By Tunde Asaju
Bola Ahmed Tinubu the BAT is on the road. Twenty years after positioning himself as governor before transforming into the Babasàlẹ̀ of Lagos and western Nigeria politics, Tinubu is pregnant with higher ambitions. On the surface, he seems on speaking engagement missions doling out money to groups and causes likely to favour his political calculations. It is not for fun standing in Arewa House to deliver the Ahmadu Bello Memorial Lecture, He was in Kano to mark his questionable ‘69th’ birthday anniversary. He has hobnobbed with Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar and politically romanced Governor Zulum. He made donations to Aisha Buhari’s book launch and put victims of the Katsina fire disaster over and above those of Shasa in his home base.
Tinubu is a maverick politician. Weeks ago, Wikipedia had to lock his account after it was edited a whopping 84 times, a record for the Guinness Book of Infamy.
Nothing about Tinubu’s life adds up. From his background to his meteoric rise to fame and uncommon fortune. Tinubu would have to keep adjusting records to erase the gossips about his life. As Nigeria’s former capital and now its most viable commercial hub, Lagos retains its cosmopolitan outlook. Except for a brief moment under Babatunde Fashola, Lagos has welcomed every tribe, tongue, region and religion. But Lagosians are asking, how did Tinubu become the quintessential Lagosian?
Those who know will tell you he was born in Iragbiji in Osun State. Even in the era of DNA tests, our culture and tradition permit natural adoption, no questions asked. If Tinubu had been adopted into the Abibatu Mogaji clan, it would have been okay that he retains his purported natural name – Lamidi Amoda Sangodere. What bothers many is why today’s Tinubu wants the natural part of his life history wiped off the records. Did he change his name, as the law permits or did he assume the identity of a dead person? Is that why his age did not seem to match the personae he wants to present?
Tinubu’s attempt to write a resume of the schools he attended is another mystery his PR managers would find hard to explain. The schools he purportedly attended had a record of a Bola Ahmed Tinubu, but his supposed peers swear they have no recollection matching the current Jagaban Borgu. They have excluded him from alumni meetings except with proof of a facial surgery. Basically, none of them remembers him.
People change names everyday, but they hardly change face. It wouldn’t be the first time a ‘famous’ politician would attempt to wipe clean their questionable records. James Onanefe Ibori tried to wipe clean, records of theft and conviction in London as well as robbery in Nigeria when he presented himself and went on to win two terms as governor of Delta State. As he discovered, records could always be altered with affidavits, but altering character is a harder task. Ibori’s itchy fingers did not abate when he became the most powerful man in Asaba. Not even his purchase of traditional titles could wipe the trait of theft. As the past came knocking, Ibori attempted to run but ended up an ex-con, albeit a powerful one.
Experience confirms that where there is one deliberate attempt to falsify records, there is more hidden muck. We have not always kept clean records as a nation. Many almajirai have no birth records. They share the same misfortune with Olusegun Obasanjo and Umaru Musa Yar’Adua both of who have no birth records. Both made it official and the heavens have not fallen as a result. Why is this BAT so bent on fixing his with remarkable sloppiness?
The world is filled with scam artists who tried to con the universe into believing they are what they are not. From Charles Ponzi to Frank Abagnale and our own Salisu Buhari. Most fix their ignoble records and walk the road to redemption rather than try to edit their past.
It is obvious that Tinubu eyes the biggest office in the land, knowing that the Nigerian presidency is the most powerful in the world; it allows its occupant to get away with blue murder. Buhari edited his lack of elementary certificate with sentiments.
Why is Tinubu simply not content with his acquired status as the godfather of Western Nigerian politics? At such a time when the survival of our nation hinges on true federalism and finding a unifying candidate, why is another Yoruba power monger gunning for the presidency? Any conscientious Yoruba or Hausa/Fulani should steer clear of the 2023 presidential contest. From military adventurism to transmogrifying into the civilian voting space, these two powerful ethnic groups have had their fair share of ruining the nation.
The only exception is the Igbo of the South East. Fifty years after plunging the nation into civil war in which we declared no victor nor vanquished, the Yoruba and the Hausa/Fulani have vanquished every attempt by a candidate of Igbo extraction to show us what they have to offer.
While it is true that there are elements in Igboland bent on re-plunging Nigeria back to its war past, the majority of the Igbo are peaceful citizens settled everywhere moving the nation forward. Don’t tell that to Tinubu’s wife, Oluremi who said on tape that the Igbo could not be trusted. She is a senator of the federal republic.
Tinubu has had ample chances to erase the inconsistencies of his life. From buying out a whole edition of a news magazine that exposed him to his latest tiff with Wikipedia, he should content himself with being the Emir of Bourdillon.
While life and death are in the hands of the divine, Tinubu does not have enough fuel left in the tank to beat Salisu Buhari’s road to redemption. His control of media outlets and his large financial war chest notwithstanding nor should his manipulation of his closeness to certain religious persons. Pastor Tunde Bakare, who staked the dregs of his ecclesiastical integrity on him, staked the substance of that integrity on Buhari. The results are obvious for all.
Instead of acting as celestial seer behind Tinubu’s candidacy, methinks Bakare should send him some verses of St. Paul’s first letter to Timothy. In the sixth verse of the sixth chapter, Paul reminded his friend that ‘Godliness with contentment is great gain. ’Tinubu should steer clear of further political ambition, for his and all our sakes.