Hate him or love him, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential candidate for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), is the grand master of Nigerian establishment politics. For better or worse, Tinubu, a former senator and governor of Lagos State, has contributed immensely to the consecration and development of Nigeria’s democratic journey before the advent of the fourth democratic republic in 1999 and in the course of its 24 years to the present. moment. As a member of the Social Democratic Party in the failed Third Republic (1991-1993) whose presidential candidate, Chief MKO Abiola, reportedly won the annulled June 12, 1993 election, Tinubu associated with other pro-democracy individuals and groups to push the military out of power. Tinubu is often credited with his material, moral and political commitment to the restoration of democracy in Nigeria from his exile base in Europe and America.

Elected governor of Lagos on the platform of the opposition Alliance for Democracy party in 1999, Tinubu later became the only governor on the party platform to survive the kiss of death from the then ruling People’s Democratic Party in the 2003 general election. And because of the strong and formidable political base he built for the Democracy Alliance party in the state, Tinubu’s Lagos was the only state in the southwestern geopolitical zone left standing after the ravages of the PDP tsunami that swept through the region. From the ashes of the 2003 defeat by the all-conquering PDP, Tinubu was able to painstakingly help rebuild Nigerian opposition politics through a web of strategic alliances and collaborations, ultimately culminating in the formation of the APC in 2013. And by 2015, 12 years after the annihilation of Nigeria’s opposition in 2003, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the APC’s ‘national leader’, led the party and its presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, to victory over current President Goodluck Jonathan and his ruling PDP. Tinubu repeated the feat again in 2019 to secure the second and final four-year term for President Buhari.

After many years of painstaking planning and strategic geopolitical positioning, Tinubu, the kingmaker, now seeks the crown for himself. Ahead of the 2023 presidential election, Tinubu did not wait for clearance from his ally and APC leader, President Buhari, before entering the inner recess of his Aso Rock Villa residence to notify him of his intention to run for the Nigerian presidency. on the platform of the ruling party. However, it was clear from the start that Tinubu was not President Buhari’s favorite as his successor; a reality that Tinubu knows well. But it was also clear that no one within the ranks of the other APC presidential contenders could defeat Tinubu in a competitive contest due to the formidable structures of supporters and loyalists that were embedded at all levels of the APC party structure. in all the country. And when it seemed that it would take direct interference from Chairman Buhari through his open endorsement of another aspirant to stop Tinubu, sensing the danger, the Lion of Bourdilon roared “Emilokan” from the top of Olumo Rock in Abeokuta to scare off the jackals and hyenas. hanging around Aso Rock in Abuja out of any political plot to deliver a coup de grace against his ambition.

Interestingly, after picking the party’s nomination with an overwhelming margin of victory against other contenders without his endorsement, President Buhari is not seen campaigning for his party’s nominee nor is Tinubu heard campaigning on the achievement records of the party. leader of his party for the past eight years. This is because, in the past eight years since 2015, when the APC came to power, the socio-economic conditions of Nigerians have steadily deteriorated, as indicated by widespread insecurity, famine, mass poverty, unemployment and acute energy crisis. Having failed to deliver on any of his key campaign promises to tackle insecurity, fix the economy and rein in corruption, President Buhari is leaving Nigerians worse off than he knew them in 2015, therefore the ruling APC is overstretched. by a heavy burden of entitlement disadvantages stemming from poor performance ahead of the 2023 general election. Tinubu’s mantra of “Hope Renewed” is a stark testament to the hopelessness that currently engulfs the people and lands of Nigeria.

Similarly, Tinubu, who is seen as the grandmaster of Nigerian establishment politics, is largely seen as part of Nigeria’s issue, including his ‘Buhari’ issue over the role he played in getting himself twice elected as President. Establishment politics in Nigeria, which has degenerated into a criminal franchise of self-service energy purchases, has not only failed to deliver the much-anticipated dividends of democracy 24 years after the advent of the fourth democratic republic in 1999, but has it has also delegitimized the concept of democracy as a system of government that is relevant in the provision of welfare and security in the eyes of Nigerians. And with the unprecedented leadership failure of the APC administration headed by President Buhari, which has turned Nigeria into a country in revolution mode, Tinubu is cast as the villain of the growing mob of anti-establishment Nigerians crying out for the blood of their perceived oppressors. at the polls in 2023. For the first time in the history of the Fourth Republic, no political expert, marabú, pastor or babalao can clearly predict the winner of the presidential election in the first ballot. Tinubu, the maverick and political master strategist, is also well acquainted with this developing reality.

It is consistent with this reality that an apprehensive Tinubu once again called out his former allies-turned-translators within the APC government led by President Buhari over the persistent energy and Lebanon-like currency crises in Nigeria on the eve of the elections as a stratagem. to sabotage his presidential ambition. Seeing Nigerians lining up to buy exorbitantly priced gasoline and bank ATMs to withdraw their own money is a combustible mix that is also highly flammable. As it did before the primary election, the Lion of Bourdilon once again roared its frustration with an uncooperative government in office from the top of Olumo Rock in Abeokuta and again the jackals and hyenas that roamed Aso Rock scampered across its own safety. As for Tinubu, if the president does not campaign for him, let him not impose policies that further alienate the people from the ruling APC which, if not handled well, may even sink the 2023 general election as a result of the popular vote. uprising of the long-suffering Nigerian people. And because when Tinubu sneezes, Buhari catches a cold, he has approved the extension of the term set by the Central Bank of Nigeria for the return of the old naira banknotes in exchange for redesigned ones and incidentally avoid what many had predicted could serve as a trigger . for an #EndSARS-like uprising ahead of the 2023 election.

But why does President Buhari catch a cold every time Tinubu sneezes? Because, without the material, political and moral support of Tinubu and his Southwestern people, Muhammadu Buhari would never have been President of Nigeria and power would not have returned to the North in 2015. If Tinubu is a villain to the Nigerian people today, it remains an eternal hero to President Buhari and Northern Nigeria and deserves your support for his presidential bid as one good deed deserves another. Even among thieves, there must be honor.

Under the current circumstances, President Buhari must support Tinubu and must be seen to do so without prejudice to free, fair and credible elections. A defeat for Tinubu due to a lack of support from President Buhari and the APC’s northern wing and a victory for any of the northern candidates due to regional support may precipitate a crisis that will spiral out of control. A defeat for Tinubu should be due to the rejection of him by the Nigerian people of the north and south despite President Buhari’s support as a fitting punishment for misrule in the 2023 presidential election.