Since the return to democracy in 1999, Lagos billionaire political heavyweight, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, has remained the most successful political godfather in Nigeria. He meticulously schemed a perfect way of remaining relevant in the sociopolitical mesh of Nigeria’s mega commercial city of Lagos.
He centralized every political office in Lagos to himself. No one can win as low as councillorship position in Lagos without securing his blessing. He determines who shares or gets what. Some refer to him as the Head of Omoniles — He heads the streets as well. He resolutely damns any call for an end to godfatherism in our polity. To him, Lagos is his estate.
But until 2015, his influence was localized to Lagos and few South-west states. He was not a national gladiator then. For 16 years, in the current republic, he played the opposition at national level. That not withstanding, he was everything a maximum leader could be. He has money, he has influence, he is fairly intelligent and has the ears of powers-that-be in the country. In 2015 when he melted his yoruba signature party The Action Congress Of Nigeria (ACN) into the desperate desire of some opposition politicians to form a mega party the APC, he was envisaging himself the next president of Nigeria after Buhari.
He withdraw his interest as Buhari’s running mate in 2015 to quell the grumbles against a Moslem-moslem ticket. But he swiftly threw up his acolyte, a pastor and professor of law, for the position. The Prof is to go there and wet grounds for his emergence as the next president to succeed Buhari. He would later, in his extrapolation of the country’s political equation, mount pressure on Chief Odigie Oyegun, under whose chairmanship the party cruised to victory in 2015, to leave the office of National chairman of APC, and made plan for his other right-hand man, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to replace him.
These were perfected and executed according to his plans. He was almost smiling to his 2023 triumph when his northern allies out-witted him. They were two steps ahead of him. First, they secretly begrudged his ambition. Second, they would not want to give him benefit of doubt. So they acted faster. By their machination, Oshiomhole, with his own solecism, was shown the exit door. And that was after they have broken the wings of his forerunner at Aso Rock, the erudite Osinbajo.
Then, the allegation of his fraud and sundry corruption charges in Alpha Beta case. While that was on, the national #EndSARS protests enraged. He was accused of being an accomplice, and he has to come clean. He has to appease the power centres, and prove his innocence. And if that is all it takes to assuage their jettisoning of his ambition, he is ready to do it at ‘all cost.’ His surrogate, Gov. Sanwo-Olu, was in office and CCTV cameras were blinded while street lights went blackout. This prepared the ground for the worst genocidal operation against Nigerians in recent history.
Our youths singing the national anthem and honouring our national flag were butchered with live bullets. A peaceful patriotic march turned into requiem service. Sacloth adorned the public domain in a thick night. In the heat of the fury, a recorded audio clip of his acceding to the use of brute force on his people circulated the cyberspace. No one believed that Nigerian youths took that clip serious until the morning after the lightless night of October 21.
As soon as the day break, thousands of youths from the same rank of Omonile that has Jagaban as their patron dressed in garbs of war, stormed the streets of Lagos, set ablaze some of his numerous establishments and threatened to hunt him down. TVC was razed down moments before some parts of Oriental Hotel got consumed by fire. The Nation newspaper’s corporate office met inferno at the same time. The Lagos governor’s mom’s house was thrown into conflagration.
As the reports got to alarming rate, the irrepressible Lagos paramount ruler, the Oba Akinolu (who once threatened Igbos that if they vote against APC in Lagos guber, he would threw them into Lagoon), was chased out of his palatial apartments, his warehouse ransacked and his staff of office was desecrated and smuggled out, and the traditional protocol of his kingdom violated.
The dawning realities forced Asiwaju to make an alleged trip off the land. Yet, France, his suspected place of asylum was not spared. Angry Nigeria nationals were alerted with details of his travel protocols to await him in his hotel premises, just to make life more miserable for him.
Videographic evidence made the rounds and Nigeria found themselves digesting all these in a space of 24 hours. I supposed news editors of media outfits will not forget that day in a hurry, as they worked studiously to keep the masses updated. But it was expected. Any day a dynasty as big as Tinubus is shaken, the story will span beyond a day.
And that brought us to several questions being asked by pundits. Is Tinubu’s empire in the mega city of Lagos about to lose its relevance? Is he losing grip of his South-west power centres? Could it be the ghost of hashtag “Edo no be Lagos” that went viral on the heels of his video dictating the direction of voting for Edo people in their last month’s guber election that is hunting him? What does the future hold for him amidst all these? Could it be a case of waning fame or the people realising that they have been gaslit for long and want to emancipate themselves? Whatever the case, only the future will tell.
But while, we regurgitate on that, he visited his ‘Boy’ (the governor) in Marina three days ago. He came out talking tough again!
Ogechukwu writes via [email protected], +2348062494912