable candidate than the PDP’s flagbearer. Furthermore, the primaries and the intrigues also showed that the APC has enough political juggernauts in its fold that can repeat the feat of the past.
PYO’s participation has in no doubt given more sympathy to BAT, awareness to the APC as well as reinforced the ‘neutrality’ of President Muhammadu Buhari in the elections. This would send a signal that the same stance would hold for the 2023 general elections, where votes would count. Ceteris paribus, the outcome of the APC primary is expected to contribute immensely to the increase in voters’ turnout in 2023 elections.
The APC and Nigeria need an intelligent and cerebral man like PYO to win the elections and turn the fate of Nigeria around. BAT should not throw away the baby with the bath water. It is therefore instructive that PYO should be included in the election programmes of the party.
Even after elections, given the antecedents of the Vice President, PYO should not be dumped in the waste bin of time. While licking his wounds, if there is any, PYO should articulate and engage the goodwill that has been gathered in these times, and use it for the emergence of Tinubu as the eventual President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. For PMB, whatever he does to PYO now would be a reflection of the type of leadership Nigerians should expect if he wins the elections. In politics, it is better to keep your adversaries closer, and transform them into friends. That is why there are no permanent foes but permanent interests. For a person who won about a tithe of votes cast by delegates, PYO still has contributions to make to APC during the elections. He is like a tsetse fly that has landed on the scrotum and must be treated with care.
For PYO, when a man seeks to avoid shame, and is eventually put to shame, he should struggle to stay alive. PYO should learn from his fall and cautiously avoid making subsequent decisions that may destroy his political relevance. Now is the time to learn from his failures, pick himself from the dust and recite the national pledge and his party’s song on a daily basis. To be faithful, loyal and honest with his political party, and leaders, that is the way.