A few days ago, the camp of Senator Bola Tinubu affirmed that the choice of Senator Kashim Shettima as the running mate of the former governor of Lagos was irrevocable. The party on Thursday suspended the planned unveiling of the former Borno governor as Asiwaju’s running mate. The event is not canceled, but shifted, but without official explanation. For those celebrating the brief hiatus as a listening ear, change of heart and likely reversal of the controversial choice, the event is now reserved for Wednesday. Shettima is going to be Asiwaju’s running mate and APC is moving forward with the Muslim-Muslim ticket choice. Bishop Matthew Kukah helped frame the issue in a sensible way. What Asiwaju did was a choice and what the majority of the electorate would do on February 25 is a choice. There should be no national outcry.
But the Yoruba will say o ye omo ti o nsun ekun, o ye iya e ti o nbe (the crying child and the pacifying mother know what). Tinubu has thrown his people into a bind, especially the majority of Christians in the South West, who are unwilling to tie the precious presidential beads to the waists of others, when their own son’s waists are available and worthy of what ‘she wants. At least no one has disproved Tinubu’s Yoruba character, despite stories about his ancestry, training, age, and name. All names given to it so far are linguistically and historically Yoruba. Thus, it is a “mowed” of the ground.
But while pitching his tent with Fulani Muslim, with his running mate of choice, the second high-potential Yoruba candidate since 1999 decided to play the Obasanjo joker of 1999; a prince, enthroned by strangers, for his people. But the contexts are different. When Obasanjo relied heavily on North to be president, North didn’t have a child with a height worthy of Aso Rock’s strung pearls. Now it is. Atiku Abubakar is as desperate as Asiwaju to be president. Someone highly respected says the two are transitional leaders at best, who should stop at some point for someone more dynamic with the vitality of age and the agility of strength. The question is, is a transitional leader most desirable for us at a time like this?
Announcing Shettima right on President Muhammadu Buhari’s doorstep, Tinubu sent what amounted to a humiliating aroko (Yoruba term for a deeply coded message) to the supposed party leader and retired military general. It’s a joy of ‘shior, watch me do what you had no liver to do.’ If kings are so ridiculed in ancient Yoruba, they usually resorted to opening the calabash of death. They would commit suicide instead of being ashamed. This is what the Yoruba will call ‘iku ya ju esin’ (death is better than shame). This sense of fatal heroism and akinkanju (strength of character) has totally disappeared in today’s traditional Yoruba institution, let alone politics. Very few thrones are without charlatans. Thrones are now meal tickets. Even the true born, worse than slaves, in driving, want to ride one. Since previously trusted oracles now anoint, such as tea-drinking Ekiti irunmale, black money is thrown everywhere once a juicy throne is vacant. See what’s happening in Oyo and convince me the oracle won’t be confused.
In explaining the choice of Shettima, who I learned has been with the Lagos team since Goodluck Jonathan’s time as president and had been the listed choice, even before the primary was won (details deliberately omitted ), both the sane and the ridiculous has been thrown into the media space, perhaps to convince independents who have not yet decided who to vote for. But the choice itself has helped those who have been on the fence thus far to take a definite leap forward, along with many voters who have been spoken to. From adviser to the discredited leadership of the second republic, Tanko Yakassai has become a seasoned statesman, mainly due to his advanced age and his remarks against recent leaders, who have made the government of Shehu Shagari that he has served holy. Here is his argument; Tinubu is a Muslim minority from the South and could not have chosen a Christian minority from the North as his running mate. Is there some merit to this argument? In essence, he is saying that when the South is at the top of the rankings and the individual is a Muslim, the combination with the Muslim majority in the North is the only acceptable arrangement for the North, whose majority vote is not even certain for the Muslim minority in the South. It is almost to say ‘we (from the North) do not trust the Muslimness of our brothers in the South or we do not consider them to have religion in them at all’. Obviously, it was belief, although not trumpeted at the time, that placed Babagana Kingibe on the Muslim-Muslim MKO Abiola ticket that won the elections of June 12, 1993 Despite the fixation on political value of those who swayed them, what shapes the North Shettima argument now shows that the mindset towards Southern Muslims has always been there. In fact, had Kingibe not been given, the closest to the ticket was none other than Atiku Abubakar, a majority Muslim from the North. The mention given to the late Paschal Bafyau was obviously decorative then, in the same way that Babachir Lawal, Yakubu Dogara and the current SGF, Boss Mustapha, were uttered for the position, for the sake of robust optical consideration. Yakassai is from the ruling establishment of the North. Forget his criticism of Buhari. His pro-Muslim submission is North-wide. This should serve as a future reference for the Muslim minority in the South, in search of winning alliances with the Muslim majority in the North. The fact is that we easily forget history.
Since the creation of the APC, Asiwaju has been very clear about who he believes should lead the party. Even President Buhari publicly admitted at one point that he and Asiwaju were trolling the national leadership of the party. Well, he pushed potopoto (dirty water mixed with sand) down Asiwaju’s throat in a few political fights, using the titular power, but see who gets the last laugh. When I saw the obedient manner (that word again) of the president towotowo (the Yoruba currency for absolute respect) stood up to greet Asiwaju when the counting of the votes had almost established his victory in a primary, the president had a dog (his Senate President endorsement), I said in my head that the owner of the party is finally taking over. Whatever courtesies he’s giving the president now is just to make sure the Aso Rock tenant doesn’t play the spoiler cause he’s still the C-in-C and the military is a major winning factor in our elections. Daura’s appearance and statement almost sounds like “look at me, you tried to quit being VeePee and President”. I will now do what you could not do, coward”.
Guess, Mr. President got the message and, like Jean-Baptiste, started cutting back, so the new APC champion could take matters into his own hands. During the mega-rallies of Ekiti and Osun, the president was absent. Does anyone still have doubts as to whose image APC is now built? Win or lose, Tinubu is now in charge of the ruling party and unless he suffers a defeat, so crushing that he would have to retreat into his shell, this sheriff, would be in town for quite a while and couldn’t bear to share the national title of chief.